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Sosa finishes one HR shy of 50, 500

©Associated Press
September 30, 2002

CHICAGO -- Sammy Sosa's drive to 500 stopped one homer short. He'll just have to wait until next season.

"Individually it was a great year. No question about it," said Sosa, who hit his 499th career homer and 49th of the season in the first before walking and striking out twice during the Cubs' 7-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

"I would have enjoyed it more if the team had been closer to a pennant race and we had a much better winning percentage."

Sosa, in a 1-for-19 slump going in, connected off Josh Fogg for his first homer since Sept. 20 to make it 2-0 in the first.

Even after he struck out in his final at-bat in the seventh, Sosa got a rousing ovation from the crowd of 37,541 at Wrigley Field. He also finished one homer short in his bid to become the first player to hit 50 or more five times.

"To see that in my last at-bat, that's a great feeling, even though they wanted to see me hit one more home run," Sosa said. "I have seven more years to play, so I will get it sooner or later."

Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon agreed.

"We certainly gave Sammy a shot. He had his opportunities," McClendon said. "I would lay some money down that he'd get it next year."

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