Baseball fans in St. Louis, who witnessed history last season, may get a double dose of the same in the coming days.
Mark McGwire and Tony Gwynn are on the doorstep of career milestones. McGwire, who set a major league record with 70 home runs last season, needs six more to reach 500 for his career. And Gwynn is just nine hits short of 3,000.
The Cardinals began a seven-game homestand tonight with a game against Colorado. The San Diego Padres and Gwynn come to town Monday for a four-game series.
Only 15 players have hit 500 or more homers. McGwire would have to go on a spurt to reach 500 during the homestand, but he's been hitting them in bunches lately -- 10 homers in his last 14 games.
Cardinals fans have a better chance to witness Gwynn's historic hit. Only 21 players have reached 3,000 hits. Gwynn would become the first National League player to reach 3,000 in 20 years -- the last was the Cardinals' Lou Brock in 1979.
McGwire tried to downplay both accomplishments. "It's not historic, it's just a milestone," he said. "He'll get 3,000 hits, it's inevitable, and I'll get 500 homers. It's going to happen someday."
Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa was hoping both wouldn't happen on the same day, which would steal a little thunder from both players.
"But I don't think the odds of that are too good," he said.
Gwynn has won eight National League batting titles, tied with Honus Wagner for most in league history and one more than Stan Musial won in his Cardinals' career. Musial is also a member of the 3,000-hit club.
McGwire gave fans at Busch Stadium a lifetime's worth of memories last season when he swatted several of the most historic home runs. Those included No. 61, which tied Roger Maris's record, No. 62, which broke it, and No. 70 in his final at-bat of the season.
The 500-home run club includes Henry Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Mel Ott, Jimmie Foxx -- but no Cardinals.