This Date in Baseball: McGwire hit home run #70
1914 — Nap Lajoie of the Cleveland Naps collected his 3,000th hit in the opening game of a doubleheader, a 5-3 win over the New York Yankees at League Park II. Lajoie doubled off of Marty McHale for the milestone hit.
1923 — Lou Gehrig hit his first homer in the majors off Bill Piercy of the Boston Red Sox. On the same date 15 years later, he hit his 493rd and last off Dutch Leonard of the Senators.
1930 — Hack Wilson hit two home runs for the Chicago Cubs, giving him an NL-record 56 for the season.
1935 — The Chicago Cubs clinched the NL pennant and won their 21st consecutive game with a doubleheader sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs won the pennant with the opening-game victory.
1936 — Hall of Fame manager Walter Alston played in his only major league game as a late-inning substitute at first base for Johnny Mize of the St. Louis Cardinals. He made one error in two chances and struck out in his only at-bat.
1940 — Rookie Floyd Giebell pitched the Detroit Tigers to a pennant-clinching 2-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians. It was Giebell’s second and last major league win.
1967 — Philadelphia’s Jim Bunning tied the National League record with his fifth 1-0 loss of the season.
1968 — Bob Gibson of St. Louis pitched his 13th shutout of the season for a 1-0 win over the Houston Astros. Gibson (22-9) struck out 11, walked none and held the Astros to six singles.
1973 — The California Angels beat the Minnesota Twins 5-4 in 11 innings as Nolan Ryan struck out 16, including No. 383 of the season, a modern major league record.
1993 — Randy Myers became the first NL reliever with 50 saves in a season as the Chicago Cubs beat Los Angeles 7-3.
1996 — San Francisco’s Barry Bonds became the second player to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases in a season. Jose Canseco was the other. Bonds, who had 42 homers, stole his 40th base in a 9-3 win over Colorado.
1998 — Mark McGwire gave baseball a new magic number, hitting two homers to reach No. 70 in the St. Louis Cardinals’ season finale against Montreal. It was McGwire’s fifth homer in the season-ending, three-game series. McGwire’s 70th and final home run of the season was a line shot over the left-field wall on a first-pitch fastball from Carl Pavano in the seventh.
1998 — The New York Yankees won their seventh straight game and ended their incredible regular season with 114 victories. With a .704 winning percentage, the Yankees (114-48) became the first team since the 1954 Cleveland Indians (111-43) to play .700 ball over an entire season.
2000 — Anaheim’s Darin Erstad was 4-for-5 with an RBI in a 9-7 loss to Oakland. Erstad with 99 RBIs, broke the major league record for RBIs in a season by a leadoff batter set by Boston’s Nomar Garciaparra (98) in 1997.
2005 — The Atlanta Braves clinched their 14th straight division title thanks to Philadelphia’s loss to the New York Mets. The Braves began their record-setting streak in 1991 — when they were in the NL West.
2012 — R.A. Dickey became the first knuckleballer to win 20 games in more than three decades, matching his career high with 13 strikeouts and leading the New York Mets to a 6-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
2017 — J.D. Martinez hit his 16th homer in September during a three-run rally in the ninth inning that lifted Arizona to a 4-3 win over San Francisco. Martinez tied Ralph Kiner’s 1949 NL record for home runs in September.
2017 — From worst to wild card, the Minnesota Twins completed a most remarkable reversal. A couple hours after losing 4-2 to Cleveland, the Twins earned an AL wild-card berth the Angels lost 6-4 in 10 innings to White Sox. A season after winning just 59 games, the Twins became the first team to lose at least 100 and then make the postseason the following year.