McGwire returns to St. Louis for first time

Updated: April 18, 2004, 6:54 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Back at Busch Stadium for the first time since retiring, Mark McGwire had little to say about steroids in baseball.

"Well, I'm really not in touch with any of that stuff because I usually hear it from friends and stuff, and I tell them I don't want to really hear about any of that stuff," McGwire said Saturday. "I don't really have any opinion on any of that stuff. It's just very unfortunate."

McGwire, who admitted using a legal supplement, androstenedione, during his 70-homer season in 1998, made his first public appearance in St. Louis since retiring after the 2001 season.

He threw out the ceremonial first pitch and was given a standing ovation by the crowd of 46,471 before the Cardinals' 8-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies. He fielded only one question from reporters about steroids.

The personal trainer for Barry Bonds was among four men indicted in February for allegedly distributing steroids to professional athletes. Greg Anderson pleaded not guilty.

Bonds, who broke McGwire's record with 73 homers in 2001, has denied using illegal steroids. The others players who testified before the grand jury also have denied using illegal steroids.

More than 5 percent of tests of major league players last year came back positive for steroid use, triggering testing with penalties for those who test positive this year.

Federal authorities seized the results and samples of drug tests on selected major league players from a drug-testing lab. Those results were to remain anonymous under baseball's labor contract.

In 1999, McGwire said he had stopped taking androstenedione because he didn't want to be a negative influence on youngsters.

McGwire hit 583 homers, sixth on the career list. He followed his 70-homer season with 65 in 1999 but was hampered by a knee injury his last two seasons, batting .187 with 29 homers in 2001.

He will be 41 in October and never regretted his decision to retire.

"I'm good to my word," he said. "It's been three years now and I'm not getting any younger. I'm really enjoying what I'm doing right now, being a father."

Since he retired, McGwire hasn't watched a major league game in its entirety. He's busied himself raising his two young sons, 18-month-old Max and 3-month-old Mason.

"I've moved on and I'm enjoying life," McGwire said.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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