McGriff on McGwire's admission: "I didn't really think too much of it"
Mark McGwire's admission Monday that he used steroids during his career didn't have much meaning for Tampa's Fred McGriff, the longtime big-league slugger with a reputation for playing clean.
"I didn't really think too much of it," McGriff told the Times. "I think he just came out so he won't have to answer questions during spring training."
McGriff, who hit 493 homers, was on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year, and finished with 12 fewer votes than McGwire. He said he couldn't predict how McGwire's admission would impact their vote totals in coming elections.
"I'm not sure about that one,'' McGriff said. "Only time will tell.''
Rays manager Joe Maddon, who has advocated an amnesty program for steroids users, said McGwire's admission didn't change much for him either.
"I don't look at him any differently," Maddon said. "I honestly believe him admitting what he did just validates what everybody thought. The way he went through that congressional hearing seemed a bit, um, strange. I also believe it opens the door for him to get back into baseball, and I think it was necessary for him to do if he wanted to do that."
There was a lot of discussion Monday night by voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America about whether the admission will increase McGwire's chances to be elected to the Hall of Fame. In four years on the ballot McGwire has not received more than 24 percent of the vote, far short of the 75 percent needed for election.
So what does it mean going forward? "As the person in charge of the counting, I feel it unfair to categorize his chances in any way except to look at the facts,'' said longtime BBWAA secretary-treasurer Jack O'Connell. "Given the benefit of the doubt in four elections, he has received less than 25 percent of the vote. Now there is no doubt. On the other hand, perhaps there are voters who were waiting for him to confess to bring closure to his career. Like everyone else, I await the 2011 voting results, provided Tony La Russa does not use him as a pinch hitter down the stretch, that is.''