Lighting up the sports world, Mark McGwire admitted to using steroids when he broke baseball's home run record in 1998. In a statement, he said:
I'm sure people will wonder if I could have hit all those home runs had I never taken steroids. I had good years when I didn't take any and I had bad years when I didn't take any. I had good years when I took steroids and I had bad years when I took steroids. But no matter what, I shouldn't have done it and for that I'm truly sorry.
McGwire's been under a cloud of suspicion since 2005 when he refused to address questions into his drug use at a congressional hearing, saying "I'm not here to talk about the past." Now, McGwire's admission separates
him from a crowd of tainted sluggers who've never acknowledged
consciously taking steroids, including Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and
David Ortiz. But why did he choose now to come clean? Two sports writers say his future career and past legacy were the reason:
- He Did It for His Career, writes Kevin Kaduk at Yahoo! Sports: "With McGwire poised to become the Cardinals hitting coach (and a possible pinch hitter) in 2010, it was in his best interest to get out ahead of the spring training questions and finally come clean on all the talk and rumors that have plagued him since retiring."
- He Did It for His Legacy, writes Bruce Arthur at the National Post: "In the four years he has been on the ballot, McGwire's Hall of Fame vote has looked like this: 23.5%, 23.6%, 21.9%, 23.7%. He was stuck in the past because he wouldn't address it, and he shrunk in the estimation and imagination of those who once admired him. Now, perhaps Hall voters will take a fresh look at the seventh-leading home run hitter of all time, who is also 12th all-time in OPS+ — on-base plus slugging, adjusted for ballparks and, critically, era. Yes, McGwire was at his greatest on steroids. So was an entire generation."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.