20th Anniversary: How Mark McGwire Snubbing The Fan Who Caught His 70th Home Run Turned The Fan Into A Millionaire
It’s been 20 years since Mark McGwire ALLEGEDLY injected all the roids and smashed his 70th home run of the 1998 season. Jesus, where does the time go? What have I accomplished since? How did I wind up here? So many wrong turns. So many regrets.
My demons are neither here nor there.
McGwire drilled his 69th and 70th dingers on September 27, 1998 against the Montreal Expos, a feat that would only be bested by Barry Bonds three short years later (73). The Sosa-McGwire bombfest that year will forever be remembered as one of the most enthralling sports stories of my childhood, one of the first to introduce me to the imaginative power of sports. And for that, I will always be grateful for steroids.
As ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports, Cardinals fan Phil Ozersky, who was making $30,000 a year, caught McGwire’s iconic 70th home run. The Cardinals organization offered Mr. Ozersky a signed bat, ball and a jersey for him to return the ball. Ozersky decided to play his hand and asked for one other sweetener: to meet Mr. McGwire. McGwire basically told him to piss off and three months later, Phil Ozersky sold the ball for $3.05 million to Todd McFarlane, creator of the Spawn comic book that was later made into an Emmy-winning HBO series and a $100 million-grossing New Line Cinema movie. (I’ve seen a couple reports claiming that Ozersky took home $2.7 million rather than $3.05. Not sure if there were fees associated with the sale).
Here’s the kicker: Ozersky claims he would have handed the ball over to McGwire then and there if he had agreed to meet him. It’s amazing how one athlete being a dick to a fan turned him rich.
Relive history by watching the footage of McGwire’s 70th moonshot below:
Sports, man. WHAT A RIDE.