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Mark McGwire

Baseball Player

Born: 1 October 1963
Birthplace: Pomona, California
Best known as: The steroid-enhanced slugger who broke the single-season home run record in 1998
St. Louis Cardinal first baseman Mark McGwire was one of the most fearsome power hitters in baseball in the 1990s. McGwire was the first player to break Roger Maris's 1961 record of 61 home runs in a single season; he set the new mark by hitting 70 homers in 1998. (Chicago Cub star Sammy Sosa hit 66 homers the same year.) The next year McGwire became the 17th player to hit 500 home runs or more in a career, joining Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle, among others. McGwire played his first major league game in 1986 and was a star for the Oakland Athletics when they won the 1989 World Series. Injuries and a hitting slump slowed him down in the early 1990s, but by 1995 he was suddenly bigger and stronger and hitting the ball out of the park again. In July of 1997 he was traded to St. Louis, where he became one of baseball's biggest draws. The 1998 back-and-forth home run contest with Sosa captivated the public's attention and McGwire became a celebrity beyond the ballpark. After a season of more injuries, he announced his retirement from professional baseball in November of 2001. In 2005 he was called as a witness in congressional hearings on steroid abuse in major league baseball. McGwire's refusal to answer questions about his own history caused a stir, and he took a beating in the press. In 2010 he admitted in a statement that he had used steroids on and off throughout the 1990s, including during his record-breaking home run year of 1998.
Extra credit: McGwire's single-season record was broken by Barry Bonds, who hit 73 homers during the 2001 season... McGwire batted right-handed and wore #25... McGwire played for the 1984 U.S. Olympic team... He founded the Mark McGwire Foundation for Children, which supports agencies that work with child-abuse victims... McGwire's use of a body-building drug, androstenedione, was much discussed during his record-breaking season; though legal in professional baseball, "andro" was banned by many other professional sports leagues. McGwire later stopped taking the supplement, saying he didn't want others to emulate him... Hank Aaron is the American career home run leader, with 755; Sadaharu Oh had 868 in his career in the Japan League.

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