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Super Sized Big Mac

Monday, June 21, 2004
Big Mac Attack
By Mike Puma
Special to

Signature Game
Sept. 8, 1998 - On the day that the Dow Jones made history with its biggest one-day point gain ever (380), Mark McGwire also stepped into history. In the Cardinals' 145th game, Big Mac scorched a low line drive off the Cubs' Steve Traschel for his 62nd homer of the season, breaking Roger Maris' record.

The drive was estimated at 341 feet, the shortest homer the St. Louis first baseman had hit this year. On his glorious trip around the bases, McGwire slapped hands with the Chicago infielders, tapped his heart and pointed to the sky when he reached home plate and lifted his 10-year-old son Matt, who was serving as batboy, in a bear hug.

His teammates streamed from the dugout and he hugged them, as well as the Cubs' Sammy Sosa, who trotted in from rightfield. Then McGwire climbed into the Busch Stadium stands near the Cardinals' dugout and embraced members of the Maris family, including the late outfielder's four sons and two daughters.

McGwire, who repeatedly said that he truly believes Maris was "watching and walking with me," will finish the season with 70 home runs.

Odds 'n' Ends

  • His brother Dan played quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks and Miami Dolphins. Dan was the Seahawks' first pick in the 1991 draft.

  • In 1984, Mark McGwire was named College Player of the Year by The Sporting News.

  • In 1985 he committed 33 errors as the starting third baseman for Class A Modesto. But his 24 homers and 106 RBI helped earn him the California League's Rookie of the Year award.

  • McGwire played 24 games at third base and committed nine errors during his big league career. He also played four games in the outfield.

  • McGwire's first major league homer came against the Tigers' Walt Terrell on Aug. 25, 1986.

  • In 1987, he became the first rookie since Carlton Fisk in 1972 to be a unanimous Rookie of the Year selection. McGwire was sixth in the MVP voting.

  • McGwire was the only Oakland regular not to homer in the 1989 World Series against the Giants.

  • He won his only Gold Glove in 1990, leading AL first baseman with 1,429 chances.

  • From Aug. 7, 1991 to Sept. 29, 1995, McGwire didn't steal a base.

  • McGwire needed only 5,487 at-bats to reach 500 homers, making him the fastest player to reach that milestone.

  • McGwire homered 166 times in Oakland's Network Associates Coliseum, his highest total in any ballpark.

  • He is the only player to have his Team USA number (41) retired.

  • McGwire's longest career hitting streak was 18 games in 1995.

  • In a 162-game span in 1995 and 1996, McGwire hit 70 homers.

  • His 52 homers in 1996 were the most by a player since George Foster hit 52 homers in 1977.

  • McGwire finished the 1997 season with at least one homer in 12 straight series.

  • McGwire homered in the first four games of 1998, tying a record to start a season set by Willie Mays in 1971.

  • Of his 70 homers in 1998, none were hit on a 3-0 count. He hit 11 homers on the first pitch.

  • His homers in 1998 came against 65 different pitchers.

  • McGwire's longest home run in 1998 traveled an estimated 545 feet, against the Marlins in Florida.

  • In 1999, McGwire joined Willie Stargell and Mike Piazza as the only players to hit a ball out of Dodger Stadium.

  • McGwire clubbed 13 homers in the first round of the 1999 Home Run Derby at Fenway Park to set a one-round record.

  • On Aug. 2, 1999, McGwire hit a triple off San Diego's Trevor Hoffman to end a record span of 4,618 at-bats without a triple dating to 1988.

  • McGwire finished with a career batting average of .263 and 1,414 RBI. He walked 1,317 times and struck out 1,596 times.

  • Only six of McGwire's 583 homers came as a designated hitter.

  • McGwire didn't hit a homer in any of his nine All-Star Game appearances. He batted .200 (4-for-20) with two RBI. He also was named to the team three other times, but didn't play in the game.

  • In 13 World Series games, he hit one homer in 48 at-bats. He batted .188 with two RBI.

  • In 1999, he teamed with Starbucks Coffee to contribute $5,000 per homer in the city in which he homered.

  • McGwire was married to Kathy Williamson from 1987 to 1989. They had one son, Matthew.

  • McGwire remarried in April 2002, to former pharmaceutical sales rep Stephanie Slemer in a low-key ceremony in Las Vegas. They have two children.

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