McGwire is proud of his career , says he has 'no control' over Hall of Fame vote
Published: Sunday, January 14, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 14, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.
TUSTIN, Calif. — Mark McGwire had little to say about being left out of Cooperstown in his first public comments since the Hall of Fame announcement.
The former slugger talked briefly Friday to the Cal State Fullerton newspaper, the Daily Titan, about being denied baseball's highest honor in his first time on the ballot. Amid questions about his role in baseball's Steroids Era, McGwire was picked by 23.5 percent of voters in totals released Tuesday — far short of the 75 percent needed for induction.
"I had an absolutely wonderful career that I am very proud of," McGwire said as he signed autographs at a charity event benefiting the Orange County Abuse Prevention Center. "I'm not in control of what happens — I was in control of hitting the ball."
McGwire, whose 583 home runs rank seventh on the career list, appeared on 128 of a record 545 ballots in voting released by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres and Cal Ripken of the Baltimore Orioles were voted in and will be inducted in July.
McGwire has been reclusive since he appeared in front of Congress two years ago to address steroid use in baseball. The 23.5 percent vote he received represented the first referendum on how history will judge an age when bulked-up players came under suspicion of using performance-enhancing drugs.
Baseball didn't ban steroids until after the 2002 season.
McGwire was one of more than two dozen sports personalities on hand for Friday's event called "Luck be a Lady," organized by a committee of players' wives. Among those in attendance were Los Angeles Angels pitcher John Lackey, St. Louis Cardinals infielder Adam Kennedy and Anaheim Ducks forward Teemu Selanne.
After retiring, McGwire has kept active in charity work, heading the Mark McGwire Foundation for Children.
The team and pitcher Jorge Sosa were close to agreement Saturday on a one-year contract worth about $1.25 million.
Sosa, a 29-year-old right-hander, was a combined 3-11 with a 5.42 ERA last season for Atlanta and St. Louis, making $2.2 million. He became a free agent last month when the Cardinals failed to offer a 2007 contract. He went 13-3 with a 2.55 ERA for the Braves the previous season.
After the terms are finalized, Sosa must take a physical. With Pedro Martinez out for the first half of the season, New York has a large group competing for jobs in its rotation behind Tom Glavine and Orlando Hernandez. The hopefuls include John Maine, Oliver Perez, Mike Pelfrey, Philip Humber and Dave Williams.
San Diego agreed to minor league contracts with left-hander Shawn Estes and catcher Todd Greene on Saturday.
Both were invited to spring training.
Estes, who made one start for the Padres last season, had Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow June 7 and was put on the 60-day disabled list Aug. 25. He has pitched for seven teams during his 12-year career, including seven seasons with the San Francisco Giants.
Greene played in 61 games for the Giants last season, making 37 starts at catcher, and hit .289.
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