R: 1167 (192nd)
HR: 583 (8th)
RBI: 1414 (66th)
BB: 1317 (36th)
SO: 1596 (29th)
OBP: .394 (78th)
SLG: .588 (9th)
1987 American League Rookie of the Year
1999 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award Winner
One Time World Champion
Twelve Time Time All-Star
One Time Gold Glover
Three Time Silver Slugger
Before we get to the statistics, let me get the steroid controversy out of the way.
Mark McGwire admitted to taking androstenedione in 1998. Androstenedione is an anabolic steroid, but in 1998 it was just another over-the-counter muscle enhancement product, legal in Major League Baseball. Androstenedione wasn't even defined as an anabolic steroid until 2005, four years after McGwire retired. McGwire also has never been linked to any steroid use, except in Jose Canseco's book.
I'm not letting anyone who took steroids get by, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Plameiro, or Roger Clemens just to name a few. I would never vote or support these players for the Hall of Fame, but Mark McGwire is another case. I'm against punishing a great baseball player for something he did that was legal at the time, but is currently illegal in the sport.
I understand why McGwire pleaded the fifth. If he said "no" like Plameiro wanted him too, he would have been lying, since by that time, androstenedione was considered an anabolic steroid. If he said "yes" in any way, he would have been shunned by his colleagues for going against them and their version of the truth.
It's a terrible thing that a great baseball player and person in general had his legacy destroyed by Jose Canseco.
Now let us go back in time to the good ol' days of the late 1980s.
Mark McGwire's rookie year is one of the greatest rookie seasons for a batter ever. In 151 games, Big Mac hit a league leading 49 home runs setting the record for rookies, he drove in 118 runs, batted .289, and had a league best .618 slugging percentage. Mark easily won the Rookie of the Year Award.
He followed up his amazing rookie season with three straight 30+ home runs seasons, driving in 108 runs in 1990 and leading the American League with 110 walks. McGwire then suffered a tough 1991, batting a disastrous .201 with a career low 22 homer runs.
McGwire bounced back in 1992, hitting 42 homers with a league leading .585 slugging percentage. After two injury plagued seasons, McGwire had his second comeback year in his career in 1995. He hit 39 home runs, drove in 90 runs, and batted .274 with a .685 slugging percentage.
1996 marked the beginning of the greatest four year span in baseball history. In 1996, Mark led the league with 52 homers, a .467 on-base percentage, a .730 slugging percentage, and 113 RBI. In 1997, Big Mac hit a Major League leading 58 homers with the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals, he also drove in 123 runs.
Then came 1998, Mark McGwire chased Roger Maris' single-season home run record of 61. But he wasn't alone, as Sammy Sosa was right behind him for most of the season. McGwire hit No. 62 on the eighth of September, probably the most memorable moment in baseball since Hank Aaron hit No. 715.
At the end of one of the best seasons ever put together, Big Mac had 70 homers, 147 RBI, a league leading 162 walks, a .470 league leading on-base percentage, and another league leading slugging percentage of .752. He also had a .299 batting average.
In 1999, McGwire had his last full season. He led the majors for the fourth time in a row in home runs with 65 and he led the National League in runs batted in for the first time with 147. He also walked 133 times and had a .697 slugging percentage.
Big Mac played two more seasons, hitting a combined 61 homers and driving in 137 runs with a .239 average. McGwire had a perfect opportunity to retire when Albert Pujols began to put up Mark McGwire type numbers.
Then everything else happened.
McGwire has gotten 21.9 percent or more of the vote since going on the ballot and sadly, I don't see him going to Cooperstown in the near future. Such a terrible thing.
Now, if you move passed over the steroid controversy or Big Mac, we will see his true weaknesses. McGwire has a terrible batting average of .263 and he doesn't even have 1700 hits. But even with those two facts, McGwire should get into Cooperstown because of his 583 home runs, 1414 RBI, .588 slugging percentage, and record breaking seasons.
And if you still can't get over the fact that Mark McGwire used an over-the-counter muscle enhancement product, get over it, go pick on Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, they're the true scumbags.