MLB history: A look back at the 60 home run club

CLEVELAND, OH - 1927: Babe Ruth signing baseball before Indians - Yankees game at League Park. (Photo by Louis Van Oeyen/Western Reserve Historical Society/Getty Images).
CLEVELAND, OH - 1927: Babe Ruth signing baseball before Indians - Yankees game at League Park. (Photo by Louis Van Oeyen/Western Reserve Historical Society/Getty Images). /
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(Photo credit should read JOHN ZICH/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo credit should read JOHN ZICH/AFP via Getty Images) /

Sammy Sosa – 1998, 1999, 2001

Sammy Sosa holds a unique place in both the 60 home run club and in MLB history. Not only is he the only player to hit at least 60 homers in a season three times, he is the only player in that group not to lead the league in homers in any of those years.

Sosa reached his high water mark for homers in 1998, belting 66 home runs as he was neck and neck with Mark McGwire. While he did surpass Roger Maris, he was unable to catch McGwire for the home run crown, finishing four back. Sosa did get the last laugh in the awards department however as he was named the NL MVP that season.

He surpassed the 60 home run threshold again in 1999, belting 63 homers that season. Once again, he was second to McGwire, finishing two behind for the NL lead. He was ninth in the NL MVP vote that year as his strong showing did not resonate with the voters as much.

Once again, Sosa surpassed the 60 home run mark in 2001, belting 64 homers. And once again, he finished second in the NL, this time trailing Barry Bonds. Ironically, he led the league in homers in 2000, a year when he “only” hit 50 homers. He got his home run crown, but was never able to lead the league in any of his 60 homer seasons.

As was the case with McGwire, Sosa’s home run barrage faced controversy. He was accused of PED usage and was called to testify in front of Congress, when he suddenly ‘forgot’ how to speak English. And, as was the case with McGwire, his Hall of Fame candidacy failed to generate much traction as he fell off the ballot after ten years.