Mark David McGwire (born October 1, 1963), nicknamed Big Mac, is an American former professional baseball first baseman. His Major League Baseball (MLB) playing career spanned from 1986 to 2001 while playing for the Oakland Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals, winning one World Series championship each with Oakland as a player in 1989 and with St. Louis as a coach in 2011. One of the most prolific home run hitters in baseball history, McGwire holds the major league career record for at bats per home run ratio (10.6), and is the former record holder for both home runs in a single season (70 in 1998) and home runs hit by rookie (49 in 1987). He ranks 11th all time in home runs with 583, and led the major leagues in home runs in five different seasons, while establishing the major league record for home runs hit in a four-season period from 1996−1999 with 245. Further, he demonstrated exemplary patience as a batter, producing a career .394 on-base percentage (OBP) and twice leading the major leagues in bases on balls. Injuries cut short the manifestation of even greater potential as he reached 140 games played in just eight of 16 total seasons. A right-handed batter and thrower, McGwire stood 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 m) tall and weighed 245 pounds (111 kg) during his playing career.
From Pomona, California, the Athletics chose McGwire with the 10th overall selection in the 1984 MLB draft, and he was a member of the silver medal-winning entry of the United States national team that same year at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. As a rookie in 1987, he quickly grabbed media attention with 33 home runs before the All-Star break, and would lead the major leagues in home runs that year with 49, while setting the single-season rookie record. He appeared in six straight All-Star Games from 1987 to 1992 despite a brief career decline related to injuries. Another string of six consecutive All-Star appearances followed from 1995 to 2001. Each season from 1996 to 1999, he again led the major leagues in home runs.
A part of the 1998 Major League Baseball home run record chase of Roger Maris' 61 with the Cardinals, McGwire set the major league single-season home run record with 70, which Barry Bonds broke three years later with 73. McGwire also led the league in runs batted in, twice in bases on balls and on-base percentage, and four times in slugging percentage. Injuries significantly cut into his playing time in 2000 and 2001 before factoring into his retirement. He finished with 583 home runs, which was fifth all-time when he retired.
For his career, McGwire averaged a home run once every 10.61 at bats, the best at bats per home run ratio in baseball history (Babe Ruth is second at 11.76). He was the fastest player to hit 500 home runs, in 5,487 at-bats.
McGwire was a central figure in baseball's steroids scandal. In 2010, McGwire publicly admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during a large portion of his career. In his first ten years of eligibility, McGwire has not been elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
McGwire as Los Angeles Dodgers
|Born: October 1, 1963|
|August 22, 1986, for the Oakland Athletics|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 7, 2001, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Runs batted in||1,414|
|Career highlights and awards|
McGwire was born in Pomona, California. His father was a dentist. He attended Damien High School in La Verne, California, where he played baseball, golf, and basketball. He was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 1981 amateur draft but did not sign. He played college baseball at the University of Southern California (where he was a teammate of Randy Johnson and Jack Del Rio) under coach Rod Dedeaux.
Retaining his rookie status in 1987, McGwire took center stage in baseball with his home runs. He hit just four in the month of April, but followed in May with 15, and another nine in June. Before the All-Star break arrived, he totaled 33 HR and earned a spot on the American League (AL) All-Star team. On August 11, he broke Al Rosen's AL rookie record of 37 home runs. Three days later, McGwire broke the major league record of 38, which Frank Robinson and Wally Berger jointly held. In September, McGwire hit nine more home runs while posting monthly personal bests of a .351 batting average, .419 on-base percentage (OBP) and 11 doubles (2B). With 49 HR and two games remaining in the regular season, he chose to sit them out with an opportunity for 50 home runs to be present for the birth of his first child. McGwire also totaled 118 runs batted in (RBI), .289 batting average, 97 runs scored, 28 doubles, a .618 slugging percentage and a .370 on-base percentage (OBP). McGwire's 49 home runs as a rookie stood as a major league record until Aaron Judge hit 52 for the New York Yankees in 2017.
Not only did he lead the AL in home runs in 1987, but he also tied for the major league lead with Chicago Cubs right fielder Andre Dawson. McGwire also led the major leagues in SLG, finished second in the AL in adjusted on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS+, 164) total bases (344), third in RBI and on-base plus slugging (OPS, .987). He was thus a unanimous choice for the AL Rookie of the Year Award and finished sixth overall in the AL Most Valuable Player Award voting.
From 1988 to 1990, McGwire followed with 32, 33, and 39 home runs, respectively, becoming the first Major Leaguer to hit 30+ home runs in each of his first four full seasons. On July 3 and 4, 1988, he hit game-winning home runs in the 16th inning of both games. Through May 2009, McGwire was tied for third all-time with Joe DiMaggio in home runs over his first two calendar years in the major leagues (71), behind Chuck Klein (83) and Ryan Braun (79).
McGwire's most famous home run with the A's was likely his game-winning solo shot in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3 of the 1988 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and former A's closer Jay Howell. McGwire's game-winner brought the A's their only victory in the 1988 World Series, which they lost in five games. However, Big Mac and his fellow Bash Brother, José Canseco, played a large part in the 1989 championship club that defeated the San Francisco Giants in the famous "Earthquake Series".
Working diligently on his defense at first base, McGwire bristled at the notion that he was a one-dimensional player. He was generally regarded as a good fielder in his early years, even winning a Gold Glove Award in 1990 – the only one that New York Yankees legend Don Mattingly would not win between 1985 and 1994. In later years, his mobility decreased and, with it, his defense.
However, McGwire's batting averages after his rookie season plummeted to .260, .231, and .235 from 1988 to 1990. In 1991, he bottomed out with a .201 average and 22 homers. Manager Tony La Russa sat him out the final game of the season to avoid allowing his batting average to dip below .200. Despite the declining averages during this time of his career, his high bases on balls totals allowed him to maintain acceptable OBPs. In fact, when he hit .201, his OPS+ was 103, or just over league average.
McGwire stated in an interview with Sports Illustrated that 1991 was the "worst year" of his life, with his on-field performance and marriage difficulties, and that he "didn't lift a weight" that entire season. With all that behind him, McGwire re-dedicated himself to working out harder than ever and received visual therapy from a sports vision specialist.
The "new look" McGwire hit 42 homers and batted .268 in 1992, with an outstanding OPS+ of 175 (the highest of his career to that point), and put on a home run hitting show at the Home Run Derby during the 1992 All-Star break. His performance propelled the A's to the American League West Division title in 1992, their fourth in five seasons. The A's lost in the playoffs to the eventual World Series champion, the Toronto Blue Jays.
Foot injuries limited McGwire to a total of 74 games in 1993 and 1994, and just 9 home runs in each of the two seasons. He played just 104 games in 1995, but his proportional totals were much improved: 39 home runs in 317 at-bats. In 1996, McGwire belted a major league leading 52 homers in 423 at-bats. He also hit a career high .312 average, and led the league in both slugging percentage and on-base percentage.
McGwire's total of 363 home runs with the Athletics surpassed the previous franchise record. He 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. He was one of only four players to hit a ball over the roof in the left field of Tiger Stadium.
On July 31, having already amassed 34 home runs to this point in the 1997 season, McGwire was traded from the Oakland Athletics to the St. Louis Cardinals for T. J. Mathews, Eric Ludwick and Blake Stein. Despite playing just two-thirds of the season in the American League, he finished ninth in HR. In 51 games with the Cardinals to finish 1997 off, McGwire compiled a .253 batting average, 24 home runs, and 42 RBI. Overall in 1997, combined with both teams, McGwire led the majors with 58 home runs. He also finished third in the major leagues in slugging percentage (.646), fourth in OPS (1.039), fifth in OPS+ (170), tenth in RBI (123), and ninth in walks (101). He placed 16th in the NL MVP voting.
It was the last year of his contract, so there was speculation that McGwire would play for the Cardinals only for the remainder of the season, then seek a long-term deal, possibly in Southern California, where he still lives. However, McGwire signed a contract to stay in St. Louis instead. It is also believed that McGwire later encouraged Jim Edmonds, another Southern California resident who was traded to St. Louis, to forgo free agency and sign a contract with the Cardinals in 2000.
As the 1998 season progressed, it became clear that McGwire, Seattle Mariners outfielder Ken Griffey Jr., and Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa were all on track to break Roger Maris' single-season home run record. The race to break the record first attracted media attention as the home run leader changed often throughout the season. On August 19, Sosa hit his 48th home run to move ahead of McGwire. However, later that day McGwire hit his 48th and 49th home runs to regain the lead.
On September 8, 1998, McGwire hit a pitch by the Cubs' Steve Trachsel over the left field wall for his record-breaking 62nd home run, setting off massive celebrations at Busch Stadium. The fact that the game was against the Cubs meant that Sosa was able to congratulate McGwire personally on his achievement. Members of Maris' family were also present at the game. The ball was freely, albeit controversially, given to McGwire in a ceremony on the field by the stadium worker who found it.
McGwire was honored with the inaugural Babe Ruth Home Run Award for leading MLB in home runs. Although McGwire had the prestige of the home run record, Sammy Sosa (who had fewer HR but more RBI and stolen bases) won the 1998 NL MVP award, as his contributions helped propel the Cubs to the playoffs (the Cardinals in 1998 finished third in the NL Central). Many credited the Sosa-McGwire home run chase in 1998 with "saving baseball", by both bringing in new, younger fans and bringing back old fans soured by the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike.
McGwire kept his high level of offensive production from 1998 going in 1999 while setting or extending several significant records. For the fourth consecutive season, he led MLB in HR with 65. It was also his fourth consecutive season with at least 50 HR, extending his own major league record. Sosa, who hit 63 HR in 1999, again trailed McGwire. Thus, they became the first – and still only – players in major league history to hit 60 or more home runs in consecutive seasons. McGwire also set a record from 1998 to 1999 for home runs in a two-season period with 135. Further, he owned the highest four-season HR total, with 245 from 1996 to 1999. In 1999, he drove in an NL-leading 147 runs while only having 145 hits, the highest RBI-per-hit tally for a season in baseball history.
Statistically in 2000 and 2001, McGwire's numbers declined relative to previous years as McGwire struggled to avoid injury (32 HR in 89 games, and 29 HR in 97 games, respectively). He retired after the 2001 season.
After his playing career ended, McGwire demonstrated coaching ability, personally assisting players such as Matt Holliday, Bobby Crosby and Skip Schumaker before accepting an official role as hitting coach with an MLB team. On October 26, 2009, Tony La Russa, then manager of the Cardinals, confirmed that McGwire would become the club's fifth hitting coach of his tenure with the Cardinals, replacing Hal McRae. McGwire received a standing ovation prior to the Cardinals home opener on April 12, 2010. In his three seasons as Cardinals hitting coach, they featured a prolific offense that led the National League in hitting and on-base percentage, and were second in runs.
In early November, 2012, McGwire rejected a contract extension to return as Cardinals hitting coach for the 2013 season. Instead, he accepted an offer for the same position with the Los Angeles Dodgers, in order to be closer to his wife and five children.
Probably best known as one of the top sluggers of his era, McGwire ended his career with 583 home runs, which was fifth-most in history when he retired. When he hit his 500th career home run in 1999, he did so in 5,487 career at bats, the fewest in major league history. He led all MLB in home runs in five different seasons, including 1987 and each season from 1996 to 1999. Totaling 245 home runs from 1996−99, it was the highest four-season home run output in major league history. Further, in each of those four seasons, he exceeded 50 home runs, becoming the first player to do so. He was also the first player to hit 49 or more home runs five times, including his rookie-season record of 49 in 1987. With a career average of one home every 10.61 at-bats, he holds the MLB record for most home runs per at-bat by over a full at-bat more than second-place Babe Ruth (11.76).
As of 2015, McGwire owned three of the four lowest single-season AB/HR ratios in MLB history, which covered his 1996, 1998 and 1999 seasons. They were actually the top three seasons in MLB history until Bonds broke his single-season HR record in 2001. McGwire's 1997 season ranked 13th. Considered one of the slowest running players in the game, McGwire had the fewest career triples (six) of any player with 5,000 or more at-bats, and had just 12 stolen bases while being caught stealing eight times.
In 1999, The Sporting News released a list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, ranking McGwire at number 91. The list had been compiled during the 1998 season and included statistics through the 1997 season. That year, he was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. In 2005, The Sporting News published an update of their list, and McGwire had been moved up to Number 84.
McGwire first became eligible for Hall of Fame voting in 2007. For election, a player needs to be listed on 75% of ballots cast; falling under 5% removes a player from future consideration. Between 2007 and 2010 McGwire's performance held steady, receiving 128 votes (23.5%) in 2007, 128 votes (23.6%) in 2008, 118 votes (21.9%) in 2009, and 128 votes (23.7%) in 2010. The subsequent ballot in 2011 showed the first sub-20% total of 115 votes (19.8%), and McGwire's total votes continued to decline (112 votes (19.5%) in 2012, 96 votes (16.9%) in 2013, 63 votes (11.0%) in 2014, and 55 votes (10.0%) in 2015) until he was finally eliminated after receiving only 54 votes (12.3%) in 2016.
A portion of Interstate 70 (see also: Interstate 70 in Missouri) in St. Louis and near Busch Stadium was named "Mark McGwire Highway" to honor his 70 home run achievement, along with his various good works for the city. In May 2010, St. Louis politicians succeeded in passing a state bill to change the name of "Mark McGwire Highway", a 5-mile stretch of Interstate 70, to "Mark Twain Highway".
|Major League Baseball records|
|Fewest at-bats to 500 career home runs||5,487||1999|||
|Fewest career at bats per home run||10.6|||
|Home runs in a four-season period||245||1996–1999|
|Consecutive 50-HR seasons||4†|
|Consecutive 60-HR seasons||2†||1998–1999|
|Home runs in a two-season period||135|
|Single-season highest RBI/H ratio||1.014||1999|
|Oakland Athletics records|
|Lowest career AB/HR ratio||12.1|
|Lowest single-season AB/HR ratio||8.1||1995, 1996|
|St. Louis Cardinals records|
|Lowest career AB/HR ratio||7.9|
|Highest career OPS||1.222|
|Highest career OPS+||180|
|Highest career SLG||.683|
|Lowest single-season AB/HR ratio||7.3||1998|
|Most HR in a season||70|
|Most times on base in a season||320|
|Most bases on balls in a season||162|
† – tied with Sammy Sosa
In 16 seasons playing major league baseball (1986–2001), McGwire accumulated the following career totals:
In a 1998 article by Associated Press writer Steve Wilstein, McGwire confessed to taking androstenedione, an over-the-counter muscle enhancement product that had already been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, the NFL, and the IOC. At the time, however, use of the substance was not prohibited by Major League Baseball and it was not federally classified as an anabolic steroid in the United States until 2004.
Jose Canseco released a book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, in 2005. In it, he wrote positively about steroids and made various claims—among them, that McGwire had used performance-enhancing drugs since the 1980s and that Canseco had personally injected him with them.
In 2005, McGwire and Canseco were among 11 baseball players and executives subpoenaed to testify at a congressional hearing on steroids. During his testimony on March 17, 2005, McGwire declined to answer questions under oath when he appeared before the House Government Reform Committee. In a tearful opening statement, McGwire 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 ... My lawyers have advised me that I cannot answer these questions without jeopardizing my friends, my family, and myself. I will say, however, that it remains a fact in this country that a man, any man, should be regarded as innocent unless proven guilty.
On January 11, 2010, McGwire admitted to using steroids on and off for a decade and said, "I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era." He admitted using them in the 1989/90 offseason and then after he was injured in 1993. He admitted using them on occasion throughout the 1990s, including during the 1998 season. McGwire said that he used steroids to recover from injuries.
McGwire's decision to admit using steroids was prompted by his decision to become hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals. According to McGwire, he took steroids for health reasons rather than to improve performance; however, a drug dealer who claimed to have provided steroids to McGwire asserted that his use was to improve his size and strength, rather than to just maintain his health.
McGwire's brother Dan McGwire was a quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks and Miami Dolphins of the NFL in the early 1990s, and was a first-round draft choice out of San Diego State University. He has another brother, Jay McGwire, a bodybuilder, who wrote a book in 2010 detailing their shared steroid use.
McGwire married Stephanie Slemer—a former pharmaceutical sales representative from the St. Louis area—in Las Vegas on April 20, 2002. On June 1, 2010, their triplet girls were born: Monet Rose, Marlo Rose, and Monroe Rose. They join brothers Max and Mason. They reside in a gated community in Shady Canyon Irvine, California. Together they created the Mark McGwire Foundation for Children to support agencies that help children who have been sexually and physically abused come to terms with a difficult childhood. Mark has a son, Matthew (b. 1987), from a previous marriage (1984–1990, divorced) to Kathleen Hughes.
Prior to admitting to using steroids, McGwire avoided the media and spent much of his free time playing golf. He also worked as a hitting coach for Major League players Matt Holliday, Bobby Crosby, Chris Duncan and Skip Schumaker.
The first award was given to Mark McGwire after his 70-home-run season in 1998.(subscription required)
The Oakland Athletics' 1984 season involved the A's finishing 4th in the American League West with a record of 77 wins and 85 losses. While the A's struggled for a third consecutive season, they staged a major coup by drafting future superstar Mark McGwire with the tenth overall pick of the 1984 Major League Baseball Draft. The season also marked the end of Rickey Henderson's first (of four) stints with the Athletics. His second stint would begin in 1989.1987 Oakland Athletics season
The Oakland Athletics' 1987 season involved the A's finishing 3rd in the American League West with a record of 81 wins and 81 losses. Mark McGwire set a rookie record by hitting 49 home runs. At the beginning of the season, the word "Athletics" returned, in script lettering, to the front of the team's jerseys. Former A's owner, Charles O. Finley banned the word "Athletics" from the club's name in the past because he felt that name was too closely associated with former Philadelphia Athletics owner Connie Mack. In his first full Major League season, Mark McGwire hit 49 home runs, a single-season record for a rookie; he was named the American League Rookie of the Year. McGwire would be the first American League rookie since Al Rosen of the Cleveland Indians in 1950 to lead the American League in home runs. The 1987 season also saw the return of Reggie Jackson to Oakland.1990 Oakland Athletics season
The Oakland Athletics' 1990 season was their 23rd in Oakland, California. It was also the 90th season in franchise history. The team finished first in the American League West with a record of 103-59.
The Athletics' 1990 campaign ranks among the organization's finest. Oakland, in winning 103 games, led the league outright in wins for a third consecutive season; they remained the last major North American team to accomplish this until 2017, when the feat was matched by the nearby Golden State Warriors of the NBA. The Athletics benefited from stellar performances in all areas of the game. The team's offense was led by eventual Hall-of-Famer Rickey Henderson. Henderson finished the season with 65 stolen bases, 28 home runs, and a .325 batting average; for his efforts, he took home the 1990 American League MVP Award. The Athletics also benefited from strong performances by superstars Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco. The pair clubbed 39 and 37 home runs, respectively; in doing so, they drove in a combined total of 209 runs. Over the course of the season, the team added to an already strong offense; the additions of recent All-Stars Willie Randolph, Willie McGee, and Harold Baines further widened the gap between the Athletics and the rest of the league. Established veterans (such as Carney Lansford, Terry Steinbach, Dave Henderson, and Mike Gallego) and promising young players (mainly Walt Weiss and Mike Bordick) rounded out arguably the deepest roster in all of Major League Baseball. Eight of the Athletics' nine main postseason starters (R. Henderson, McGwire, Canseco, McGee, Steinbach, Randolph, Baines, and Lansford) played in at least one All-Star Game between 1988 and 1990.
The Athletics pitching staff, in many regards, had an even stronger campaign. The starting rotation was led by veteran Bob Welch. Welch would finish the season with both an MLB-leading 27 wins and a 2.95 ERA; this performance was strong enough to net the 1990 Cy Young Award. Welch, as of 2014, remains the last MLB pitcher to win at least 25 games in a season. Fellow starter Dave Stewart, winner of 22 games, finished in a tie (with Pittsburgh starter Doug Drabek) for the second-most wins in MLB. 1989 All-Star Mike Moore, 1991 All-Star Scott Sanderson, and longtime Athletic Curt Young rounded out the American League's top rotation. The Athletics' bullpen was led by superstar closer Dennis Eckersley, who posted a microscopic 0.61 ERA while recording 48 saves. As a team, the Athletics allowed only 570 runs (the fewest in the American League by a wide margin).
The Athletics easily won the American League West for a third consecutive season. They swept the Boston Red Sox, four games to none, in that year's American League Championship Series; in doing so, they won a third consecutive American League pennant. The Athletics entered the 1990 World Series as heavy favorites. Despite this, however, they were themselves swept by the Cincinnati Reds. The Athletics have not reached the World Series since.1992 Oakland Athletics season
The Oakland Athletics' 1992 season was the team's 25th in Oakland, California. It was also the 92nd season in franchise history. The team finished first in the American League West with a record of 96-66.
The Athletics entered the 1992 season with high hopes. The team, in particular, hoped to see its pitching staff rebound from a dreadful 1991 performance; the Athletics' team earned run average (ERA) had ballooned from 3.18 in 1990 (1st of 14 AL teams) to 4.57 in 1991 (13th of 14 AL teams). The Athletics also hoped to continue their success on offense; in 1991, the team had scored a respectable 760 runs (the fifth-highest total in the AL). The offense, as always, was centered on superstars Mark McGwire, José Canseco, and Rickey Henderson.
The Athletics' hopes were largely answered. The team's pitching staff finished the season with an ERA of 3.73; this was the fourth-best average in the American League. Starter Dave Stewart, after an abysmal 1991 campaign, lowered his ERA to a respectable 3.66; his resurgence was mirrored by Bob Welch, who returned to near-ace status with a 3.27 ERA. The offense performed similarly well. Mark McGwire, following an awful 1991 campaign (in which he batted just .206 with 22 home runs), posted a .268 average in 1992 (while knocking in 42 homers). Rickey Henderson stole 48 bases, Mike Bordick hit exactly .300, and José Canseco slugged another 22 home runs. Canseco was famously traded to the Texas Rangers, mid-game, on August 31; the Athletics received outfielder Rubén Sierra, reliever Jeff Russell, and starter Bobby Witt. The Athletics again scored the fourth-most runs in the American League in 1992.
The bulk of the Athletics' 1992 accolades, however, went to closer Dennis Eckersley. Eckersley saved an MLB-leading 51 games over the course of the season; in the process, he posted a 7-1 record with a 1.91 ERA. Eckersley's efforts netted him both the 1992 AL Cy Young Award and the 1992 AL MVP Award. Eckersley remains the last reliever (and remained, until 2011, the last pitcher of any kind) to be named MVP in either league.
The Athletics finished the 1992 season six games ahead of the second place (defending champion) Minnesota Twins. The division championship was their fourth in five years. In the ALCS, the A's faced a strong Toronto Blue Jays side. The first three games of the series were decided by two runs or fewer; at the end of the Game 3, Oakland trailed Toronto 2 games to 1. In Game 4, Oakland led the Jays 6-1 after seven innings; a furious Toronto rally, however, resulted in a 7-6 Toronto victory (and a 3-1 Blue Jays series lead). The Athletics never recovered from the collapse, and ultimately succumbed to the favored Jays in six games.
The 1992 season signaled the end of an era in Oakland. The team would miss the postseason in each of the next seven seasons; by the time of the Athletics' next division title (2000), no members of the 1992 team remained in Oakland.1995 Oakland Athletics season
The Oakland Athletics' 1995 season was the team's 28th in Oakland, California. It was also the 95th season in franchise history. The team finished fourth in the American League West with a record of 67-77.
The Athletics, for a third consecutive year, found themselves mired in mediocrity. As had been the case in both 1993 and 1994, an average-to-poor offense (headlined by Mark McGwire, Rickey Henderson, and Rubén Sierra) was sabotaged by one of the league's worst pitching staffs. For a third consecutive season, no Athletics starter posted an earned run average (ERA) of less than 4.50; only one such starter, Todd Stottlemyre, managed to record double-digit wins in the strike-shortened campaign.
The Athletics, despite their weak pitching, managed to contend in the first half of the season. On July 1, a win over the division-leading California Angels brought them within 1.5 games of first place; it also ran their record to a surprising 34-28. As had been the case in 1994, the A's followed their surprising start with a prolonged slump; between July 2 and August 15, the team went only 13-28. The collapse, along with an Angels surge (the Angels went 30-11 over the same span) left the A's 17.5 games out of first place. As had also been the case in 1994, Oakland mounted a dramatic comeback; an Angels collapse, combined with a surge of their own, allowed them to pull within five games of first place on September 20. The September 20th victory would be their last, as Oakland lost each of the regular season's final nine games. They finished the campaign eleven games behind the AL West champion Seattle Mariners.
The Athletics' on-field mediocrity, however, contained a few bright spots. Mark McGwire clubbed 39 home runs in a mere 104 games; he would hit at least 50 in each of the four subsequent seasons. The 1995 season also saw the debut of future superstar Jason Giambi. Giambi, in his first major league season, batted .256 with six home runs in 54 games. Lastly, the season was Tony La Russa's last as Oakland's manager. He, along with most of the Athletics' assistant coaches, would join the St. Louis Cardinals in 1996.1997 Oakland Athletics season
The Oakland Athletics' 1997 season was the team's 30th in Oakland, California. It was also the 97th season in franchise history. The team finished fourth in the American League West with a record of 65-97.
The Athletics, coming off a surprising (if still mediocre) 78-84 campaign, hoped to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1992. With this in mind, the team traded for slugger Jose Canseco. Canseco, who had played for the Athletics from 1985 to 1992, was reunited with fellow superstar (and fellow "Bash Brother") Mark McGwire. In addition to McGwire and Canseco, Oakland's impressive collection of power hitters included Jason Giambi, Gerónimo Berroa, and Matt Stairs.
Little was done, however, to shore up the Athletics' abysmal 1996 pitching staff. Ariel Prieto, owner of a 4.41 career ERA (Earned Run Average), was named the Opening Day starter; a succession of poorly regarded players filled out the rest of the starting rotation and bullpen. While optimism remained high for the team's offense, great concern remained for its pitching staff.
In the end, Oakland's offense and pitching both fared terribly. For the second consecutive year, no Athletics pitcher won ten or more games; even worse, no starter won more than six. None of the team's top four starters (Ariel Prieto, Steve Karsay, Mike Oquist, and Dave Telgheder) finished the season with an ERA of less than 5.00; the Athletics, as a team, finished with an earned run average of 5.48 (easily the MLB's worst). All told, the A's allowed a season total of 946 runs. This remains the worst such figure in Oakland history.
More puzzling was the fate of the offense. Oakland, as expected, remained one of the league's best power-hitting teams. The Athletics' sluggers hit a total of 197 home runs (third-most in the American League). Oakland's home runs failed to generate much offense, however, as a low team batting average negated most of the team's other advantages. Oakland scored a total of 764 runs in 1997 (the 11th highest total in the American League).
These awful performances quickly removed the A's from contention. On May 31, they were already nine games out of first place; their position steadily worsened throughout the summer. In light of this, General Manager Sandy Alderson traded Mark McGwire (who, at the time, was on pace to break Roger Maris' single-season home run record) to the St. Louis Cardinals for T.J. Matthews, Blake Stein, and Eric Ludwick. McGwire would finish the season with 58 home runs (four shy of breaking the record). The trade was a disaster on the Athletics' end, as none of the three players received in the trade remained on the team by 2000. The A's ultimately finished twenty-five games behind the first-place Seattle Mariners. Their 65-97 finish (the club's worst since 1979) led to the removal of Sandy Alderson as General Manager on October 17; he was replaced by Billy Beane. Manager Art Howe, however, was retained for the 1998 season.
The 1997 season would ultimately prove to be the Athletics' nadir. The continued rise of Jason Giambi, the debuts of Ben Grieve and Miguel Tejada, the acquisition of Tim Hudson in the 1997 MLB draft, and the ascension of Billy Beane to the position of general manager paved the way for a lengthy period of success from 1999 onwards.1998 Major League Baseball home run record chase
The 1998 Major League Baseball home run chase in Major League Baseball was the race between first baseman Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals and right fielder Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs that resulted in both players breaking Roger Maris's long-standing and highly coveted record of 61 home runs. McGwire broke Maris's record on September 8 against the Cubs and finished with 70 home runs. Sosa finished with 66.
Several players had come close to breaking Maris's record in the years before 1998. Before the 1994 season was cut short by a labor dispute, Matt Williams of the San Francisco Giants and Ken Griffey, Jr. of the Seattle Mariners were both on a pace which threatened Maris's record: they hit 43 and 40 home runs respectively in a season which was shortened by approximately 50 of the scheduled 162 games.
In 1995, Albert Belle became the first player since Cecil Fielder in 1990 to hit 50 home runs in a season. Belle was only the 4th player in the previous three decades to reach the 50 home run- milestone (George Foster hit 52 in 1977, following Willie Mays in 1965).
In 1996, Brady Anderson of the Baltimore Orioles hit 50 home runs, twice the number he hit during any other season. Of more note was Mark McGwire of the Oakland Athletics, who first drew attention by hitting a league-leading 52 home runs that season while only playing in 130 games. The 1997 home run chase featured McGwire against Ken Griffey, Jr. of the Seattle Mariners. It was during that season that full-fledged interest over the record kicked in as both players were on record pace well into the summer. McGwire finished with 58 home runs following his mid-season trade to the St. Louis Cardinals, besting Griffey's total of 56.1998 Major League Baseball season
The 1998 Major League Baseball season ended with the New York Yankees sweeping the San Diego Padres in the World Series, after they had won a then AL record 114 regular season games. The Yankees finished with 125 wins for the season (regular season and playoffs combined), which remains the MLB record.
The 1998 season was also marked by an expansion to 30 teams (16 in the NL, 14 in the AL), with two new teams–the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the American League–added to the MLB. To keep the leagues with even numbers of teams while allowing both leagues to have a new team, the Milwaukee Brewers were moved from the American League Central Division to the National League Central Division. The Detroit Tigers were shifted from the American League East to the American League Central, while the Devil Rays were added to the American League East. The Diamondbacks were added to the National League West, making the NL have more teams than the AL for the first time.
The biggest story of the season was the historic chase of the single-season home run record held at the time by Roger Maris. Initially, the St. Louis Cardinals' Mark McGwire and Ken Griffey, Jr. of the Seattle Mariners started the season on a pace to both break Maris' record. In June, the chase was joined by the Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa, who broke the decades-old record of Rudy York for most home runs in a calendar month with 20 that month. Eventually, Griffey fell off the record pace, but still ended with 56 homers. Both McGwire and Sosa broke the record in September, with McGwire ultimately finishing with 70 homers to Sosa's 66. McGwire's record would last only three years, with Barry Bonds hitting 73 in 2001. The 1998 season was also the first in MLB history with four players hitting 50 or more homers, with Greg Vaughn of the San Diego Padres hitting 50. In a postscript to the record chase, both McGwire and Sosa have since been widely accused of having used performance-enhancing drugs during that period, and McGwire would admit in 2010 that he had used steroids during the record-setting season.The defending World Series champions Florida Marlins finished last in the NL East Division at 54-108, making it the first, and only, time that a team went from winning the World Series one year to finishing with 100 or more losses and last in their division the following year.1998 St. Louis Cardinals season
The St. Louis Cardinals 1998 season was the team's 117th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 107th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 83-79 during the season and finished 3rd in the National League Central division, 18 games behind the Houston Astros. First baseman Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris' single-season home run record this season by hitting 70 home runs, battling with the Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa, who finished runner-up in the National League with 66.50 home run club
In Major League Baseball (MLB), the 50 home run club is the group of batters who have hit 50 or more home runs in a single season. Babe Ruth was the first to achieve this, doing so in 1920. By reaching the milestone, he also became the first player to hit 30 and then 40 home runs in a single-season, breaking his own record of 29 from the 1919 season. Ruth subsequently became the first player to reach the 50 home run club on four occasions, repeating the achievement in 1921, 1927 and 1928. He remained the only player to accomplish this until Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa matched his feat in 1999 and 2001, respectively, thus becoming the only players to achieve four consecutive 50 home run seasons. Barry Bonds hit the most home runs to join the club, collecting 73 in 2001. The most recent players to reach the milestone are Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, achieving the feat during the 2017 season.In total, 29 players have reached the 50 home run club in MLB history and nine have done so more than once. Of these, seventeen were right-handed batters, eleven were left-handed, and one was a switch hitter, meaning he could bat from either side of the plate. Four of these players (including two active members of the 50 home run club) have played for only one major league team. The New York Yankees are the only franchise to have five players reach the milestone while on their roster: Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Alex Rodriguez, and Judge. Ten players are also members of the 500 home run club and two of them (Willie Mays and Rodriguez) are also members of the 3,000 hit club. Ten players won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award in the same year as their 50 home run season. Mantle is the only player to have earned the Major League Triple Crown alongside achieving 50 home runs, leading both leagues in batting average, home runs and runs batted in (RBI). Mantle and Maris—collectively known as the M&M Boys—are the only teammates to reach the 50 home run club in the same season, hitting a combined 115 home runs in 1961 and breaking the single-season record for home runs by a pair of teammates. Albert Belle is the only player to amass 50 or more doubles in addition to attaining 50 home runs. Prince Fielder, at 23 years and 139 days, was the youngest player to reach the milestone while Bonds, at age 37, was the oldest.Due to the infrequent addition of members into the 50 home run club, Baseball Digest called it "a restrictive fraternity comprising slugging elite" in 1954, when there were only six members. Of the seventeen members eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame, eight have been elected and three were elected on the first ballot. Eligibility requires that a player has "been retired five seasons" or deceased for at least six months, disqualifying four active players and five players who have been retired for less than five seasons. Some believe the milestone has become less important with the large number of new members; fifteen players joined the club on a total of 24 occasions from 1995 to 2010. Additionally, several of these recent members have had ties to performance-enhancing drugs.At bats per home run
In baseball statistics, at bats per home run (AB/HR) is a way to measure how frequently a batter hits a home run. It is determined by dividing the number of at bats by the number of home runs hit. Mark McGwire possesses the MLB record for this statistic with a career ratio of 10.61 at bats per home run and Babe Ruth is second, with 11.76 at bats per home run. Kyle Schwarber has the best current career ratio with 13.82 at bats per home run. Giancarlo Stanton, with 14.33 at bats per home run, was the previous leader among active players.Bash Brothers
The Bash Brothers are a duo of former baseball players consisting of Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. Both prolific home run hitters, the two were teammates in Major League Baseball (MLB) for seven seasons with the Oakland Athletics, helping the team win a World Series title in 1989.
The two began celebrating homers by bashing each other's forearms, which spawned a marketing campaign that was a takeoff on The Blues Brothers. After retiring from playing, Canseco and McGwire both admitted to using anabolic steroids during their careers.Brother's Little Helper
"Brother's Little Helper" is the second episode of The Simpsons' eleventh season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 3, 1999. In the episode, Bart floods the school gymnasium and the schoolyard, which prompts the school's principal Seymour Skinner to diagnose Bart with ADHD. Bart is prescribed a psychostimulant drug called Focusyn (a parody of Ritalin), and initially starts paying more attention to his studies. After a while however, Bart starts turning psychotic and is convinced that Major League Baseball is watching over the people of Springfield.
The episode was directed by director Mark Kirkland and was the first episode staff writer George Meyer received a sole writing credit for since the season 5 episode "Bart's Inner Child". Meyer, who was facing some psychological difficulties while writing the episode, felt so dissatisfied with the episode's first draft that he turned it in with a pseudonym. The episode satirizes the perceived misdiagnosis of behavioral disorders in children, which was a controversial topic at the time the episode was written. The episode's title is a parody of The Rolling Stones song "Mother's Little Helper", which was also written on the topic of psychological medication.
The episode features former Major League Baseball player Mark McGwire as himself. Finishing in 51st place, ratings for "Brother's Little Helper" were considered disappointing by Deseret News, although the episode became the most watched program on the network that night. Following its broadcast, the episode was positively received by critics. In response to the episode, five months after the episode originally aired, United States president Bill Clinton held the first ever White House conference on Mental Health.List of Major League Baseball annual home run leaders
In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit so far that the batter is able to circle all the bases ending at home plate, scoring himself plus any runners already on base, with no errors by the defensive team on the play. An automatic home run is achieved by hitting the ball on the fly over the outfield fence in fair territory. More rarely, an inside-the-park home run occurs when the hitter reaches home plate while the baseball remains in play on the field. In Major League Baseball (MLB), a player in each league wins the home run title each season by hitting the most home runs that year. Only home runs hit in a particular league count towards that league's seasonal lead. Mark McGwire, for example, hit 58 home runs in 1997, more than any other player that year. However, McGwire was traded from the American League's (AL) Oakland Athletics to the National League's (NL) St. Louis Cardinals midway through the season and his individual AL and NL home run totals (34 and 24, respectively) did not qualify to lead either league.The first home run champion in the National League was George Hall. In the league's inaugural 1876 season, Hall hit five home runs for the short-lived National League Philadelphia Athletics. In 1901, the American League was established and Hall of Fame second baseman Nap Lajoie led it with 14 home runs for the American League Philadelphia Athletics. Over the course of his 22-season career, Babe Ruth led the American League in home runs 12 times. Mike Schmidt and Ralph Kiner have the second and third most home run titles respectively, Schmidt with eight and Kiner with seven, all won in the National League. Kiner's seven consecutive titles from 1946 to 1952 are also the most consecutive home run titles by any player.
Ruth set the Major League Baseball single-season home run record four times, first at 29 (1919), then 54 (1920), 59 (1921), and finally 60 (1927). Ruth's 1920 and 1921 seasons are tied for the widest margin of victory for a home run champion as he topped the next highest total by 35 home runs in each season. The single season mark of 60 stood for 34 years until Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961. Maris' mark was broken 37 years later by both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa during the 1998 home run record chase, with McGwire ultimately setting the mark at 70. Barry Bonds, who also has the most career home runs, set the current single season record of 73 in 2001. The 1998 and 2001 seasons each had 4 players hit 50 or more home runs – Greg Vaughn, Ken Griffey, Jr., Sosa, and McGwire in 1998 and Alex Rodriguez, Luis Gonzalez, Sosa, and Bonds in 2001. A player has hit 50 or more home runs 42 times, 25 times since 1990. The lowest home run total to lead a major league was four, recorded in the NL by Lip Pike in 1877 and Paul Hines in 1878.List of St. Louis Cardinals team records
The St. Louis Cardinals, a professional baseball franchise based in St. Louis, Missouri, compete in the National League (NL) of Major League Baseball (MLB). in 1892. Before joining the NL, they were also a charter member of the American Association (AA) from 1882 to 1891. Although St. Louis has been the Cardinals' home city for the franchise's entire existence, they were also known as the Brown Stockings, Browns, and Perfectos.
In 134 seasons, the franchise has won more than 10,000 regular season games and appeared in 27 postseasons while claiming 12 interleague championships, tying one other, and 23 league pennants. 11 of the interleague championships are World Series titles won under the modern format since 1903; the other championship and tie occurred in 1885–1886. 19 of the league pennants are NL pennants, and the other four are AA pennants. Their 11 World Series titles represent the most in the NL and are second in MLB only to the New York Yankees' 27.
Notable players have defined, in part, the Cardinals' success and history. Stan Musial owns the most career batting records with 22. Rogers Hornsby owns the most single-season records with 11. Bob Gibson owns the most career pitching records with 18. Silver King owns the most single-season pitching records with nine.Non-denial denial
A non-denial denial is a statement that, at first hearing, seems a direct, clearcut and unambiguous denial of some alleged accusation, but on carefully parsing turns out not to be a denial at all, and is thus not explicitly untruthful if the allegation is in fact correct. It is a case in which words that are literally true are used to convey a false impression; analysis of whether or when such behavior constitutes lying is a long-standing issue in ethics. London's newspaper The Sunday Times has defined it as "an on-the-record statement, usually made by a politician, repudiating a journalist's story, but in such a way as to leave open the possibility that it is actually true".Oakland Athletics award winners and league leaders
This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the Oakland Athletics professional baseball franchise.
The team was first known as the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901 to 1954 and then as the Kansas City Athletics from 1955 to 1967.Sammy Sosa
Samuel Kelvin Peralta Sosa (born November 12, 1968) is a Dominican American former professional baseball right fielder. Starting his career with the Texas Rangers, Sosa became a member of the Chicago Cubs in 1992 and became one of the game's best hitters. Sosa hit his 400th home run in his 1,354th game and his 5,273rd at-bat, reaching this milestone quicker than any player in National League history. He is one of nine players in MLB history to hit 600 career home runs.In 1998, Sosa and Mark McGwire achieved national fame for their home run-hitting prowess in pursuit of Roger Maris' home run record. Sosa is best known for his time with the Cubs where he became a 7-time All-Star while holding numerous team records. He finished his career with stints with the Baltimore Orioles and the Texas Rangers. With the Rangers, Sosa hit his 600th career home run to become the fifth player in MLB history to reach the milestone.
Sosa is second all-time in home runs among foreign-born MLB players and is one of only three National League players since 1900 to reach 160 RBIs in a season (2001). Sosa is also the only player to have hit 60 or more home runs in a single season three times.
In a 2005 congressional hearing, Sosa--through his attorney--denied having used performance-enhancing drugs during his playing career.Tyco Golf Skills Challenge
The ADT Skills Challenge was an offseason event in golf which tests golfers' abilities in putting, driving distance, and the short game (i.e. bunker shots and chip shots). Baseball superstar Mark McGwire beat out a field of professionals to win in 2003.