Mark David McGwire, born October 1, 1963, is a retired Major League Baseball player. He played for the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals during his sixteen-year career. He is best known for breaking Roger Maris' single season home run record during the 1998 season. He held the record until 2001, when it was broken by Barry Bonds.
McGwire played three seasons of college ball at the University of Southern California. He split his first two years pitching and playing first base before focusing on hitting exclusively in the final year. After hitting 31 home runs in his junior season, McGwire was selected by the Athletics with the tenth overall pick of the 1984 baseball amateur draft.
Oakland Athletics (1986-1997)
McGwire made his Major League debut in August 1986, going 0-3 against the New York Yankees. He hit 47 home runs in his official rookie season of 1987, setting a new rookie record. McGwire and teammate Jose Canseco, who were nicknamed the "Bash Brothers" for their hitting power, played key roles in the Athletic's run to three consecutive American League pennants and one World Series title over their five full seasons together. With Oakland trading Canseco to the Texas Rangers during the 1992 season and McGwire limited to 74 games over the 1993 and 1994 seasons combined, the team fell in the standings. After five consecutive seasons under .500, they traded McGwire to the Cardinals in exchange for three minor league pitchers.
St. Louis Cardinals (1997-2001)
Although the Cardinals missed the playoffs in 1997, McGwire hit 58 home runs for the season, leading some to speculate that he could challenge Maris's single season record of 61. The following season saw both McGwire and Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa challenge the record. On September 8, 1998, McGwire hit his 62nd home run of the season off of Cubs pitcher Steve Trachsel and finished the season with 70. He hit another 65 in 1999, setting the record for most home runs in back to back seasons. The Cardinals made the playoffs in his final two seasons but fell short of winning the pennant both times. He retired following the 2001 season.