by Caesar Cliffius
Contrary to the belief of some, I am not the only one who thinks Mark McGwire and his apology is disingenuous and much too late.
Hall of Fame pitcher and seven time 20-game winner Ferguson Jenkins is the latest to speak out on the admitted steroid use of the retired slugger, “You have not even begun to apologize to those you have harmed.” Jenkins claims an apology is owed to all of the pitchers who he hit home runs off when juiced.
Carlton Fisk, himself a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame lashed out at McGwire the day before. Fisk said it was offensive to players, such as himself who had stayed clean.
Jenkins said that if he had pitched when McGwire left the yard at a record pace, he would have knocked him down with inside pitches. He went on to say that Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale, Steve Carlton, and Tom Seaver would have not hesitated to put McGwire on his back.
Retired St. Louis Cardinals’ slugger Jack Clark aligns himself with me when he said that Big Mac should be banned from the game. He also railed against Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Barry bonds, calling them all fakes and phonies. and saying they are baseball’s “creeps.”
To say McGwire’s admission of guilt has created a firestorm around the baseball community is an understatement. He has admitted to using the now-banned substance for 10 years, including the year that he set the Major League record with 70 home runs.
So far McGwire has essentially been snubbed by the voters for Hall of Fame consideration, receiving less than a third of the votes needed for enshrinement.
His announcement of guilt was provoked by his hiring as a batting coach for the Cardinals. Prior to this he had been totally silent about the scandal except for his statement to Congress that he wasn’t there to talk about his past.
Some fans, players and writers are content to accept his apology, forgive and forget. Apparently there are more who stand on the other side of the fence.
Jose Canseco , author of the book Juiced, which initiated the investigation into steroid use, said Big Mac was not totally forthcoming. Canseco, McGwire’s former “Bash Brother” of the Oakland A’s, said they injected each other in the locker room prior to games. McGwire denied his claims and said that he wasn’t going to drop to Jose’s level, maintaining that Jose must have said it to sell more books.
On ESPN’s “The Waddle and Silvy Show,” Canseco said that he had been subjected to a polygraph test concerning that statement and had passed it. He then made an on air challenge to McGwire to take a test and see which of the two is lying.
Whether or not anything is done to restore the home run record (which was eclipsed by Bonds with 73 in 2001), McGwire’s numbers do not qualify him to be hall of fame material.