Mark McGwire was one of the most powerful, exciting hitters to ever step up to the plate. He was a focal point of an era that provided sports fans all over the world with the kind of entertainment that comes around just once in a lifetime.
McGwire's eye-popping stats and incredible home run race with Sammy Sosa in 1998 transformed him from an MLB superstar into an international icon. Every man, woman, and child owned a McGwire jersey, the St. Louis Arch was renamed the St. McGwire Arch, and fast food franchises created meals in his honor.
Unfortunately for Marky Mark and the game of baseball, McGwire is also one of the most infamous cheaters in the history of sports.
In January of 2010, a teary-eyed McGwire sat across from Bob Costas and came clean about his steroid usage, admitting that steroids had been flowing through his veins for an entire decade, including his record-breaking season in 1998.
Even though his dirty little secret is out, McGwire still will not admit that steroids helped him get the ball over the fence. He claims that no pill or syringe can give a player the extraordinary hand-eye coordination that he displayed throughout his career and he took steroids solely for health purposes.
This may seem like the usual pathological liar banter, but McGwire actually has a point. The steroids that the first baseman injected himself with had absolutely no effect on his god-given hand-eye coordination, but the baseball statistic that is directly proportional with hand-eye coordination is batting average, and McGwire had a career batting average of .263.
What did the steroids provide McGwire? Muscle mass.
The University of Illinois conducted a study titled "The Possible Effect of Steroids on Home Run Production", and Professor Alan M. Nathan very clearly concludes, "a modest increase in muscle mass can lead to a very large increase in HRBiP."
I'm no rocket scientist, but that sounds like steroids helped McGwire and many others hit the ball harder and farther. Therefore, any players that are proven steroid users are proven cheaters.
What exactly is the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame and who belongs in it?
According to the Hall's official website, "The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an independent, non-profit educational institution dedicated to honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to our national pastime."
So, according to the official definition, the question that the Hall of Fame voters must ask themselves is, "Has Mark McGwire made an outstanding contribution to our national pastime?"
Unless I'm mistaken, McGwire has done the exact opposite.
With a little help from his friends, McGwire temporarily ruined the game of baseball.
When all of the sport's superstars became super-scumbags, there was really no reason to watch baseball anymore and the record-shattering McGwire is more to blame for that than most of the other accused cheaters.
Cooperstown is a place meant for former players, coaches, and broadcasters that improved the game of baseball with their extraordinary efforts on and off the diamond, and the induction of a player that did nothing but hurt our national pastime should not even be considered.
Life would be a little bit easier if the MLB just created a "Major League Baseball Hall of Fame: Steroid Edition."
I'm sure Mark would be a first-ballot candidate.