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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 12, 2010

MLB: Mark McGwire AP interview excerpts

Associated Press

Excerpts of Mark McGwire’s telephone interview Monday with The Associated Press:

It’s very emotional, it’s telling family members, friends and coaches, you know, it’s former teammates to try to get a hold of that, you know, that I’m coming clean and being honest. You know, it’s the first time they’ve ever heard me, you know, talk about this. I hid it from everybody. ...
On March 2005 hearing
We worked behind the scenes with congressmen (Tom) Davis and (Henry) Waxman to try to get immunity. ... I wanted to talk about this. I wanted to get this off my chest, I wanted to move on, but unfortunately immunity was not granted. ... That was the worst 48 hours of my life, going through that, but I had to listen to the advice of my attorneys.
To repeat that `I don’t want to talk about the past’ and then to have the family members, Don Hooton and his family — the other families sat there, and every time I’d say, `I’m not going to talk about the past,’ I’d hear moanings back there. It was absolutely ripping my heart out. ...
All I was worried about was protecting my family and myself. And I was willing to take the hit. You know, to me, that was important, take the hit, instead of the other scenario, putting my family and friends and whoever involved in something I did. So, by taking the hit and not talking about it, I look back now, I wish I had got immunity, but I took the hit.
Will making admission start to restore reputation?
I sure hope so. Times have changed. It’s unfortunate that’s the era that I played in. I so wish there was drug testing back in those days because I wouldn’t be talking to you now, I guarantee that.
Was improving Hall of Fame chances motivation
This has nothing to do with the Hall of Fame. This has to do with me coming clean, getting it off my chest, and five years that I’ve held this in.
On telling family
The toughest thing is my wife, my parents, close friends have had no idea that I hid it from them all this time. ... Last night I had a conversation with my son Matt. I went over to my parents’ house and talked to them about it. My wife found out about it about a month ago. Basically, my closest friends — I called Tony La Russa today and (Cardinals owner) Bill DeWitt, Bud Selig, Don Hooten, Pat Maris, (coach and batting practice pitcher) Dave McKay, (trainer) Barry Weinberg. I left messages for Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday. That was the first time they’ve ever heard me talk about this, because I hid it from everybody. ...
I knew this day was going to come. I didn’t know when. It’s funny how the world works and how things happens. Now that I’m, you know, a hitting coach for the Cardinals, it just sort of fell into place where it’s given me the opportunity to come forward and be honest. ...
You don’t ever realize that when you do things, you don’t know that you’ll ever have to talk about the skeleton in your closet, on a national level. It was a wrong thing that I did. I totally regret it. I just wish I was never in that era.
On how he got started using steroids
When you work out at gyms, people talk about things like that. It was readily available. Back in that year, 89-90, I tried it for a couple of weeks. I really didn’t think much of it. ... I tried it. I moved on. ... It wasn’t until after my ’93 season, when I was injured, that I was informed — have you ever tried doing steroids? It helps speed up recovery. ...
I did this for health purposes. There’s no way I did this for any type of strength purposes. I truly believe I was given the gifts from the Man Upstairs of being a home run hitter, ever since I would say birth. My first hit as a Little Leaguer was a home run. I mean, they still talk about the home runs I hit in high school, in Legion ball. I led the nation in home runs in college, and then all the way up to my rookie year, 49 home runs. But, starting ’93 to ’94, I thought it might help me, you know, where I’d get my body feeling normal, where I wasn’t a walking M-A-S-H unit.
Did steroids contribute to injuries?
That’s a great question. It could have. I don’t know. I didn’t think about it, but that’s a great question. ... the toll of the season, the 162 games and, you know, getting paid a lot of money to try to stay up to that level.
Did steroids make him a better hitter?
There’s no way a pill or an injection will give you hand-eye coordination or the ability or the great mind that I’ve had as a baseball player. My work ethic that I never talked about with the media, only, you know, coaches or teammates that used to see me, you know, being the first one in, you know, working out. I was always the last one to leave. I was always hitting by myself. I took care of myself.