McGwire in the record books

By Paul Williams
November 15, 2001

Mark McGwire retired on Sunday, telling the world that he could no longer physically endure another baseball season. He will retire after coming only 17 home runs away from 600; he would have been only the fourth player to do that in the history of Major League Baseball. In 1998, the world watched as he broke Roger Maris’s home run record with 70 homeruns in a season. Though it was a short-lived record with Barry Bonds breaking the record this year, McGwire will always be known for his battle for the home run record with Sammy Sosa in 1998.

McGwire released a statement that said he contributed to the success of some teams, and his motivation for playing was competing and not for the fortune and fame.

During the past season it looked as though McGwire would retire. He batted with a meager .187 average and only belted in 29 home runs this season. Troubled with an injury to his right knee in the 2000 season, the former single-season home run king said that he is not able to perform at a level equal to what the Cardinals organization would be paying him. McGwire did agree to a $30million,two-year extension to his previous deal in spring training; however he never did sign it.

The Montreal Expos originally drafted him on June 8, 1981, but he did not sign. Drafted on June 4, 1984, by The Oakland A’s, he would help lead the team to success. McGwire began his career with the Oakland Athletics in 1986. He was part of the championship team in 1989, and he has reached the playoffs six times in his career. He was one of the most powerful homerun hitters that baseball has ever seen. His game three winning home run in the World Series of 1998 and a home run off of Randy Johnson that hit the upper deck of the Kingdome showed the immense strength that McGwire could hit the ball with. On July 13, 1997, McGwire was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. There, in 1998, he would break the single-season records for home runs by hitting eight more than Maris.

McGwire will be remembered in the record books even though Bonds has broken McGwire’s most prestigious record. Some of the records that McGwire has attained throughout his years in baseball include: the major league record for most homeruns by a first basemen with 507, most consecutive seasons with 50 or more home runs (1996-1999), and he holds the record for the most consecutive home runs in consecutive seasons with 135.

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Paul Williams

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