Mark McGwire

Giants scout compared Mark McGwire to better Dave Kingman as prospect

Giants scout compared Mark McGwire to better Dave Kingman as prospect

It was clear when watching Mark McGwire at USC that he was set for stardom in the big leagues. McGwire was an eighth-round pick in high school but then dominated for the Trojans. 

When Giants scout George Genovese saw McGwire play in March of 1984, he was blown away.

"This boy has outstanding power," Genovese wrote in his official scouting report. "... I feel he will be a good power hitter as he makes good contact and hits to all field with power. He is a tough out at the plate and it takes a good curve ball or excellent pitch to get him out." 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

As MLB.com's Matt Kelly notes, Genovese even saw a better version of a former No. 1 overall pick -- Dave Kingman -- in a young McGwire.

"As much power and better contact at the plate than Dave Kingman," Genovese wrote.

McGwire wound up hitting .387 with 32 home runs, 20 doubles and 80 RBI at USC in 1984. And the Giants had a chance to select McGwire with the No. 9 pick in the '84 MLB Draft. Instead, they took outfielder Alan Cockrell, who had nine at-bats in his MLB career and never played for San Francisco.

[RELATED: Why Baer believes 2020 MLB Draft requires 'better scouting']

The A's grabbed McGwire one pick later at No. 10 overall, and he became an instant star. The powerful first baseman hit a then-rookie record 49 homers for the A's in 1987 on his way to winning AL Rookie of the Year. 

McGwire finished his career with 583 long balls. Kingman, who started his career with the Giants and ended it with the A's, hit 442. And Cockrell had two career hits ... none went over the fence.

Jose Canseco's 'Bash Brothers' PSA tries to halt spread of coronavirus

Jose Canseco's 'Bash Brothers' PSA tries to halt spread of coronavirus

A's stars Khris Davis and Mark Canha have been practicing the anti-handshake method for a while now with their celebratory Bash Bro celebrations at home plate. 

So, this doesn't necessarily pertain to them when it comes to dealing with the latest coronavirus pandemic. 

The celebratory act of tapping one another's elbows together originated with the OG Bash Bros back when the A's had Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco. And Canseco promoted his own PSA on to remind you to bump elbows rather than shake hands to stop the virus' spread.

And don't forget to wash your hands.

Facetiousness aside, the baseball world has dealt with a lot this week, and at a fast pace, during the spread of COVID-19.

[RELATED: A's prospect auctioning glove for COVID-19 relief]

MLB announced on Monday it would be pushing back Opening Day, extending the original two-week delay due to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which restricts events of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks. This puts the regular season, for now, beginning in May.

"MLB will keep fans updated on decisions regarding plans for the 2020 schedule in the days and weeks ahead," the league said.

A's legend Mark McGwire has enjoyed watching power surge in baseball

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USATSI

A's legend Mark McGwire has enjoyed watching power surge in baseball

OAKLAND -- Much has been made of the massive home run totals across Major League Baseball this year, with several teams -- including the A's -- setting franchise for most homers in a season.

In fact, the league itself set a record earlier this month, with nearly three weeks still remaining in the season.

Former A's star Mark McGwire, who hit more than a few home runs in his day, weighed in on this year's power surge across baseball.

"It's awesome," he said. "Obviously, there's a difference (with the baseballs), but I don't think that's the only thing. Guys are throwing harder and guys are getting used to hitting velo(city). Guys are getting bigger and the way they're generating bat speed, the ball's coming in and when it hits it goes. There are a lot of factors. Maybe the ball has something to do with it. Some of these games I watch, I feel like I want to put a uniform on and go out there and play."

McGwire is far from the only person who has speculated about the baseballs. Astros ace Justin Verlander has been one of the louder voices in that discussion.

While it seems clear that something is going on with the balls, the increase in power numbers also can be explained by the approach hitters are taking. Terms like "launch angle" and "exit velocity" have become commonplace in the baseball lexicon, as power hitters try to get balls in the air as often as possible.

[RELATED: Why Rangers manager likes A's chances to win World Series]

Of course, McGwire had a similar approach at the plate, although the terms themselves had no meaning yet.

"We didn't know what that was," he laughed. "We just hit. ... You're going to create launch angle by squaring up the baseball and trying to hit it as hard as you can. That's it. I mean, I would've loved to see what mine was because that's all I did was hit fly balls. ... That was just my swing. I think a lot of people get caught up in the launch angle stuff, but the bottom line is you still have to hit the ball hard."