McGwire saddened by brother’s book on steroids
Mark McGwire said he’s saddened his estranged brother wrote a book that chronicles their use of performance-enhancing drugs and reiterated his claim that he only took them to heal from injuries.
McGwire said Thursday he’s so upset with his brother, Jay McGwire, that he doesn’t believe reconciliation is possible.
“I don’t plan on ever seeing him again,” said McGwire, the new hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals.
The youngest of the five McGwire brothers and Mark’s junior by more than six years, Jay McGwire lived with Mark and was a frequent clubhouse visitor during McGwire’s time in Oakland. His book, “Mark and Me: Mark McGwire and the Truth Behind Baseball’s Worst-Kept Secret,” is scheduled for publication Monday by TriumphBooks.
Mark McGwire used the word “sad” seven times to describe the book in his 8-minute question and answer session with the media on Thursday.
“You try to be a good person, you try to take care of somebody, be a good brother,” said McGwire, trailing off. “It’s sort of sad. It’s a sad day for my family. I don’t know how a family member could do something like that.”
Last month, McGwire admitted taking steroids and human growth hormone during the 1990s, but said he only did so to recover from injuries—not to improve his performance.
Jay McGwire says recovering from injuries was the primary reason for his brother’s decision to use drugs but that Mark McGwire also knew the steroids were helping him gain size and strength.
“He had to do something to try to sell a book,” Mark said. “I know the reason why I did it. I know it from the heart and I told you guys that already back in January.”
Jay McGwire says in the book that he persuaded his brother to start using steroids regularly in 1994 and set him up with a supplier. He says Mark regularly used an array of drugs through 1996 that included Deca-Durabolin, human growth hormone, Dianabol, Winstrol and Primobolan. McGwire later used androstenedione, a steroid precursor that wasn’t banned by baseball until 2004, when it became a controlled substance.
“I’ve already come out and said what I’ve done and apologized,” Mark said. “As far as I’m concerned there’s really nothing new. It’s kind of sad as a brother what he’s done, but I’ve moved on from it.”
Jay McGwire, a former bodybuilder who turns 40 on May 5, said he was introduced to steroids by friends in 1989, beginning with pills of Anavar. He says his brother only gave in to using steroids after an injury-filled 1993 season.
McGwire hit 70 homers for the Cardinals in 1998, shattering Roger Maris’ record of 61 set in 1961.
At Phillies’ camp on Thursday, Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt commended McGwire for his apology, but he isn’t sure if the public fully accepts it.
“He needed to clear the air, sort of pave the way for a smoother year for himself. It’s not going to be smooth by any means,” said Schmidt, who is serving as a guest instructor with Philadelphia. “He’s going to have to talk about it wherever he goes, but I’m happy for him. It was a great start for his new career as hitting coach.
“He stated that his usage of steroids didn’t help his power output. He may believe that and it may be true, but I don’t think that’s what the public wanted to hear. They probably wanted to hear an admission that his numbers were increased and his position in history was probably elevated to some degree by the use of steroids. Again, I think that’s what the public wanted to hear.”
The brothers haven’t spoken since 2002. They fell out after Jay McGwire’s stepson, Eric, tickled Mark and caused Mark to spill coffee on himself. Mark then swatted Eric on the backside. Jay’s wife, Francine, then refused to attend Mark’s wedding.
St. Louis manager Tony La Russa received an advanced scouting report on the book and didn’t expect the release to disrupt the Cardinals’ camp.
“Somebody I knew read an advanced copy,” La Russa said prior to morning workouts. “He said that (Jay) said some stuff—it wasn’t really first-page-to-last-page damning stuff about Mark.”
Neither Mark McGwire nor La Russa plan to read the book.
“What’s the point?” La Russa said. “It’s stuff that’s already been gone over a bunch of times. I don’t know what it’s going to change.”