Remembering the Summer of '98 (cont.)
Sosa hit 63 home runs in '99 and 64 in 2001, then left Chicago in an acrimonious split after the 2004 season. He played in '05 with the Orioles and '07 with the Rangers before slipping quietly away from the game. He is tied for fifth on the career home run list, with 609.
McGwire hit 65 home runs for the Cardinals in '99, but a series of injuries wrecked his final years, and he retired after the 2001 season with 583 home runs, eighth on the career list.
Griffey finished the summer of '98 with 56 home runs. Now a 38-year-old part-time outfielder with the White Sox, he is tied with Sosa on the career home run list.
Wood, who struck out 233 batters as a rookie in '98, has fought through injuries his whole career. He is currently the closer for the Cubs. Hendry is now the team's general manager. Lynch is now a special assistant to Hendry. Stone has switched Chicago teams and now calls games for the White Sox. Santo is still a beloved voice of the Cubs. Stark now is assigned to the Cubs' clubhouse. Riggleman was named interim manager of the Mariners earlier this season. Wasserstrom is manager of baseball operations for the Cubs.
La Russa, in his 30th full season in the major leagues, is still manager of the Cardinals. Jocketty is currently the general manager of the Reds. Shannon is still a radio voice for the Cards, and Bartow is still the team's director of media relations.
Jordan and Gant do television commentary for the Braves. Hainje is the director of media relations in Atlanta.
Since his appearance before Congress in 2005, in which he declined to answer specific questions from lawmakers on the use of steroids in baseball and was widely criticized for it, McGwire has become a virtual recluse, living quietly with his family in Southern California. In his first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame, in 2007, he was named on just 128 of 545 ballots, netting 23.5 percent of the vote. To be inducted, a player needs 75 percent.
Sosa, who appeared before that same House panel in '05, has not been heard from, publicly, for some time.
McGwire did speak recently with Rick Hummel, the longtime baseball writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. McGwire called the summer of '98, "spiritual" and "universal." He told Hummel, "I think that when the stars are aligned right, things happen."
Three summers after the Great Home Run Chase of '98, Bonds set a new single-season home run record, with 73.