If watching "Long Gone Summer" left you wanting more, let's point you in the right direction.
I asked some of our baseball minds at NBC Sports Chicago which present-day MLB player they think can closest replicate Mark McGwire's (70) and Sammy Sosa's (66) home run totals from 1998.
Our White Sox scribe Vinnie Duber kicks it off:
"It’s certainly possible, though there might only be a few guys who could do it on an annual basis," Duber said, "as opposed to the variety of guys who were turning in 40- and 50-homer seasons in the '90s and early 2000s.
"But three players still 30 and under rank in the top 30 on baseball’s single-season home run list: Giancarlo Stanton (now 30) hit 59 in 2017, Pete Alonso (now 25) hit 53 as a rookie last year and Aaron Judge (now 28) hit 52 in 2017. While Stanton and Judge have both had injury issues in the middle of that Yankees lineup, both are big, strong dudes capable of hitting a ton of homers. Alonso might be the most intriguing, as he’s got all of one big league season under his belt and mashed more than 50 homers in it."
I agree the likely suspects are Stanton, Judge and Alonso. The numbers bear out. In MLB history, only Stanton's 2017 total is in the top 10 overall. Ryan Howard (2006) and McGwire (1997) are next on the leaderboard with 58, and Jimmie Foxx (1932) and Hank Greenberg (1938) also hit 58. The next highest total from the 2010s is 54, hit by Jose Bautista in 2010.
Jeff Nelson, producer of "Baseball Night in Chicago" and NBC Sport Chicago pregame and postgame shows, offered this when discussing the idea of not just passing 1998, but Barry Bonds' 2001 season, when he hit 73 homers:
"I don't think we're ever going to see two players chasing the home run mark like Sosa and McGwire did in 1998. They only had to get to 62," Nelson said. "The next race is to 74, almost 20 percent more home runs than the chase in '98. To counter the argument of launch angle and a different baseball, I would point to social media. The Sammy-Big Mac race captured the attention of the nation in a pre-social media world. The following the race would get 22 years later could blow up Twitter (though that would probably be a good thing).
"If there were to be a two-man race, I would go with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, similar to another all-Yankees home run chase in '61, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. Though they would both have to stay healthy, something that hasn't happened the last couple of years."
Duber had this to say regarding a possible passing of Bonds' 2001 total:
"It still seems a little outrageous to think we’d see 70 homers again. Even Alonso’s MLB-leading total last year was a whopping 17 away from matching McGwire’s in 1998," he said. "Eugenio Saurez ranked second in baseball in homers and was 21 shy of McGwire. But even still, someone came within 11 just three years ago."
And NBC Sports Chicago's noted baseball numbers cruncher Chris Kamka offered this:
"While it's unlikely that it will happen again — especially two players in the same season — it's certainly possible," Kamka said. "And especially now while the ball is flying over the fence at record numbers.
"Four players come to mind. Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Trout and possibly Pete Alonso are, in my opinion, the candidates who are most likely to pull it off — if anyone does. It will take a generational talent in home run power to get it done. Judge, Stanton and Trout are without a doubt just that. If Alonso can continue to improve, he might be on that level as well. Trout draws so many walks, I don't know if he'll get enough chances, although Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs despite drawing 177 walks, so it's not out of the question."
And while we wait for the 2020 season, we do know this certainty: to hope for numbers like these, we'll have to wait until 2021, at least.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.