Wood in favor of retiring Sosa's number
February, 26, 2013
By Jesse Rogers | ESPNChicago.com
Craig Jones/Getty ImagesKerry Wood said Sammy Sosa was more relaxed playing in a winning atmosphere in 2003.MESA, Ariz. -- Former Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood thinks Sammy Sosa should be in the Hall of Fame and the Cubs should consider retiring his number.
"I don't see how you can't consider it," Wood said about retiring No. 21. "No matter what we think was going on or wasn't going on, we don't do it (penalize) in a court of law until you're proven guilty.
Sosa hit 545 of his 609 home runs during his 13 seasons with the Cubs. He is the only person in MLB history to top 60 home runs in three seasons. But Sosa's power surge came during the height of the PED era.
While many, including Wood, believe Sosa never tested positive for PEDs, the New York Times reported in 2009 that Sosa was one of the 104 players to flunk a test for PEDs in 2003. Sosa never has admitted taking any PEDs.
Tom Ricketts said during this year's Cubs Convention that he might revisit the idea of re-establishing ties with Sosa, who said recently that he thought the Cubs should have retired his jersey long ago.
As far as Sosa as a teammate, Wood agrees there was a time when he was "kind of on an island" in regards to the attention he received during his big home run years.
"To his credit we were some bad teams that he was on," Wood said. "He was on an island because he was the only one doing his job. So he was forced onto that island.
"But I'll tell you right now, in 2003, when we picked up Eric Karros and Mark Grudzielanek and Kenny Lofton, he was on-board. Because it was a winning atmosphere and it wasn't about Sammy. He wasn't shouldering the load and I think he felt more relaxed with that. He was all-in with the team stuff in 2003.
My opinion of him as always been the same. He was ready to play every day. From a teammate standpoint I don't care what you do off the field. He was ready to play every single day."
But Sosa didn't leave the Cubs on great terms. He left early from the last game in 2004, which would be his last season in Chicago. After he denied he left early, the Cubs said there was a security camera at Wrigley Field that could prove it. After that game, a symbol of Sosa's loud presence in the clubhouse -- his boom box -- reportedly was smashed.
Wood has been accused of being the culprit.
"No," he said with a smile Tuesday when asked if he did the smashing. "I can guarantee it was more than one person."