It made sense that Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s lives would by no means be the identical after toppling Main League Baseball’s well-known single-season home-run file in 1998. However as an alternative of changing into icons, they turned two of the polarizing faces of baseball’s steroid period.
They have been on high of the world for a short while, however what rapidly adopted for every was public turmoil, scandal, steroid accusations and one confession. Gone was the magic of the summer time of ‘98 and what it took it place was one in all MLB’s long-lasting shames — how followers couldn’t consider what they have been seeing with their very own eyes.
Sosa has nonetheless by no means admitted he used performance-enhancing medication. That’s a part of the explanation his relationship with the Cubs has soured. McGwire ultimately admitted he used PEDs, and was introduced again into MLB as a coach. However neither sluggers get the ambassador remedy from MLB or their former groups.
With ESPN set to debut “Lengthy Gone Summer season,” its 30-for-30 documentary on the house run chase of 1998, on Sunday night time right here’s a take a look at the curler coaster trip that adopted McGwire and Sosa surpassing 61 homers in a single season and the way two larger-than-life sluggers turned two of MLB’s most disgraced stars.
Sept. 8, 1998: McGwire hits residence run No. 62 towards the Cubs and pitcher Steve Trachsel. McGwire finishes the season with 70 homers complete.
Sept. 13, 1998: Sosa hits residence runs No. 61 and 62 towards the Brewers, passing Roger Maris’ file as effectively. Sosa ultimately finishes the season with 66 residence runs.
Nov. 19, 1998: Sosa is topped NL MVP, getting all however two of the first-place votes. These went to McGwire. Whereas McGwire gained the house run race, Sosa led the league with 158 RBIs and helped the Cubs into the postseason. McGwire and Sosa would ultimately be named Co-Sportsmen of the 12 months by Sports activities Illustrated.
1999 season: Whereas it wasn’t the identical thrilling race and doesn’t earn the identical quantity of nostalgia as we speak, each McGwire and Sosa exceed 61 residence runs within the following season. Sosa hits 63 in 1999 whereas McGwire hits 65.
2000 season: Whereas McGwire, 36, begins to point out his age, Sosa continues on a home-run tear that historical past appears to have largely forgotten about. He hit one other 50 residence runs in 2000, then 64 in 2001 and 49 in 2002.
2001 season: McGwire and Sosa’s run at historical past doesn’t show to final that lengthy. Barry Bonds slugs 73 homers through the 2001 season to interrupt McGwire’s file and set a home-run mark that hasn’t been handed since.
Nov. 11, 2001: Saying that he’s “worn out,” McGwire retires from MLB after hitting .189 with 29 homers. He was 38.
June 3, 2003: Sosa is ejected from a recreation after an umpire discovers he’s utilizing a corked bat. Sosa says he by accident used a corked batting follow bat. None of his different bats are discovered to have corks, however he’s nonetheless suspended eight video games by MLB.
Oct. 3, 2004: Sosa’s tenure with the Cubs ends in controversy. After a disappointing season, he requests to sit down out the ultimate recreation of the season and leaves early. Years later, he says he had permission from supervisor Dusty Baker to depart early, however it’s the starting of a feud with the Cubs that also hasn’t been resolved.
Feb. 2, 2005: Sosa is traded to the Orioles and performs one season in Baltimore. He solely hit 14 homers. He walks away from the sport after that season however doesn’t retire.
Feb. 21, 2005: Jose Canseco releases his ebook, “Juiced,” through which he provides his private account of steroid use in Main League Baseball. Within the ebook, Canseco says he launched McGwire to steroids and so they injected one another.
March 17, 2005: McGwire and Sosa are summoned to testify earlier than the Home Authorities Reform Committee about the usage of steroids in baseball. In complete, 11 gamers testify. Sosa denies utilizing steroids and McGwire tip-toes across the subject. He says: “My legal professionals have suggested me that I can’t reply these questions with out jeopardizing my mates, my household and myself.”
June 20, 2007: Sosa, who returned to MLB for the 2007 season after not taking part in in 2006, hits his 600th residence run for the Texas Rangers. He golf equipment a complete of 21 homers that season at 38 years outdated, ending his profession with 609 homers.
Dec. 13, 2007: The Mitchell Report is launched — a year-long investigation into steroid use in baseball by former prosecutor and politician George Mitchell. Whereas McGwire and Sosa aren’t the principle headline out of The Mitchell Report like Bonds and Roger Clemens are, this nonetheless represents a pivotal second within the public reveal of baseball’s steroid period.
June 3, 2009: Sosa formally retires from MLB, after not taking part in in 2008 and 2009.
June 16, 2009: The New York Instances studies that Sosa is one in all 104 gamers who examined optimistic for steroids in a 2003 nameless survey of MLB gamers, the outcomes of which have been below a courtroom seal. On the time there was no penalty for a optimistic check in MLB.
Oct. 26, 2009: McGwire is employed by the Cardinals to be their hitting coach.
Jan. 11, 2010: McGwire publicly admits to his steroid use for the primary time. He says he used them for a decade, together with through the 1998 residence run chase. McGwire maintains that he used steroids for well being functions and to not construct energy. His assertion on the time mentioned:
“I used steroids throughout my taking part in profession and I apologize. I keep in mind making an attempt steroids very briefly within the 1989/1990 off season after which after I used to be injured in 1993, I used steroids once more. I used them now and again all through the nineties, together with through the 1998 season. I want I had by no means touched steroids. It was silly and it was a mistake. I really apologize. Wanting again, I want I had by no means performed through the steroid period.
“I am positive individuals will marvel if I may have hit all these residence runs had I by no means taken steroids. I had good years after I did not take any and I had dangerous years after I did not take any. I had good years after I took steroids and I had dangerous years after I took steroids. However it doesn’t matter what, I should not have completed it and for that I am really sorry. Baseball is actually totally different now — it has been cleaned up. The Commissioner and the Gamers Affiliation applied testing and so they cracked down, and I am glad they did.”
Nov. 7, 2012: McGwire is employed because the Dodgers hitting coach, a place he would serve in for the subsequent three seasons.
Dec. 2, 2015: McGwire joins the San Diego Padres as their bench coach, basically the second in command subsequent to supervisor Andy Inexperienced.
Nov. 2, 2016: The Cubs lastly win a World Collection. It’s a grand event for anybody near the Cubs, however Sosa, one of many group’s greatest stars, doesn’t make an look through the World Collection or in its aftermath. It shines a lightweight on the quiet feud that’s been carrying on between the Cubs and Sosa because the finish of his time in Chicago.
Jan. 18, 2017: McGwire misses election to Cooperstown on his most up-to-date poll. He’s a part of the At present’s Sport Period Committee poll and earns lower than 5 votes from the 16-member panel. Twelve votes are wanted for election.
Jan. 13, 2018: Cubs proprietor Tom Ricketts, is requested about whether or not Sosa might be welcomed again by the Cubs anytime quickly — virtually an annual occasion at this level. He doesn’t point out Sosa by identify however says this about gamers from the PED period:
“I additionally consider that gamers from that period owe us a little bit little bit of honesty, and I type of really feel like the one approach to flip this web page is to place every little thing on the desk.”
Might 2, 2018: Sosa says he wish to return to Wrigley and made amends with the Cubs, however says he’s “at peace” if it doesn’t occur. He says: “If someday I come again to Chicago, I would come again for the followers. I owe these individuals one thing.”
Might 2, 2018: In that very same interview with NBC Sports activities, Sosa additionally addresses his pores and skin tone, which has grow to be a sizzling subject on the web. Sosa had been noticed in recent times with a lot lighter pores and skin than his taking part in day.
Sosa beforehand mentioned he used a pores and skin cream that bleached his pores and skin. However on this interview, he additionally says this to the individuals who made memes and jokes on-line about him:
“These individuals, they often criticize me, they do not know me, they do not put meals on my desk and so they do not pay my payments.”
Oct 24, 2018: McGwire steps down as Padres bench coach, saying he needs to spend extra time along with his household.
Jan. 21, 2020: Sosa earns 13.9 p.c of the vote throughout the newest BBWAA Corridor of Fame election. He stays a good distance away from the 75 p.c wanted for Cooperstown.
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