(‘Death Magnetic’ is in stores this week)
“I™ve just moved on with my life,” Mark McGwire tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Rick Hummel on the 10th anniversary of the former breaking Roger Maris’ single season HR record. Regardless, the twelve-time All Star consented to being quizzed about his achievements and current standing in the public eye.
McGwire has received less than 25 percent of the vote in his first two years of eligibility. It takes 75 percent of the vote from the Baseball Writers™ Association of America to be inducted. Again, McGwire chose not to speculate why.
“Things have changed over the years on the information highway,” he said. “I™m living my life the way I want to live it. I couldn™t be happier.”
He did say, though, an election to the Hall of Fame “would be like icing on the cake. I tried to work as hard as I could throughout my career. If the Hall of Fame is the last step, that would be great.”
Other than a picture in his office of son Matt and himself around a batting cage in 1998, McGwire said, “I don™t know if I have one piece of any memorabilia from that year. I know what I did with it. I gave everything away. I gave away all my shoes, all my jerseys, all my batting gloves, all my bats ” to all the players and coaches, visiting players, umpires, family members and friends. Even Bobby Knight has some stuff.
“People asked me, ˜Why aren™t you keeping any of this for yourself?™ I said, ˜You know what? I have the memories in my mind and that means more than having something special.™ I wanted everybody on my team, my friends, my opponents to have a piece of this.”
Today, McGwire says, he works out twice a day and still weighs 245 pounds. “I can still hit, if somebody wants me,” he said. “Now, wouldn™t that be a shocker?”
Had Hummel planned to barrage McGwire with a pile of PED questions, I doubt the interview would’ve taken place. But aside from the most obvious “did you or didn’t you?” inquiry, I’m curious what McGwire thinks of Barry Bonds. The Sultan Of Surly also believes he can still hit, and if we’re to believe published accusations, Bonds’ experiments in chemistry were directly motivated by jealousy of McGwire. While McGwire’s challenge to Maris’ record was widely celebrated, Bonds’ assault on the record books occurred while the Giants’ left-fielder was treated like a national pariah.
I suspect McGwire wouldn’t have been any happier to talk about Barry Bonds’ recent past, either, but I wouldn’t mind watching a future sitdown between two of the most prodigious sluggers of the modern era. File it under “(put down the) pipe dream” but a Big Mac/Brooding Barry discussion would make for an awesome episode of “Costas Live”, possibly more so than a 3rd joint appearance of Will Leitch and Buzz Bissinger.