Mark McGwire re-wrote baseball history as one of the greatest power hitters of the ’90s. Without the black mark of performance-enhancing drugs on his career, he would almost certainly be in the Hall of Fame by now.
McGwire isn’t the only member of his family to have a pro sports career marked by disappointment.
His brother Dan McGwire had a brief and unsuccessful stint in the NFL, where he ranks as one of the biggest busts in Seahawks history. Let’s recap the two McGwire brothers’ sports careers and investigate their familial life and childhood bonds.
Mark McGwire’s MLB career
McGwire spent 16 years in the MLB, from 1986 to 2001. He played for just two teams: the Oakland Athletics and the Saint Louis Cardinals. Over the course of his career, he made a total of 12 All-Star teams, won three Silver Slugger Awards, one Gold Glove Award, and one World Series. He also lead the league in home runs in five seasons.
McGwire’s productivity as a long-ball hitter is what he’s best remembered for. While his career batting average of .263 won’t turn any heads, details Baseball-Reference, he drilled an impressive 583 home runs. He peaked in the 1998 seasons when he smacked 70 homers in a heated chase to beat Maris’s record between McGwire and Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa.
That home run chase played a huge role in reinvigorating enthusiasm for baseball following a number of years of dwindling popularity. Yet McGwire’s legacy took a huge hit in 2005, when baseball’s long-running steroid scandal finally broke, prompted by the release of a tell-all book by McGwire’s long-time A’s teammate, Jose Canseco.
At the time, McGwire refused to answer questions about his steroid use. But in 2010, reports ESPN, McGwire finally owned up to his mistake, saying “I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake.” How to judge McGwire and other players involved in the steroid era continues to prompt heated debates to this day.
The ultimate Seahawks bust
Seahawks fans will always remember Dan McGwire as the greatest bust in their franchise history. The Seahawks drafted Mark’s younger brother with the 16th pick of the 1991 NFL draft. At -foot-8 and 240 pounds, McGwire was a physical specimen, to say the least. At the time of his debut, he was the tallest quarterback ever to suit up for an NFL team.
McGwire spent his rookie season as a backup to Dave Krieg, and only ended up playing in one game. Poor pre-season play led to McGwire falling to third-string quarterback in his second year. By 1993, the Seahawks seemed to be giving up on McGwire developing into the star they’d expected, instead drafting quarterback Rick Mirer.
But in the 1994 season, Mirer suffered an injury that finally gave McGwire his first taste of extended action. He played in a total of seven games that season, according to Pro-Football-Reference, throwing 51 passes with a dismal completion rate of just 48.6%. That performance basically closed the door on his career. He spent the next season with the Miami Dolphins, before dropping out of the league entirely.
McGwire would have been disappointed in any case. Yet his legacy as a bust is augmented by the fact that the Seahawks chose him over Brett Favre. McGwire racked up just 745 passing yards and two touchdowns in his career. The Hall of Fame Favre, meanwhile, ended his playing days with 71,838 passing yards and 508 touchdowns.
The third McGwire brother
Mark and Dan McGwire also have an older brother, Jay. Jay didn’t pursue professional sports but instead a career in competitive bodybuilding. Reportedly, he had had an estranged relationship with his brother Mark since around 2002. In 2010, when Jay released a book titled Mark and Me: Mark McGwire and the Truth Behind Baseball’s Worst-Kept Secret.
In that book, Jay detailed how he and brother Mark used to take steroids together, detailing everything from the types of drugs to the dosages they used. While the two brothers’ relationship might have been bad to begin with, that move on Jay’s part likely only cemented their fractured familial bond.