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

MLB: Mark McGwire AP interview excerpts

Associated Press

Excerpts of Mark McGwireís telephone interview Monday with The Associated Press:

Itís very emotional, itís telling family members, friends and coaches, you know, itís former teammates to try to get a hold of that, you know, that Iím coming clean and being honest. You know, itís the first time theyíve 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 donít want to talk about the pastí and then to have the family members, Don Hooton and his family ó the other families sat there, and every time Iíd say, `Iím not going to talk about the past,í Iíd 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. Itís unfortunate thatís the era that I played in. I so wish there was drug testing back in those days because I wouldnít 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 Iíve 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 parentsí house and talked to them about it. My wife found out about it about a month ago. Basically, my closest friends ó 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 theyíve ever heard me talk about this, because I hid it from everybody. ...
I knew this day was going to come. I didnít know when. Itís funny how the world works and how things happens. Now that Iím, you know, a hitting coach for the Cardinals, it just sort of fell into place where itís given me the opportunity to come forward and be honest. ...
You donít ever realize that when you do things, you donít know that youíll 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 didnít think much of it. ... I tried it. I moved on. ... It wasnít until after my í93 season, when I was injured, that I was informed ó have you ever tried doing steroids? It helps speed up recovery. ...
I did this for health purposes. Thereís 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 í93 to í94, I thought it might help me, you know, where Iíd get my body feeling normal, where I wasnít a walking M-A-S-H unit.
Did steroids contribute to injuries?
Thatís a great question. It could have. I donít know. I didnít think about it, but thatís 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?
Thereís no way a pill or an injection will give you hand-eye coordination or the ability or the great mind that Iíve 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.