Stormy Vigil - the lighthouse love story, major Major by Terry Major Ball and nearly everything else but not books by Michael Crichton, oh but any of those old pan books from the early sixties with the gaudy painting covers
I am a former professional baseball player, who played my major league career with the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals. I was a prolific "power hitter" during the 1990s. In the 1998 season, I broke the single-season home run record by hitting 70, which remains the second-highest home run total in one season behind Barry Bonds's 73 in 2001. For my career, I averaged a home run once every 10.61 at bats, the lowest at bats per home run ratio in baseball history (Babe Ruth, who retired in the 1930s, is second at 11.76). I was known for the distance of my home runs, hitting several over 500 feet. My nicknames included "Big Mac", "Big Red", "Colossus".
I began my major league career with the Oakland A's in 1986 and played there until 1997, prior to being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. I won the World Series with the Oakland A's in 1989. Perhaps my most famous home run with the A's was in Game 3 of the 1988 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and former A's closer Jay Howell. My game-winning solo homer in the bottom of the 9th inning brought the only victory for the A's in the 1988 World Series. I was part of the "Bash Brothers", alongside Jose Canseco, Our offensive output propelled the team to the World Series level three straight years from 1988-1990 (against the Dodgers, Giants and Reds, respectively), of which they would only win one (1989 against the San Francisco Giants).
In my first full Major League Baseball season in 1987, I hit 49 home runs, a single-season record for a rookie; I was named the American League Rookie of the Year. I hit 32, 33, and 39 homers the next three seasons, the first Major Leaguer to hit 30+ home runs in each of his first 4 full seasons. My batting average, .289 as a rookie, plummeted to .260, .231, and .235. Then in 1991, I bottomed out with a .201 average and 22 homers. Manager Tony LaRussa sat me out the last game of the season so my average could not dip below .200. Despite the very low batting averages during this time of my career, my high bases on balls totals allowed me to maintain acceptable on-base percentages. I rebounded to hit 42 homers and bat .268 in 1992.
Injuries limited me to a total of 74 games in 1993 and 1994, and to 104 games in 1995 (but I still slugged 39 homers in 317 at-bats). The next season I belted a Major-League leading 52 homers in 423 at-bats.
I worked hard on my defense at first base and resisted being seen as a one-dimensional player. I was regarded as a good fielder in my early years, even winning a Gold Glove in 1990. In my later years my speed was reduced making playing the position more difficult.
My 363 home run total with the Athletics is a franchise record. I was selected or voted to nine American League All-Star Teams while playing for the A's, including six consecutive appearances from 1987 through 1992
In 1997, I hit a major league-leading 58 home runs for the season, but did not lead either league in homers, as I was traded from the Oakland Athletics to the St. Louis Cardinals in midseason. It was widely believed that in the last year of my contract, I would play for the Cardinals only for the remainder of the season, then seek a long-term deal, possibly in Southern California, where I lived. However, I signed a long-term deal to stay in St. Louis instead. (It is also believed that I encouraged Jim Edmonds, another Southern California resident who was traded to St. Louis, to sign his current contract with the Cardinals.)
As the 1998 season progressed, it became clear that both Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa and I were on track to break the late Roger Maris' single-season home run record. The race to break the record first became an international media spectacle as the lead swung back and forth. On August 19, Sosa hit his 48th home run to move ahead of me. However, later that day I hit my 48th and 49th home runs to regain the lead.
On September 8, 1998, I hit a pitch by the Chicago Cubs' Steve Trachsel over the left field wall for my record-breaking 62nd home run, setting off huge celebrations at Busch Stadium. The fact that the game was against the Cubs meant that Sosa was able to personally congratulate me on my achievement. Members of Roger Maris' family were also present at the game.
I finished the 1998 season with 70 home runs, a record that has since been broken by Barry Bonds. Sosa finished the season with 66 home runs.
In 1999, I drove in a league-leading 147 runs while only having 145 hits, the highest RBI-per-hit tally in baseball history.
I ended my career with 583 home runs, which was then fifth-most in history. I led Major League Baseball in home runs five times. I hit 50 or more home runs four seasons in a row (1996-1999), leading Major League Baseball in homers all four seasons, and also shared the MLB lead in home runs in 1987, my rookie year, when I set the Major League record for home runs by a rookie with 49.
Many of my accomplishments, particularly my record breaking home run surge late in my career, have come into question due to my connection to the steroid scandal plaguing Major League Baseball. After an article written by Associated Press writer Steve Wilstein, I admitted to taking Androstenedione, a legal, over the counter dietary supplement.
After repeated denials of performance enhancing substances Jose Canseco and I, five other baseball players, and four baseball executives were subpoenaed to testify at a congressional hearing on steroids. There on March 17, 2005 I declined to answer questions under oath when I appeared before the House Government Reform Committee.
In a tearful opening statement I said,
“ Asking me or any other player to answer questions about who took steroids in front of television cameras will not solve the problem. If a player answers 'No,' he simply will not be believed; if he answers 'Yes,' he risks public scorn and endless government investigations." During the hearing, McGwire repeatedly responded to questions regarding his own steroid use with the line, "I'm not here to talk about the past... My lawyers have advised me that I cannot answer these questions without jeopardizing my friends, my family, and myself. ”
When asked if I was asserting my Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, I once again responded:
“ I'm not here to talk about the past. I'm here to be positive about this subject. ”
I married Stephanie Slemer, a former pharmaceutical sales representative from the St. Louis area, in Las Vegas on April 20, 2002. We reside in a gated community in Irvine, California with our sons, Max and Mason. I also have a son, Matthew, by my first wife Kathy. Matthew was often a bat boy for the Cardinals during summer vacations from school while I was playing and was present when I hit my 62nd home run of the 1998 season.
I also created the Mark McGwire Foundation for Children to support agencies that work with children who have been sexually and physically abused.
I spend much of my free time playing golf. I feel that I'm an exceptional golfer and I may try to qualify for the Senior PGA Tour when I turn 50 in 2013.I now reside in Huntington Beach.
My Career totals:
Games played 1874
At bats 6187
Home runs 583
Runs batted in 1414
Stolen bases 12
Caught stealing 8
On base percentage .394
Slugging percentage .588
Batting average .263