Hank Aaron: I Forgive Mark McGwire

St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire watches his record-setting 70th home run of the season against Montreal Expos pitcher Carl Pavano in the seventh innning, at Busch Stadium, in St. Louis, Sunday, Sept. 27, 1998. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)
AP Photo/Ed Reinke
Below are reactions from Hall of Fame players, managers, politicians, sportswriters and current players to Mark McGwire's admission Monday that he used steroids and human growth hormone as a player.

Hall of Famer Hank Aaron to USA Today:

"He has my forgiveness. If that's all that stands in the way between him being inducted into Cooperstown, we should all forgive him."

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig:

"The so-called 'steroid era' - a reference that is resented by the many players who played in that era and never touched the substances - is clearly a thing of the past, and Mark's admission today is another step in the right direction."

Hall of Famer Joe Morgan:

"I can't excuse the fact that players did this. They took performance-enhancing drugs to enhance their numbers and make more money. And they did it and made more money and enhanced their numbers. It bothers me that we always talk about those guys, and we seem to forget about the guys who didn't cheat. They get penalized twice. They don't make as much money, and when it comes to the Hall of Fame, their numbers are going to pale in comparison to the other guys."

Scott Miller, CBSSports.com:

"Now McGwire wishes he hadn't played in the steroid era. The thing about that is, none of us gets to choose our era. We're either lucky or unlucky by birth, some circumstances being laid out that either help us along the way or present obstacles for us to overcome. We can't choose our era any more than we can choose our skin color. However, we can - and must - make smart and correct choices within whatever circumstances we're dealt. McGwire didn't just play in the steroid era, he opted in. The temptation was too much for him and hundreds of others. And because of the raging success McGwire found in the power game, it fueled the steroid era. He was not an innocent bystander, nor was he a victim of circumstances. The players who remained clean in the era and lost jobs to users as a result, or who played clean and now are stained with the rest are the victims of circumstance."

Minnesota Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer:

"There were probably guys back then - in late 1980s and early '90s, pitchers and other players - who were one step away from the World Series, who were clean and going up against those A's teams that were loaded with steroids. Those are the people I feel sorry for."

Davey Johnson, former major league player and manager now a senior adviser to the GM for the Washington Nationals:

"It's a little black eye on baseball, but it's hard to fault a guy for doing it to bounce back from a heavy workout or to be better. ... I don't think he's alone. Mainly, I blame it on the fact the trainers completely changed their philosophy. I have no idea how many, but I'm sure there were a lot of people in that era using, I'm not just saying steroids, but using vitamins and drugs to help bounce back."

Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker:

"I admire him for doing it. I'm sure it wasn't easy. Maybe he's clearing his conscience. Again, every man has to live with himself."

Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg:

"To have the truth out there, I think that'll help the fans and the game move on. I don't think it helps him in any way. He's on the ballot for the Hall of Fame and he's getting about 23 or 24 percent of the votes right now. And I think that number will just go down now, in my opinion."

Ken Rosenthal, FoxSports.com:

"Sorry, Mark McGwire is still living a lie, so the truth cannot set him free. Monday should have been a terrific day for McGwire, the first day of the rest of his baseball life. He finally admitted to using steroids. He apologized for it. He seemed truly anguished, deeply troubled by what he had done. And then, in an interview with Bob Costas on MLB Network, McGwire came off nearly as badly as he did in his infamous appearance before Congress in March 2005. This time, McGwire talked about his past. But he did not admit - did not want to admit, or perhaps could not bring himself to admit - that steroids helped make him a better hitter. As if it was perfectly natural for a tormented, frequently injured slugger in his 30s to develop into a swaggering, record-setting behemoth. Please."

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy:

"I'm not surprised. I think Mark has stepped back and realized probably being honest is the best way to go."

Baseball Writers' Association of America Hall of Fame voter Joe Ostermeier of the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat:

"I think this admission might help with voters who suspected McGwire wasn't being truthful with the fans about steroids. But I don't know if it helps him at all with voters determined to keep the taint of the drug-use era out of Cooperstown. Basically, McGwire has so many votes to make up, I'm not sure it makes that big a difference to the question of his Hall of Fame chances. But at least he's admitted to something suspected by many of us for a long time."

Jayson Stark, ESPN.com:

"It was a powerful hour of red eyes, flowing tears and excruciating self-torment. It wasn't easy for McGwire to do what he did or say what he said Monday. And I want to make sure I acknowledge that. But when that hour was over, I found myself asking a question I'm sure millions of other Americans were asking: Does this man really understand what he did? Not just to himself. And not just to the people who cared about him and supported him. To the sport."

Former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., who chaired the March 17, 2005, congressional hearing at which McGwire repeatedly said he would not "talk about the past.":

"He looked ridiculous to most of the public, but he didn't have many good options. We put him in a pretty tight spot. He was candid and honest in our interrogation of him. He said: 'Someday, I'll tell the story."'

Rep. Henry Waxman of California, the ranking Democrat on Davis' committee in 2005:

"Mark McGwire is doing the right thing by telling the truth about his steroid use. His statement sends an important message to kids about the importance of avoiding steroids."

Tom Verducci, SI.com:

"He may not be lying. McGwire probably does believe it, if out of professional pride more than anything else. He may not have the Hall of Fame, but he wants the legitimacy of his career. And that may be why his admission of steroid use was full of disclaimers to soften the blow: he didn't remember the names of the steroids he used for years, he took 'low dosages,' he 'tried' HGH 'once, maybe twice,' his gargantuan home runs were about 'hand-eye coordination' and 'God-given talent,' and so on. McGwire may actually believe steroids did not help him perform better, but why all the anguish, embarrassment and tears then? All for drugs that were simply about just getting himself back on the field? So much shame for that? And if they were only for 'health purposes' why did he keep using them when he admitted he broke down in 1993 and 1994 while using them and, as many suspected, were actually causing what have been known to be steroid-related injuries? Why was he hitting balls to places no man ever reached before, himself included, and at a frequency nobody had ever seen before? It couldn't have been the steroids. No, of course not."

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