04/05/2003 12:46 AM ET
Baker witnesses history again
Skipper was there for Aaron's 714th on same date
By Jim Molony / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Dusty Baker watched Sammy Sosa make history Friday night, and for the Chicago Cubs manager, it was like deja vu all over again.
"Can you believe it, the same day?" Baker said. "The very same day Sammy hit 500 is the same day and the same city that Hank (Aaron) hit 714 and I was here for both of them. I'm very fortunate."
Baker would have been happier had the Cubs managed to make it all the way back from a 7-0 deficit instead of losing, 10-9, but disappointed as he was with the defeat, he was happy that Sosa had reached such elite company. Sosa is one of 18 members of the 500-homer club and the first Latin player to crack that magical number.
"It was a great moment and a great event," Baker said. "I liked how the people responded and gave him the respect for what he's done. Cincinnatians are very knowledgeable fans."
Baker, who was a 25-year-old teammate of Aaron's when the latter tied Babe Ruth's career home run record in this city, said Sosa's accomplishment means a lot to him as well.
"I've been very fortunate to see some great milestones, starting with Hank Aaron right here," he said. "I've seen a great moments, a lot of them. Had a chance to see Barry Bonds hit 400, 500 and 600. I feel fortunate to see Sammy hit his 500th and I hope I get to see him hit 600, 700 and beyond.
"To get to 500, when you think about all of the great hitters in this game and how few who have done it, it's really remarkable to get there. Sammy's a great hitter, has been for a while, and he's worked very hard to get here. Believe me, he's earned this."
Sosa doesn't plan on celebrating very long. Other milestones await.
"I really don't know when I'm going to stop. I'm just going to keep continuing having good seasons the way I have," he said. "Be healthy, especially when this team has a chance to win. The numbers are going to be there, I don't know when I'm going to stop or when it's going to be over but I know I'm going to keep going."
Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.