A book written by the estranged younger brother of disgraced former baseball hero Mark McGwire says the record-setting slugger took steroids, Web site www.deadspin.com reported on Thursday.
Jay McGwire claimed in the unpublished memoir that he was the reason that McGwire became involved in performance-enhancing drugs.
“Mark is a man I think most would like to forgive because his reason wasn’t nefarious. It was for survival,” Jay McGwire wrote.
Mark McGwire, a retired standout for the St Louis Cardinals and Oakland A’s, hit 70 home runs in the 1998 season to shatter the one-season Major League Baseball record of 61 by Roger Maris in 1961, among the most hallowed US baseball marks.
But the glory of the time turned sour with doping accusations.
While McGwire repeatedly denied taking steroids, his refusal to do so before US lawmakers under oath at a 2005 Congressional hearing on baseball doping left his reputation shattered.
“I’m not here to talk about the past,” McGwire repeated when pressed time and again on whether or not he ever took performance-enhancing drugs. “I’m here to be positive about this subject.”
After that, McGwire has seldom been seen in public and his non-denial that day is considered a reason why he has failed to garner enough support from media voters for a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame despite 583 career homers.
“I thought he received some bad advice from the attorneys on that,” Jay McGwire wrote. “I sat there hoping he would confess. Even though we had had a falling out, I felt for Mark. He took a beating that day.”
“Had he just taken the same route as Jason Giambi or Andy Pettitte, and said he was sorry, nobody would be worried about what he did today. He didn’t. Still, on TV that day I didn’t want to see him mess up,” he said.
Mark McGwire was among those implicated in a book by former teammate Jose Canseco detailing steroid taking in baseball.
Jay McGwire denied Canseco’s claim that Mark McGwire began taking steroids in the 1980s, saying the slugger did so only after he (Jay McGwire) won a 1994 bodybuilding contest in California.
“I would be shocked if Mark did something like what Jose Canseco claimed happened back in the early years,” Jay McGwire wrote. “[Mark] began to use, but in low dosages so he wouldn’t lift his way out of baseball.”
“Deca-Durabolin helped with his joint problems and recovery, while growth hormone helped his strength, making him leaner in the process,” Jay McGwire said.
“I became the first person to inject him, like most first-timers he couldn’t plunge in the needle himself. Later a girlfriend injected him,” he said.
Jay McGwire claims he started his brother on androstenedione, a supplement seen in Mark McGwire’s locker during his 1998 homer record chase with Dominican star Sammy Sosa. McGwire admitted taking that substance.
Barry Bonds, who broke McGwire’s one-season record with 73 homers in 2001, faces trial on perjury charges for denying to a grand jury he took performance-enhancing drugs.