CHICAGO — For the first time in over two decades, Major League Baseball fans had a chance to watch the hunt for a home run record.
That ended Tuesday night when Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run of the 2022 season against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. This Yankees outfielder’s round-tripper helped him pass Roger Maris for the American League record for most homers in a single season.
Of course, the major league records are all held by National League players, with three other players surpassing 62 homers in a season. One of them is a former Cubs outfielder who has three of the top six seasons for home runs in MLB history.
After Judge hit his 62nd homer, #WGNTBT looks back at the three times Sammy Sosa hit that mark in a Cubs uniform.
1. SEPTEMBER 13, 1998 – WRIGLEY FIELD – VS BREWERS
On one of the most memorable afternoons in Wrigley Field history, in the midst of his chase with the Cardinals’ Mark McGwire and the Cubs’ race for an NL wildcard berth, Sosa hit his 61st and 62nd long balls of the season against the Brewers .
After a two-barrel homer in the 5th, Sosa shot at #62 Eric Plunk late in the ninth inning, and the ball landed on Waveland Avenue in a sea of fans hoping to catch it. This allowed Sosa to pass Maris on the all-time list and draw level with McGwire, who had 62 home runs at the time.
Play paused for a few minutes before Sosa emerged from the dugout a few times to call the curtain after the record-breaking homer. After the Cubs won the game with a solo shot from Mark Grace, some teammates carried Sosa off the field.
Sosa would finish the season with 66 home runs, but it was McGwire who beat him for the original record of 70 home runs.
2. SEPTEMBER 28, 1999 – VS PHILLIES – VETERANS STADIUM
Sosa hit the 62 homer mark again in 1999, slightly later in the season for a Cubs team that didn’t make the playoffs.
But he would hit the mark again in the ninth inning, this time with a pitch from Anthony Schumaker deep into left field for a two-run homer in a Cubs win over the Phillies at Veterans Stadium.
Last week, Sosa hit another home run in St. Louis and finished the season with 63, the sixth-best in MLB history.
3. OCTOBER 5, 2001 – AGAINST PIRATES – WRIGLEY FIELD
In what many consider to be his best overall baseball season, during which he had career-best batting averages (.328) and RBI (160), Sosa hit the 62-homer mark for the third and final time.
Sosa faced the Pirates’ David Williams in the fourth inning and hit a solo homer into the left field stand for the No. 62 in front of the home fans.
That was part of an incredible conclusion to the 2001 season, which saw him homer in five of his last six games to finish with 64 homers, the second-highest total of his career and the fifth-highest in MLB history.
Sosa finished his career with 609 home runs, including 545 as a member of the Cubs, which is a franchise record. From 1998 to 2003, Sosa hit at least 40 long balls and surpassed 50 in four of those years.
Like McGwire and Barry Bonds, who hold the MLB record for single-season home runs with 73 in 2001, Sosa’s grades have come under scrutiny due to rampant steroid use of the period. He and Bonds have ever admitted to using them, but McGwire did in 2010.
The Cubs have yet to officially welcome Sosa back to Wrigley Field or induct him into the team’s Hall of Fame since he was traded from the team following the 2004 season.
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https://wgntv.com/sports/cubs/remembering-sammy-sosas-three-62nd-homers-with-the-cubs/ In memory of Sammy Sosa’s three 62nd homers with the Cubs