A Year To Remember Essay Research Paper

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A Year To Remember Essay, Research Paper After the 1994 strike, Major League Baseball has had problems getting fans interested in the game and into the ballparks. All that changed in 1998 when baseball enjoyed its greatest season ever. From the home run chase, the great pitching, and the unstoppable Yankees, there is no doubt about it. Even the 41 season, with Joe Dimaggio s 56 game hitting streak and Ted Williams run at a .400 batting average pales in comparison to the exploits of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 98. Because of all that was going on in 98, some huge accomplishments were overshadowed and became only footnotes. Let s take a look back at a most unforgettable season. MARK MCGWIRE: THE NEW SULTAN OF SWAT When people remember the 1998 season, they will

understandably first think of the home run chase. For most of the summer, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa chased each other and the most revered record in all of professional sports: Roger Maris single season home run record off 61 set back in 1961. When spring training began, McGwire was thrust into the spotlight when asked if he thought he would break the record. From day one, it was expected of him to at least surpass his 1997 home run total of 58 if not reach Maris. And even when him and Sosa were neck and neck, Sosa was still in Big Mac s shadow. It is widely believed that without Sosa, McGwire might not have passed Maris and never would have reached such a mind-boggling number. A perfect example of McGwire and Sosa pushing each other is a Cubs-Cardinals series in mid-August at

Wrigley Field. Both sluggers had been stuck on 47 for the past few days. In the bottom of the fifth, Slammin Sammy slammed his 48th of the year. Big Mac answered in the top of the seventh with his 48th. Then in the top of the ninth, McGwire bashed his 49th homer to again lead Sosa. This, however, would not be the last time that the two would cross paths. A few weeks later the Cubs came to St. Louis for a two game series that started on Labor Day. At the time, McGwire had 60 while his Dominican counterpart had 58. In the first inning of game one, McGwire game the fans exactly what they wanted to see when he blasted his 61st homer to tie Maris. The entire baseball world and all of America was in anticipation for the next game. Even the Maris family was on hand for a game that was

unimportant for the Cardinals as a team. They were too far behind division-leading Houston and Wild Card leading Chicago to make a serious bid for the postseason. Big Mac was 0 for 2 when he came to bat in the fifth inning. Cubs pitcher, Steve Trachsel was pitching McGwire extra careful, but it did not help. He belted a pitch just barely over the wall in left field. That sent the sellout crowd at Busch Stadium into jubilation. By hitting number 62 he had set the new single season home run record, but he still had three weeks to hit more. As he circled the bases, McGwire received congratulations from the entire Cub infield, and even a hug from former Cardinal, Cubs third baseman Gary Gaetti. He even went into the first row of the stands and hugged the Maris family. Then Sammy Sosa

came in from right field and personally congratulated McGwire. There was then a speech from legendary Cardinal broadcaster, Jack Buck, and even one from McGwire himself. After the excitement and the anticipation McGwire then went into a weeklong slump. In that week, Sosa was able to catch him. One day after Sosa hit his 62nd; Big Mac crushed his 63rd. His bat then came alive in a series in Milwaukee. In that series he hit numbers 64, 65, and nearly 66. Umpire Bob Davidson ruled what could have been 66 a double because a fan reached over and caught it (Verducci, 4). Thus the stage was set for a magical conclusion to the home run race. On the last Friday of the season, Sammy Sosa took the lead in the chase when he hit his 66th homer. Big Mac answered with hit 66th just 45 minutes