McGwire, Sosa Linked As All-Stars
NEW YORK (AP) _ Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa spent most of last season making home run history together. Now they will be side-by-side in the same lineup for the first time Tuesday.
NL manager Bruce Bochy put baseball’s two biggest sluggers back-to-back in his lineup for Tuesday’s All-Star game, with Sosa batting third, followed by McGwire.
``It’s an honor for me to be together with Mark again and play,″ Sosa said after the lineup was released Monday.
Last year, the two energized the entire sport with their chase of Roger Maris’ home run record. McGwire hit his 61st and 62nd homers _ tying and passing Maris _ with Sosa in attendance.
``With everything that we did last year, it will be great for everyone who loves baseball,″ said Sosa, who missed last year’s All-Star game with an injured shoulder.
McGwire might have won last year’s home run race _ outdistancing Sosa 70-66 _ but Sosa won the love of the fans, who made him the NL’s leading vote-getter.
``Last year was the year that everybody recognized me the way I was supposed to be recognized,″ Sosa said. ``This year I am the leader in votes. That shows the appreciation there.″
Sosa has the midway lead in homers this year, with a major league-best 32 at the All-Star break. McGwire is four back, tied for second in the NL.
The exploits of the two sluggers has even gotten their fellow teammates this week star struck. Many of the 23 first-time All-Stars said one of their goals this week was to get autographed baseballs from McGwire and Sosa.
Even Ken Griffey Jr., with 56 homers each of the last two seasons, appreciated their accomplishments.
``Every time you turned on the TV, somebody was getting excited,″ Griffey said. ``I think it was a lot of fun not only for myself to watch but for all of baseball.″