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September 8, 1998

Mark McGwire


Q. How does it feel to own the most prestigious record in sports?
MARK McGWIRE: Absolutely incredible. What can I say, I mean, I am almost speechless. I mean, I have been talking about this since January and I get to 61, it is one swing away and then next thing you know I hit a ball that all of a sudden disappeared on me. I tell you what, I totally believe in fate and I believe that is what happened this week and I thank the man upstairs.

Q. Tell us what happened on the turn on first.
MARK McGWIRE: Well, when I hit the ball I thought it was on the line drive and I thought it was going to hit the wall, next thing you know, it disappeared. I looked up and Dave McKay was jumping up and sort of like, missed one big thing, touch first base. So, I had to go back and touch it. Honestly, that is the first time that I think I missed. First time I have had to do that, but I will tell you what, I will always remember that and it was a sweet, sweet run around the bases.

Q. Do you have any idea how you have impacted the game?
MARK McGWIRE: I think so right now, I believe, yeah. I will tell you what, you know, the whole country has been involved in this. I think since after the All‑Star break and it has just ‑‑ people have been saying it is bringing the country together. So be it. I am happy to bring the country together.

Q. How does it feel sitting there with your bat next to Roger Maris's bat?
MARK McGWIRE: Well, as I went over to the box and talked to Roger's kids, I told them today when I met with the Hall of Fame they pulled out Roger's bat that he hit his 61st home run with and I touched it. I touched it with my heart. Now I can honestly say that my bat will lie next to his and I am damn proud of it.

Q. What is your next goal?
MARK McGWIRE: My next goal? Sleep. (Laughter.)

Q. Mark, we have heard so much about you opening up as a person and willing to talk and share your emotions. You are physically showing it a little bit right now. What was it like rounding the bases, Gaetti hugging you, Sammy hugging you, then meeting the Maris family again?
MARK McGWIRE: I honestly have to tell you I really have to see the tape because I really don't remember it. I was trying to imagine what it was going to feel like doing that and I sort of was telling myself, I think I will be floating. I sure in the heck was floating. I have to look at the tape, but I just remember briefly shaking some of the player's hands and you know, signalling to the dugout and the Cubs and then after that, I just hope I didn't act foolish, but I mean this is history, so, ‑‑ can I say one thing? I talked to a good friend of mine today, Jim Corsey (phonetic), so everybody in Boston, Jim Corsey does know me and thanks for giving me that hug over the phone today, Jim.
MARK McGWIRE: I told you I was going to talk to you after the game today.

Q. I know, congratulations. How are you going to celebrate tonight?
MARK McGWIRE: Well, I hope there is a lot of champagne on that flight to Cincinnati, so ‑‑ I think everybody is going to be drinking except for the pilots.

Q. What does it mean to do it so fast, in the 145th game?
MARK McGWIRE: Was it that quick? I ‑‑ I just ‑‑ it has been awesome. I will tell you what, the last week and a half my stomach has been turning, my heart has been beating a million miles a minute. To do it that fast, I don't know, I just give thanks to the man upstairs and all of them; Roger Maris, Babe Ruth, everybody who is watching up there, what a feat.

Q. In your wildest dreams, Mark, did you ever imagine to break the record this quickly?
MARK McGWIRE: Not even. Not even a chance. I mean, I truly believed that if somebody got to 50 by September, they had an honest shot at doing it. I got to it pretty quickly.

Q. When you took the microphone after you hit the home run, you dedicated the home run to the people in St. Louis. Talk about how special it was to hit it here.
MARK McGWIRE: Well, I will tell you what, after yesterday doing what I did for my father and my son showing up just in time, I tell you what a perfect way to end the week by the last game in the home stand and hitting the 62nd for the city of St. Louis and all the great fans. I had a couple of milestones this year, hitting my 400th and 50th on the road. I really truly wanted to do it here. Really wanted to do it here, guys, and I did it. Thank you, St. Louis.

Q. What do you have to say to the Oakland As fans and ‑‑ where you were in 1993, and 1994; you have been healthy, what do you have to say?
MARK McGWIRE: I have to thank everybody in the Bay Area for all the support they gave me. I started there. They have been through rocky times with me through my injuries, through my down year of hitting .201. They were behind me. And I truly believed the times that I was down with the injuries, I truly believe it was for a reason and I think this is the reason I am sitting here talking to all you guys, so.....

Q. You have carried this with you since the winter talking about it all year. Do you feel like a big weight has been lifted off your shoulders?
MARK McGWIRE: Yeah, I don't know how happy the arch is, but the arch is off my back now.

Q. What kind of message does this send beyond baseball to the country?
MARK McGWIRE: I just think it puts baseball back on the map as the sport ‑ it's America's pastime and you just look at everybody come out to the ballparks and you look at all the great players in the game of baseball and it has been an exciting year. It is not over, and it is a ‑‑ it is great, great time.

Q. Were you aware of how this whole process has evolved you as a person?
MARK McGWIRE: Oh, yeah. Yeah, it has. I mean, I don't know if I am going to sit here and talk about it, but, yeah, we can talk later about that. (Laughter.)

Q. You may have already been asked this, but talk about going into the stands to see the Maris family?
MARK McGWIRE: Yeah, I mean, it just ‑‑ like I said, today when I touched and held Roger's bat that he hit his 61st with and I just put it against my heart and that is the first thing that came to my mind when I ran over there and I told all four of them and it was just unbelievable. It was an unbelievable feeling.

Q. You have seen how the Maris' children have remembered their father's accomplishment. How will your son remember your accomplishment today?
MARK McGWIRE: I hope my son one day grows up and becomes a baseball player and breaks it.

Q. Have you gotten the ball yet?
MARK McGWIRE: No, I haven't. No, you know, whoever came on the field and gave me that ball, it wasn't the ball. So, it said official league. It didn't say National League. So I said: Here, take it back. So it wasn't the ball. So I haven't seen it yet.

Q. What number will it say at the Hall of Fame?
MARK McGWIRE: What number will it say at the Hall of Fame? I guess we will find out September 27th.

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