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St. Louis Cardinal Mark McGwire's and Chicago Cub Sammy Sosa's neck-and-neck chase for the single-season home-run record generated enough marketing, advertising and endorsement-related coverage to land the pair as the No. 2 and No. 3 marketing stories for this month's SPINdex chart. Results were based on coverage during the monthlong period ended Sept. 7.

Unlike their standings at the plate at press time, Mr. Sosa led Mr. McGwire in marketing-related media coverage in the SPINdex sample of influential media outlets.

Both trailed the skyrocketing cost of producing TV commercials as the month's top story. A survey showed the average production costs of a 30-second spot jumping 11% in '97 to a record $308,000, earning 93 stories.

The hugely hyped home-video release of "Titanic" ranked fourth, followed by business stories about the marketing of pro wrestling.

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