Chicago Cubs: Sammy Sosa

Time to welcome Sosa back to Wrigley

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
12:18
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- It's time to bring Sammy Sosa back to Wrigley Field.

[+] EnlargeSammy Sosa
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesSammy Sosa shouldn't be ignored by the Cubs any longer.
Sosa's isolated status with the Chicago Cubs has been debated for years by fans and the media. But with the Cubs saluting the '90s during the homestand that opens Tuesday as part of their season-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, it's time to welcome back the franchise's most iconic player from that decade.

The 20th anniversary of the 1994 labor strike that wiped out a memorable season passed last week, a reminder of how frustrating it was that I couldn't watch my favorite team on a daily basis. And I'm reminded how happy I was in the following years to be able to watch Sosa knock homers out of the park every day when I got out of school and flipped on WGN. The post-'94 strike era in baseball will be forever defined by the performance-enhancing drugs that permeated the game. Twenty years later, the game is still tainted because of the decisions of players like Sosa to allegedly use illegal substances.

A New York Times story reported that Sosa was on the 2003 list of players who flunked tests for PEDs.

I don't think fans should suddenly forget about the decisions Sosa, Mark McGwire and others made in regard to PEDs, and I don't think the Cubs should forget the way he treated people within the organization as his star rose -- and ultimately fell -- in Chicago. But enough time has passed to at least recognize Sosa for what he accomplished in a Cubs uniform.

He gave fans huge doses of the one thing that has been missing from Wrigley the last few years: joy.

He made the games interesting, and he made people happy. I thought it was a joke that the organization didn't invite him back to Wrigley for the 100-year anniversary in April.

"There are some things Sammy needs to look at and consider prior to having an engagement with the team," Cubs spokesman Julian Green said at the time.

As my colleague Jesse Rogers noted in April, "Sources indicate one thing Sosa has to do is make amends with some former teammates for his actions at the end of his Cubs career."

What?

I've heard enough stories in the last few years to know that Sosa, who told ESPN Deportes in April that he is willing to make amends with the Cubs, wasn't always the nicest guy to teammates, coaches, media, etc. But the organization's stance doesn't make sense to me as someone who watched many games in large part due to Sosa and his ability to lift the team.

For an ownership looking for any way to monetize various aspects of its team, wouldn't a Sosa day at Wrigley be worth it? The stands would be packed, and the people at Cubs Authentics could have a field day selling an assortment of Sosa paraphernalia. More than that, it would bridge a gap between the old franchise and one of its most important players.

I wish that Sosa hadn't allegedly used PEDs to lift his game to new levels, and I wish that he had been a much better teammate at times during his tenure. I don't think he's ever getting into the Hall of Fame, and I don't think his 66-homer season should count in the record books because I don't think it was earned without the help of those PEDs.

But as somebody who has lived and died with the Cubs for 30 years, I believe Sosa is owed an olive branch from the team that has turned its back on him. The numbers may be washed away over time, but the memories never will be. It's time for Sosa to get at least one day to be honored by the people who used to adore him. I don't feel the same way about him as I used to, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't stand and cheer when he returns.

Sosa is a flawed character, but everybody is in some regard. He's paid a price to the game and will continue to do so because of his link to PEDs and the way he handled his business on the way out. But it's time to forgive him for those past transgressions and remember the happiness he brought to people for years on a daily basis.

Borowski: Cubs created the Sosa 'monster'

April, 24, 2014
Apr 24
2:43
PM CT
By Staff
ESPNChicago.com
Former closer Joe Borowski isn't buying the contention that Sammy Sosa has to make amends with his former Chicago Cubs teammates before the organization will welcome its all-time home run hitter back into the fold.

"I think they're skirting around the issue," Borowski said Thursday on "The Carmen & Jurko Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "You've got to remember what he did for that organization when they were awful. He was filling seats because of what he was doing on the field. As an observer and also as a teammate, the Cubs created the monster. They allowed him to do whatever he wanted to. They never said a word about it. But when the production started to decline, that's when they started saying, 'You can't do this. You can't do that.'

"I find it hard to believe that you're going to say that he needs to repair [his relationships] with teammates. For the most part, Sammy went about his business; he had his routine. Me personally, I never had a problem with him. He was cordial with me. We were teammates, and everything was fine. I think just blaming the fact that people say he has rifts with teammates, those teammates aren't even there anymore. I don't even recognize who the Cubs are anymore, so for them to be trying to say that it's about how he is with his teammates, I kind of think they're skirting the issue a little bit."

Cubs spokesman Julian Green said Sosa had some work to do before being welcomed back by the organization, which celebrated Wrigley Field's 100th anniversary Wednesday without Sosa, who was not invited.

"There are some things Sammy needs to look at and consider prior to having an engagement with the team," Green said.

Sources told ESPNChicago.com's Jesse Rogers that one thing Sosa has to do is make amends with some former teammates for his actions at the end of his Cubs career, which included sitting out the final game of the 2004 season and leaving the stadium before the game was over.

Sosa told ESPNDeportes.com on Thursday that he is willing to reconcile with his former team.

Maddux, Ryno invited to event, but Sosa ...

January, 18, 2014
Jan 18
5:02
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO – Missing from this weekend’s Chicago Cubs convention are Hall of Fame players Greg Maddux and Ryne Sandberg. Both were invited but had prior commitments. Former outfielder Sammy Sosa, on the other hand, still needs to mend fences with the team before returning.

“Sandberg has a personal thing, and Maddux had something with the (Texas) Rangers,” Cubs Director of Marketing Alison Miller said Saturday. “We’re also inviting them later in the season. Sandberg will be hard, given his manager duties.”

Maddux was elected to the Hall of Fame earlier this month and is employed by Texas, while Sandberg is manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. It could have made for an awkward return to a fan convention, but the Cubs are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the division-winning 1984 team. Sandberg won MVP that season.

Maddux will return during the season as the Cubs are inviting former players back as the team celebrates the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field.

“Maddux said he would love to come,” Miller said. “He’s expressed interest in coming to a game in early April.”

April 23rd is the date the team will actually celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first game, and Miller is hopeful Maddux can attend.

As for Sosa, the organization and player ended things on bad terms in 2004 when he left Wrigley Field before the end of the final game of the season. The Cubs traded him the following January. Owner Tom Ricketts believes Sosa will return to the organization one day.

“We have to work through some things before that happens,” he said.

Wood in favor of retiring Sosa's number

February, 26, 2013
2/26/13
5:17
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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Sosa-Wood 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.

(Read full post)

Hairston happy to be next to wear No. 21

February, 13, 2013
2/13/13
7:10
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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MESA, Ariz. -- New Chicago Cubs right fielder Scott Hairston is happy to wear the same number as another former right fielder.

"I'll take it," Hairston said of his wearing No. 21, the same number worn by Sammy Sosa. "Who wouldn't want it?"

Hairston was a fan of Sosa's while attending Naperville North in the late 90's. His dad, Jerry Hairston Sr. played for the White Sox at the time while his brother Jerry played for the Cubs in 2005 and 2006.

"I used to love coming to Wrigley Field and the history, especially in the late '90s when Sammy was doing his thing," he said. "I sat in the bleachers a few times when he was hitting all his home runs. That was a good time to be in Chicago."

Hairston was reminded that Sosa recently said he thinks his number should be retired.

"(I'll) enjoy it while I can," Hairston said with a laugh. "I think it will be."

Hairston is coming off a career season in which he hit 20 home runs for the New York Mets. He signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cubs and is expected to platoon in right field with fellow newcomer Nate Schierholtz.

He learned he was being given No. 21 via Twitter.

"My wife came to me and said 'I guess you're going to be 21 this year' and I was like 'What?' So I looked online and that's what number I had. I'll take it."

Hairston is the sixth Cub to wear No. 21 since Sosa, joining Jason Marquis (2007-08), Milton Bradley (2009), Tyler Colvin (2010-11), Luis Valbuena (2012), Joe Mather (2012).

Sosa: Cubs should have retired number

January, 23, 2013
1/23/13
3:38
PM CT
By ESPNChicago.com
ESPNChicago.com
Former slugger Sammy Sosa used a live webcast Wednesday to indicate he is open to reconnecting with the Chicago Cubs, and said the team should have retired his jersey number "a long time ago."

Read the entire story.

Ricketts may reach out to Sosa

January, 19, 2013
1/19/13
2:07
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts indicated Saturday that he may be open to reaching out to Sammy Sosa and repairing the relationship with the former star.

Ricketts was asked during the Cubs Convention if he would reach out to Sosa.

Read the entire story.

Writers got it right with Sosa HOF vote

January, 9, 2013
1/09/13
1:53
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Sammy Sosa AP Photo/Beth A. KeiserSammy Sosa received just 12.5 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot.
The Hall of Fame voters have spoken, and former Chicago Cubs great Sammy Sosa isn't getting in -- at least not this year.

SportsNation

Will Sammy Sosa ever be elected to the Hall of Fame?

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    26%
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    74%

Discuss (Total votes: 8,411)

When the Hall of Fame announced on Wednesday there would be no inductees for the first time since 1996 it said as much about the steroid era as it did about anything else. Sosa's link to this era -- and his abnormally increased power numbers during it -- undoubtedly kept him out.

He received just 12.5 percent of the vote while fellow first-timers such as Barry Bonds (37.6) and Roger Clemens (36.2) earned considerably more (75 percent of the vote is needed for induction). Sosa's home run rival during that era, Mark McGwire, earned 16.9 percent in his seventh year on the ballot. That might be the best indication Sosa has a longshot of making the Hall of Fame.

(Read full post)

Hall of 100: Where does Sammy rank?

December, 11, 2012
12/11/12
2:31
PM CT
By ESPN.com
ESPNChicago.com
Sammy SosaJonathan Daniel/Getty Images
With some big PED-era names facing Judgment Day next month in the Baseball Hall of Fame voting, and with the everlasting cacophony over who belongs in Cooperstown and who doesn't, ESPN The Magazine teamed with our online and TV partners to take a fresh look at the greats of the game. Out with conventional wisdom and hidebound opinions, in with a new analysis of which players really are the best of the best.

And so we present the ESPN Hall of 100: the top 100 players of all time. Period.

See the first 25 of the Hall of 100.

Sosa belongs in the Hall of Fame

November, 28, 2012
11/28/12
1:17
PM CT
Greenberg By Jon Greenberg
ESPNChicago.com
Archive


CHICAGO -- The day is here, the one that baseball lovers have been dreading. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and our guy, Sammy Sosa, are finally on the Hall of Fame ballot.

If you were sick of steroids talk before, well, the next month could be bad for you as writers and fans hash out what the Hall of Fame means and how we feel about ourselves as voyeurs to baseball's "Steroid Era."

Eligible voting members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America get to vote and players need to be on 75 percent of the ballots to earn induction. The results will be announced on Jan. 9.

Will Chicago be celebrating Sosa's Hall of Fame induction at the Cubs Convention on Jan. 18-20? Probably not. The local writers aren't too jazzed about promoting Sosa for baseball immortality, and I have a feeling their peers across the country will make a statement in passing him over. Maybe Bonds gets in, but not Sosa. The Cubs have all but erased Sosa from the organization as it is.

It's a little ironic, isn't it, a Chicago guy getting penalized for taking advantage of the gray area of the law? Since when is this city so square?

Read the entire story.

Sosa set to be on HOF ballot

November, 28, 2012
11/28/12
8:41
AM CT
By Associated Press
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
NEW YORK -- For several years, baseball fans have argued whether Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa belong in the Hall of Fame.

Starting on Wednesday, the voters who will actually decide that debate can get to work.

Bonds, Clemens and Sosa are set to show up on the Hall ballot for the first time, with all sides eager to find out whether drug allegations will block the former stars from reaching the shrine.

The 2013 ballot will be announced at noon EST.

Read the entire story.

50 Greatest Cubs Of All Time

May, 21, 2012
5/21/12
11:19
AM CT
By ESPNChicago.com
ESPNChicago.com
50 Greatest CubsESPN.com IllustrationIt's amazing how many Hall of Famers played for a team that has so few championships.
A panel of ESPNChicago.com experts ranked the Top 50 Cubs of all time.

Here is a gallery of our Top 50.

Who did we miss?

Did Kerry Wood belong? Randy Hundley?

Should Shawon Dunston have been left off?

For a team with so few championships, there is no shortage of Hall of Famers who have donned the Cubs jersey.

Sosa is Chicago's power king

July, 11, 2011
7/11/11
2:21
PM CT
Greenberg By Jon Greenberg
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Sammy SosaESPN.com Illustration

Editor's note: In celebration of Monday night's Home Run Derby (7 p.m. CT on ESPN and ESPN3), each of the ESPN local sites is selecting its city's top 10 sluggers and crowning its all-time home run king.

CHICAGO -- When Sammy Sosa walked out of the Cubs' clubhouse that fall Sunday in 2004, he walked out of the good graces of the Chicago Cubs, indefinitely, if not forever.

The Cubs, and their fans, can probably forgive the supposed cheating that benefitted them, but the crime of still being a jerk when you've become disposable is one that lingers.

Traded and later identified as a cheater by a leaked drug test result in 2009, a shrunken Sosa is now slugger non grata in Chicago. He's treated as an embodiment to the excesses of the so-called steroid era and an embarrassing reminder that baseball fans would pretty much believe anything once upon a time.

By the end, he was DL-ed for sneezing, caught using a corked bat and served as an anachronism for a team that was trying to shed an identity of a losing team that filled seats because of Sosa's home runs.

It's a shame, because Sosa did a lot for the Cubs in his tenure, more than any asterisk could erase. He made fans happy, he made the Cubs money, he sold a lot of T-shirts, beers and hot dogs, just by keeping fans enthralled.

Read the entire column.

DePorter buys Sosa's bat after auction

November, 3, 2010
11/03/10
2:30
PM CT
By ESPNChicago.com
ESPNChicago.com
Sammy Sosa's corked bat found a home after all.

Former Chicago Cubs pitcher Mike Remlinger put the broken barrel of the bat used by Sosa during his infamous game against the Tampa Bay Rays in 2003 up for auction.

Remlinger had put a secret reserve on the bat that was not met by the Oct. 31 deadline, but Grant DePorter, the CEO of Harry Caray's Restaurant Group, said Wednesday he bought the bat after the auction.

Read the entire story.

Report: Sosa's bat doesn't sell at auction

November, 2, 2010
11/02/10
9:58
AM CT
By ESPN.com news services
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Sammy Sosa's corked bat struck out at auction.

Former Chicago Cubs pitcher Mike Remlinger put the broken barrel of the bat used by Sosa during his infamous game against the Tampa Bay Rays in 2003 up for auction.

But Remlinger had put a secret reserve on the bat that was not met by the Oct. 31 deadline.

Read the entire story.
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