Originally Posted by SI1020
I'm not discounting you, I've wondered myself so I asked the question. However I will go out on a limb and say that I don't think McGwire got into them, at least in a big way, until 96. I also think the PED use in baseball peaked in the decade after the 94 strike.
I don't know that I believe that. I think he actually started using before the 1992 season. If you look at his 1991 numbers, he was in danger of falling below the .200-mark, and barely managed twenty home runs. LaRussa actually sat him- at his request- in order to avoid the embarrassment of a sub-.200 season.
His 1992 numbers were remarkably better, as he fell one home run short of the league-lead (Juan Gonzalez), in spite of missing almost two months after straining a muscle in his rib-cage in a game at Camden Yards. I actually remember the game. He took an awkward swing, stopped, and immediately walked from the batters' box into the A's clubhouse. Lance Blankenship replaced him and finished the at-bat.
Edit: He didn't miss two months, as the injury happened Friday, August 21, 1992, but I was right about Blankenship replacing him. Here's the box-score
from the game in question.