What! Mark McGwire Pinch Hitter?

Has Tony LaRussa become Dr. Evil? When I read this article about his plan to use McGwire as a pinch hitter if in the playoffs I kept picturing LaRussa laughing like a madman. Here is the article:

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa threw a wicked curveball in an interview with the Contra Costa Times, saying that if his club is in a tight division race come late August, he might break out a secret weapon for the stretch run: former single-season home run king Mark McGwire.
He also may have been angling for extra time for McGwire, 46, to appear on the ballots of Hall of Fame voters.
LaRussa made the comments in an interview in which he also discussed when McGwire would hold a press conference to discuss his return to the Cardinals as a hitting coach five years after he refused to answer questions in a congressional hearing about whether he ever used performance-enhancing drugs.
“If we’re in contention, we’ll put him on the roster Aug. 31. It’s a nice little dream,” La Russa told the paper, referring to McGwire. “Is it likely? Probably not. I don’t think it’s a zero possibility. The point is, you’ll see him in spring training. He won’t be leaning on the batting cage chatting it up. He’ll work his (butt) off, and hitters will be thrilled he’s there helping them.”
There may be a another motive behind La Russa’s comments, however: if McGwire is added to a Major League roster, it will make him an active player, or “un-retired,” and possibly kick-start a new calendar for his Hall of Fame consideration (players have to wait five years after retiring or from their last appearance in a game for their name to appear on the ballot and then have 15 more years to remain eligible for election. Because McGwire has already appeared on the ballot three times, he would only have 12 years of eligibility left, but plenty of extra time to rehab his tarnished image).
Jack O’Connell, Secretary Treasurer of the Baseball Writers Association of America, whose members elect players to the Hall of Fame, wondered if the Cardinals’ manager was attempting to buy time for McGwire.
“Is that why La Russa is considering this move – because he wants to take McGwire out of the equation for another five years and see whether a player (from the steroid era) gets voted in (to the Hall of Fame)?” O’Connell said when told of La Russa’s comments.
McGwire has fallen far short of election to Cooperstown the last three years – he only received 128 votes (23.7%) this year, 10 more than last year and matching the total from his first two times on the ballot – a result of allegations he was a steroid user and his widely-ridiculed appearance before Congress in 2005. Four days before that congressional hearing on steroids use in baseball, during which McGwire told members of Congress that he was “not here to talk about the past,” the Daily News ran an exclusive story that described McGwire’s use of hardcore steroids provided by a steroid dealer named Curtis Wenzlaff. Jose Canseco, McGwire’s former A’s teammate, also penned his steroid tell-all, “Juiced,” that same year, and detailed how he personally injected McGwire during their days playing for La Russa in Oakland.


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