Big Mac gives LA marquee name as hitting coach By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com Wednesday, November 7, 2012 11:11 AM PT
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Having loaded the lineup with high-profile names, the Dodgers have hired one to coach them.
Mark McGwire was officially named to replace Dave Hansen on Wednesday, the seventh hitting coach in the seven years of general manager Ned Colletti's tenure. The announcement was made while Colletti was attending the General Managers Meetings.
McGwire, a former USC star who lives in Orange County, rejected a contract extension and left a similar position with the St. Louis Cardinals to be closer to home.
The Dodgers are hoping that a hitter of McGwire's stature will connect with a lineup of accomplished hitters that didn't deliver in 2012. Hansen took the fall for a disappointing offense that never overcame the hamstring and shoulder injuries that hobbled the lineup's focal point --Matt Kemp. Hansen has since been hired as Seattle's hitting coach.
Even with the second-half additions of All-Stars Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez and Shane Victorino, the Los Angeles offense repeatedly failed to mount a consistent attack. The Dodgers finished 13th in the National League in runs scored and RBIs and 15th in home runs.
McGwire, a 12-time All-Star who has admitted he took performance-enhancing drugs during his career, was hired by former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa three years ago, and the St. Louis offense has been productive ever since.
McGwire, who broke Roger Maris' record of 61 home runs when he hit 70 in 1998, retired as a player after the 2001 season with 583 career home runs. He currently ranks 10th all-time in the category.
McGwire was a first-round pick of Oakland in 1984 and was the American League Rookie of the Year in '87. His ninth-inning home run beat the Dodgers in Game 3 of the '88 World Series, and he was on the A's '89 World Series championship team.
In 1997, McGwire established the Mark McGwire Foundation for Children to assist agencies that work with child-abuse victims.