ESPN reported Sunday that the St. Louis Cardinals first baseman will not return next season. He walks away from a two-year, $30 million contract extension and leaves after a season in which he batted just .187 with 29 homers in 299 at bats.
"After a considerable discussion with those close to me, I have decided not to sign the extension, as I am unable to perform at a level equal to the salary the organization would be paying me," McGwire said.
"I believe I owe it to the Cardinals and the fans of St. Louis to step aside, so a talented free agent can be brought in as the final piece of what I expect can be a world championship-caliber team."
McGwire established a major-league record for homers in a season with 70 two years ago. That record was eclipsed by the 73 produced by Barry Bonds this year.