Mark McGwire Named Cardinals Hitting Coach

Christopher Chavez@@Chris_J_ChavezAnalyst IIOctober 25, 2009

6 Jun 2001:  Mark McGwire #25 of the St. Louis Cardinals watching the action from the dugout during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.  The Cubs defeated the Cardinals 4-1.Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport

After Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa has reportedly signed a multi-year contract to return as the Cardinals skipper next year, St. Louis's front-office decided not to bring back hitting coach, Hal McRae.

Mark McGwire was named McRae's replacement by the Cardinal's front-office. McGwire's hiring would be his first return to baseball since 2001.

LaRussa's extension has not been officially announced but he is expected to make his return to the Cardinals sometime this week.

In his 18-year career McGwire slugged 583 home runs and finished his career with a .263 batting average.

If the saying "chicks dig the long-ball" is true, then Mark McGwire captured the hearts of millions of women around America in 1998. That year he set the single-season home run record with 70 homers.

But what experience does he have as an instructor?

McGwire has been invited as a Spring Training instructor by the Cardinals several times in the past few years, but has rejected these invitations. He has taught Cardinals outfielder Skip Schumaker and free-agent Matt Holliday during the winter. So this shows that the Cardinals have seen McGwire's potential as a coach up-close. 

LaRussa has said that he is leaning towards returning to the Cardinals for a few more years and is open to having McGwire as one of his coaches. In the past he has signed contracts that would allow either the club or himself to let him go from the team. It is unclear if LaRussa's latest contract will be like his previous ones.

McGwire has refused to address his alleged past steroid use during his career. Many speculate that the questions will reappear if he decides to address the media on his hiring throughout the winter and during next season.

At some point in the future he will have to confess and take full responsibility for his past mistakes. That would be the most mature and professional way of addressing the topic. It would also be a better example for his players, instead of brushing it off his shoulder and ignoring it. 

Once McGwire addresses his alleged steroid use, it will also make a team distraction go away. This would help him and the rest of his team focus on the goal ahead—making and winning the World Series in 2010. 

In 2005 McGwire testified before Congress and said "I am not here to talk about the past." McGwire made those few words famous as he went on to ramble about nothing before Congress. 

Mark, it is time to talk about the past and we will all be listening.