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Mark Mcgwire Newsbeat

Friday, September 08, 2023

Hochman: Mark McGwire’s 70-HR season, 25 years ago, through eyes of opposing pitcher and STL native

At Busch Stadium II, McGwire hit No. 61 on his dad’s 61st birthday, 25 years ago Thursday. And the next night at Busch — Sept. 8, 1998, at 8:18 PM — McGwire became the first to ever hit No. 62. And it was against Sosa and the Cubs.

McGwire, of course, finished the season with 70. Sosa slammed 66. And they rooted for each other along the way. Their smiles on the outside were pure. What was on the inside sure wasn’t.

And so, like many things in American history, it’s complicated. They broke seemingly unbreakable records but used performance-enhancing drugs. And we fans have had to navigate the emotions, compartmentalize the facts, come to terms with what’s in our hearts and in our heads. Yes, OK, maybe that sounds a little over-the-top for dealing with some baseball stuff, but again, there was a bigness to all of this. And it was in our town. Our town’s guy.

“I mean, he brought excitement back to a team that didn’t have any at the time,” St. Louis native Brian Boehringer said Wednesday. “It brought a lot of people out to the ballpark and rejuvenated a lot of fans’ interest.”

But asked where the 1998 home run race lives in baseball history, Boehringer said: “A little bit in infamy.”

Boehringer was a pitcher for San Diego in 1998. He let off McGwire’s home run No. 43. And Sosa’s No. 63.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 08, 2023 at 10:55 AM | 76 comment(s)
  Beats: mark mcgwire



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