Mark McGwire had been known throughout his career as a great home run hitter. In 1998, he changed the record books as the whole world watched. He, and Chicago Cub Sammy Sosa, brought back memories of the 1961 Mickey Mantle / Roger Maris home run race. McGwire eventually "won" by hitting the record breaking sixty-second homer seven days before Sosa. McGwire went around the bases eight more times before season's end, leaving the new record at seventy.
McGwire began going over the fence as early as March. He hit consistently through the summer, jockeying for the National League lead with Sosa. The two faced a mass of media, as every eye in the country turned to see who would win the place in the record books. On September 8, McGwire did just that as he hit an 88 mile per hour fastball off of Steve Trachsel of the Chicago Cubs. Sosa was there to celebrate the milestone; he celebrated his own five days later. McGwire and Sosa capped their seasons as the co-holders of Sports Illustrated's Sportsmen of the Year.
McGwire later admitted to using the steroid Androstenedione during his record setting year, among others. Since his retirement in 2001, McGwire has kept a low profile, marrying the following April. McGwire may have been known as Big Mac by his teammates, but during the 1998 season he was known as the Babe Ruth of the nineteen-nineties.
In Numerical Order
The Mark McGwire Big 70