Photograph by Walter Iooss Jr.
"As is our custom late each fall, we at Sports Illustrated sat down to discuss
nominations for the Sportsman of the ... No, we didn't discuss. We didn't even
sit down. It was automatic. It was unanimous. It was the easiest selection in
our history. It couldn't be one Sportsman of the Year. It had to be two. Mark
McGwire and Sammy Sosa. All in favor, say aye. All opposed, report back to your
"McGwire and Sosa gave America a summer that won't be forgotten: a summer of
stroke and counterstroke, of packed houses and curtain calls, of rivals
embracing and gloves in the bleachers and adults turned into kids -- the Summer
of Long Balls and Love. It wasn't just the lengths they went to with bats in
their hands. It was also that they went to such lengths to conduct the great
home run race with dignity and sportsmanship, with a sense of joy and openness.
Never have two men chased legends and each other that hard and that long or
invited so much of America onto their backs for the ride."
Text by Gary Smith
Issue Date: December 21, 1998
For exclusive behind-the-scenes video of the 1998 Sportsman of the Year cover photo
shoot, click on the links below. And use the table of contents at left to browse
additional Sportsman of the Year and CNN/SI features, including a complete archive
of every winner.
Celebrating like Greek gods.
Adjusting their togas.