January 11, 2010
"Now that I have become the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, I have the chance to do something that I wish I was able to do five years ago.
I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come. It's time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected. I used steroids during my playing career and I apologize. I remember trying steroids very briefly in the 1989/1990 off season and then after I was injured in 1993, I used steroids again. I used them on occasion throughout the nineties, including during the 1998 season.
I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.
During the mid-90s, I went on the DL seven times and missed 228 games over five years. I experienced a lot of injuries, including a rib cage strain, a torn left heel muscle, a stress fracture of the left heel, and a torn right heel muscle. It was definitely a miserable bunch of years and I told myself that steroids could help me recover faster. I thought they would help me heal and prevent injuries too.
I'm sure people will wonder if I could have hit all those home runs had I never taken steroids. I had good years when I didn't take any and I had bad years when I didn't take any. I had good years when I took steroids and I had bad years when I took steroids. But no matter what, I shouldn't have done it and for that I'm truly sorry.
Baseball is really different now - it's been cleaned up. The Commissioner and the Players Association implemented testing and they cracked down, and I'm glad they did.
I'm grateful to the Cardinals for bringing me back to baseball. I want to say thank you to Cardinals owner Mr. DeWitt, to my GM, John Mozeliak, and to my manager, Tony La Russa. I can't wait to put the uniform on again and to be back on the field in front of the great fans in Saint Louis. I've always appreciated their support and I intend to earn it again, this time as hitting coach. I'm going to pour myself into this job and do everything I can to help the Cardinals hitters become the best players for years to come.
After all this time, I want to come clean. I was not in a position to do that five years ago in my Congressional testimony, but now I feel an obligation to discuss this and to answer questions about it. I'll do that, and then I just want to help my team."
Update: Bob Costas will sit down with Mark McGwire Monday night at 7PM ET on MLB Network.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS STATEMENTS REGARDING MARK McGWIRE
January 11, 2010
CARDINALS CHAIRMAN BILL DEWITT, Jr.
"On behalf of the entire Cardinals organization, I believe Mark McGwire today did the right thing by telling the truth and openly acknowledging his past mistakes," said Bill DeWitt, the Cardinals Chairman. "No one condones what Mark did more than 10 years ago, but we hired him as our hitting coach because we know there are many contributions that Mark can and will make to our team and to this game. Because of the efforts of Commissioner Bud Selig, who implemented the toughest drugtesting program in professional sports, the Major League Baseball culture as it relates to use of performance-enhancing substances has vastly improved over the last decade.
I'm glad Mark has gone public and the Cardinals welcome him back as our hitting coach." DeWitt added.
CARDINALS VICE PRESIDENT/G.M. JOHN MOZELIAK
Cardinals Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak added, "Mark is going to make an outstanding hitting coach. He's a smart student of the game and he has a lot of valuable lessons he can teach our ballplayers. I'm glad Mark has gotten this off his chest and he can proudly begin the next chapter of his life. I can't wait to see him back in uniform."
CARDINALS MANAGER TONY La RUSSA
Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa said, "No one on the teams I managed worked harder or better than Mark. And now, his willingness to admit mistakes, express his regret, and explain the circumstances that led him to use steroids add to my respect for him. I've defended Mark because I observed him develop his unique power hitting skill through a rigorous physical and fundamental work out program. He has a lot to offer our team as our hitting coach. We look forward to his being part of the 2010 Cardinals."
In an ESPN phone interview, La Russa said he was not aware of this until this morning.
Commissioner Bud Selig
"I am pleased that Mark McGwire has confronted his use of performance-enhancing substances as a player. Being truthful is always the correct course of action, which is why I had commissioned Senator George Mitchell to conduct his investigation. This statement of contrition, I believe, will make Mark's reentry into the game much smoother and easier.
"While we, along with all sports organizations, continue to battle the use of such drugs and continue the intensive search for a valid test for HGH, I believe our drug testing program is the toughest and most effective in professional sports. Last year in the Major Leagues, we had only two positives for steroids out of 3,722 tests. We have banned and aggressively test for amphetamines, substances which club doctors and professional athletic trainers have told me had presented serious problems for the sport for decades. Our minor league program will begin its 10th year in 2010. We conducted 8,995 tests in the minor leagues last year of which less than eight-tenths of one percent was positive.
"The use of steroids and amphetamines amongst today's players has greatly subsided and is virtually non-existent as our testing results have shown. The so-called "steroid era" – a reference that is resented by the many players who played in that era and never touched the substances – is clearly a thing of the past, and Mark's admission today is another step in the right direction."