ST. LOUIS (BP)–It was Opening Day 1998. The Cardinals and Dodgers were deadlocked 0-0.
In the fifth inning, a couple of Cardinals reached base, and Delino DeShields stood in the batter’s box. A burly first baseman waited on deck.
When DeShields worked Los Angeles pitcher Ramon Martinez to three balls, the crowd went wild. To hear the fans, you would have thought Mark McGwire had already hit a grand slam. But he wasn’t even up to bat yet.
Almost like something out of a fairy tale, the very thing St. Louis fans clamored for came to be. DeShields walked, McGwire stepped in and smacked the ball over the left center field fence. The Cardinals won the game 4-0, and McGwire kicked off what proved to be one of the greatest seasons in baseball history.
Read more of Tim Ellsworth’s column on McGwire, who has announced his retirement from baseball, at BPSports, www.bpsports.net.