It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.
Sosa went almost a week in between longballs as the calendar flipped from April to May in 1998. When he did break through, it was in the form of a 370-foot blast at Wrigley Field off Cardinals pitcher Cliff Politte.
The Cubs wound up losing the game 8-5, but Sosa gave them an early lead with a solo shot off the St. Louis starter in the bottom of the first inning. Politte lasted just 3 innings that day as the Cubs built a 4-1 lead after 5 before the wheels came off for Kevin Tapani and Terry Mulholland.
Though Mark McGwire played in that game, he did not go deep. As Sammy hit his 7th homer, McGwire was already sitting at 12 dingers on the season after a hot April.
The Cubs had clearly taken notice of McGwire's early season prowess, walking him 9 times in the last 3 games of the series, including twice on this day.
Fun fact: Delino DeShields was the No. 2 hitter for St. Louis that day and now his son is playing in the big leagues as an outfielder for the Texas Rangers.
Fun fact 2: Gary Gaetti was the Cardinals' starting third baseman on May 3, 1998. They later released him in mid-August and he signed with the Cubs five days later before famously hitting that homer in the one-game playoff Sept. 28.