Not so fast, Mark. Slammin' Sammy may win the race for the home run record after all.
"It's unbelievable. It was something that even I can't believe I was doing," Sosa said following the Cubs' dramatic 11-10, 10-inning win. "It can happen to two people, Mark and I."
Sosa homered off Bronswell Patrick in the fifth inning, sending an 0-1 pitch 480 feet into the street behind the left-field fence at Wrigley Field. Sosa hit another 480-foot homer in the ninth, a solo shot off Eric Plunk.
That one dropped Babe Ruth into fourth place on the single-season list.
With tears and sweat running down his face as he sat in the dugout following his triumphant tour around the bases,
| Sammy Sosa punches his name into history with his 61st, and later, 62nd home run of the season. (AP) |
"I hae to say what I did is for the people of Chicago, for America, for my mother, for my wife, my kids and the people I have around me. My team. It was an emotional moment," Sosa said.
Sosa was carried off the field at the end of the win, which kept the Cubs one game ahead of the New York Mets in the NL wild-card race. Sosa was on deck when Mark Grace hit the game-winning homer.
After Babe Ruth hit 60 homers in 1927, that stood as the home-run record for 34 years, until Maris hit 61.
McGwire broke Maris' mark Tuesday against the Cubs and six days later, Sosa surpassed it, too.
"It was chilling when McGwire did it. I was dumbfounded," Grace said. "I thought pretty much the home-run race was going to be McGwire's. But when my buddy gets hot, he can hit them in a hurry.
And he proved that. I just hope Sammy gets the attention he deserves. Not only has he hit 62 homers, but he has carried us. He is without a doubt the MVP of the National League."
Sosa, who has four homers in his last three games, was in St. Louis on Tuesday when McGwire hit No. 62. McGwire's Cardinals played in Houston on Sunday night; the pair had homered 20 times on the same day.
Both of Sosa's homers cleared the back fence at Wrigley Field, prompting scrambles for the baseballs. Sosa has 10 homers this year off Milwaukee, his most against any team.
After the first homer , a parade of fans raced after the ball as it went down the street. Sosa, meanwhile, rounded the bases pumping his fists as a sellout crowd at Wrigley began stamping its feet.
By the time Sosa struck out in the seventh, the street was filled with fans. When he hit in the ninth with the Cubs trailing 10-8, they were chanting "62! 62!"
The ball for No. 61 was retrieved by John Witt of Dixon, Ill., who stuffed it in his pocket and promised to negotiate with Sosa after the game. Witt was sitting in a van off Kenmore Avenue outside the stadium, watching the game on a small TV when he saw Sosa swing. The ball bounced a couple of times and landed at his feet.
"I didn't think I had a chance," he said. "It's an nbelievable feeling. ... How do you know how much it's worth?"
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