Essay, Research Paper: Mark McGwire


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Mark McGwire is one of the most electrifying figures in
sports today. This six-foot five inch, two hundred and fifty pound monster is a
man on a mission. In fact, for the most part he is about as average as you and
me. Almost except for one major thing, he is the record holder of the most
prestigious record in all of pro sports. His name is Mark McGwire and the record
is his 70 homeruns, shattering the old record held by the Minnesota native named
Roger Maris. McGwire’s mission began when he went on to play high school
baseball for Damien High School in Claremont. After high school McGwire attend
the University of Southern California to play college baseball. McGwire would
then go on to break a few home run records while at USC. The great work he did
in USC earned him a spot on the US Olympic baseball team in 1984. This would be
the beginning of a successful career. From there, McGwire became the tenth pick
in the first round and signed with the Oakland Athletics. In McGwire’s first
year with the Oakland A’s he became Rookie of the Year. Whether hitting home
runs on the field or working with children, Mark proves he is dedicated,
successful, and one of baseball’s most popular players to watch today.
Whenever people walk into a ballpark to watch Mark McGwire on the field, people
can believe he is a dedicated player to the game of baseball. McGwire has had
much success because of all the hard practicing he does to get better each day.
After reading the a book on Mark McGwire it stated, “ McGwire is always the
last player to leave the field and he workouts a few extra hours a day in the
weight room after practice” (Rains 64). McGwire’s dedication also came
“When Coach Stanley hit ground balls to McGwire, he tried to hit them hard
enough that it would hit McGwire on either the wrist or the shin” (Rains 61).
I believe the long hours of taking ground balls helped him become one of the
best fielding first baseman and earned McGwire a few Gold Glove Awards during
his career. McGwire has also shown his dedication “When McGwire took countless
ground balls on a patch of rocky ground, trying to practice some of the bad hops
and unusual bounces” (Rains 62). Without a question McGwire was determined to
work hard on his fielding. When McGwire wasn’t fielding ground balls, he would
be practicing his swing during batting practice. McGwire would make his
adjustments in batting practice to find his right stance to hit a home run. Many
players don’t take the time to work on their stance to become a better hitter
like McGwire does, which is why I think he has shown much dedication in hitting
the big home run. With this dedication, “Mark started this quest for the
record early in spring training, setting his mind on accomplishing this one goal
to be the king of all homerun hitters” (Reily 37). “When the season was all
over McGwire accomplished this goal hitting a homerun every 7.3 at bats, which
was a record pace” (Reily 36). McGwire has also shown a dedication off the
field by setting up his own foundations for children. I found an article from
the Sports Illustrated called “Mark McGwire Is A Hero For More Than His
Homers”. In this article I found out a lot of important information which
McGwire does off the field when he’s not playing baseball. When McGwire
isn’t hitting homeruns on the field, he’s spending his time off the field
interacting with the kids from “The Mark McGwire Foundation for Children,
which is a foundation he has committed three million dollar of his salary to
help physically and sexually abused children in local hospitals in St. Louis and
around Los Angeles” (McGregor 22). Without a doubt this homerun hero is more
than what people think of him with the dedication he has off the field. McGregor
states, “His affinity for kids is evident when signing autographs, fulfilling
Make-A-Wish dreams or meeting abuse victims” (McGregor 22). With this
commitment to children , McGwire has been recognized by fans, media, coaches,
players, and the abuse children themselves for his time and contribution towards
these programs. McGwire has put much time into these programs for this main
reason. In the article I was reading it states, “According to the National
Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, last year protective service agencies
confirmed more than one million cases of abuse, ranging from physical and sexual
to neglect and emotional maltreatment” (McGregor 22). With these kinds of
statistics, McGwire wanted to change these numbers and donate his time and money
to support abuse child programs. McGwire shows how important kids are to him by
signing autographs for his fans and by working with abused kids who need a role
model to help them. Without a doubt McGwire has been known for achieving his
goals and for being a public figure for what he has done for his community off
the field. As for me I see Mark McGwire as my role model in this situation
because he’s doing a great thing for these kids. McGwire also started up the
foundation because he states, “When you have a child of your own, you
definitely look at things differently” (McGregor 22). Since McGwire has a
ten-year old son, he’s changed in many ways emotionally to make sure his son
grows up taught the right way to do things. In all with his busy schedule
McGwire said, “He wants to help people” (Reily 45). That’s why I believe
McGwire is such a dedicated player not just on the field but also off the field
with his foundation. Finally to prove McGwire is such a dedicated player is when
McGwire comes to the ballpark early to sign baseballs, hats, and cards for fans
who await his arrival to the stadium and even after the game McGwire finds time
to make his fans happy. As McGwire continues his success in baseball it all
comes down to the hard dedication he puts on the field during practice, and also
off the field to be one of the best baseball players of all time. Mark McGwire
has been a successful player throughout his career with Oakland and St. Louis.
McGwire has become a successful by hitting home runs. His recent success came
two months ago on September 8, 1998 when McGwire broke Roger Maris’ single
season home run record of sixty-one homers. It wasn’t one of his long homers
either; however, it barely cleared the 330 foot fence. After all was said and
done Mark hit 62 homeruns in 145 games, his homeruns traveled a total of 26394
feet or 4.99 miles, for an average of 427.7 feet per homerun. McGwire also set
the home run record for rookies at forty-nine homers in 1987. When McGwire steps
into the batters box he is feared by pitchers and by coaches. McGwire has set
all kinds of records since his college years at USC. McGwire is also the first
player in his first four years to hit thirty of more homers in each season. Mark
has also been proven to be one the most successful players of all time with his
great achievements he has had throughout his career. In 1995 McGwire led the
Major League for average home run distance with 418 feet. McGwire has also hit
homers that have gone 538 feet long. “His longest has been said that it went
600 feet long that ricocheted off a Range Rover in the players’ parking lot in
Denver” (Reily 40). McGwire is a serious man when it comes to hitting the long
ball far. “On June 18th Mark sets a Major League Record with his thirty-three
homeruns, giving him the most homeruns before July 1st in any season. On August
22nd Mark sets another record when he hits his 162nd homerun in the last three
seasons beating Babe Ruth's record of 161. Finally on September 5th Mark finally
hits his 60th homerun of the year joining Maris and Ruth as the only players in
League history to hit sixty or more homeruns” (Verducci 77). With all this
success many people don’t know that, “the biggest, strongest man in baseball
is really a softy. His eyesight is 20/500, which means that without his
contacts, he is Mr. Magoo” (Verducci 76). This may not be important but how
does a man with poor eye sight hit a home run so far. The question may be
solved. With all the hard work McGwire does, he also has tremendous strength
which gives him the power to hit the ball so far. McGwire’s name has also came
up throughout the media of his announcement of taking supplements to pursue
Roger Maris home run record. However; this season in the year 2000 the media is
saying that this big homerun hero isn’t taking his supplements this year.
However; whether it’s true or not we will have to find out towards the end of
the season where McGwire will try to reach his milestone of seventy-homeruns
again. However; it is to believe McGwire became involved in lifting weights and
taking care of himself when his brother Jay moved in with him. “Mark learned
how to lift weights the right way and stay flexible. Mark would work out six
days a week in the off season, four during the season. He lifts after home games
now and is routinely the last to leave the clubhouse” (Reily 40). This has
shown why McGwire has broken many records and has been a successful player
throughout his career. “McGwire strength also comes from the supplements he
takes such as: Muscle Nitro, Met Max, Lean Gainer and the famous Androstenedione”
(Reily 40). These supplements are legal and is also a major part of the success
McGwire has had the past couple of years. Without a doubt McGwire will continue
to hit many more home runs in his career with his strength and maybe this year
he might break his home run now of seventy home runs. “Ladies and gentlemen
and children of all ages, viewed from Waveland, McGwire’s batting practice is
the greatest show above earth” (Big Verducci, 76). Mark was now becoming the
biggest draw all around the majors, teams who normally couldn't give tickets
away were now selling out there stadiums when Mark came to town. The Minnesota
Twins couldn't get 50,000 over 150,000 people. Everyone was swarming to
ballparks all around the league to get a chance to see Mark hit a homerun. When
ever people come to the ball park to watch the game everyone is out to watch
Mark McGwire a very popular baseball player in today’s society. McGwire has
brought out many new fans to the game of baseball ranging from little kids to
senior citizens. With the attendance records doubling in numbers this past year
because of the Roger Maris home run chase; millions of people have came to see
McGwire hit a home run. “A few years back when the Major League Baseball was
on strike many people didn’t bother to come to the baseball games” (Rains
89). With McGwire’s record breaking home run record many people have came back
out to the ballparks to watch America favorite pastime. It is also amazing what
one guy can do, to make such a difference in the game of baseball. For example,
many people come out early to the stadium to watch McGwire take batting
practice. During batting practice people line up along the leftfield fence and
along the sides to take many pictures of McGwire. McGwire is a man who loves to
sign autographs, cards, and baseballs for kids. McGwire comes out early to the
ballpark and stays also late to please his fans. It also said when McGwire steps
into a batter’s box, “a sea of screaming red and white-clad of St. Louis
fans, with thousands of flashbulbs sparkle like fireflies on a late summer
evening” (Bragg 1A). With this much pressure at every at-bat, McGwire manages
to see the small white baseball and hit it a long way. With all the attention
McGwire gets he’s a man who doesn’t do shoe deals. In his fourteen years as
a pro McGwire has yet to do a shoe deal with any company. McGwire said, “Its
too distracting” (Reily 35). Even though McGwire is such a popular player,
“He has turned down Letterman, Leno, sixty-minutes, book deals and movie
deals” (Reily 35). During McGwires fourteen years in the pros he has signed a
few major contracts in his career with Oakland and also with St. Louis. “While
McGwire was in Oakland he signed a five-year, twenty-eight million dollar
contract that included a seven million dollar signing bonus” (Rains 155).
Being a popular player like McGwire can have many advantages and disadvantages.
With the many awards, records, and deals McGwire has done, have proven to turn
McGwire into one of the most popular players to watch in baseball. McGwire
popularity has also came from the many All-star games he has appeared in and the
trendmendous home runs he has hit throughout his career so far. Many people say
when McGwire retirees he will be one of the players to make it into the Hall of
Fame with Babe Ruth, Roger Maris and with many other great baseball players that
are there now. As the 1999 baseball season came to an end Mark McGwire
accomplished many goals and shattered many records. In 2000 we can probably
expect a bigger, stronger, and smarter hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals. When
the season just kicking off, we can also expect many people to come watch
McGwire play and shot for the new record of seventy home runs. As we look back
on the years McGwire has played in, he has gone through a lot of problems. That
why I believe Mark McGwire is one of baseball greats. While I was doing my
research on McGwire I got to learn more about Mark McGwire and what he done for
baseball and what he does off the field in the community. That’s why whether
hitting home runs on the field or working with children, Mark McGwire proves he
is dedicated, successful, and one of baseball’s most popular players to watch
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