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What would you do with 62? Sell out or savor the memories?

By Craig Degel
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 4, 1998
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Craig Degel

It is highly likely that the next time you pick up this newspaper, baseball will have a new all-time single season home run king.

Sammy Sosa has a chance to do it by Monday, but let's face it, the record has McGwire's name written all over it.

And that begs the question: What would you do if you caught the 62nd home run?

Sell it? Give it to the hitter? Keep it for your own collection? What would you do if you were a Cub fan? Would you keep with bleacher bum tradition and throw it back?

You could be like the guy who caught No. 59 Wednesday night in Miami. He gave it to McGwire and got an autographed bat in return. Now that would be cool.

Many ballparks have considered deploying extra security into the bleachers in order to verify and protect the lucky receiver of the historic blast.

What do they do if he hits it out of the park, though? I mean completely out. Be it onto Broadway in St. Louis or Waveland Avenue in Chicago - where homer-happy fans always stand with gloves ready - people would be ready to go on a Jihad just to be the person who catches what will become the most coveted artifact in the history of the game.

This would be bigger than Gibson's World Series shot in 1988 and bigger than Fisk's Game 6 homer in 1975.

Sooner or later, the ball will make its way to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., so everyone marvel at it.

I wouldn't want money for it. Not a dime. Just give me an autograph and five minutes to chat with McGwire and I'd be a happy camper. Think of shaking his hand, maybe having your picture taken with him, talking to him for just a few minutes. That's worth more money than you could ever wave in my face.

Call me naive, but money just doesn't mean that much to me. There are far too few athletes in the world who deserve the kind of respect McGwire - or Sosa for that matter -commands. I can only think of one and he plays basketball. Well, for now at least.

After all, would you want to be known as the guy who sold out or be the guy who respected the game too much to sully its name further with talk of money?

See you on Tuesday.

Craig Degel is a journalism senior and can be reached via e-mail at

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