After years as a respected power/speed threat with a rocket arm in right field, he emerged during the 1998 season as one of baseball's greatest. It was in this season that both Sosa and Mark McGwire were involved in the "home run record chase", when both players' prowess for hitting home runs drew national attention as they attempted to pass Roger Maris' single season home run mark of 61 home runs that had stood since 1961. For the early months of the year, Sosa trailed McGwire significantly, being as many as 16 homers behind at one point in May. But as the chase progressed, Sosa would rally and eventually tie McGwire with 46 home runs each on August 10, after a couple months of straggling within a few homers for the lead. However, the moment was short lived as McGwire would pull away slightly and reach 62 home runs to break the record first on September 8, but once again Sosa would excitingly heat up the race by tying McGwire once again at 62 on September 13. Eleven days later, with two games left to play in the season, the two were tied at 66 home runs each. Sosa would end the season with 66 after playing both games without a home run(still a team record), just behind McGwire's 70 after hitting two home runs in each of the last two games. However, Sammy had become the first Major League batter ever to hit 66 home runs in a season. It was during that season, that Cubs announcer Chip Caray nicknamed him "Slammin' Sammy", a nickname that quickly spread. In addition, Sammy produced then career highs in batting average and slugging percentage, at . 308 and . 647 respectively. Sosa also led the league in RBIs and runs scored.