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April 19, 1998: Chipper Jones passes Mark McGwire for MLB home run lead

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains. Think about that for a while.”

Chipper Jones

In a day that saw the Padres’ game in Pittsburgh postponed due to rain, Chipper Jones wrested the major league lead in home runs away from Mark McGwire. His ninth homer of the year was one of five solo shots hit by the Braves in their 5-3 win in the first game of a doubleheader in Denver; Jones was held to the picket fence line of one single, one run, and one RBI in the second game, a 10-7 loss.

  • The Orioles lost and the Red Sox won, putting them both atop the AL East standings at 11-6, half a game ahead of surprising 10-6 Devil Rays.
  • That Red Sox victory came over the Indians, who fell to a “mere” four games ahead of the second-place Royals.
  • Texas also held a four game division lead, while the Mets and Brewers led their respective divisions by just half a game. San Diego held the largest divisional lead; it was extended to 5.5 games with the Giants’ loss in Milwaukee.
  • Angels center fielder Jim Edmonds sat out with a sprained wrist, the result of an attempted catch the night before.
  • The Mets crushed the Reds 14-0, interestingly hitting no home runs in the process.

Box scores and standings

Dinger tracker:

Albert Belle, White Sox (2)

Vinny Castilla, Rockies (7)

Tony Clark, Tigers (1)

Russ Davis, Mariners (4, 5)

Mike Defelice, Devil Rays (2)

Cliff Floyd, Marlins (6)

Andy Fox, Diamondbacks, (1)

Andres Galarraga, Braves (6, 7)

Juan Gonzalez, Rangers (4)

Mark Grudzielanek, Expos (2)

Brian Hunter, Cardinals (1)

Chipper Jones, Braves (9)

Keith Lockhart, Braves (2)

Javy Lopez, Braves (2)

Henry Rodriguez, Cubs (7)

Ivan Rodriguez, Rangers (1)

Ed Sprague, Blue Jays (2)

Matt Stairs, Athletics (3)

Mike Stanley, Blue Jays (4)

Michael Tucker, Braves (1)

Larry Walker, Rockies (1)

Gregg Zaun, Marlins (1)

Elsewhere in the world:

  • Packers defensive back Reggie White announced his retirement, due to a chronic bulging disc in his back. At the time, he was the NFL’s all-time leader in sacks.
  • Artist, musician, activist, and philanthropist Linda McCartney died of cancer.
  • Nobel laureate Octavio Paz passed away at age 84.
  • Gary “The Glove” Payton dropped 27 points to lead the SuperSonics to a division-clinching win over Portland in the regular-season finale.
  • The second Terrastock festival took place, this time in San Francisco. Bands returning from the original Terrastock, held a year earlier in Providence, Rhode Island, were Neutral Milk Hotel, Silver Apples, Major Stars, The Olivia Tremor Control, Windy and Carl, The Azusa Plane, Cul de Sac, and Primordial Undermind. Newcomers included Mudhoney, The Mountain Goats, and numerous others.
  • Converge released their third, and first truly cohesive, album, When Forever Comes Crashing.