Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 56th homer in 1998


It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

The 1998 Home Run Chase really got exciting as September rolled around. 

Sosa and McGwire were tied at 55 homers apiece entering the final month of the regular season, but McGwire started pulling away immediately. The Cardinals slugger homered twice on Sept. 1 and then again on Sept. 2. to open up a little lead on Slammin' Sammy.

Sosa, meanwhile, responded with a dinger of his own on Sept. 2, taking Reds pitcher Jason Bere 363 feet to start a stretch of three straight games with longballs. 

That Cubs-Reds game was wild, with Sosa's sixth-inning shot the only offense until the eighth. Then, the Reds pushed across a pair of two-out runs off the Cubs bullpen before Gary Gaetti hit a two-run homer off Cincinnati reliever Gabe White. Scott Servais followed with a solo shot and Rod Beck closed it out for his 42nd save of the season and the Cubs' 78th win of the season.

Fun fact: Bere - who served up the homer to Sosa - was released by the White Sox in July 1998 and signed with the Reds. He spent most of his 11-year big-league career in Chicago, first with six seasons on the South Side (where he finished second to Tim Salmon in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 1993) and then later with the Cubs. Bere signed a two-year contract with the Cubs prior to the 2001 season and made about $5.7 million over the course of his 48 starts in Cubbie blue, as a teammate of Sosa.

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