After several hours of research and exchanging emails with collectors, the following highlights sources and information on Mark McGwire’s bat. We also discuss his best at bat, his bat’s size and how, had his body held up like other greats, he would have been in the 700 club.
Mark McGwire’s Bat
|Rawlings||34 – 34.5||32.6 – 35||Big Stick, 256B, MAC25||1986 – 2001|
|Louisville Slugger||34||33||S318, R161||1986 -1987|
What Size Bat Did Mark McGwire Swing?
Throughout his career, Mark’s bat size didn’t change much. Despite the brand, you could expect a 34 or 34.5 inch length with a weight between 32.5 and 35 ounces. Compared to the other Major League players of his time, this is considered a large bat. Barry Bonds, for example, never used longer than a 34 inch or a weight greater than 33 ounces.
What Model Bat Did Mark McGwire Swing?
Although he used Louisville Slugger’s S318 and R161 early in his career, he was a Rawlings Adirondack guy for the remaining 14 years. That Rawlings bat changed model numbers, but rarely model sizes. The ring on the bat changed from green to red when he was traded from the Athletics to the Cardinals. As he became more famous, Rawlings changed the 256B model number to MAC25 in honor of his success.
Like many great hitters, he found what was working and didn’t change.
Mark McGwire’s Best At Bat
Down by one in the bottom of the 11th, McGwire stepped into the box against Astros’ Billy Wagner on July 11, 1998. With one out and a runner on second, McGwire, batting in the 3 spot, went down 0-2 quickly on a called strike and a foul ball.
Wagner would leave the next pitch a tad too much over the plate, and McGwire drilled it to deep left center field. On the year, now just half over, this would count for McGwire’s 38th home run. He would go on to hit another 32 in the remaining months and end with an MLB record 70 home runs in a season, crushing Roger Maris’ 61 in ’61 by 9. Astonishingly, McGwire had only 153 base hits in 1998—70 of them home runs.
Three years later Barry Bonds would hit 73.
McGwire’s career, soon to be tainted with the steroid scandal, ended in injury in 2001 at a short 15 years. Had he played as long as Ruth (22 years), Bonds (22 Years) and Aaron (23 Years), the 700 club was a serious possibility. Indeed, 7 more years at an average of just 30 home runs would put him within reach of 800 bombs.
Mark McGwire’s Game Used Bats
Significant effort has been spent detailing Mark McGwire’s game used bats. Instead of recreating that data here, we will direct you to mcgwire.com’s write up for specifics. From a 30,000 foot view, McGwire’s bats are consistent enough throughout his playing time that identifying them is much simpler than some others. Pine tar is common. Autographs on the bats can also be found.
Mark McGwire’s Bat Sources
The McGwire.com site has an entire section about identifying his game used bats. That site is a ghost town, but its documentation of his game used bats is remarkable. Our go to PSA Bat facts didn’t disappoint. Huggins and Scott have good detail on a specific weight and length measurement. MLBgameused bats Instagram account was also helpful. Baseball References recap of the game on July 17, 1998 is helpful as well.