From last year's All-Star break to this year's, Mark McGwire ripped 64 home runs, a prelude to another home run title and, yes, The Record. Unlike Sammy Sosa, he's been through the media circus and he's not notoriously streaky. The St. Louis strongman also has a cushion (he's a virtual lock to be the first man to enter August with more than 41 homers), he has more home games (43) than road games (33) after the break, and he has fans in every ballpark on his side. More power to him.
KEN GRIFFEY JR.
Sure, sure the power guy, not the all-around player, is the best bet in a home run contest. But the junior circuit is going to make Junior the champion. The pitching's not as strong in the American League as it is in the National, and American parks are more homer-friendly. Griffey doesn't have the Mac Man's pure muscle, but it's his sweet swing that can make any kind of pitch go the distance. Then, too, Griff, who thrives in the spotlight, has more protection in the lineup than McGwire does.