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|| News Item: Posted 1998-10-21

The Quest for 62
By Ron Vesely, Freelance, working for MLB

Covering McGwire's run at 62 was probably the most unique event I've ever covered ... and that seemed like the prevailing consensus among most of the photographers in St. Louis. We knew what was supposed to happen, and we knew how it would happen, but we didn't know when or where..... or, as it turned out, even Mac didn't know right away on 62!

I can tell you that it was quite a feeling to be focused in on Mac while at the same time "tuning into" the crowd noise.... Listening while staying with Mac until his actions and/or the crowd reaction tripped my "this is it" switch, then moving into a pure reaction mode as he made his way
around....and out and into the stands...

I agree with you regarding 61 and 62...I felt 61 produced many more great images than 62, not because it was a day game, but because it was unrehearsed, perhaps. Mac high-fiving Grace and Gaetti, picking up his son, saluting the Maris family and touching his heart.... Not even Mac knew what he would do or how he would react after hitting 61. But after hitting 61, everyone, including security, had an idea what 62 might be like. And unless you had an elevated position....You know the story.

It wasn't until after the celebrating died down and the game got back to "normal" that I had a chance to "feel" the moment. During the moment, it was pure "react" and "capture". I felt a real rush of excitement after each home run. Many other photographers felt this way as well. To hear John
Biever say he felt a rush, with as many events as he has covered in his life, that says something.

The Cardinals did not install extra photo boxes or enlarge the normal ones. Extra shooting positions were created at the ends of isles... The boxes were cramped, but, since everyone was shooting the same thing in the same direction, there were few if any problems.

My biggest fear was to have a NiCad croke during the "moment". I was constantly checking my batteries.... Ask Rich Pilling about his NiCad on Saturday....... when Mac hit a long drive just foul... Needless to say, he had to run to the bathroom between innings cause he scared the p___ out of

Outside of the games themselves, the highlight of the weekend was dinner with 14 photogs at KC Masterpiece......... If they could bottle the aroma of hickory smoked ribs, I'd buy it in a minute!

One other highlight was the Sammy/Mac press conference... I have never, and probably will never again, I'm sure, cover a press conference with so many images, with the participants having so much fun... with so much on the line.

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What happened when Tony Gonzalez met Mickey Pfleger? Crazy stuff! ::..