Herzog, Busch lash out at McGwire
Pair decries slugger's use of steroids during his career
Mark McGwire's steroids admission has drawn the ire of some prominent people close to the Cardinals organization, as ex-manager Whitey Herzog and Adolphus Busch IV, the great-great grandson of Anheuser-Busch founder Adolphus Busch, whose family owned the team from 1953-1996, spoke publicly against the former home run king and the topic of steroids in general.
McGwire received a warm ovation from Cardinals fans during the club's Winter Warm-Up on Sunday, nearly one week after publicly admitting to using steroids during his playing career.
Herzog, the Cardinals' manager from 1980-90 who will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July, had a different reception for the former slugger while speaking at Tuesday's 45th annual Red Smith Sports Award Banquet in Appleton, Wisc.
"I don't want to comment on steroids because they're all lying," the Appleton Post-Crescent reported Herzog as saying. "And they're still lying. They get on steroids because they say they want to get back on the field. The reason they're on steroids is because they got injured because they were taking steroids. Because their muscles grow too fast, and every time they make a false move, they slip and pull something. It's always a pulled muscle, rib cage, a minor something.
"The people in St. Louis give Mark McGwire a standing ovation the other day, and [former Cardinal] Jack Clark said every steroid user should be banned for baseball, and they booed him."
McGwire said during his steroids admission that he used performance-enhancing substances in order to recover from injury. And the Cardinals' new hitting coach has maintained that they did not enhance his performance on the field.
Busch apparently isn't buying McGwire's sincerity.
"McGwire is not apologizing for his deceit, only for the embarrassment that came from his admission of having previously lied," Busch said in a statement issued Thursday. "The timing of his announcement at the start of a new baseball season has allowed him to hide behind the frenzy of a new Cardinal season and the blinding faith of Cardinal loyalists."
Busch also lashed out at Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who said he was not aware of McGwire's steroid use when he served as his manager with the Athletics and Cardinals.
"McGwire has chosen to come out of the closet at the perfect time -- alongside a manager who also refuses to be honest, to the fans or to the game itself," Busch said. "After all, why would Tony La Russa hire a hitting coach whose lifetime batting average was only .263?
"He was paid millions while perpetrating a fraud."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.