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Latinx Heritage Month

On this day in Latinx history: Sammy Sosa makes history with 60th home run

Chicago Cubs slugger is the first major leaguer to hit 60 home runs in multiple seasons

On Sept. 18, 1999, Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa became the first player in major league history to hit 60 home runs in multiple seasons.

Sosa waited seven games, nine days and 33 at-bats to get over the 59-home-run hump. His historic homer came off Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Jason Bere in Chicago’s 7-4 loss in 14 innings.

“I was getting a bit anxious up there, a little out of control, swinging at everything, because everybody was waiting for this moment,” Sosa told The Washington Post.

“I wanted to get it done, and that’s why I was out of control. Now I can relax.”

The season before, Sosa hit 66 home runs during one of the greatest home run battles that MLB has ever seen, as he and St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire duked it out for the home run crown. McGwire prevailed with 70 homers.

“Of all the players that have played this game, for me to be the first one, I’m proud,” Sosa said.

“Pretty much last year, when I hit 62 [to pass Roger Maris’ long-standing mark of 61], Mark was already the first guy there, and that was the record everybody was looking for. This year to be the first to reach 60, I have to say I enjoy this one a little more.”

Sosa sent a 2-2 pitch from Bere over the center-field wall in the sixth inning. Sosa’s mother, wife and son Michael, who turned 2 that day, were all in the stands.

Sosa pointed to the sky as he walked across home plate and to the dugout. He re-emerged moments later to do a curtain call and blow kisses at the crowd.

In 1998, Bere allowed Sosa’s 56th homer while a member of the Cincinnati Reds.

“Last year I was 56; now I’m 60,” Bere told the Post. “Good for him. It’s a pretty big accomplishment.”

Said Brewers manager Jim Lefebvre, who once managed Sosa with the Cubs: “He’s one of the game’s real treasures. He’s done something nobody before has done. Nobody has worked harder than Sammy to get where he is.”

Sosa, who once sold oranges and shined shoes in the Dominican Republic, gave a big shout-out to his native country by holding up a sign on TV that read “I Love You Dominican Republic.”

When Sosa went into right field during the seventh inning, he received another standing ovation.

Sosa finished the season with 63 homers. He hit 64 in 2001 to become the first major leaguer to accomplish the feat three times.

Rhiannon Walker is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a drinker of Sassy Cow Creamery chocolate milk, an owner of an extensive Disney VHS collection, and she might have a heart attack if Frank Ocean doesn't drop his second album.