Chicago Cubs: Sosa and McGwire’s “Long Gone Summer” is almost here
Chicago Cubs: Sosa and McGwire forever intertwined for Summer of ’98
The summer of 1998 was an iconic summer for Chicago – while there may have been some disappointment and trepidation regarding the future of the Bulls, the Cubs carried on the baton from the six-time champions right on into the heat of summer as a stud rookie pitcher (Kerry Wood) and charismatic home run hitter propelled the Cubs into the playoffs via a Wild Card berth. What they did along the way, however, was pretty much otherworldly.
More from Chicago Cubs News
- Cubs: Adrian Sampson is forcing his way into the conversation
- Projecting the Chicago Cubs bullpen to open the 2023 season
- Cubs fans are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel
- Justin Steele has evolved into a frontline starter for the Cubs
- The future of first base is murky right now for the Cubs
As most of you probably know, Wood dazzled the National League throughout his rookie season, including the masterful 20 strikeout game against a formidable and eventual 102 win Astros club in only his fifth start in the bigs. And, while Wood was dominating from the rubber, Sosa was dominating in the box.
So much so that the Sosa and McGwire home run derby dominated national headlines, sports shows, and became a veritable sideshow attraction. Doing so within the same division, between hated rivals, and on iconic MLB teams only heightened the sense of magic and historical importance.
It may not have seemed like much ado to those who didn’t live it (in much the same manner as the Jordan-era Bulls to those who’ve only ever seen Lebron play), but the home run chase of 1998 was THE news every night, and not just on prime ESPN Sportscenter either. As Sosa and McGwire swatted balls out of stadiums the way you’d hit ’em out of a Little League field, they brought baseball back to the masses.
They made baseball must-see TV after a work stoppage that had sabotaged a deeply resentful and hurt fanbase that lost its beloved World Series in 1994. For the love and joy these two men brought to baseball fans alone during that summer, Long Gone Summer will be noteworthy and fresh. A breath of fresh air during a spring without baseball.