On July 31, 1997, Mark “Big Mac” McGwire was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals by the Oakland Athletics.
McGwire was a fan favorite as he competed in a home run showdown with Chicago Cub Sammy Sosa in 1998. Now, the winner does not seem to matter as much, but at the time, fans on both sides of the state line were jumping on the bandwagon of their local favorite.
At the end of his 16 season career, McGuire tallied 583 home runs. He hit 220 in his five years with the Cardinals.
Fast forward to now and you find players are being convicted in steroid court and sentenced accordingly. Suspensions dealt for non-compliance with testing starts at 15 days and $10,000. Suspension limit is a lifetime ban and there is no cap on fines. If a player tests positive once, they get an 80 game suspension. The second time, it is 162 games, or an entire season and post season. The third offence is a lifetime ban from the sport.
As a child I admired Sammy Sosa. Children look up to big name players and some of them have been found using drugs. When players are found doping, a player’s Hall of Fame eligibility is taken into consideration. But, their non-doping counterparts are not getting the media attention they deserve. Sure, players have consumed alcohol during prohibition and taken other illegal drugs, while they should be frowned upon, they were not enhancing their on field performance.
Check out this article about tainted Hall of Famers: Yes, there are already steroids in here, Rob Neyer