Mark McGwire, whose career was tainted with his admission of using steroids, has been named the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, general manager Ned Colletti announced Wednesday.
McGwire informed the St. Louis Cardinals that he was accepting the Dodgers’ offer last week, replacing fired Dave Hansen. The Cardinals on Friday promoted John Mabry to be McGwire’s successor.
“Mark has been able to translate his success as a big league hitter into his work as hitting coach with the Cardinals,” Colletti said in a release. “He earned the respect of both veterans and young players while in St. Louis and the offensive numbers the Cardinals produced under his tutelage speak for themselves. We’re excited to have him join our coaching staff and anticipate great things from his work with our hitters in 2013 and beyond.”
McGwire broke baseball’s single-season home run record in 1998 with 72, but years later confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs. He is a 12-time All-Star who had been in seclusion for years until he became the hitting coach for St. Louis in 2010 under former manager Tony La Russa.
The Cardinals have had one of the National League’s best offenses under McGwire, and many have credited him for the emergence of young hitters such as Allen Craig, David Feeese and Matt Carpenter.
The Dodgers have been through four hitting coaches since 2008, a group that includes their current manager, Don Mattingly.
In McGwire’s three seasons in St. Louis, the Cardinals have led the NL in batting average (.269) and on-base percentage (.337) and ranked second in runs (2,263) and fourth in slugging percentage (.416).
The Dodgers finished 13th in the National League in both runs and OPS last year.
McGwire, who grew up in Pomona just east of Los Angeles, played collegiate baseball at USC, where he set a school record with 32 home runs in 1984. He lives in Orange County, about 40 miles from Dodger Stadium.
McGwire retired after the 2001 season with 583 lifetime home runs, fifth at the time on the all-time list, but has not been viewed kindly by Hall of Fame voters. In his fifth year on the ballot last winter, McGwire received just 19.8 percent of the votes, well short of the 75 percent needed for enshrinement.