Most of the talk about whether he belongs has assumed he's otherwise qualified and focuses on whether he used steroids. The question should be moot. With or without steroids, McGwire wasn't good enough for long enough to be in the Hall of Fame.
McGwire hit a lot of home runs (583, seventh-most all time), but in 16 seasons:
- He had four great seasons. Those years, 25 percent of his career, accounted for 42 percent of his home runs and had 37 percent of his runs batted in.
- More than 41 percent of his runs batted in were himself (on home runs). Nobody in the 500-home-run club had such a selfish bat.
- He was in his league's top five for RBI four times.
- He hit over .300 in a full season once.
- He had 1,626 career hits (460 fewer than the next closest 500-home-run guy, Harmon Killebrew, who had 573 home runs in an era that favored pitchers).
- He didn't inspire great fear in pitchers. To wit, he led his league in intentional walks once and had three top-five finishes in that category.
- He had three top-five finishes in MVP races (Albert Pujols, by comparison, has six in his six-year career).
- In 42 postseason games, he hit .217 with five home runs.
- The only category besides home runs in which McGwire is in the top 25 all time is strikeouts.