McGwire Crushes HR Record

The Tribune (Oakland, CA) - Saturday August 15, 1987

ANAHEIM - Oakland A's first baseman Mark McGwire broke the major league home run record for rookies last night when he hit his 39th of the season against California Angels pitcher Don Sutton.

McGwire, who leads the majors in home runs, hit the first pitch delivered by Sutton in the sixth inning for a two-run homer to left field with two outs. That moved mcGwire past Wally Berger of the 1930 Boston Braves and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson of the 1956 Cincinnati Reds.

McGwire's home run ball was retrieved by 12-year-old Jason DeLaGarza of Rancho Cucamonga.

DeLaGarza was reluctant to relinquish his prize but after much negotiation from members of the A's bullpen and stadium ushers, the youngster traded the ball for a chance to meet McGwire after the game and get an autograph ball from the rookie star. The A's also gave DeLaGarza two tickets to tonight's game between the A's and Angels at Anahein Stadium.

The score was tied 3-3 when McGwire drove the ball 380 feet into the left-field stands against Sutton, who pitched for the A's in 1985 after a brilliant career with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The fans at Anahein Stadium Stadium, which numbered 36,616, cheered until McGwire emerged from the Oakland dugout for a curtain call. The 6-foot-5 redhead also had a double and single.

Sutton, a 318-game career winner in the major leagues, was removed from last night's game after giving up the record-setter that gave the A's a 5-3 lead but the Angels rallied to the tie the score and the game went into extra innings tied at 6-6.

Mcgwire, the A's first-round draft choice in the 1984 draft, broke Al Rosen's American League rookie home run record of 38 last Tuesday night in Seattle with a lead off shot to center field off Mike Moore.

Ironically, it was Sutton who allowed McGwire to tie the A.L. record July 29. The 23-year-old McGwire, a former USC and 1984 Olympic team player, hit a one-out home run to left center field in a 5-4 loss.

In the stands last night sitting behind home plate were McGwire's mother, Ginger, and father John, plus his wife Kathy, older brother, Bob, and 17-year-old brother J.J.

"It's really wonderful that he could do it here at home," said McGwire's mother. The McGwire family lives in Claremont a suburb of the Los Angeles area.

"I'm hoarse," said his father. "The thing I really like was it was a tie game and the home put us ahead. I was kind of surprised to see Sutton throw him that pitch. Thank you Don Sutton."

McGwire now has 25 homers this season against right-handers and 14 against lefties. It was his 22nd homer on the road and only his second home run this month.

The rookie, whose homer gave him 89 runs batted in, already has established an Oakland record for most homers by a right-handed hitter but still needs eight more to tie team-mate Reggie Jackson for the club's all-time single season mark. Jackson hit 47 in 1969.

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