Cards All-Time Top 40 – Mark McGwire #22

The Top 40 countdown of the greatest St. Louis Cardinals of all time continues with their single-season home run leader, Mark McGwire.

Mark David McGwire

The Basics




Total Yrs

Yrs in StL





First Base









The Awards

Hall of Fame

Retired #

World Champ



Cy Young

Gold Glove








Note: All stats and awards listed are for years as a Cardinal only.
McGwire's career stats available from

Voter Comments

Rob Rains (NR): I was the only one of the four panelists who did not vote for McGwire on this list, and the reason is simple. It's the same reason I did not vote for him on this year's Hall of Fame ballot.

Until McGwire steps forward and talks about the past, even if he doesn't want to, he can stay out there in seclusion all he wants; and we will choose to ignore him.

Jerry Modene (10): His short tenure in St. Louis, his injury-plagued last two seasons, and the (in my opinion) unjustified criticism he's taken since his refusal to answer any questions before that dog-and-pony Congressional Committee notwithstanding, McGwire's time in St. Louis was so historic as to place him in my Top 10.

I remember writing long missives on earlier fan forums (which shall remain nameless) back in 1997, arguing for the pickup of McGwire as a player of historical import to a degree that the Cards had never had before; I was so thankful that we made the deal and even happier when McGwire signed that extension to stay.

And let's not forget the class he showed when he retired when he returned the $14 million he would have made in 2002, which enabled the Cardinals to make the moves that season that kept them on top (not so much Tino Martinez as Jason Isringhausen, and later Scott Rolen and Chuck Finley).

McGwire, of course, used to be a good defensive first baseman but his injuries by the time he came to St. Louis slowed him to the point of mere adequacy; otherwise, he might rate a notch or two higher.

And as for that Congressional Committee, I suppose McGwire should have shaken his finger at the committee and vehemently denied any steroid use, like the then-impressive Rafael Palmiero. Yeah, surrrrre.

Ray Mileur (19): When he stepped up to the plate, I have never seen anyone more focused and intense than Mark McGwire and that includes present company, Albert Pujols. McGwire made it look so easy. When he hit 70 home runs in 1998, he was hitting one home run for every 7.3 at bats. That is almost supernatural.

The night Roger Maris hit 61 home runs and broke Babe Ruth‘s record, Yankee Stadium wasn't even sold out and basically it was just the regular beat reporters covering the game. In contrast, compare that to the media frenzy that McGwire had to endure in 1998 in his pursuit of the record that began on Opening Day when McGwire hit a grand slam. I don't even like one person looking over my shoulder when I'm typing these comments.

In his four years with St. Louis, Big Mac averaged 61 home runs per season, but that overshadows the fact that he was one of the game's best-fielding first baseman. And let me say this, before baseball history is re-written, McGwire and Sammy Sosa perhaps saved the game of baseball in 1998 with that now infamous home run race.

Brian Walton (19): Like Rob does above, I have written time and time again that I hope McGwire would do what is right, which is to come clean, accept the forgiveness he is bound to receive and allow us all to leave this weird purgatory. It's not all his fault, but the mess is enough of his own doing that I cannot give him a complete pass.

But this list is about greatness by a Cardinals player. And there is no doubt that Big Mac was one of the most prolific and feared sluggers of all time. Isn't that enough for him? It is for me.

Voter Comments Key: Voter (Individual Ranking); NR = Not Rated

Master List: To see our entire list of the greatest 40 Cardinals players of all-time as they are unveiled daily, click here.

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