Mark McGwire smashed baseball's single-season home run record when he crushed 70 back in 1998. But the first baseman's legacy would soon become tainted through his admissions of taking PEDs.
On Monday, The Athletic published an interview with McGwire in which the infamous power-hitter asserted that he could have hit 70 homers in a season even without any of the performance-enhancing substances in question. That seems highly unlikely given that the previous single-season record of 61 had stood for 37 years without being matched even by the likes of Roger Maris, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, or the skinny version of Barry Bonds.
In a statement refuting McGwire's claim, Victor Conte said that he doesn't think McGwire would've hit 50 homers without the drugs and is delusional to think otherwise.
If you don't remember Conte, he's the man who founded the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), the infamous sports nutrition outfit that peddled what came to be called "designer steroids."
Victor Conte says Mark McGwire wouldn't have even hit 50 homers without PEDs https://t.co/fkSmvpjahs— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) April 10, 2018
Conte is almost certainly right. Given that only McGwire and Barry Bonds, who was heavily linked to PEDs despite never expressly testing positive as a player, ever reached 70 home runs in a season, the truth of the matter is plain to see.
Hardly anyone outside the steroid era has come particularly close to breaking Maris' 61-homer mark. Giancarlo Stanton hit 59 homers last year, but even he fell just short despite having as much raw power as just about anyone in the history of the game.
Mark McGwire says he still would have hit 70 homers without PEDs https://t.co/FBOvltXJlB— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 9, 2018
McGwire probably could have hit 50 homers in a season without steroids, but there's no way he would've been able to hit 70. In fact, there isn't strong evidence that any human being could.