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McGwire admits using steroids
Topic Started: Jan 11 2010, 05:18 PM (610 Views)
Jan 11 2010, 05:18 PM
- Staff Members
- October 12, 2004
NEW YORK(AP)—Mark McGwire finally came clean, admitting he used steroids when he broke baseball’s home run record in 1998.
McGwire said in a statement sent to The Associated Press on Monday that he used steroids on and off for nearly a decade. During a 20-minute telephone interview shortly afterward, his voice repeatedly cracked.
“It’s very emotional, it’s telling family members, friends and coaches, you know, it’s former teammates to try to get ahold of, you know, that I’m coming clean and being honest,” he said. “It’s the first time they’ve ever heard me, you know, talk about this. I hid it from everybody.”
McGwire said he also used human growth hormone, and he didn’t know if his use of performance-enhancing drugs contributed to some of the injuries that led to his retirement, at age 38, in 2001.
“That’s a good question,” he said.
He repeatedly expressed regret for his decision to use steroids, which he said was “foolish” and caused by his desire to overcome injuries, get back on the field and prove he was worth his multimillion salary.
“You don’t know that you’ll ever have to talk about the skeleton in your closet on a national level,” he said. “I did this for health purposes. There’s no way I did this for any type of strength use.”
McGwire hit a then-record 70 homers in 1998 during a compelling race with Sammy Sosa(notes), who finished with 66. More than anything else, the home-run spree revitalized baseball following the crippling strike that wiped out the 1994 World Series.
Now that McGwire has come clean, increased glare might fall on Sosa, who has denied using performing-enhancing drugs.
“I wish I had never played during the steroid era,” McGwire said.
McGwire’s decision to admit using steroids was prompted by his decision to become hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals, his final big league team. Tony La Russa, McGwire’s manager in Oakland and St. Louis, has been among McGwire’s biggest supporters and thinks returning to the field can restore the former slugger’s reputation.
“I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come,” McGwire said. “It’s time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected.”