Each monday, In release a list of historical events for the week. My first article last week was about Edward Klep the first and only white player to make it in the negro leagues. A fascinating write for me. This week, had very little. I decided to look back to childhood and discuss the incredible homerun race of 1998 and the Yankees winning the World Series that year.
It was the 1st of 70. The magical 1998 season which saw the HR record broken and at a time when the Yankees would win their 2nd WS in 3 seasons. 1998 was a season, I will never forget. It had everything I loved and as a child I failed to acknowledge steroids. I wanted to see HR and I felt that way until they showed me that steroids are bad. As I’ve gotten older, I care less. Something bad gave us something so good and during a time when every team had a few players doing it.
It was in the mid 1990s, around 96 maybe that MLB for the 1st time ever started in the end of March. Heres what happened for Mark Mcguire on opening day.
March 31, 1998: Mark McGwire hits the first of his historic seventy home runs when he goes deep off Ramon Martinez in the fifth inning of the Cardinals’ 6-0 victory over L.A. at Busch Stadium. The Redbirds’ first baseman becomes the first player in franchise history to hit a grand slam on Opening Day.
I saw highlights of that shot the next day and my love for the game exploded. I love homeruns. As I grew up I started loving pitching and the strikeout more but that is another article. Of all the jerks who hit HR and took steroids, Giambi is my favorite but Mark McGuire would be a close second. Giambi could hit HR from his ankles. That was insane to me, when we signed him I lost my mind.
Back before Mark even made it to Stl Cardinals, he was destroying balls in Oak. In the 1987 season at age 23, He would hit 49 HR a league high while winning rookie of the year. He hit the 70, 11 years later at the age of 35, two years after that he would retire. He hit 65 HR in 1999 and its often forgotten like his Oakland days. Some players just look better on other teams and I see him as a Cardinal more so then I remember his Oakland days.
That whole Era was just fascinating, though I like seeing pitchers dominate in resent years. The HR years will always captivate baseball fans more so then anything else. That was certainly the case in 2017 when Judge hit 52 HR in his rookie season and then again last year when that bum Pete Alonso for the Scmets beat it! People dig the long ball, that’s a fact!