Maybe only ‘90s kids will remember, but Mark McGwire used to be a big deal in St. Louis. The Cardinals traded for him in 1997, reuniting former A’s manager Tony La Russa with the slugger, and then Big Mac went on to break the all-time single-season home run record by bashing 70 dingers in 1998.
Then there were the steroid accusations, McGwire barely generating a whisper on the Hall of Fame ballot, and now, the last unfortunate twist to his career: the Cardinals gave newly signed free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler his old number, 25.
Dexter Fowler will wear number 25 for the @Cardinals. pic.twitter.com/pWFewK2wGW— FOX2now (@FOX2now) December 9, 2016
Fowler is a fine player in his own right, but with McGwire failing to make it into Cooperstown during his 10 years on the ballot, the thought that maybe the Cards would retire his number — one they haven’t let anyone use since McGwire stopped wearing it after 2001 — was a nice one.
Sorry, Mark McGwire. You can’t even hope the A’s still have some love for your number at this point, as they gave it to Nick Swisher back in 2004 and have given it to eight others besides him since then. And, uh, sorry that your most recent shot at Cooperstown didn’t work out, either, even though they let Bud Selig in and La Russa is already there.
On the bright side, Fowler said he picked 25 because his number, 24, was already retired by the Cardinals, and Barry Bonds is his mentor, so anyone cheering the erasing from history of a steroids user also has to deal with this part of the equation.