Now that I have become the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, I have the chance to do something that I wish I was able to do five years ago.
I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come. It's time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected. I used steroids during my playing career and I apologize. I remember trying steroids very briefly in the 1989/1990 off season and then after I was injured in 1993, I used steroids again. I used them on occasion throughout the '90s, including during the 1998 season.
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.
During the mid-'90s, I went on the DL seven times and missed 228 games over five years. I experienced a lot of injuries, including a ribcage strain, a torn left heel muscle, a stress fracture of the left heel, and a torn right heel muscle. It was definitely a miserable bunch of years and I told myself that steroids could help me recover faster. I thought they would help me heal and prevent injuries, too.
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.
Baseball is really different now -- it's been cleaned up. The commissioner and the players' association implemented testing and they cracked down, and I'm glad they did.
I'm grateful to the Cardinals for bringing me back to baseball. I want to say thank you to Cardinals owner Mr. DeWitt, to my GM, John Mozeliak, and to my manager, Tony La Russa. I can't wait to put the uniform on again and to be back on the field in front of the great fans in Saint Louis. I've always appreciated their support and I intend to earn it again, this time as hitting coach. I'm going to pour myself into this job and do everything I can to help the Cardinals hitters become the best players for years to come.
After all this time, I want to come clean. I was not in a position to do that five years ago in my congressional testimony, but now I feel an obligation to discuss this and to answer questions about it. I'll do that, and then I just want to help my team."
After so many revelations in recent years (with Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz all admitting this past season that they too, indulged in such PED's), most sports fans are beyond being surprised anymore, or perhaps even upset about the revelations.
In his statement, McGwire writes that he had big home run seasons before he touched 'roids, and that's completely believable.
In his rookie season of 1987, the string-bean looking McGwire powered 49 homeruns. But by the next year, he and his fellow Oakland A "bash-brother", Jose Canseco, both had powerful physiques. Canseco was serenaded that fall in Boston during the 1988 Playoffs to the chants of "steroids", but nobody else ever questioned those players until the earlier part of the last decade.
Coming "clean" now may help him not only avoid noisy reporters invading his space when the Cardinals begin spring training games next month, but perhaps might help him with some Hall of Fame voters.
Some question whether McGwire was too one dimensional as a player that he deserves such an honor, but with all of the other players of his era, some will argue that he was one of the best of that era, and that since so many players were on the juice, he shouldn't be discriminated against when it comes to voting for that prestigious designation. The debate will rage on for awhile, and of course, will also be discussed when Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and those above mentioned stars come up for such a vote.