Monday, August 4, 2008

#580 Mark McGwire

Why this card is awesome: Because of the laughable notion on the back that McGwire could play 3B. After he bulked up, I doubt he could even crouch enough to play there.

Cool stat: Sure McGwire's in the 500-HR club, but he's got the fewest RBI of all.

McGwire's not in the Hall of Fame yet, and my guess is he never makes it. He was a tremendously one-dimensional player and the andro and steroids stuff ain't gonna help.

Still, this is a great card.


White Sox Cards said...

He looks a lot thinner there. Maybe his use started/increased when his power numbers fell off in the early nineties.

Tim said...

Not to be a McGwire apologist, but his RBI total is more a reflection of the number of games he played — he's the only 500 HR man with fewer than 2,000 — than his productivity. Only four men in the 500 HR club had a greater rate of RBI per plate appearance.
What's more interesting to me is the fact that no 500 HR man started his big-league career later than his age-22 season.

David said...

What is cool is the 2 stats that leap off the back of that card: 49 HRs and a .618 SLG! This card was all about great career possibilities. And let's face it, he didn't disappoint.

Ernest said...

he was not a one dimensional player as you say. The comparisons to say Kingman (I know that you did not make this and I am setting up a bit of a straw man here) are way off base because of the number of walks that McGwire drew. His eye at the plate, in combination with his power, really made him a very rare and special player.

He is 9th all time in slugging, 78th all time in OBP, and 11th all time in OPS (just ahead of Frank Thomas and Mickey Mantle).

He also won a gold glove in 1990.

Basically he hit a ton of homers and drew a ton of walks. He did both at such a high rate that he helped his team much more than most of the "5 tool players" in the history of the game did.

Andy said...

You're right calling McGwire one-dimensional is not totally fair. I would never categorize him alongside Kingman. McGwire did walk a lot, but at a time when walking players, especially guys who might hit it out, became a lot more common. I would expect that if Mantle played in the same era as McGwire, The Mick would have had a significantly higher OBP (20 points, perhaps.) Mantle played in much better lineups and therefore couldn't get walked as much.

There was a brief period when McGwire was viewed as a good first baseman, thanks in part to a few weird plays, like that one where he ended up spinning on the bag. Overall on defense, he was nothing special and certainly not in the same class as Mattingly or Hernandez.

Tim makes a good point about his RBI total being more a product of his games played, and I somewhat screwed McGwire with that stat. Of course, McGwire should have played in a lot more games, but missed a lot of time both early and late in his career. It's tempting to theorize that his late-career injuries were performance-enhancer related.

And David--I would say that McGwire *did* ultimately disappoint, not due to off-the-field stuff, but because he should have passed 700 HR. That being said, he certainly did some cool and amazing things in his career.