Afternoon Baseball

Common-sense ruminations on baseball and culture.


Mark McGwire, 1B, Oakland (1986-1997), St. Louis (1997-2001).
This year: No.
Deserving: Honestly, without the homers, no.
Will writers think he's deserving?: No.
Stay on ballot: Yes.
Veterans Committee: Probably.

Mark McGwire's use of illegal substances will likely never be known. It's unlikely to be just the andro, and it probably goes back further than we think -- he was putting up unreal numbers from 1993 onward, but he was always injured until 1997-1999.

His big numbers? The home runs (583), the on-base % (.394) and the OPS+ (162). But the latter two are a product of his fearsome home-run power. No one's needed fewer at-bats for a home run.
Does using andro (the only thing for which there's full documentation) disqualify McGwire? Probably, though not entirely.
But there's enough uncertainty to hold off on voting yes for McGwire. Even if he's bounced from the ballot this year (unlikely, but go with me), he'll be eligible for the Veterans' Committee.

So don't vote for him, make him stew for 15 or so years, and maybe we'll know more by then. Because right now, we don't know if we're voting for McGwire the man or McGwire the lab creation.

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