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McGwire for the HoF?
by Chris Wang - Wed Jan 20
  • It's been a long hiatus from FIC, but I had to find a forum for this topic. With Mark McGwire's admission to past steroid abuse, there's been a lot of talk about whether or not he belongs in the Hall of Fame. Yesterday I was reading ESPN Rob Neyer's latest chat and he stated that "I just happen to think that McGwire would have posted HoF numbers even without them." This was my belief for many years now. However, since it was a belief, I went back to look at McGwire's stats and I was utterly shocked at what I saw.

    Before the age of 31 (1986-1994), McGwire hit .250/.362/.507 with 238 homers. In 3 seasons he hit below .236 (89-91) and he essentially lost 2 years (93-94) to injury. These are good numbers but definitely not HoF credentials by any means. Adam Dunn has better numbers at that age in OBP (.383) and SLG (.520) and he had little interest in the free agent market a year ago! Oh and by the way, Dunn has 316 homers and this season he will be 30 years old. The comparison isn't quite fair since Dunn played half his games at a hitter's paradise while McGwire played in a pitcher's park; but it is interesting nonetheless. It is easy to see why many consider Dunn's hitting ability under appreciated.

    Back to the topic. After McGwire came back from his 1994 injury, he was the powerhouse that we generalize him as today. From 1995-2001, he hit .251/.401/.683 with 345 homers. Now those are HoF numbers! McGwire doesn't believe steroids affected his numbers, but the truth is in the numbers. In his final year in the majors at age 37, he hit .187/.316/.492. His OPS was .808 which was actually comparable to his seasons when he was in his mid-twenties?!?!?

    I'm going to try and roughly estimate what McGwire would have done if he didn't use performance enhancing drugs. If we suspect his '95-'01 stats were drastically helped by steroids; it makes me wonder if he would have put up HoF numbers. If we assumed that his pre-1995 version was more his baseline and if we assume he slugged .507 throughout his career, he would only have hit around 440 homers (assuming he got the same number of at-bats). After doing this analysis, I question if he belongs in the HoF and after looking at numbers I have to say NO (which is a surprise to me too). Without steroids, I suspect that McGwire would have fallen well short of the old magic number of 500 homers. I'll always remember the summer of 1998 but that doesn't mean he belongs in the hall. What do you think? Take a look at the numbers.

    Mark McGwire
    Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
    1986 22 OAK AL 18 58 53 10 10 1 3 9 0 4 18 0.189 0.259 0.377 0.636
    1987 23 OAK AL 151 641 557 97 161 28 49 118 1 71 131 0.289 0.37 0.618 0.987
    1988 24 OAK AL 155 635 550 87 143 22 32 99 0 76 117 0.26 0.352 0.478 0.83
    1989 25 OAK AL 143 587 490 74 113 17 33 95 1 83 94 0.231 0.339 0.467 0.806
    1990 26 OAK AL 156 650 523 87 123 16 39 108 2 110 116 0.235 0.37 0.489 0.859
    1991 27 OAK AL 154 585 483 62 97 22 22 75 2 93 116 0.201 0.33 0.383 0.714
    1992 28 OAK AL 139 571 467 87 125 22 42 104 0 90 105 0.268 0.385 0.585 0.97
    1993 29 OAK AL 27 107 84 16 28 6 9 24 0 21 19 0.333 0.467 0.726 1.193
    1994 30 OAK AL 47 172 135 26 34 3 9 25 0 37 40 0.252 0.413 0.474 0.887
    total '86-'94 990 4006 3342 546 834 137 238 657 6 585 756 0.250 0.362 0.507 0.869
    1995 31 OAK AL 104 422 317 75 87 13 39 90 1 88 77 0.274 0.441 0.685 1.125
    1996 32 OAK AL 130 548 423 104 132 21 52 113 0 116 112 0.312 0.467 0.73 1.198
    1997 33 TOT MLB 156 657 540 86 148 27 58 123 3 101 159 0.274 0.393 0.646 1.039
    1998 34 STL NL 155 681 509 130 152 21 70 147 1 162 155 0.299 0.47 0.752 1.222
    1999 35 STL NL 153 661 521 118 145 21 65 147 0 133 141 0.278 0.424 0.697 1.12
    2000 36 STL NL 89 321 236 60 72 8 32 73 1 76 78 0.305 0.483 0.746 1.229
    2001 37 STL NL 97 364 299 48 56 4 29 64 0 56 118 0.187 0.316 0.492 0.808
    totals '95-01 884 3654 2845 621 792 115 345 757 6 732 840 0.278 0.426 0.683 1.109 actual
    884 3654 2845 621 715 115 203 757 6 732 840 0.251 0.405 0.507 0.911 adjusted


    Posted by Chris Wang: Jan 20, 10 at 10:15 AM


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    Comments
    1
    hessshaun on 01/20/2010 07:08 pm
    Well, I really appreciate the point of view because it is one that I had not read up until this point in time. I remember the injuries and I knew he missed time because of them. I was younger and had not paid attention to what he was doing like I would today, plus the information was not in my face on a nightly basis like it is now.

    I mean, I think I read some place that there are three players in the steroid era that have hit 500 HRs and not appeared on any list.

    Thome
    Griffey
    Thomas

    Considering how many names are missing from this list that had 500 HRs, I pretty much have to make a decision in my own head. The first question, for me at least; Are those three clean? Should I give them the benefit of the doubt?

    I digress, although I could talk about this for days. Anyhow, one of the reasons steroids are popular among the community that uses is them is because it affords the user the ability to recover more quickly, in some cases, almost within the same day. I read something to the effect that steroids will allow someone to lift three to four times someone the same size, in terms of quantity.

    So in terms of him taking them to stay healthy, I buy that. Given his past track record, I would say that he greatly benefited from a health standpoint. Let's face it, the season is a marathon and you get dinged up. The man is huge, always was, but warning track power is real when you have muscle issues from the daily abuse your body takes. With steroids, he definitely gained an advantage, otherwise, why the hell would he take them? I am not anti steroids, but I really don't understand the people making the argument for him that they did nothing for him. You don't do illegal things just because. There is always a reason for your actions, especially something as voluntary as steroids.

    So when we get back to the list of the three henchman, that always makes me wonder what the pitching ranks were like. We all know about Roger and his Texas Jesus buddy Pettite, but really how many guys were juicing in the pitching ranks? Does Gagne have his insane year without them? More importantly, did half the pitchers that McGwire faced take steroids as well?

    Sadly, none of these questions will ever be answered in our lifetime. At this point in time, MLB is using 1970 probation officer testing levels in terms of their urine collection. If we had blood samples from that period, and moving forward, we would be better positioned to end this era. At this point in time, unfortunately we are still in the thick of the mess. I am going to love the game regardless, but I abhor the news when people act surprised, shocked, reviled, or disgusted about the allegations. It parallels a "sky is blue" newsflash.

    In terms of the HOF, which is already a horribly flawed process, I am torn. I am half way torn because he didn't have the balls to admit it until last week and only did so because he wants to make a living off of the game he cheated. I think he should have resolved this before he got the job. Am I nuts for thinking this?

    Do I think all the guys in the era roided? I would bet that 90% did, but again, we will never know so it's not fair to have an asterisk for the era. If Randy Johnson or John Smoltz didn't use anything, I really don't think they should be coupled with Clemens or Bonds. I don't think that the distinction does anything for anyone.

    I really hate the baseball police, but I am going to say no. 500 isn't what it used to be and he is a big reason why. Had he played in another era, he might have been deemed below replacement level before the mid 90s. Nice find.
    2
    DREW39K on 01/21/2010 11:02 am
    I, If I had a vote, would be in the no category.

    I dont have a huge drawn out argument as to why. Just rule of thumb:

    Cheaters shouldn't be rewarded for cheating.

    Thats great that pitchers might have been juicing as well but that doesn't make it right for either party. Mark McGwire is is actually a pretty easy one to vote down.

    Its Bonds that draws the toughest vote. He was on his way to a HOF career before he ballooned. Even if you take away half his homers he still has a HoF case.
    3
    mjsully10 on 01/22/2010 12:07 am
    DREW39K wrote:
    Mark Macguire



    4
    DREW39K on 01/22/2010 06:26 am
    mjsully10 wrote:
    DREW39K wrote:
    Mark Macguire





    I spelled it wrong didnt I.....

    Stupid Big Mac ads all those years...

    And Jerry. There was nothing that could be done. He had me at hello when he SHOWed ME THE MONEY!
    5
    (unregistered) on 09/28/2011 11:48 am
    Mark and Sammy saved baseball from itself after the strike. I know I wasn't going to games after the strike.
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