When it was revealed in October that McGwire had been hired as the St. Louis Cardinals hitting coach, it became inevitable that he would have to address the steroid allegations with the media. It would be his first public statements about performance enhancing drugs since he famously declined "to talk about the past" during the Congressional hearings in 2005.
That day has come and Mark McGwire admitted using steroids during his career including his record setting 1998 season. McGwire issued a statement (below) to the Associated Press, followed by a twenty minute phone interview. Later that evening, McGwire was interviewed by Bob Costas on MLB Network.
McGwire said he used steroids "on occasion throughout the nineties" to recover from injuries, but was adamant that they did not improve his performance.
Some of McGwire’s assertions:
- McGwire first used steroids in 1989 or 1990, and first used them on a "consistent basis" after the 1993 season
- McGwire used steroids during his record-breaking season in 1998, when he hit 70 home runs
- McGwire maintains he only used steroids in "low-dosages" for "health purposes"
- Steroids didn’t provide him any additional strength whatsoever, even incidentally while using them to recover from injuries
- McGwire believes he would have hit exactly as many home runs, had the same career, had he not used PED’s
- McGwire used HGH "once or twice"
- Tony La Russa didn’t know about McGwire’s PED use until the day McGwire issued his statement
McGwire said he called Commissioner Bud Selig, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, and Roger Maris’ widow, Pat Maris, earlier in the day to personally apologize.
Representative Tom Davis told the AP that McGwire admitted using steroids behind closed doors before the congressional hearing in 2005. McGwire tried to secure immunity, but after it was denied McGwire chose not to address "the past."
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 nineties, 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 rib cage 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.
You can view the complete interview (48:55) at MLB.com.
- McGwire apologizes to La Russa, SeligESPN
- FBI knew of McGwire's steroid useESPN
- Davis knew McGwire used PEDsESPN