|PRIDE GOES BEFORE THE FALL.|
|SWINGIN' SAMMY WAS A BIT SLIMY.|
DEFINING THE PLAYER
- Sammy Sosa showed baseball many faces: the runner, the slugger, the cheat, the mute and, in retirement, the unusual. Reflecting on an 18-year career, it's difficult to decipher what was real and what was fake. Officially, he's the only player to hit 60-plus homers three times, and he's one of eight players in the 600-homer club. He was the co-conspirator with #92 Mark McGwire in the great home run fraud of 1998 in which owners, media and fans turned a blind eye to the raging PED scourge that was choking the game like an invasive plant in the rose garden.
- "Mr. Sammy Sosa,'' as he was identified by a white placard in front of him at the Congressional hearings into steroid abuse in baseball, didn't have much to say on March 17, 2005. Charles Chaplin would've been proud. Sosa had his lawyer read a statement saying he never took PEDs. See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil. It was a pathetic attempt to stonewall the investigation and made Sosa, whom The New York Times reported was on the list of players who tested positive for PEDs in '03, look like a coward.
- Obviously, '98 was the zenith of Sosa's career, even though he finished second to McGwire in the quest to dethrone Roger Maris as the all-time season home run king. Sosa finished with 66 homers, four behind McGwire, as both shattered Maris' 61.
FIVE FINAL FACTS
- As a skinny 20-year-old leadoff hitter in '89, Sosa made his debut with the Rangers and hit his first homer June 21 off #104 Roger Clemens.
- In '93, he became the first Cubs' 30-30 player with 33 homers and 36 steals.
- Sosa became a challenger to McGwire in '98 with a remarkable June, in which he hit 20 homers, drove in 47 runs and slugged .842.
- On June 3, 2003, Sosa was ejected for using a corked bat. He claimed he accidentally grabbed it and normally used it only in batting practice.
- In his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility in January, Sosa garnered only 12.5 percent of the vote, with 75 needed for enshrinement.