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September 28, 1998 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-28

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70! McGwire belts two in season finale

ST. LOUIS (AP) - An incredible 70 homers! Even
Mark McGwire couldn't believe it.
"I've never even thought about it, dreamed about it,"
he said. "It's absolutely amazing! It blows me away!"
The St. Louis Cardinals' slugger ended his record-
smashing season as mightily as he started it.
He hit his 69th and 70th homers on the season's last
day, a fitting finale for a year he began with a grand
slam on opening day.
'This is a season I will never, ever forget, and I hope
e erybody in baseball never forgets," McGwire told the
cheering crowd after the game.
Big Mac, who hit five homers in the final weekend,
connected against Montreal rookie Mike Thurman in
the third inning yesterday, then homered off Carl
Pavano for No. 70 in the seventh.
McGwire moved four ahead of Sammy Sosa and
ended nine - nine! - in front of Roger Maris' old record.
Sosa went 2-5 with no homers as the Cubs lost to
Houston, 4-3, in 11 innings, but his season is not over
Ahe Cubs will face the San Francisco Giants at
gley Field in Chicago on Monday night in a one-
game playoff for the wild-card spot - a game in which
Sosa's stats will count.
"I wish him the best of luck, along with the Giants,"
McGwire said.
McGwire, who has 10 multihomer games this year



3-3, 2 HOMERS
1-3, No HOMERS

and 53 in his career, left many in awe.
"It's stranger than fiction, what this man has done,"
manager Tony La Russa said.
Expos manager Felipe Alou told his young pitchers
to challenge McGwire.
"I left it up to God and the kid on the mound," Alou
said. "I didn't want to tamper with history.
"Thank God the season's over, or he would hit 80."
McGwire hit a 1-I fastball 377 feet into the left-field
seats at 3:10 p.m. EST for No. 69.
After stomping on home plate, he took a few slow
steps, then made several salutes to the sellout crowd.
The fans who had stood well before his at-bat demand-
ed and got two curtain calls.
With two on and two outs in the seventh and the score

3-all, he connected off Pavano (6-9), lining a first-pitch
fastball 370 feet over the left-field wall at 3:19 p.m.,
sending the Cardinals on to a 6-3 win over the Expos.
"Every time the replay is show, I'm not going to turn
the TV off," Pavano said. "I hope he hits 75 next year so
people will forget I gave up No. 70.
"C'mon Mark, I'm rooting for you."
This time, even a curtain call from McGwire didn't
quiet the 46,110 fans, who remained on their feet,
cheering even as Brian Jordan took a called third strike
for the third out of the inning.
McGwire said No. 70 felt almost like No. 62, the
homer that broke Maris' record, with the crowd at fever
pitch and Expos infielders shaking his hand as he
rounded the bases.
"What can I say?" McGwire said. "I'm speechless."
McGwire opened the year with a slam on March 31
against the Dodgers' Ramon Martinez, then led the
home run race all season except when Sosa twice
passed him briefly - and then for only 103 minutes in
Sosa led for 58 minutes on Aug. 19 before McGwire
regained went back ahead with his 48th and 49th
homers in the same game at Chicago. Sosa led for 45
minutes on Friday when he hit his 66th before
McGwire answered.
Before connecting Friday, McGwire had been
homerless in 14 at-bats.

Mark McGwire hit two home runs yesterday In the final game of the season, bring-
Ing his total to 70. Roger Marts owned the home run record for 37 years with 61.

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Offensive dominance
will carry ths team

Anthony Thomas didn't want to get
tired playing in Saturday's game
gainst Michigan State.
It was that simple. So he made his
intentions clear when he took the field
for his first handoff.
"I told (the linemen) on my first play
going in that, 'The quicker we score, the
quicker we get to rest,"' he said.
Minutes later, after busting through a
hole the size of Sedrick Irvin's ego,
Thomas powered down the right side-
line for a 69-yard touchdown.
And suddenly Michigan's offense was
in rare form: It was working.
Interesting ... Rest + motivation=
success. Seems simple enough.

Whether or not
Thomas was
chasing a seat
under the Cool
Zone, he sparked
the Michigan
offense to a sea-
son-best perfor-
mance. He car-
ried the game's
momentum with
him into the end
zone - and in
this contest that
was no small feat.

Mark My

sy, there is no such problem under cen-
ter. Tom Brady, Carr's original choice as
the starter, played with uncanny calm
and demonstrated a fine touch on some
thread-the-needle passes. Michigan
wide receiver Marcus Knight - Brady's
favorite receiver thus far - said he
"trusts" that Brady will put the ball
where it needs to be.
In this postgame, there was more of a
supportive atmosphere among the
offense than in past weeks. The
Wolverines are beginning to demon-
strate faith in their leader, and he is
responding in kind.
Despite throwing an interception on
his second pass, Brady hung tough. Carr
is big on being "mentally strong'"and
on Saturday, Brady kept his cool.
This week's game was all Brady. He
played the whole game, and healthy heir
apparent Drew Henson watched wearing
a baseball cap, not a helmet.
Though Brady's numbers were
unspectacular (15-of-26, 208 yards), he
effectively marched the offense when
necessary, and spread the ball around,
throwing a beautiful fade pass to Tai
Streets for a touchdown in one instance,
while connecting with Knight on a 48-
yard bomb a different time.
It was the first time the Wolverines
looked like his team. So, after four
games, it's time for an update.
We're well into the regular season and
the offense, which has an entirely new
backfield, is carrying the team. The run-
pass balance is nearly even and most
important, the threat exists on both ends.
Michigan is gaining confidence -
from its successful offense, not its for-
merly-dominating 'D'- and big plays
are contagious. Now is the Wolverines'
opportunity to prove how good they
really are.
The pressure to succeed at Michigan
tailed off following the season-opening
losses. Expectations decreased and the
focus shifted to the Big Ten season.
Well, now it's here, and Michigan's
new record stands at 1-0. A win at Iowa
will rekindle football fever around Ann
Arbor and the pressure to win every
week will return.
But pressure is what they should
want. Tight victories build Carr's infa-
mous "character," and come Ohio State
time, Michigan will need firepower and
resolve from all directions.
Saturday was a progressive step
toward building an offensive machine.
In five days, we see if it was tempo-

The Michigan-Michigan State rivalry
is rarely marked by exceptional football
on either side of the ball. As Lloyd Carr
said, "neither team played great foot-
ball," but the intensity was there.
That intensity turned into fire for
Michigan. When asked where the
Michigan offense came from, Thomas
was frank.
"It was the rivalry"he said.
For the first time all season, Michigan
executed its offense as Carr imagined,
compiling 414 yards.
Why it took this long remains some-
what of a mystery, though.
One possible explanation is the
strength of the backfield. If Carr decid-
ed that Thomas would be the primary
tailback, his choice was rewarded.
Thomas' lengthy touchdown run
brought the crowd to its feet and got the
offense rolling. When Carr saw the final
stats, his team ran over the Spartan
defense for 206 yards, with Thomas
accounting for more than half.
All should be perfect in the tailback
world, but Car's search for one lead
back still exists. While Thomas ran wild
in the first half, after the break, Clarence
Williams handled the bulk of the duties,
carrying the ball nine times to finish
with 88 yards.
In contrast, after weeks of controver-

Michigan wide receiver Tat Streets entertained the student section on Saturday, grabbing a 5-yard touchdown pass away from Michigan State cornerback Renaldo Hill.
The Wolverines also grabbed victory from Michigan State, despite turnovers and occasional sloppy play.


- Mark Snyder can be reached at

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