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The 1998 baseball season hosted one of the most memorable statistical races in history. The home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa was a power display like few baseball fans had seen before.
On September 8th, 1998, McGwire hit a scorching line-drive home run over the left field wall at Busch Stadium to eclipse Roger Maris' 61 home run total hit in 1961.
Eleven years later, in the early days of 2010, McGwire finally came clean on his consistent steroid use over the course of his 16-year career.
While speaking to Bob Costas on the MLB Network, McGwire made three distinct points. First, that he only used the substances to aid in his recovery from injury. Two, the doses he either injected or took orally were very low. And three, that the drugs did not increase his on-field ability.
Since admitting to his usage, McGwire has been given a pardon of sorts by the MLB, even by Bud Selig who complimented the retired slugger on his honesty. Part of McGwire's confession was to clean the slate before returning to the game as the St. Louis Cardinals' hitting coach during the 2010 season.
All said, the then single-season home run king adamantly believes his records hold merit. As he affirmed to Costas:
Absolutely. I truly believe so. I was given this gift by the man upstairs. My track record as far as hitting home runs...my first at-bat in the league was a home run. They still talk about the home runs I hit in high school. They still talk about the home runs I hit in [American] Legion. They still talk about the home runs I hit in college [USC] -- I led the nation in home runs. They still talk about the home runs I hit in the Minor Leagues.
Does McGwire deserve repercussions? Yes, he does. But there are not many, if any, tangible ways to go about it other than stripping his records.
That race was too great for baseball's image to tarnish.
So what do you suggest?