OAKLAND -- The A's officially inducted their second Hall of Fame class Saturday night in a pre-game ceremony on the Coliseum field.
It was a star-studded class, featuring Mark McGwire, Tony La Russa, Vida Blue, Bert Campaneris, and Walter A. Haas Jr. For McGwire, it represented a long-awaited homecoming in Oakland, as he had to miss the 30th anniversary reunion of the 1989 World Series championship team earlier this year.
"I couldn't wait to tell my family," McGwire said of the honor. "Other than my son Matt, my family now wasn't here when this all existed. So this is the first time they get to see Oakland and Oakland rock."
A’s Hall of Fame adds a new class:— Oakland A's (@Athletics) September 22, 2019
💛 Walter A. Haas, Jr.
⭐️ Bert “Campy” Campaneris
💙 Vida Blue
💪 Mark McGwire
💚 Tony La Russa https://t.co/yDuRSYKZUx
McGwire did get to come to the Coliseum last season as a member of the San Diego Padres coaching staff, but this was different. When he found out he had earned the team's Hall of Fame honor, he was deeply moved.
"I was like, 'Wow, that's really cool,'" McGwire said. "It just catches you off guard. I saw what happened last year and I was like, 'Oh they're starting to do something like that.' I didn't know if I'd get a call this year or whenever, but I was ecstatic."
McGwire still cherishes the memories of his time in Oakland, where he spent 12 seasons and made nine All-Star Games.
"We had some great runs here," McGwire said. "I played with many Hall of Fame players, stud athletes, and the third-winningest (manager) in MLB history (La Russa). I'm blessed. I'm truly blessed."
Of course, McGwire's career has been somewhat tainted by his use of performance-enhancing drugs, which has kept him out of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. While he hopes to someday be enshrined in Cooperstown, he says he doesn't think about it too much these days.
"I don't," McGwire said. "If I'm blessed to get that call someday, it'd be another great day."
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In the meantime, McGwire has enjoyed watching this year's A's team and thinks they have what it takes to make a deep run in the postseason.
"We're tied with Boston for the third-most World Series wins with nine," he said. "Just watching the way the team is playing right now, I'd say they're playing very well at the right time. So they might be breaking that little tie with the Boston Red Sox."