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La Russa back, McGwire next?

Oct 25, 2009, 4:50 PM EDT

Updating a previous item, according to Buster Olney of, Tony La Russa has agreed to a new multi-year contract to manage the Cardinals.

This isn’t a tremendous surprise, but the possible newest addition to
his staff may raise a few eyebrows around the sport. According to
Olney, the Cardinals have fired hitting coach Hal McRae and the leading
candidate to replace him is former Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire.

McGwire has maintained a close relationship with La Russa over the years, but has been in baseball exile since appearing before a congressional hearing in 2005. McGwire hit 220 home runs in four and a half seasons with the Cardinals.

Unless McGwire finally addresses his alleged performance-enhancing drug
use, his presence could be an unnecessary distraction for a team that
is reeling from an early exit in the playoffs.

(5:40 pm ET) Update: Pat Lackey of AOL Fanhouse reports that the Cardinals have hired McGwire to replace McRae.

  1. Old Gator - Oct 25, 2009 at 5:52 PM

    And why pray tell should McGwire “address his alleged steroid use” agin? Let’s face it, no one wants to hear another self-flagellating confession, with the possible exception of the press corps, and no one is going to be “distracted” by McGwire’s presence either – except, of course, the press corps, who feel it is (somehow) their entitlement to sit in judgment like the Seven Annunaki of Mesopotamian myth, and their duty to deliver to the public yet another round of information about which it could no longer care less.
    Go through the checkout line in any supermarket, look at the nauseating headlines, half-truths and outright fabrications splattered all over their covers, and tell me which profession has disgraced itself more completely – journalism or baseball.
    A proposed solution: since the main hall is getting crowded with plaques up in Cooperstown, why not put up a quonset hall of the steroid era and induct everyone who put up the big stats during those fifteen years or so into that building. That way, all of the inductees’ accomplishments will be fairly measured against the accomplishments of their contemporaries.
    And leave McGwire alone to teach the Cardinals how to hit.

  2. TestOO7 - Oct 25, 2009 at 7:34 PM

    “And why pray tell should McGwire “address his alleged steroid use” agin?”
    Because he didn’t address it before? Saying I’m not talking about the past isn’t addressing it. Give the people answers and the press moves on. Ask Andy Pettitte or Giambi.

  3. John Turner - Oct 25, 2009 at 7:41 PM

    This is why I get so pissed off at people that say stuff like you just did. Mark McGwire should be banned from baseball and all his records deleted same for Barry Bonds. Their not baseball players they are cheaters and should say out of Cooperstown for ever and if you can’t see that than I would like you to talk to Hank Aaron or Willie Mays and look them in their eyes and say to them it’s Okay that McGwire and Bonds be inducted into Cooperstown even though they cheated. Are you that BLIND.

  4. B Simpson - Oct 25, 2009 at 8:15 PM

    Alleged steroid abuse aside, McGwire had a lifetime .263 BA and struck out 1600 times in 1800 games. He was a SLUGGER, not a HITTER. there is a big difference.

  5. B Simpson - Oct 25, 2009 at 8:17 PM

    Not to mention the fact that his PR skills SUCK. PLEASE T LaR, don’t bring this clown back to St. Louis.

  6. KrisT - Oct 25, 2009 at 9:22 PM

    There are still baseball players using steroids today. Manny, A-Rod, David Ortiz? Funny, but I don’t hear anybody saying that these guys should be banned from baseball…why is that?
    Leave McGwire alone. He brought interest back to a sport that sorely needed it. He’d be a good hitting coach and has actually operated as a hitting coach starting last spring, so this is old news.
    He probably won’t get to the Hall of Fame, but neither should anyone else who used steroids, reds, amphetamines, etc. Oops, too late!

  7. RODNEYQ - Oct 25, 2009 at 9:58 PM

    Kris t. you are so right how a-rod, manny. they are CHEATERS and still getting to play. i don’t get it, whats wrong with baseball? this is whats wrong. you admit to Cheating, and still get to play. poster boy a-rod wont get anything out of this.

  8. The Skunk - Oct 25, 2009 at 10:43 PM

    Seriously? Does the average American even care about this? Speaking for myself, I could care less what Big Mac did. Some people said he cheated, yet there is no proof. Did he cheat? Probably, but who cares already! It’s just baseball, this effects our lives 0%. Some people think this is bad for our kids… Well it’s up to us to teach our children, not Big Mac… let the man live. If he did these things he will have to suffer the physical effects, and that itself is punishment enough.
    I wish you luck Big Mac… Your fellow Damien Alumn!
    -The Skunk!

  9. rich - Oct 25, 2009 at 10:52 PM

    Throughout the history of the game, many have tried to gain the advantage……
    1.Barry Bonds – accused of steroid use and HGH
    2.Babe Ruth – drank alcohol before games
    3.1951 New York Giants – sign-stealing system in place at the Polo Grounds
    4.Gaylord Perry – loaded the baseball with Vaseline
    5.Albert Belle – used corked bates
    6.Sammy Sosa – used corked bats
    7.John McGraw – used to grab baserunners belts, trip feet, and spike players as they rounded third
    8.Joe Niekro – used an emory board and sandpaper on his finger to throw nasty sliders and knuckleballs
    9.Whitey Ford – doctored balls, sliced cuts into balls, and threw a “gunk” ball made of mud, baby oil, turpentine, and resin
    10.The Bossard Family (groundskeepers, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, 1920s-present) – kept fields wet for sinker-ball pitchers and muddy bases for speedy base-stealers
    11.Norm Cash – used a corked bat for an entire season (BA – .361, HRs – 41, RBIs – 132)
    12.Graig Nettles – used the “superball” bat
    13.Amos Otis – used a corked / “superball” bat
    14.George Brett – the infamous “too much pine tar on his bat” incident
    15.Preacher Roe – his book title says all “he Outlawed Spitball Was My Money Pitch.”
    16.Rick Honeycutt – used a tack to cut slices in the ball while pitching – actually scratched his face with the tack once almost poking his eye out
    17.Don Sutton – accused of scuffing with hidden sandpaper – Once, he left a note inside his glove for the men in black. It said, “You’re getting warm, but it’s not here.”
    18.Kevin Gross – used sandpaper when pitching
    19.Billy Hatcher – corked bat
    20.Wilton Guerrero – corked bat
    21.Brian Moehler – sandpaper thumb
    22.Lew Burdette – accused of throwing a “spitball”
    23.Nels Potter – accused of throwing a “spitball”
    24.Maury Wills – a manager who, on April 25, 1981, told the Kingdome groundskeepers to enlarge the batter’s box by a foot
    25.Pete Rose Bet on the games
    26.The Rocket-Roger Clemens, may have used Steroids.
    27.The Chicago Black Sox.
    So Mark McGuire , “A Rod”, and Mr Viagra along with a host of notable MLB players are on a short list of Steroid users….another colorful and checkered page in the MLB history books is written…. it’s time to forgive,forgetand move on…..
    Lister: ListAfterList Wiki Contributors

  10. Cru11 - Oct 25, 2009 at 11:03 PM

    How is drinking alcohol prior to a a game an advantage? The man was just a raging alcoholic.

  11. The Jerry - Oct 25, 2009 at 11:05 PM

    This may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. First, the pitchers were using drugs too. So how can you say hitters had an unfair advantage? Second, on the whole cheating thing . . . there have been inequities in baseball for a long time. In the 1960s and the 1970s, ball players used speed. (That’s “cheating,” BTW.) And what about the lack of integration in the sport prior to 1945? Shall we strike all of the records that were set when so many were denied equal protection of the laws?
    Baseball players are entertainers. They are not role models. Professional athletes’ primary motivation for playing is not the love of the game or to fulfill some Platonic ideal. It is to put food on the table. And while I enjoy watching my Yankees, I am under no illusions that these athletes are playing because I’m (indirectly) paying them to.
    Oh, and I’m sure that Willie Mays would have no problem if Barry Bonds, his godson, was elected into Cooperstown.

  12. JB - Oct 25, 2009 at 11:44 PM

    I love how McGwire has never been proven guilty of anything at all yet, but he’s constantly condemned as guilty. PLUS he was a heck of a home run hitter prior to steroids… and steroids don’t make you hit the ball well enough for a home run – just adds some strength when you do connect. In his case he was hitting home runs anyway – he’s talking the difference between 390ft. shots and 460ft. shots. McGwire is a heck of a hitter – and in case anyone forgot, the 1994 strike had everyone so ticked at baseball nobody cared anymore. Along comes McGwire vs. Sosa and everyone is watching again. Steroids or not he saved baseball, AND has real hitting talent… so everyone should just back off.

  13. Threadkiller - Oct 26, 2009 at 12:16 AM

    Cal Ripken “saved” baseball after the 1994/95 strike.

  14. Jonathan - Oct 26, 2009 at 12:51 AM

    Let’s set aside Rich’s list, good work by the way, and just deal with McGwire for a second. Although I agree with Cru11 no.2 is not really an advantage, unless maybe you ask David Wells.
    My opinion is that his “non-answer” in front of Congress was definitely an admission of guilt. But without any kind of proof or full confession of years he used HGH or steroids or whatever, it is impossible to tell what to do about his stats. Did he use them during 1987 when he hit 49 HR’s as a rookie?!? The visual evidence of his slender build would suggest “no”. So where do you start the stat docking?
    Should he be able to have a position as a coach? I say yes. Should the Cards consider him? Yes. Should they have actually hired him? Probably not, I mean a .263 lifetime batting avg?!?! I’m sure they could find a better coach (W. McGee, O. Smith, R. Henderson).

  15. Ken - Oct 26, 2009 at 8:49 AM

    I love what JB said. Steroids don’t enable you to hit HR folks. McGwire is a SUPERB hitter and always has been, roids or not. Another thing is, McGwire was just trying to get every edge he could, just like every other player was doing, and MLB never really set there foot down on roid use anyway. I’m sick and tired of hearing about how bad McGwire was when he was doing the same thing every other player was doing. Most of those guys, even if they’re not taking steroids, are taking 50 other supplements and special vitamins, power enhancers, etc. Steroids don’t make a great ball player by themselves. Sure, I wish he would just come clean and spill the beans like everyone else, but I have total respect for Mark McGwire as a player. He’s one of the best ever to play the game and I think it’s awesome they’ll have him as a hitting coach.

  16. Gary Skeezer - Oct 26, 2009 at 9:29 AM

    I don’t feel we should condemn players who used steroids before they were banned from the game.

  17. Tom Adams - Oct 26, 2009 at 9:32 AM

    Some of these self righteous journalists who perpetuate irrelevant issues from the past, need to have their backgrounds reviewed and pulled out in public for all to see. I wonder if they are the squeaky clean puritans they like to project in their malignment of others.

  18. ohmygosh - Oct 26, 2009 at 9:47 AM

    La Russa invented BASEBALL, he should LIVE as long as BASEBALL is played. His face LQQKS like he bad plastic surgery.

  19. willmose - Oct 26, 2009 at 10:03 AM

    BYW, ‘roids were not the cause of all the home runs of the era, dry balls were. Since the humidity of the balls is controlled and increased the number of home runs has dropped dramatically. Denver has gone from the most home run friendly park in creation to a pitcher’s ball park! Steroids don’t enhance performance, steroids make you bigger and stronger. If making you bigger and stronger made you a great baseball player Shaq would be in the hall of fame by now.

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