Sammy Sosa

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 45th + 46th homers in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 45th + 46th homers in 1998

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.

"He's one away from Big Mac and we're one away from tying this game."

"Swung on, belted, he's got another one! Move over, Big Mac, you and Sosa are TIED in the home run chase!"

Those were Chip Caray's memorable calls on Sosa's 45th and 46th homers in 1998 when "Slammin' Sammy" connected off Russ Ortiz and Chris Brock in San Francisco Aug. 10.

Sosa's pair of solo shots came in the fifth and seventh innings, with the second bomb traveling an estimated 480 feet. That helped the Cubs to an 8-5 victory and represented Sosa's 115th and 116th RBI of the campaign. And, obviously, pulled him even with Mark McGwire in the epic home run chase with about seven weeks left to play in the season.

Fun fact: Opposing Sosa and the Cubs was Barry Bonds, who hit his 24th in that Aug. 10 game back in 1998. That number seems a little light for Bonds nearly 4.5 months into the season, but he only finished with 37 homers that year.

Bonds hit 34 in just 102 games in 1999 and then slammed at least 45 dingers in five straight seasons from 2000-04 (including, obviously, 73 in 2001). 

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 44th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 44th homer in 1998

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's 44th homer of 1998, but it came in vain.

He hit a two-run shot in the top of the ninth inning off Cardinals closer Rich Croushore to tie the ballgame at 5 and send it into extras.

The Cubs wound up losing the game 9-8 in a wild, seesaw affair. They scored twice in the top of the 11th, but Rod Beck gave that lead right back to the Cardinals. Sosa singled home a run in the top of the 12, but Beck once again gave it.

In the bottom of the 13th, Cubs reliever Dave Stevens finally ended the game as he gave up a single to Ray Lankford with the bases loaded.

Fun fact: Mark McGwire also homered in the game, his 46th blast of the year to stay ahead of Sosa. The Cubs pitching staff also walked McGwire four times throughout the game.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 43rd homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 43rd homer in 1998

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 victimized Andy Benes for his first homer of August 1998, taking the Diamondbacks pitcher 374 feet at Wrigley Field.

Sosa's 2-run shot in the third inning and his first-inning sacrifice fly weren't enough to help the Cubs to victory as they fell 10-7 to the D-Backs in their first year of existence as a franchise.

A huge reason why was a tough outing from Kerry Wood, who surrendered 7 runs on 9 hits and a pair of walks in 6 innings.

Fun fact: Diamondbacks third baseman Tony Batista connected for one of the homers off Wood, only the 17th longball of his career. Batista hit 11 more dingers that season and 193 more after 1998 over his career, including six straight campaigns with at least 25 homers beginning in 1999.