Marking McGwire: #62 in Your Words

Earlier today, we went through all that happened on September 8, 1998.  I mentioned in that story where I was but if you were a Cardinal fan–a baseball fan, even–alive at that time, you probably have a story about what that night was like for you.  So I asked for them.

Boy, did y’all deliver.  I got story after story, talking about what you were doing and where you were at when #62 went over the wall.  Rather than try to summarize or to reword stories, here are the Tweets I got.  If I got a direct message, I’ve copied their story from there.  It’s an outstanding look at what Cardinal Nation was doing 20 years ago tonight.

(Also, I want to note that, independently of this, Benjamin Hochman asked for similar stories.  You can find his article on it here and some of the responses to his tweet that I retweeted are included in this post.)

And to continue that colorful story….

(Side note: It was a bit depressing to me to hear all of these folks that were teenagers or less at the time, given I was out of college and had been for a year. Not that I feel old at all…..)

(Obviously a scalper that had NO IDEA what they were doing.)

As Thomas noted later in a follow-up, odds are nobody would have noticed had he plummeted over the rail.

In case you needed any era flavor, “data processor” should do it.

Everyone would be recording video these days, I guess. Not sure phone flashes would have been quite the same as all those cameras going off.

These kind of stories really amazed me. What were the odds that you’d get this game when you made your selection earlier in the year or picked it as the one game you’d go to?

This had to be the worst. To know you could have been there, should have been there, but weren’t there.

(More about Drew’s debut in this morning’s post.)

Now, having seen this, I had to follow up about Mr. Forneris. He was one of the great stories that came out of the night. I still remember him saying something to the effect of, “Mr. McGwire, I have something of yours.” Mr. Rice said that not only did Tim get his law degree, he practices in downtown St. Louis and, get this, still works every home game as part of the grounds crew! If the Cardinals don’t have him throw out a first pitch on this next home stand, something is very, very wrong.

Oh, man. I hate yard work anyway, but I’d go on a crusade against it if something like that happened to me.

As I told Sean, I imagine he wasn’t the only person that got arrested in relation to the celebration that evening.

Hey, you still got to see #61. That’s right up there on the cool moments scale.

It was awesome to get stories from those that were serving in the military, getting this taste of home in such a grand fashion.

To be fair, I still well up when I see McGwire pick up Matthew.

“So, do you want fish or chicken at the reception?” “You pick, we’re outta here.”

I know this is long, but I wanted to share as many of these as I could. Below are the stories I got via direct message.

@STLMattinals: I was sitting in a den/living area in my house. My cousin was actually at the game (September 8th is his birthday).

@lampert_jake: I was sitting back row of the old green seats between home plate and the cubs dugout. Actually couldn’t see the ball go over the wall because of the angle down the line.  Drove in from Mizzou with a buddy for it. A night the even at the time you knew could never happen again. I do have a stub from that game and from #61 9/7. I was an intern for the Cardinals that summer and had a press pass to get in to see any games where 59-62 could happen.

@StatsStlcards: On 9/8/1998 I was 2 months and 12 days old, and as it happens, that was the day of my baptism. Apparently, there was a priest that had baptized all of my cousins and my two siblings, and at this time he was splitting time between two churches. My mom just said they kept trying to do it on a weekend but they couldn’t work it out with each person’s schedule. That was just the first day that worked out.

@joecody5: I was in a hospital room in Houston Texas where my little brother was being born. I was 13. My mom had the game on in her hospital room. Our family was from St. Louis and big Cards fans so had to have it on. He was born earlier in the day (sometime in the morning I believe). we were all sitting around the hospital room together watching it.

@Jmccampbell: I was nine years old. My twin brother Joe, and I would watch the chase every night on ESPN. Our parents were in the middle of a messy divorce. Our Dad would watch us every Wednesday night when our Mom was at work. He would always bring the newspapers that had Mark McGwire on the front page of the sports section. I remember Mark tripping over first base, I remember the sounds of the games. When I think about this time, it some ways, it reminds me of the trauma a divorce caused my brothers and myself. At the same time, as an adult, I have found a new appreciation for the chase, as well as the record. As a kid, you tend to over blow the magnitude of things because you are just that, a kid. It never seemed to be that big of a deal with other kids, because living in Nebraska keeps you away from the rest of the sports world, without being able to see every event on T.V. like you can now. Additionally, Nebraska football was really popular at the time, so most Nebraskans were fired up about the start of the season. I still have all of the books, articles, bobbleheads and pennants from that month. What a trip down memory lane this has been.

@jeffbgoofy: On 9/8/98. I was in Southern California holding my newborn son talking to my brother on the phone about how cool that 62 was. I got to see one in San Diego so I felt a part of it from far away.

@TheBaseballGuy1: Huddling around TV’s for every McGwire & Sosa at-bat in Forbes Hall, our freshman dorm at University of Illinois. Felt like every room on the floor had their doors open and TVs on for that Cards vs Cubs matchup!

@McGillMike: I was eating dinner at a Chi-Chi’s Mexican restaurant with a buddy who was also a Cardinals’ fan. We sat in the bar area to be sure we could see the TV!

@DmTickets: I was in college in Chicago ironically, my girlfriend and I had just got back from a date. I walked into my lounge in the game was on in the lower level, and McGwire hit the homerun as soon as I walked in. It was unbelievable!

@DarrenOsbahr: I remember it well. It was a Tuesday night. I was 24 yrs old working my 1st job out of college making next to nothing. Had just moved to STL the year before. We knew we couldn’t afford tix but a couple of guys i worked with and i decided to just get down there as early as we could after work and hang at Patty O’s. Bar was filling up but we get lucky and there is a table right up front where there used to be a slightly elevated area with a rail. Only like 3 tables up there. A news crew (Dan Buck, if I’m not mistaken) is setting up near the step up to that area which kept people from flooding up there. Anyway, place gets jam packed people are partying like it’s Game 7 of the word series. McGwire hits 62, they play Filter – Hey Man Nice Shot, the place goes nuts! People are dancing on tables. (May have even seen a stray boob or two). It’s an awesome party atmosphere all night long. Waitress finally comes to tell us it’s closing time and we’ve got to leave and she brings us our tab. There is nothing on the ticket except 58 Bud Lights (we may have shared a few the news crew, lol). When we see this we ask her to bring us 4 more so we can have a tab showing 62 beers. Without hesitation, she tells us to get the hell out. We spent all our cash and couldn’t even afford a commemorative newspaper for $1 they were now selling on the streets at 3:00 am. We then run out of gas on the way home and it takes us forever to walk to a gas station, use my buddy’s “emergency” credit card his parents gave him to buy a gas can and 1 gallon of gas, and get back to the car. Got home around 5:00 am and showed up for work at 7:30 the next morning. We’ve now told this story a thousand times. Our good friends would be upset that you’ve only had to put up with the short version of it.

@thestevevaughan: The night of 62 right before Big Mac hit 62 my father called me in the room with the game on and said “you don’t want to miss this history is about to happen”  I was seven years old.  My father and I aren’t particularly close the only thing we really have in common is baseball so that makes that moment very special to me.

@RheinEsq: Sitting in the “McGwire” seats, second row, field level, seeing Mark barely knock one over the boards in left for #62. An incredible night. Had a postseason feel. Started the processing at Shannon’s, pregame, drinking w/ my buddy, a judge. Will never forget it. Thrilling. I sat in one of four seats I shared w/ a friend. My own seats were in section 350, up high but right behind the plate. They cost $3.50 per ticket per game.

@StlCrdsfn11: On 9/8/98 I was in a luxury suite in RF at Busch. My mom just happened to be given free tickets from her boss to that game about 3 months prior. A friend was going to go with her but had to back out due to a travel issue. Lucky me as I got to go! To this day I still remember the excitement and anxiousness to get there as I rode Metrolink to meet up with my mom. Such a fun night! 🙂

@rcsmith79: I went to the game alone that night since the buddy I was supposed to go with had football practice the next morning and didn’t want to be too tired. We had bought tickets a few weeks prior and I just got lucky. I was sitting in the top row of the stadium behind third base. I could see that he hit it well but the ball disappeared behind the wall by the foul line / pole. I saw the fans hands all go up by the foul pole and knew he had done it. I remember the banner being raised out in the upper deck in center field and watching Sosa come in to congratulate. I bought a ball that night that had a limited edition number on it commemorating it and a program. I think it’s somewhere at my parents house. I know my ticket stub in in my man cave now. I had such a blast by myself that night with the awesome fans of Stl.

Thanks to everyone that shared their stories.  If you didn’t get to respond on Twitter but want to tell what you were doing, drop it in the comments!

(As before, my thanks to cardinalsgifs for the excellent art work!)

Series Navigation<< Marking McGwire: #62Marking McGwire: #63 >>

Next Post:

Previous Post:

Please share, follow, or like us :)

Subscribe to The Conclave via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 16.3K other subscribers



Other posts in this series: