(Busch Stadium) Though not the same size when he smashed those monstrous home runs as a player, new St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Mark McGwire still is an imposing figure, which makes him becoming emotional all the more impactful.
“It’s just joy,” he shared a couple of hours after delivering his HOF speech to standing room only crowd at Ballpark Village. “I think it’s joy anytime you get appreciated and on top of that, all the stuff that happened to me while I was playing here, I’ve never really talked about. It’s like I haven’t wrote a book, I don’t know if I’ll ever write a book, but I have so much in my rolodex upstairs that when I start talking about certain things, it becomes emotional because it’s like the first time people can see this is what’s happening, this is what Mark felt.”
Among the memories which triggers such emotion is the game after he signed his contract extension to stay in St. Louis.
“Another standing ovation,” recalls McGwire. “I ended up hitting a home run off of Ramon Martinez and I have no idea how I did that because it was the first time in my life that I stepped in the batter’s box and I was actually floating. Now that’s hard for anybody to understand, but I am telling you the truth. If somebody could’ve been inside my body, I was literally floating. I had no idea how I did it. It turned out to be one of my longest ones. I don’t know how I saw the ball. I was lucky enough, I saw the ball pretty well off Ramon Martinez. Now it was probably a different thing, but other than that. But those are things when you tap into things that have been inside for many, many years–it becomes emotional. But it’s a good emotional.”
Sharing emotions like that as a player was rare for McGwire, but he did offer a glimpse of man inside when he announced a charity he was setting up to help children. But other than that, the emotions were more often locked away–which was tough.
“Yeah, because emotions are good,” said McGwire. “Sitting down with friends and family and stuff, they just say be real. This is who I am as a person. Shoot, when I watch America’s Got Talent, I have tears coming down my eyes. My gosh, the stories about those people and the talents they have? It’s just the same thing.
“When you have these things, you go through these things and you don’t really talk about it because really, there’s nobody to talk to about it. Hopefully, through the years I will share these moments with my sons. My oldest son, Matt–I got to share, he got to be here. My sons Max and Mason, they’re 14 and 13, they weren’t around but they’ve gotten been around since me being a coach and they got to see a little bit today.”
So is it okay to say Big Mac is a crier?
“Well, I wouldn’t say–Big Mac’s just being real,” he shared with a smile.
I think that works for Cardinals Nation.