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Mark McGwire is the St. Louis Cardinals' new hitting coach

October 26, 2009 | 12:55 pm

Remember Mark McGwire? The guy who hit all those home runs, was surrounded by steroid controversy, then seemingly fell off the face of the earth? He's the new hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals. He will join Manager Tony La Russa's coaching staff.

 Fabforum    “Mark is passionate about the game, passionate about the Cardinals,” chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said. “Tony thinks he'll be a great coach, and I think he's got a lot to offer.”

McGwire was not at the news conference at Busch Stadium, but La Russa and General Manager John Mozeliak said there will be no effort to shield McGwire from questions about steroids. The team anticipated a telephone news conference with McGwire.

    “By no means is he trying to hide, and by no means are we trying to hide him,” Mozeliak said.

    McGwire hit a then-record 70 home runs in 1998 and retired with 583 homers and a .263 career average in 2001. He famously refused to answer questions about steroids use during a March 2005 congressional hearing, saying he wasn't there to talk about the past.

La Russa hopes McGwire can use this position to repair a tarnished image.

“I'm a big fan of his,” the manager said. “He's back in uniform and, hopefully, people will see his greatness. But the No. 1 reason he's here is to coach our hitters.”

-- Houston Mitchell

The Associated Press contributed to this story