‘The 40/40 Club’ – 1980’s – Card #15
Mark McGwire – 1985 Topps
No man carried the sport of baseball on his back in the last 20 years the way that Mark McGwire did during the summer of 1998. ‘Big Mac’ had non-sports fans tuning in to watch him play. Crowds in ballparks all across the country grew larger and larger during his home run chase in hopes of seeing baseball history. Mark McGwire revolutionized the baseball world in 1998.
McGwire’s debut in the big leagues was epic. As a member of the Oakland A’s, Mark McGwire was creating baseball history at the young age of 23. In his rookie season of 1987, ‘Big Mac’ set a rookie record by blasting 49 home runs. A unanimous choice for the Rookie of the Year award in ’87 , he collected 118 RBI while batting .289 along with his 49 dingers. He also made the All-star team in his rookie season which would be the 1st of 12 appearances.
Mark McGwire has finished in the Top 25 for the MVP award 10 times over the course of his 16-year career. His highest finish was second place during his amazing season of 1998. In ’98, as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, McGwire chased down and then broke Roger Maris’ record of 61 home runs hit in a baseball season. At the time, it was thought that ‘Big Mac’ put the record out of reach as he crushed 70 that year. He also contributed 147 RBI, scored 130 runs, and hit .299 that year. He followed up the 1998 season with another incredible year. In ’99, he hit .278/65/147 which quickly gave him 135 home runs in 2 very short years. Had it not been for injuries that quickly took him away from the sport, there is no telling how many more home runs McGwire could have added to the 583 that he retired with.
While with Oakland in the late 80’s, McGwire played in 3 conescutive World Series contests. From, 1988-90, ‘Big Mac’ was a constant presence in baseball’s postseason. Ultimtalely, McGwire would go on to win just 1 championship – in 1989. During that series, he hit .294 while driving in 1 run and scoring 0 times. However, the incredible pitching of the A’s prevailed and the A’s were World Series champions!!!