As far as I'm concerned the two relevant stats on Mark McGwire's Baseball Reference.com page are 583 home runs and roughly $75 million in career earnings. There is no doubt in my mind that both of those numbers were made possible by McGwire's steroid use. That's the deal he made with the devil. He took steroids which allowed him to hit the home runs which allowed him to get his millions of dollars.
I don't blame him. If someone approached the young Chris Lynch and offered me millions of dollars in exchange for taking steroids and risking having my name tainted as a cheater - I'll be honest - I'd have a hard time turning down the money.
So I can understand why McGwire did what he did. That doesn't mean I have any sympathy for him. He's not entitled to that. He's also not entitled to my forgiveness for what he did and he's certainly not entitled to a spot in the Hall of Fame.
The real victims here are the people like Fred McGriff whose numbers would have been Hall of Fame worthy if it had not been for the explosion of steroids fueled careers (and yes I know I'm making the assumption that McGriff was clean but I'm pretty comfortable with that assumption). Without the Mark McGwire's and Rafael Palmeiro's of the world - Fred McGriff probably gets into the Hall of Fame. Now those steroid fueled careers and those of others move McGriff down the all-time lists and probably into obscurity.
The real victims here are the untold number of clean players whose careers got stuck at AAA ball because they could beat out the Ozzie Canseco's in skill and production but not the Jose Canseco's. These people had their careers blocked and dreams shattered because they tried to do things the clean way.
So good for you Mark McGwire for finally admitting what we all knew was true anyway. Just don't make the mistake of thinking that when the boos die down that it means the fans are forgiving you. It just means you're not worth the time or effort.