In 1998, nearly every baseball fan got caught up in the home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. Even though, this period in baseball has been tainted by alleged use of steriods and other performance enhancing drugs, it was a time when nearly everyone knew the status of the HR race.
In 1999, Topps included multiple variations of card #220 and #461. Card #220 featured 70 variations for each of McGwire's HR's and card #461 featured 66 variations of Sosa's 66 HR's. The front of the cards were the same except for the HR number. The back featured a description of each HR including date, location, pitcher and other interesting information.
To collect each different variation is a labor of love, but something that I am committed to completing for Sammy Sosa. Currently, I have 47 of the 66 different variations. Almost all variations are readily available but I don't want to pay $6.00 to $10.00 each. So I will continue to pick up individual cards from EBay, Beckett or Sprotslots as they become available at a reasonable price.
Home Run #66 is interesting to me. Sammy hit his 66th HR off of Jose Lima from Houston. In 2001, the Cubs and Sosa came to Detroit for three inter-league games. I was able to get tickets about four rows from the field along right field. Sammy was always a great ambassador for baseball. In Detroit as every where he went, he interacted with the fans. After he warmed up before each inning, he threw his warm-up ball into the stands. He was happy and just appeared to love to play the game of baseball. In this game, he hit 2 HR's off of Jose Lima, now a pitcher for the Tigers. Lima may have fooled most of the Cubs that day, but certainly not Sosa. Unfortunately for me the Cubs lost that game 9 to 6. Kerry Wood pitched but did not have a stellar game giving up 9 hits and 6 runs in six innings pitched. Sosa has 2 HR's, 4 RBI's and 2 walks.
The cards that I still need to complete this HR Parade sub-set are; 4, 9, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 26, 29, 37, 38, 42, 43, 52, 53, 55 and 61.
Welcome to the Blue, Curtis Granderson!
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