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McGwire's Andro Cover Was Very Profitable

Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa
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Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa

In 1998, during the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa home run chase, Associated Press reporter Steve Wilstein noticed a brown bottle in McGwire’s locker labeled “ANDROSTENEDIONE.”

After doing some research, Wilstein understood it to be a legal steroid that was banned by other organizations, but not by Major League Baseball. McGwire subsequently admitted to using Andro for more than a year.

After Wilstein’s story, sales of Andro exploded. Reports say that Andro sales increased 1,000 percent to $50 million in 1999. Supplement companies like SportsOne and MuscleTech couldn’t make enough of the stuff.

“Ever since the media reported it, it’s taken off,” one retailer said at the time. “I think McGwire has accounted for 99 percent of the sales.”

Given yesterday’s admission from McGwire of using other steroids, it’s safe to say Androstenedione was pretty much just a cover for McGwire. And knowing that, it’s funny to think how much money the slugger pumped into a supplement that certainly wasn’t the sole cause of his growth and power.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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