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McGwire Hits the Trifecta in Victory

May 19, 2000|From Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Mark McGwire broke ties with Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays on the same night.

"It's absolutely unbelievable, phenomenal to hear my name mentioned with those guys," McGwire said after hitting three home runs and setting a career-high with seven runs batted in in the St. Louis Cardinals' 7-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies Thursday night.

McGwire has 539 homers and is eighth on the career list, three ahead of Mantle. McGwire's 64th multihomer game broke a tie with Mays for second all time. Babe Ruth had 72.

"It means a lot to me, but I have to worry about playing a game tomorrow," McGwire said. "It's not like my career is over. I think about those guys a lot, but until I retire, it's not going to hit me."

FOR THE RECORD - Active Career Home Run Leaders
Los Angeles Times Saturday May 20, 2000 Home Edition Sports Part D Page 5 Sports Desk 2 inches; 45 words Type of Material: Correction
The figures were wrong in this chart that ran in Friday's paper. Here are the correct totals (through Friday):
1. Mark McGwire: 539
2. Barry Bonds: 461
3. Jose Canseco: 438
4. Ken Griffey Jr.: 411
5. Cal Ripken Jr.: 409
6. Fred McGriff: 398
7. Harold Baines: 376
8. Rafael Palmeiro: 371
9. Albert Belle: 363
10. Sammy Sosa: 349

McGwire, who took over the major league home run lead with 17, broke his tie with Mantle in the first inning when he hit No. 537, a three-run drive off Curt Schilling (1-2).

McGwire hit a two-run homer in the second inning--becoming the 54th player to reach the left-field upper deck at Veterans Stadium--to make the score 5-0. He added a two-run shot in the eighth off Wayne Gomes for No. 539.

Only 17,137 paid to see the game, and that figure seemed inflated.

McGwire is four for 18 in his career against Schilling, and all of those hits are home runs, including one on April 30.

"When you face a guy like Schilling, who has owned me my whole career, I see the best of the best," McGwire said. "If he throws 93-94 [mph] to someone else, he throws 97-98 to me, with movement. I was lucky.

"I don't look at things as locked in, hitting the ball real well. I look at it like constant adjustments. Last night I couldn't hit a ball with a wet newspaper. Tonight, I centered some balls."

The Cardinals have hit home runs in 36 of 40 games and are on pace to hit 344, shattering the record of 264 set by the 1997 Seattle Mariners.

It was the fifth three-homer game of McGwire's career.

"It's just a great feeling to have somebody go out and with one swing, get you three runs," Cardinal Manager Tony La Russa said. "He's phenomenal."

Schilling, making his fourth start since off-season shoulder surgery, gave up five runs and nine hits in six innings, walked five and struck out five.

"I pitched poorly. No excuses," he said. "I threw balls in spots I didn't want and he did what he does with those pitches. He's done it over 500 times."


Still Grooving

Active career home run leaders:

No. Player: Homers

1. Mark McGwire: 539

2. Barry Bonds: 475

3. Jose Canseco: 445

4. Ken Griffey Jr.: 424

5. Cal Ripken Jr.: 416

6. Fred McGriff: 403

7. Rafael Palmeiro: 381

8. Harold Baines: 379

9. Sammy Sosa: 367

10. Albert Belle: 362

The Big Boppers

Career home run leaders (x-active):

No. Player: Homers

1. Hank Aaron: 755

2. Babe Ruth: 714

3. Willie Mays: 660

4. Frank Robinson 586

5. Harmon Killebrew: 573

6. Reggie Jackson 563

7. Mike Schmidt: 548

8. x-Mark McGwire: 539

8. Mickey Mantle: 536

10. Jimmie Foxx: 534


With three home runs Thursday, Mark McGwire, above, has 17 in the Cardinals' 40 games (McGwire has played in only 30 games). A look at his last three seasons after 40 team games:


Year After 40 games Final total 2000 17 -- 1999 10 65 1998 16 70 1997 13 58


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