Slugger Mark McGwire has given up the vilified supplement, but perhaps his decision was premature

When Mark McGwire came clean a few weeks ago and admitted that he hasn't been using androstenedione since April, the confession/proclamation brought to mind a much lesser Redbird icon of the past, vastly overpraised catcher Darrell Porter. Porter, who by the time he reached St. Louis had given up alcohol and other drugs, said that during his best season in the majors he altered his consciousness on a regular basis. Porter wondered aloud how much better he could have been had he been sober and straight. How about the argument that he wouldn't have had his best season without the alteration? He probably wouldn't have hit .291, driven in 112 runs and had a league-leading 121 walks, as he did in 1979 for the Kansas City Royals.

So McGwire gave up andro in April. That could mean that his monster season in '98 was likely his best season ever, and he did it on andro. Does that mean it was a result of andro? 'Course not, but tell that to the strength-and-conditioning coach in Monroe, La., who has half his high-school football team on andro. Problem is, his team is winning, and in the Al "Just Win, Baby" Davis world we live in, that trumps most other considerations, including health.

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