Mia Hamm vs. Mark McGwire

This page attempts to answer scientifically and without any bias the monumentally important question that has been the source of so many barfights and thumb wars: Who is the better athlete, Mia Hamm or Mark McGwire?

CategoryMia HammMark McGwireWinner
Record-breaking Achievement 108 international goals breaking Elisabetta Vignotto's record of 107 62 domestic league baseball home runs breaking Roger Maris' record of 61 Hamm
Quote after breaking record "Get a life, Rob." (To Rob Stone after he asked about the record.) "I'm like in awe of myself right now." Hamm
Commercial Endorsements Nike, Gatorade, Edy's Ice Cream, etc. McDonald's, others (?) Hamm
Commercial Co-star Michael Jordan Ronald McDonald Hamm
Buildings Named After Mia Hamm Building (largest building on Nike's Beaverton campus) none (?) Hamm
Wayne Gretzky thinks is the real "great one" Yes (quote from Gretzky on ball presented to Mia upon opening of her building: "Mia, you are the REAL 'Great One.'" No Hamm
National Team Debut age 15 age 20 (turns out there actually is a baseball national team, but its limited to amateurs) Hamm
Olympic Medals 1 gold (1996), 1 silver (2000) 1 silver (demonstration, 1984) Hamm
World Championships 3 (1996 Olympics, 1991 World Cup, 1999 World Cup) 0 Hamm
National Championships 4 (University of North Carolina, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993) 1 (MLB "World" Series with Oakland A's, 1989) Hamm
Media Coverage 15 seconds at 50th minute of Sportscenter, Jerry Trecker column Saturation coverage on ABC news, Time, Sportscenter, etc. McGwire
Typical Fan 12-year old soccer player 50-year old couch potato Hamm
Plays Nomar Garciaparra's favorite sport Yes No Hamm
Drug of Choice Caffeine Steroids (but the kind that is legal in baseball) Hamm
Shoe Nike M9 None Hamm
Web Search Hits (AltaVista) 1 553 (including a far more impressive goal record page) 21 478 McGwire
Book (author, best Amazon ranking) Go for the Goal: A Champion's Guide to Winning in Soccer and Life
(Amazon sales rank, on 21 June 1999: 89)
None Hamm
Book (subject, best Amazon ranking) 3 771 for On the Field With Mia Hamm 72 846 for Mark McGwire: A Biography Hamm
Items listed on eBay Check (117 on 4 July 1999) Check (3951 on 4 July 1999) McGwire
People Magazine's Most Beautiful People Awards 1 0 Hamm

This page has generated a few interesting comments. If you would like to contribute, send me mail.

When Roberto Baggio sneezes he gets a four-page spread. When I scored my 100th international goal I got a two-line mention in my local paper.

Caroline Morace, who scored 105 international goals for Italy

Page History

This page was created in response to the dismal media coverage when Mia Hamm scored her 100th career goal during the same summer that the media was inundating us with coverage of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa chasing Roger Maris' home run record.

Since then, a lot has changed. Mia has scored a few more goals (up to 111 as of the end of USA '99), and the media gave the Women's World Cup more coverage than I ever imagined was possible. The US team (and Mia Hamm in particular) got far more than their share of this coverage, maybe even more than Mark McGwire did. Perhaps its time for a Sun Wen comparison page instead, or a page on the comparative lack of attention paid to the men's national team...

That's ok, we like the sweeter cereals.

Mia Hamm, on the Women's National Team not being on a Wheaties Box.

Dave's Soccer Page
France '98 Travelogue


David Evans
evans@cs.virginia.edu