Let's start with the November 1998 copy of Beckett Baseball Card Monthly. Why start with November 1998? Well today is Labor Day and the cover commemorates an event that happened roughly 19 years ago, on Labor Day.
As indicated on the cover, this is Issue #164 and set readers back $3.99 US and $5.50 in Canada.
At the top we learn that this issue features the first pricing for the following sets: Bowman's Best, Pacific Revolution, SI World Series Fever, and UD3. An "Exclusive Griffey Checklist" is also mentioned.
The cover features St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire and mentions that "Big Mac's Rookie Card Hits Uncharted Territory"and showcases his 1985 Topps Olympic RC.
Why McGwire? Well with the 1998 season coming to a close in October with the New York Yankees sweeping the San Diego Padres in the World Series a Yankee might have been a natural choice for the November cover, but Derek Jeter had just graced the cover of the October issue, so McGwire was chosen.
I remember the 1998 season well. It was the Diamondbacks inaugural season and I was getting my first look at Major League Baseball up close and in person.
A look at the D-Backs home schedule shows that they only played the Cardinals for one three game set in mid June. I went to one of the games. McGwire had homered the day before against the D-Backs, but at the game I attended he went 1-2 with a single and two walks; one intentional.
Travis Lee of the Diamondbacks homered twice and Matt Williams also went yard.
Here is my ticket stub from that game.
On September 8, 1998 I went ot watch the Diamondbacks take on the Los Angeles Dodgers and had gone early to watch batting practice and when McGwire came up to bat in the Cardinals vs. Cubs the Diamondbacks showed it live on the jumbo tron and I watched the ball just barely clear the left-field fence to give McGwire the record.
In case you haven't seen it; or it's been a while, here is video of the historic home run.
McGwire and fellow slugger Sammy Sosa, captured the attention of the entire sports world during the 1998 season. Much can be said about the means they used to do it, but there is no doubt that Big Mac and Slammin Sammy helped restore baseball as the National Pastime since many fans had left after the strike shortened 1994 season.
Here are four cards that I have in my collection that commemorate Mark's 62nd home run of 1998.
Let's get back to the Beckett cover.
Tom is a well known sports photographer. From his web site Tom DiPace Photography:
"Tom DiPace is an internationally recognized sports photographer. His work has been printed in notable publications such as Time, Newsweek, ESP Magazine, ESPN Deportes Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Athletes Quarterly (AQ), Tennis Magazine, and USA Today. In addition to other prestigious magazines, newspapers, and books around the world.
Tom's commercial clients include Powerade,Vitamin Water, 2KSports,Rawlings Sporting Goods, Monavie,Wheaties,EA Sports,Nike,New Era Caps DIY Network and more.
He has covered 25 Superbowls,10 World Series,AllStar games and NBA Finals His 30 years of photography seamlessly bring together his unrivaled experience and distinguished reputation. He looks forward to aiding the innovation of photography,capturing iconic history one frame at a time."
I'd encourage everyone to check out his web site to take a look at some of his amazing work. I did reach out to Tom about the photo on the cover of the 1998 Beckett Baseball Card Monthly magazine and his experience being there when McGwire broke the single season home run record, but as of me posting this he has not responded.
McGwire hit home run #62 off of Steve Trachsel. The ball traveled just 341 feet; the shortest home run that McGwire hit during the 1998 season.
Trachsel had a nice career. He spent his first 8 seasons in Chicago with the Cubs and was an All-Star in 1996. After leaving the Cubs after the 1999 season, Steve spent time with the Devil Rays, Blue Jays, Mets, Orioles, the Cubs again, and then finished with the Orioles in 2008.
Trachsel is a good ttm signer. These two cards have been sent to see if I can get him to sign them.
McGwire has been known to sign from time to time via ttm. I've never sent to him, but I just sent to him at the same time as Trachsel. Let's see who I get back first.
Alright, so there it is, a detailed look at the cover of the September 1998 Beckett Baseball Card Monthly magazine. Let me know what you think.