You’re 24 years old. It’s the bottom of the eighth, down 1-0, you and Clemens. ‘Visualize,’ you tell yourself, ‘visualize.’ You need this, because the fear still keeps you up at night. What if some young kid coming up takes away your at-bats, then your position, then your father’s approval? It’s the reason you watch endless hours of tape, keying in on every pitcher’s tendencies. That’s why you know a fastball is coming — inside. You can still see the threads spinning. In your darkest hours, this is what you cling to, like a child sucking a pacifier. Head down. Hips turn. Boom. Rounding the bases, your feet never touch the ground.
McGwire first became eligible for Hall of Fame voting in 2007. For election, a player needs to be listed on 75% of ballots cast; falling under 5% removes a player from future consideration. Between 2007 and 2010 McGwire's performance held steady, receiving 128 votes (%) in 2007 , 128 votes (%) in 2008 , 118 votes (%) in 2009 , and 128 votes (%) in 2010 . The subsequent ballot in 2011 showed the first sub-20% total of 115 votes (%), and McGwire's total votes continued to decline (112 votes (%) in 2012 , 96 votes (%) in 2013 , 63 votes (%) in 2014 , and 55 votes (%) in 2015 ) until he was finally eliminated after receiving only 54 votes (%) in 2016 .