Mark McGwire used a ton of performance-enhancing drugs during his baseball career. Everybody knows it without really knowing it; between the unprecedented power, the rapid muscle growth, and the fiffin in front of Congress, there was no rational explanation for his behavior other than “roid roid roid.” But at the same time, nobody except for half-man, half-cartoon Jose Canseco has ever claimed to be there when the usage went down, so there’s that shred of ambiguity. Where’s the stone-solid proof that puts McGwire in direct contact with steroids?
Unfortunately for McGwire, that aforementioned shred of ambiguity can be sold for an unholy amount of money, and that’s something that his brother Jay understands very well. According to DEADSPIN (also the source of the picture above), Jay plans to write and sell a book called The McGwire Family Secret (we’re really hoping that’s a working title) that describe’s Jay’s personal involvement with Mark’s entrance and journey into the world of PED’s. And you’re probably wondering, “but are there embarrassing anecdotes and family-rending accusations?” Boy howdy, are there ever. Excerpts are after the jump.
First off, there’s the issue of Mark McGwire taking that first plunge (into his own buttcheek):
Shortly after I won the Contra Costa Bodybuilding Championships in May of 1994, Mark took the plunge. I accompanied him to Sacramento where we met with my supplier and trainer, who explained to him how the different drugs would work on his body and answered a myriad of questions from Mark. Given Mark’s curiosity and lack of knowledge about steroids I saw from Mark, I would be shocked if Mark did something like what Jose Canseco claimed happened back in the early years….[M]ark began to use, but in low dosages so he wouldn’t lift his way out of baseball.
Then there’s the androstenedione (”Andro”) that reporters found in his locker:
So I directed him to androstenedione testosterone booster, which is non-hormonal (which is why it can be sold legally and is not affected by the 2004 Anabolic Steroid Control Act) and works naturally with your body. … [U]sing andro allowed Mark to avoid all the potential adverse side effects that could occur from using anabolic steroids, such as water retention, hair loss, and liver, heart, or kidney stress. In addition, he wouldn’t have cholesterol problems or testicular atrophy. And there were no problems with the law.
The law thing is important, because in addition to being cool in the eyes of the authorities, there was no rules specifically banning the substance in the major leagues during McGwire’s career. So the issue of legality in that instance is not nearly as cut-and-dried as McGwire’s shredded legacy would indicate. It’s small consolation (and unfairly so) that McGwire’s behavior wasn’t breaking any rules at the time, of course, but as the old maxim goes, “it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup.”
In case you’re wondering whether this book deal may make family reunions just a tad uncomfortable, well, the McGwires are happy to inform you that they are way ahead of you on that one. The Deadspin article mentions that Jay and Mark haven’t talked in quite a while, and if you’re wondering whether there’s an unusually salacious incident that sparked the falling out, well… may we offer you a small serving of borderline child abuse?
We had Mark and his fiancée over one day to visit our house and things sort of got out of control with my nine-year-old stepson, Eric, when he bumped Mark accidentally and coffee spilled on Mark’s clothes. Mark picked him up and yelled at him and swatted him on his butt like a parent. After that you could hear a pin drop in that room. Everyone was shocked. This is where it all hit the fan, right before Mark’s wedding. That’s when the relationship got strained. […] After that my wife, Francine, didn’t want to go to the wedding. Mark was upset about that. The whole situation was just very irritable and not good. Now Francine doesn’t like him. And Dan has experienced the same thing; his wife doesn’t like Mark, either, but for different reasons.
We’re not told what the “different reasons” are, but we suspect it’s because Mark sexually assaulted their ottoman after losing a spirited game of Yahtzee. It wasn’t so much the act as much as the stain.
As Daulerio notes, this book “will most likely never, ever hit a book store,” mainly because nobody would want to field the avalanche of lawsuits that McGwire’s already got teed up, just in case. But it does make for one hell of a Deadspin post, and the examples we cited don’t do the whole thing justice. Go read it now, and be sure your schadenfreude receptors are turned to full blast. It rarely gets this good.