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Christiansen Returns McGwire Homer

September 17, 1998

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Jason Christiansen gave up Mark McGwire’s latest home run but came away with a souvenir.

After allowing McGwire’s 63rd homer Tuesday, Christiansen asked for an autographed ball. McGwire responded with a ball inscribed: ``To Jason, 63, 9-15-98″ and his signature.

``It’s kind of like a dubious thing _ to give up a home run to get an autograph, but it’s kind of a keepsake,″ said Christiansen, who has allowed only one other homer this season. ``I’m not a big collector, but I have balls signed by hitters I face a lot and respect, like Tony Gwynn and Mark Grace.″

Christiansen said McGwire, who was pinch-hitting, hit a low inside fastball. Earlier this season, Christiansen struck out McGwire looking with a fastball on the outside corner.

``In 10 or 20 years, I can tell my kids I faced him,″ Christiansen said. ``It will be like people talking about facing Babe Ruth and Roger Maris. It’s going to be a fun thing in 10 years to be able to say I was associated with this.″

Christiansen said he wouldn’t be so retrospective if the homer had cost him the game.

``But with a three-run lead, I’m going to go after the guy,″ he said.

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