ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Mark McGwire played just four and a half seasons in St. Louis, that’s all it took for him to fall in love with St. Louis baseball fans. Those same fans honored him Saturday, as he was inducted into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame – an award he earned by fans voting for him.
His name was dropped from the National Baseball Hall of Fame voting ballot after this year’s campaign. His only chance to maker Cooperstown now will be on a veterans committee.
But his plaque will now, forever be in downtown St. Louis.
Here you can listen to the full 30-minute conversation between Mark McGwire and our Mike Claiborne:
He was traded from Oakland to St. Louis in the middle of the 1997 season. He was a struggling hitter at that time, who in his first six games as a Cardinal, hit .091 in 25 plate appearances. Those games were all on the road, then he came to Busch Stadium. He said the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
“And I’m sitting there thinking ‘this doesn’t happen.’ I mean to think about, when you’re in a slump and you think that you’re the only one, in one, there’s no way out, you’re really, really bad. And then all of the sudden you get traded and the slump continues… It was unbelievable.”
McGwire is now a bench coach for the San Diego Padres. But with quotes like this, St. Louis might want to keep him on the payroll.
“And I tell players today, if you ever get a chance to put a Cardinals uniform on, go for it. Because it is going to be the most meaningful time of your playing career.”