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Users regret Sosa snub,
but rave about record

Posted: Fri September 18, 1998

CNN/SI users were asked to share their thoughts about Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa breaking Roger Maris's record for home runs in a season. As the battle between the sluggers goes on, comments across the spectrum are coming in. We've published a selection below. Click here to have your say on the home-run chase.

I think MLB's treatment of Sammy's 62nd home run was a disgrace.

Just say for the sake of argument that both Sammy and Mark got injured while they were tied at 62, and played no more this season. Would McGwire's 62 be "more of a record" than Sammy's because he hit his six days earlier? No way.

Outside of the press, this is not a race to 62. It is a record for most home runs in a single season. It matters not who got there first—if they both have 62, they both hold the record, period.

And if Sammy goes on to beat McGwire for the record, years from now people far removed from the media hype surrounding this year (and the undeniable magic surrounding that night in St. Louis) will look at McGwire's 62nd ball in the Hall of Fame and wonder what the big deal is, as they continue on their way to see Sammy's bat, jersey, and 68th ball.

The fact is McGwire got the red carpet—and Sammy got swept under it.
—Ben Dean, Morristown, N.J.

I think this is great. These two guys have once again made baseball fun to watch. They are two class acts chasing the same honor. The other great thing about it is that the rivalry is now two-rivalries-in-one, the Cards and the Cubs and these two going at it—it's the greatest rivalry in sports. GO BIG MAC.
—Andy, St. Louis

McGwire's tribute to the Maris legacy is most poignant. Baseball records are just numbers, but it's really about the story of how those records were made.

I was fortunate enough to be a starry-eyed, baseball crazed, hero-worshipping 10-year-old in 1961. Like many at the time, I was influenced by the media to think that Maris's accomplishment was a fluke, he was undeserving, he was one-dimensional, etc.

A little older and wiser, having read the recent stories about Maris—and Mac's public endorsement of Maris—I realize Maris had one of the defining accomplishments in baseball or all of sports. Maris's record lasted longer than the great Bambino's. To put it in another perspective, if Maris didn't break the record, the Babe's record would lasted 71 years.

It's time we rewrite the history books on Roger and grant him the rightful place he deserves. Thanks Mark.
—GK, Santa Clara, Calif.

A nation desperately in search of a diversion conveniently finds a quest for a fabled prize. Two selfless knights, intertwined in competition and mutual respect, have shown us that there ARE good things happening, and we can all share in them.

Fans caught up in the euphoria have surrendered trophy HR balls for no gain. Unsold, the balls retained their magic, refuting the cynicism that threatened to swallow us. No amount of money could have bought such healing.

Our two knights have proven to be deserving of our worship, but next year, maybe Sir Junior can help extend the legend.
—Phil Brady, Philadelphia

I think that the record of 61 dingers in a season is one of the most cherished and hallowed in all of sports. To have two people break in the same year is great. Just look what it has done for baseball. We're four years removed from a strike which was devastating to the game and to have fans come back in droves to ballparks just to watch these guys perform is great to see. Sure they're jaded fans but who cares. At least they appreciate what these two guys are able to do and recognize their accomplishments. The only drawback is people will expect them to do this again next year and the year after that, etc.
—Dan Leritz, Mt. Iron, Minn.

It's a home run record. It doesn't save the whales, solve world hunger, or cure cancer. It's a SPORTS record—a big one—but it's only a sports record. And it's been exciting as hell to watch.
—Dex Rogers, Panama City, Fla.

I think the home run record was good for baseball overall, but I must admit that I was severely disappointed with how MLB treated Sammy Sosa's record-breaking home runs. Not to diminish in any way the accomplishments of Mark McGwire, but come on. Baseball already has a serious and damaging reputation as an old, white, male organization, and this debacle did not dispel that perception.
—M.J. Jackson, New Orleans

At first it seemed like overkill. A nation depressed, and let down by leaders, reaching out for something to be proud of or excited about. Then, as I was driving to the polling station on election day, stalled out in the long line of cars, I glanced at a high school baseball field, much smaller than the major league baseball stadium fields. That distance seemed so very long. After the dusty orange-tan infield ended, the grass of the outfield went on and on and on. Even the warning track was no small margin, but another thirty feet to drain the charge out of the ball. It made me remember playing baseball as a kid. Another thing came to mind. Just hitting against an average pitcher, not the kind with the invisible fast ball; it was such an accomplishment just to TOUCH the ball. You had to concentrate so much, and react so quickly, not really harnessing much of your bodily strength, but more of a quick jerk of your forearms.

Both the endless distance from home plate and the near impossible task of even touching the ball, when a strong man throws the ball so hard you can't see it, and if it hits you in the right place could kill you, makes hitting a ball so far quite a feat. To be home run king is a very high honor, when you consider these things. Just to hit one homer is quite an honor.
—Jamey West, Gaithersburg, Md.

The lack of public appreciation, and the lack of public celebration when Sammy Sosa not only broke Roger Maris' 37 year old record, JUST AS MARK DID, but eventually matched Mark for the existing lead for homers in a season, is a "SLAM" to Sammy Sosa, and potentially racially biased. Does this mean there should be no motivation for those who also have opportunities to break ANY sports record in the future, but may be highly influenced to "hold back" on their realistic future accomplishment simply because someone else achieved a specific record first??? What are we not only "telling", but showing the youth; "if you cannot be FIRST ONLY, don't even try to continue demonstrating the God-given talent you may have?"
—Phil Haaland, Devils Lake, N.D.

Far too much has been made of homer No. 62, when at the end of the season that number will mean nothing. The home run record will be held by one man (two if they tie), and he alone should be enshrined with the new record. There is no record till the season is complete.
—Tim Zabloski, Kenora, Ont.

I think it's a shame that nobody seems to notice Sammy Sosa and what he's accomplished. It seems that everybody is only interested in Mark McGwire. And on the latest [Sports Illustrated] issue, I thought it was interesting how there were two covers, and how the one with McGwire was a lot nicer than the one with Sosa. And how the magazine was full of McGwire and had two pages of Sosa.
—Elijah Gomez, Minneapolis

I thank Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa for this magical baseball summer of 1998. The names McGwire and Sosa will be forever linked together, remembered for their a splash of purity in an impure sport. I cannot ask for more than they gave us this summer, but I can dream. ... if only McGwire played on an American League contender, this race could continue into October.
—Keith Nelson, Los Angeles

To me the real aspect of the "chase" that gets to me, is the fact that Big Mac always wants his son to be there with him. The greatest image from 62 was McGwire picking up his son. There was real emotion only a father and son could share. It has made me wonder if I will ever be able to give my son as special a moment as Mark gave to his son. The love that McGwire has for his son is what made the moment so emotional, so real. It is the type of moment every father would want to share with his son.
—Allen Vinta, Kihei, Hawaii

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