It has been 22 years since Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa captured baseball followers with their epic race to interrupt Roger Maris’ 1961 single-season house run report. However for as exhilarating the summer season of 1998 was, McGwire and Sosa’s house run chase is simply as tainted by way of performance-enhancing medication. On Sunday, ESPN will air its newest 30 for 30 documentary specializing in that summer season and the McGwire-Sosa showdown. The brand new movie, “Lengthy Gone Summer season,” directed by AJ Schnack, will look again on the summer season of ’98 and its lasting impression on baseball right now.
We have you coated with data on the way to watch the documentary, in addition to ten issues it is advisable know earlier than the movie airs.
The way to watch ‘Lengthy Gone Summer season’
- Date: Sunday, June 14
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Streaming: ESPN app
1. Maris’ 1961 report at stake
Even earlier than the summer season of 1998, it was clear that Roger Maris’ single-season home-run report (61) set again in 1961 was in peril. The yr earlier than, Mark McGwire and completed simply three shy of tying Maris’ report. When the ’98 season received underway, it was anticipated that this might be the yr Maris’ 37-year outdated report would fall, with both McGwire or Ken Griffey Jr. taking up as the brand new report holder. Griffey would fall out of the race throughout that summer season whereas Sammy Sosa was capable of sustain with McGwire’s tempo.
2. It was a detailed race till the top
McGwire and Sosa have been neck and neck for many of the chase. Here is what the leaderboard appeared like by the All-Star break: McGwire (37), Griffey (35), Sosa (33).
The race stayed aggressive till the top of the season. In the course of the last weekend of the common season, Sosa and McGwire have been tied at 65 homers. Sosa took over the lead and report for a quick second throughout a Sept. 25 sport towards the Astros, earlier than McGwire tied it again up with a homer of his personal that night time in a sport towards the Expos. McGwire went on to hit 4 extra homers earlier than the season’s finish, whereas Sosa completed his final three video games homerless.
When McGwire broke the report along with his 62nd homer, it occurred to return towards Sosa and his Cubs. Sosa hit his No. 58 in the identical sport. McGwire would finally be the primary one to interrupt Maris’ mark, however Sosa was by no means that far behind. And Sosa managed to maintain hitting house runs, even after the report fell. When all was mentioned and completed, McGwire notched 70 homers and Sosa completed with 66.
3. Sosa had an absurd June
Sosa’s June efficiency is what actually propelled him into the next highlight. He hit two house runs on June 1 after which homered in 4 straight video games from June 3-8. In a June 15 sport towards the Brewers, Sosa homered 3 times.
Lower than per week later, in a pair of video games towards the Phillies, Sosa recorded back-to-back two-home run video games. Sosa would go on to complete June with a report 20 house runs to interrupt Rudy York’s 1937 report of 18 house runs in anybody month. It is a report that also stands to this present day.
4. We’ll get to listen to from Sosa and McGwire themselves
What makes “Lengthy Gone Summer season” fascinating is the truth that each McGwire and Sosa have been interviewed for the movie. We are going to get an opportunity to listen to about that summer season in their very own phrases. “I did not know something about Sammy Sosa till he hit 20 house runs in June,” McGwire says within the documentary trailer. “I used to be hungry to be any individual,” Sosa says. This would be the pair speaking at size concerning the 1998 season for the primary time in over 20 years, and there is a likelihood followers study one thing new from their interviews.
5. Remember concerning the performance-enhancing medication
On the time, the summer season of 1998 introduced baseball followers a feel-good storyline when the game was simply 4 seasons faraway from the 1994 strike. Trying again, the chase was tarnished by the rampant use of performance-enhancing medication.
It is also vital to notice that there was not a widespread outrage over PEDs throughout that season. In August of that season, Steve Wilstein of the Related Press wrote concerning the bottle of Androstenedione, a testosterone-producing tablet, McGwire saved in his locker and used. On the time, it was not a banned substance in baseball, although it was prohibited within the NFL, Olympics and within the NCAA. Anti-doping efforts and outrage in baseball got here later, through the Mitchell Report investigation, BALCO and Biogenesis scandals.
The New York Instances reported Sosa as one of many 104 MLB gamers who examined optimistic for a performance-enhancing drug throughout a 2003 drug take a look at, however Sosa continues to disclaim the optimistic take a look at.
6. Sosa did not win the race, however he took house MVP
When the 1998 season awards have been handed out, 29-year-old Sosa beat 34-year-old McGwire to take house the Nationwide League Most Precious Participant Award. Sosa obtained 30 of the BBWAA’s 32 first-place votes, with McGwire snagging the opposite two. It will be Sosa’s first and solely MVP honors of his 18-year lengthy MLB profession.
7. Sosa’s Cubs additionally made the postseason
Whereas each Sosa and McGwire loved particular person success through the 1998 common season, solely Sosa’s Cubs would make it to the postseason that yr. Chicago confronted the 106-win Braves within the NLDS that yr and was swept in three video games. The Cubs completed their 1998 season with a 90-73 report and second place within the NL Central, whereas the Cardinals completed in third place with an 83-79 report.
8. Residence run information
We’re no strangers to the rampant use of steroids throughout that point, and to some followers, the house run information not carry the identical significance because it as soon as did. In a approach, the sport has develop into extra house run dependent than it was 22 years in the past.
In 2019, the report for whole house runs within the league was completely crushed, and over latest MLB seasons, we have seen a steep rise within the variety of house runs hit per sport and crew. A part of the reasoning for this can be a widespread emphasis amongst hitters on elevating the ball by way of an elevated launch angle. However a fair larger issue, nevertheless, seems to be the structural modifications to the baseball itself.
9. McGwire’s report was short-lived
Simply three years after McGwire broke the report, Barry Bonds grew to become the brand new report holder when he hit 73 house runs in a single season. Bonds’ chase to interrupt McGwire’s three-year-old report did not convey the identical pleasure to followers because the ’98 chase, and as a substitute, solely shined a brighter gentle on the unlawful PED-use within the sport. Bonds would later admit to receiving and taking performance-enhancing substances from his coach, Greg Anderson, as a part of the fallout from the BALCO scandal.
10. Their Corridor of Fame instances are fully tarnished
Their Corridor of Fame possibilities have been fully impacted by their affiliation with steroids.
For McGwire, he was not elected into the Corridor of Fame throughout his first 10 years of eligibility. For election, a participant must be listed on 75 % of the ballots solid. McGwire’s highest share of votes got here in 2010 when he garnered 23.7 %. He was lastly eradicated after receiving simply 12.Three % of the votes in 2016, and didn’t achieve sufficient votes when he appeared on the Corridor’s Right this moment’s Sport committee poll the next yr.
For Sosa, he is nonetheless on the Corridor of Fame poll however he is by no means obtained greater than 13.9 % of the votes since his debut on the poll again in 2013.