Mark McGwire‘s name may as well be synonymous with two words: home runs and steroids. At the height of the former Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals slugger’s career, “Big Mac” was an unstoppable machine that looked like The Incredible Hulk.
The 12-time MLB All-Star and two-time World Series champion became famous for “saving baseball” alongside Sammy Sosa in their legendary race to break Roger Maris‘ record 61 home runs in 1998. McGwire became a superhero and a god to baseball fans. ESPN made a 30 for 30 about the race, title “Long Gone Summer.” Sports Illustrated even decked him and Sosa out in togas for a cover shoot.
However, McGwire’s accomplishments on the diamond will forever be tainted by steroid use. He admitted in 2010 to using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his MLB career and thus never received his own bust in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He wasn’t banned from the game like Pete Rose, but his reputation was tarnished forever.
Still, Mark McGwire the baseball player is one of the greatest power hitters to ever walk the earth. The three-time Silver Slugger now lives a quiet life as a baseball dad and sits on a pile of money. So how much bread is “Big Mac” really worth in 2020? Let’s find out.
Born in Pomona, California, Mark David McGwire grew up in an athletic family. One brother, Dan McGwire, played quarterback in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks and Miami Dolphins in the 1990s. His other brother, Jay McGwire, became a bodybuilder and wrote about their shared steroid use in a 2010 book.
After excelling at Damien High School in La Verne, California, he accepted a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Southern California in 1982. He played alongside Randy Johnson and eventual NFL head coach Jack Del Rio on the Trojans.
McGwire became a two-way All-American talent at USC. He was named the Sporting News 1984 National Player of the Year. Big Mac finished his collegiate career with 54 home runs and a 2.93 ERA in 28 career appearances on the mound.
The Oakland Athletics selected McGwire 10th overall in the 1984 Major League Baseball Draft, and the first-round draft pick immediately paid dividends.
MLB & Playing Contracts
McGwire burst onto the scene as a rookie with the A’s in 1987. At 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, he clubbed an MLB single-season rookie record 49 home runs and won American League Rookie of the Year. The mark fell 30 years later when New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge slugged 52 in 2017.
McGwire and teammate Jose Canseco became known as the “Bash Brothers” in Oakland. The two power hitters hit tape-measure shots and helped lead the A’s to three AL pennants from 1988-90 and a World Series win in 1989. At the same time, the first baseman showed prowess in the field by winning the 1990 AL Gold Glove Award.
On July 31, 1997, the Athletics traded their superstar slugger to the St. Louis Cardinals for T. J. Mathews, Eric Ludwick and Blake Stein. A year later, he and Sammy Sosa set the baseball world on fire.
The 1998 Home Run Race
McGwire and Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa are often credited with “saving baseball” in 1998. Their exciting race to break Roger Maris’ single-season record of 61 home runs helped captivate fans across the United States after the 1994 strike and gain them national fame.
“I think it’s been great for the game of baseball,” McGwire told ESPN‘s Dan Patrick in 1998.
McGwire and Sosa’s competition raged on into August that season. Every day, it seemed like one would overtake the other as the home run leader. Then on September 8, McGwire crushed No. 62 over the left field wall at Busch Stadium off of Cubs pitcher Steve Trachsel. He lifted his son at home plate in celebration. Sosa ran in from the outfield to hug and congratulate baseball’s newest single-season home run king.
McGwire finished the season with 70 home runs. Sosa, however, won the National League MVP award after tallying 66 home runs, 158 RBIs, 18 stolen bases and a .308 batting average. McGwire’ single-season home run record didn’t stand long, because Barry Bonds hit 73 in 2001.
McGwire retired after the 2001 season with 583 career home runs under his belt. He’s still the all-time MLB record holder for at-bats per home run ratio (10.6) and, get this, he averaged 50 long balls every 162 games.
McGwire’s immediate life after baseball was anything but glorious.
In 2005, Canseco said that he and McGwire used performance-enhancing drugs in the 1980s and Canseco even injected his broad-shouldered teammate. McGwire and Canseco were two of 11 baseball players and executives who testified at a congressional hearing on steroids that same year.
When asked under oath if he ever took PEDs, McGwire remained tight-lipped.
“Asking me or any other player to answer questions about who took steroids in front of television cameras will not solve the problem. If a player answers no, he simply will not be believed. If he answers yes, he risks public scorn and endless government investigations. My lawyers have advised me that I cannot answer these questions without jeopardizing my friends, my family and myself. I intend to follow their advice,” he said in his opening statement.
Finally in 2010, Big Mac admitted to using steroids. He said did so to recover from injuries throughout his career.
“I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era,” he told ESPN.
Still, McGwire maintains he could’ve broken Roger Maris’ record without the help of drugs. He also believes he’d be in enshrined in Cooperstown had he not touched PEDs.
“I just know myself, I just know. I was a born home run hitter,” he told Stadium.
Is Mark McGwire in the Baseball Hall of Fame?
McGwire was inducted into the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame, but he missed out on Cooperstown.
The former slugger became eligible for Hall of Fame voting in 2007 and needed 75 percent of the ballots to earn induction. Ten years later (the maximum a player can remain on it), he was taken off the ballot. The closest he came to induction was 23.7 percent in 2010.
Where Is Mark McGwire Now?
The 56-year-old McGwire returned to baseball in 2010 as the Cardinals hitting coach under Tony La Russa. He remained in that position until 2013, when he took the same role with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he could be closer to his family in Shady Canyon Irvine, California.
Two years later, the MLB great accepted the San Diego Padres bench coach position. He left the role after the 2018 season.
Now, he still lives near his birthplace in Southern California with his wife and children. He and Stephanie Slemer have five kids, including three triplet girls that were born in 2010. McGwire also has a son, Matthew, with ex-wife Kathleen Hughes.
His two sons, Mason and Max McGwire, play baseball together at JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano, California. Max, a 2021 graduate, is committed to Oklahoma University. Mason is set to graduate in 2022.
McGwire told the Associated Press he stepped away from coaching in Major League Baseball to “watch his two boys play high school baseball.” That’s pretty understandable. And what better teacher to have as your father than Mark freakin’ McGwire?
One simple search “Mark McGwire net worth” may leave you more speechless than he was in court.
What Is Mark McGwire’s Net Worth?
McGwire made some $75 million over his 16-year career. Sports Casting did the math and determined he made $128,000 for every home run he launched into the seats. By the time he retired in 2001, he was making more than $11 million.
McGwire’s net worth in 2020 is estimated at $60 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. That means Big Mac has had no problem stacking cheddar throughout the years.
McGwire is still one of the greatest sluggers in baseball history next to names like Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Alex Rodriguez, Willie Mays and Ken Griffey Jr. He may never return to MLB again, but he seems pretty content with that.