There is no doubt that Big Mac could crush a baseball. His shot off of the back wall of Seattle’s King Dome wasn’t a fluke. He was one of the most prolific power hitters the game has ever seen. He was go good at hitting home runs that in a span of 4 years (’96-’99), he hit 245! That’s insane.
That was then. Now with the admission of something we all knew, and Barry Bonds coming along and smashing all of McGwire’s numbers, Big Mac isn’t the legend he once was. I don’t want to get into the whole PED use area but I do have to touch on it briefly. Mark was a power hitter, simple as that. What he did helped with his power. How much extra strength did he get?
No one can really say for sure, but we all know it helped inflate his numbers along with his arm.
What really gets me though, is why the St. Louis Cardinals would bring him in as hitting coach. They want Matt Holliday to be more of a power hitter, but why McGwire? There is obviously the history there, the people he knows, and a certain comfort level that is just right for Mark to return to the game in some form. But should he really be a hitting coach?
McGwire boasts some great power numbers, but he also has more career strikeout than walks. In fact, that same 4 year span in which he hit 245 homers, he also had 577 hits, 512 walks, and struck out 567 times! Pitchers weren’t pitching to him. Either they were too afraid or managers didn’t want them to, so they would pitch around him.
Now don’t get me wrong, 577 hits is nothing to sneeze at, but having struck only 10 fewer times then he got a hit and considerably more than times walked, yet you want him to tech guys to hit? Really? Do you really want Colby Rasmus or Ryan Ludwick to pick up the same free swinging style McGwire had? I certainly hope not.
Holliday is already a solid hitter. He may not have huge power numbers but he carries a .316 avg with him so he does know how to hit. If I were the Cards I would have pulled for a coach to help him with watching the ball, location, patience. He strikes out a lot as it is, so why have him work with someone who is a free swinger. If anything have him work with Albert Pujols, who is perhaps the best all around hitter in the game today. I think he could certainly help Holiday with more of the fundamentals than McGwire could.
I see where the whole situation is supposed to go in theory. I see that the cards want to make Pujols and Holiday the modern day bash brothers. But to me, this feels like nothing more than a personal image rehab for McGwire than it is about the contributions he can actually make.