By Chris Emma–

CHICAGO (CBS) — Sitting in a familiar visitors’ dugout, former slugger Mark McGwire looked out to the landscape of Wrigley Field, observing the changes and similarities from his days with the St. Louis Cardinals.

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McGwire, who hit 583 career home runs and 70 during the historic season of 1998, is now the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He still carries fond memories of playing the Cubs in Chicago.

“This is a great historical ballpark,” McGwire said. “I always loved playing here. It’s going to get better in the years to come.”

Back in 1998, McGwire went toe to toe with Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa in a race to break the single-season home run record of 61, set by Roger Maris. It was a memorable time, which often brought such excitement to Wrigley Field.

The relationship between McGwire and Sosa was at the forefront of that 1998 season, though the two haven’t maintained any contact since retirement. McGwire regrets never getting to know Sosa personally and was disappointed to learn that he has been dismissed from the fabric of the Cubs organization.

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“That’s unfortunate,” McGwire said. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

However, the stories of McGwire and Sosa carry many similarities since their retirements. Both have been linked to steroids, with McGwire admitting usage in 2010. Each have seen Hall of Fame credentials marred by steroid usage.

While the accolades of McGwire’s playing days are tainted with the admission of steroid usage, he remains fond of those memories as a player.

Now living in his home of Los Angeles and working with the Dodgers, McGwire’s happy to be around the game of baseball. That summer of 1998 still feels fresh, especially upon returning to Wrigley Field.

“It was a great time, battling against the Cubs and Sammy,” McGwire said. “Of course, they beat us going to the playoffs that year, but having the home run chase going on, the whole country watching that, a lot of great memories.”

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Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.