Sunday night, sports fans can sit back and relive the 1998 home run race between Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs and Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals. Long Gone Summer, the latest 30 for 30, will provide a new level of access for baseball fans and casual viewers alike. Here's when the special airs.
Long Gone Summer debuts Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET, following the tradition set by The Last Dance and other ESPN specials. The Worldwide Leader in Sports will exclusively air the documentary. Viewers can also watch the documentary with the ESPN app. Long Gone Summer will provide archive footage, as well as exclusive interviews with both McGwire and Sosa. The documentary may also discuss the rampant steroid use, as well as the two former MLB stars' attachment to the issue.
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Entering the 1998 season, McGwire and Sosa both had hopes of breaking Roger Maris' record of 61 home runs in a single season. He set the mark in 1961, and it remained until both players surpassed it in the same year. McGwire broke the record first, doing so against Sosa's Cubs, and finished the season with 70 overall. Sosa was the runner-up and ended the year with 66. However, he earned MVP honors for the season.
"It was one of the most memorable and significant seasons in the history of baseball," an ESPN press release said. "In the summer of 1998, the St. Louis Cardinals' Mark McGwire and the Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa embarked on a chase of one of the game's most hallowed records, igniting the passion and imagination of fans and non-fans everywhere. The drama, excitement, and results would be remembered for generations. If we only knew then just how complex our feelings about it all would eventually become."
The complex feelings stem from the controversy surrounding the 1998 home run chase. McGwire admitted to taking steroids after his career ended while Sosa was linked to positive tests and appeared in court over the issue. Steroid use was rampant in this era of Major League Baseball, which tarnished the legacies of several players.
Neither McGwire nor Sosa has been enshrined in the Hall of Fame following their respective retirements, and many analysts believe this is due to the steroids issue. Despite this storyline, MLB fans still remember the two players fondly along with the 1998 season. This home run race captured the nation's attention and led to arguments about which player was the best. Now these same fans can relive the excitement on Sunday night.