McGwire was the home run champion that season, hitting 70 home runs. Sosa ended the season with 66 home runs. Many think that the hype surrounding the 1998 home run race saved baseball from a loss of interest following the 1994 strike. The sport saw its television ratings rise and McGwire's and Sosa's popularity increase as a result.
Both men had many similarities including being born on the same day (August 5), in the same city (Chicago), and only six years apart (McGwire was 28 when he beat out Sosa for the title). They both used the same agent (Buck Martinez) and both were listed at 6'0" and 185 pounds. However, where McGwire excelled compared to Sosa was power-wise: McGwire hit 70 home runs while Sosa hit 53. McGwire also got more hits (197) than Sosa (183).
The 1998 season was by far the greatest display of power ever seen in baseball. Both men broke the record for most home runs by a pair of teammates. McGwire and Sosa had so many balls leave the yard that year that they established a new record for most homers by two hitters in a single season (they later were surpassed by Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron).
Sosa was released by the Chicago Cubs after the 1997 season and signed by the White Sox the next year.
That year, Sosa blasted 64 home runs. He is the only player in history to have hit 60 home runs three times. Because all three players were engaged in the PED crisis of the 1990s, many baseball fans and media questioned the validity of the home run records after 1998. The time now is 14:58. This page was last modified on April 23, 2014, at 14:58.
Read about other big hitters here. See our article on five more amazing hitters who hit over 50 home runs.
Also see: Famous Hitters Who Have Hit 100 Home Runs.
McGwire broke Maris' record with 70 home runs on September 8th against the Cubs. Sosa finished with a score of 66. Several players came close to surpassing Maris' record before to 1998.. Log of home runs
|Hit Against (Pitcher)||Rod Beck|
|Hit Against (Team)||Chicago Cubs|
History of Major League Baseball in 1998
|1. Mark McGwire||70|
|2. Sammy Sosa||66|
|3. Ken Griffey Jr.||56|
|4. Greg Vaughn||50|
Sammy Sosa, CHC, 1999 (63 home runs): Sosa played in all 162 games in 1999, but he fell two home runs shy of matching McGwire for the big league lead. Greg Vaughn, SD, 1998 (50 homers): Vaughn's 50 homers earned him his sole Silver Slugger award, as well as a fourth-place finish in the NL MVP voting. He also led the NL in hits (209) and RBI (136).
In 1997, Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris's single-season record of 61 home runs. In 1998, Sam Sosa broke this record. But due to injury concerns, Sosa only played in 152 games, which is 2 games less than McGwire who played in all 164 games of 1998. So McGwire won by more points margin than Sosa. In 1999, Sosa again led the league in home runs with 63, but this time around he played in all 162 games. So McGwire won by more points margin yet again!
McGwire has now won three consecutive years ending with more home runs than anyone else (Maris, Nelson, and Aaron).
McGwire has also won the Home Run Derby every year since it started being held annually in 1995. Only Pete Rose has finished with more home runs at the Derby than McGwire (10).
McGwire has also won the All-Star Game Home Run Derby every year it has been held (1995-1999).
Foot ailments restricted McGwire to 74 games and 9 home runs in each of the two seasons in 1993 and 1994. He only appeared in 104 games in 1995, but his proportionate totals were far higher: 39 home runs in 317 at-bats. McGwire led the big leagues with 52 home runs in 423 at-bats in 1996.
McGwire made his major league debut in August 1986, hitting three home runs and driving in nine runs in 18 games.
Kiner's seven-year streak of leading the league in home runs ended in 1952, when he hit 37. This was also the final of a record six straight seasons in which he led Major League Baseball in home runs, all while playing for manager Billy Meyer and Pirate great Honus Wagner. The previous five years had seen Kiner hit at least one homer every season.
During this period, baseball went from two leagues with eight teams each to a single league with two divisions per team. In 1954, the New York Yankees beat out the Pirates for the pennant by 1/2 game, but both they and the Boston Red Sox fell short of the World Series championship series. The Yankees lost to the Indians in seven games, and the Red Sox were swept by the Dodgers.
Prior to the 1955 season, MLB changed its schedule so that there were now six weeks in the year when the games would not matter who won or lost them. The remaining weeks of the season were divided into three parts: the first part involved winning your division (or conference if you were in a league that split their titles), the second part was made up of a best-of-five series between the leaders of your division (or if these leaders were still battling it out, then the next-highest finishers) and the third part consisted of a best-of-seven series between the two remaining teams in your league.
With 762 home runs, Barry Bonds owns the major league baseball home run record. On August 7, 2007, he surpassed Hank Aaron, who had reached 755. Babe Ruth, with 714 home runs, is the only other player to have hit 700 or more.
Bonds will probably remain the home run king for some time because of his private trainer who is known for developing anabolic steroids that increase muscle mass and improve appearance. The trainer, Greg Anderson, has been working with Bonds since 2001 when he first started using them. In 2003, when another baseball star, Alex Rodriguez, began using anabolic steroids, it was reported that he also got help from Anderson in achieving his monster homerun season.
Bonds received an injection containing testosterone propionate into one of his legs in early 2007. This is allowed under baseball's drug policy because it is considered "bodybuilding" rather than performance-enhancing.
In addition to Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth, other players who have won the most home run titles include George Foster (1968, 1972, 1973), Roger Maris (1961, 1962, 1963), and Willie Mays (1959, 1960, 1966).