Tuesday, November 5, 2013

#100 Mark McGwire

About the Front: What an awesome photo. Years before he shattered Roger Maris' single-season home run record, this wide-angle shot displays the power and force of Mark McGwire's swing. I'm not sure which stadium this is, though. My instinct says Tiger Stadium.

About the Back: Oh, the inadequacy of 1993 Topps' stats on the back. While 1991 was a career-worst year for Big Mac, his ability to draw a walk boosted his on-base percentage to .330. That looks a helluva lot better than his .201 average.

Triple Play:

1. In 1987, Mark shattered the rookie single-season record with his 49 home runs, blowing by the previous record of 38 shared by Wally Berger and Frank Robinson. He gave up a few more cracks at 50 by taking paternity leave for the last two games of the year.

2. I tend to take a liberal stance on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, but McGwire's guest appearance on The Simpsons in 1999 is sublime in hindsight. "Do you want to know the terrifying truth, or do you want to see me sock a few dingers?"

3. He has been a big league hitting coach for the past four seasons, spending three years back in St. Louis before joining Don Mattingly's Dodgers staff in 2013.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Since injuries limited McGwire to 74 total games and 18 homers in 1993-1994, he wasn't on my radar in the early years of my fandom. It wasn't until the first baseman slugged 39 homers in just 104 games in 1995 that I got an inkling of what had made him a star in the late 1980s.

Bill James Said: "How does a guy 6'5" draw 100 walks a year?"

On This Date in 1993: November 5. The U.K. Parliament passes the Railways Act, laying the groundwork to privatize the British rail system.