Mark McGwire, the Pomona native who starred for USC before setting the major league record with 70 home runs in the 1998 season, will be sitting in the Dodgers dugout next year. He has been the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals the past three seasons.
The Dodgers must like him enough to overlook the baggage. He admitted using performance-enhacing drugs during his career and his 70 home run season, as well as his rank as the #10 home run hitter ever with 583, are considered tainted. He later contended, controversially, that the drugs didn't help him. He does not get many votes for the Hall of Fame despite impeccable stats, which include ten seasons as an all-star. The Times columnists who do such things have already indicated his drug use will be a factor in their coverage of him.
There's no mention of steroids or any controversy in the Dodgers release, of course. "Mark has been able to translate his success as a big league hitter into his work as hitting coach with the Cardinals,” general manager Ned Colletti said. “He earned the respect of both veterans and young players while in St. Louis and the offensive numbers the Cardinals produced under his tutelage speak for themselves. We’re excited to have him join our coaching staff and anticipate great things from his work with our hitters in 2013 and beyond.”
McGwire replaces Dave Hansen and becomes the Dodgers' seventh hitting coach during the seven years that Colletti has been the GM.
Photo: Walter Iooss/Sports Illustrated