Try to look past Mark McGwire's use of performance enhancing drugs. Try not to remember the Congressional stonewalling. Try to forget his self-imposed exile from baseball after allegations of steroid use tarnished his legendary career. In 1997, the Oakland A's traded McGwire to the St. Louis Cardinals for T.J. Matthews, Blake Stein and Eric Ludwick.
At the time, the San Francisco Chronicle said the trade might haunt the A's just as Babe Ruth's trade haunted the Red Sox (more on that later). The A's traded McGwire before the July 31 trading deadline. The first baseman was eligible to become a free agent at the end of the year [source: Blackman].
In his first full season with the Cardinals, McGwire broke Roger Maris's single-season home run record. Big Mac belted 70 homers. He helped restore fans' interest in baseball after a calamitous strike in 1994 nearly ruined the game. In 1999, McGwire hit 65 homers. Matthews, Stein and Ludwick didn't amount to much [source: Fogelgaren].