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“It’s really cool,” he said.

Big Mac has been the man behind the scenes the last two seasons for St. Louis’ hard-hitting lineup. The feeling of being with a winner? “Phenomenal,” he said.

“You dream about it as a kid,” McGwire explained. “I never dreamed about it being a coach, but it’s even more special because I really understand what this game’s all about.”

McGwire was a 25-year-old slugger with the Athletics in 1989, when he had 35 homers and 95 RBIs to help them win the World Series title. He was reunited with manager Tony La Russa in St. Louis after spending several years away from the game.

The Cardinals hired McGwire as their hitting coach after the 2009 season, and the following January he admitted using steroids when he was a player.

After the Cardinals beat Texas 6-2 in Game 7 on Friday night, he couldn’t stop talking about the team’s improbable run to a championship.

“I don’t think you can write a script like this,” McGwire said. “It’s never been done before. To come from 10 1/2 games back the last week of August and win the World Series is incredible.”

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BIG BAT OFF THE BENCH: The injury to slugger Matt Holliday that kept him out of Game 7 was but a minor concern for the Cardinals.

They had the perfect replacement.

Allen Craig had a better September than Holliday _ and a better October, too. Stepping in after Holliday was taken off the World Series roster with a bruised right wrist, the 27-year-old Craig had the go-ahead hit Friday night with his fourth homer of the postseason and saved a run with a leaping catch at the left field wall that robbed Nelson Cruz of a homer.

St. Louis took the title with a 6-2 victory over Texas in Game 7.

“Home run was nice. Catch was better. I’ve never done that before,” Craig said.

In Game 6, Craig stepped in after Holliday was hurt diving back to third while getting picked off and homered in the eighth to fuel the first of two comebacks in the Cardinals‘ wild 10-9, 11-inning victory.

Craig was one of the team’s most productive hitters in the World Series, with three homers and five RBIs.

Story Continues →