Home Run Records by McGwire and Sosa to Benefit Kids, Thanks to Ronald McDonald House Charities Grants

More Than $180,000 Pledged to Date as Home Run Race Continues

OAK BROOK, Ill., Sept. 21 -- As baseball greats Mark ``Big Mac'' McGwire and Sammy Sosa strive for historic home run records, families and children will have another reason to cheer, thanks to grants announced today by Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) has granted $61,000 in each players' name to charities they have designated, in recognition of the record of 61 home runs set by Roger Maris, which they've already surpassed. And for each additional home run hit by McGwire or Sosa through the end of the regular season, RMHC will contribute $10,000 more to the players' designated charities.

McGwire has designated the Mark McGwire Foundation for Children as the beneficiary of his RMHC grant. The McGwire Foundation for Children is based in Long Beach, Calif. and assists child abuse victims across the United States.

Sosa has designated the Sammy Sosa Foundation as the beneficiary of his grant from RMHC. The Sosa Foundation helps underprivileged children in the United States and in the Dominican Republic, Sosa's home.

After hitting his 65th home run of the season yesterday, Mark McGwire added another $10,000 to his charity, bringing the RMHC grant total to $182,000: $101,000 for the McGwire Foundation and $81,000 for the Sosa Foundation. The totals are expected to mount as the race for the home run record goes on.

``Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa are known as much for their commitment to children and families off the field as for their playing abilities on the field,'' said Ken Barun, Ronald McDonald House Charities president and CEO. ``It gives us great pleasure to recognize their accomplishments in a way that benefits children and families. We hope our pledge gives Mark and Sammy an extra incentive to swing for the fences during the rest of the baseball season.''

``It's an honor to accept this gift from Ronald McDonald House Charities,'' McGwire said. ``I've worked with Ronald McDonald House Charities before, and I know how much they do to help kids. This is a great way to celebrate a record-breaking year.''

During the current season, the St. Louis Cardinals have contributed $1,000 to Ronald McDonald House of St. Louis for every home run hit into Busch Stadium's ``Big Mac Land'' seats. Ronald McDonald House provides a home away from home for families of children receiving treatment for serious illnesses at local hospitals.

``It's very important to me to help kids here in the U.S. and in the Dominican Republic, my home,'' Sosa said. ``I'm very happy that Ronald McDonald House Charities is helping me to make a difference for kids.''

Ronald McDonald House Charities provides comfort and care to children and families through its network of local charities in 27 countries. The charity makes grants to not-for-profit organizations and provides support to Ronald McDonald Houses worldwide. To date, Ronald McDonald House Charities and its global network of local charities has awarded nearly $200 million in grants to children's programs around the world.

1997 Ronald McDonald House Charities. All rights reserved.

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