- Sammy Sosa, who joined with Mark McGwire in 1998 in a celebrated pursuit of baseball's single-season home run record, is among the players who tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in 2003, according to lawyers with knowledge of the drug-testing results from that year.
Sosa, who is sixth on Major League Baseball's career home run list and last played in 2007, had long been suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs but until now had never been publicly linked to a positive test.
Sosa, who lives in the Dominican Republic, became a national figure with the Cubs in 1998, when he and McGwire, of the St. Louis Cardinals, engaged in a compelling race to overtake Roger Maris's single-season home run record of 61. McGwire passed Maris first and ended up with 70 home runs. Sosa followed close behind with 66.
The home run race was credited with helping revive interest in baseball after a 232-game strike wiped out the 1994 post-season and the beginning of the 1995 season.
In the seasons that followed, Sosa exceeded 60 home runs on two more occasions. But he was fading as a player when he traveled to Washington in March 2005 to testify with Palmeiro and McGwire and others at a hearing called by the House Government Reform Committee to examine the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.
At the hearing, Sosa testified that "everything” he had heard "about steroids and human growth hormones is that they are bad for you, even lethal” and that he "would never put anything dangerous like that” in his body.
"To be clear," he added, "I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs. I have never injected myself or had anyone inject me with anything."
The Hall of Fame voters have not looked kindly upon suspected drug users, but I suspect they're going to look particularly unkindly upon drug users who also perjured themselves on Capitol Hill. Sosa was already iffy for Cooperstown because of the suspicions. Now, with the double-whammy of a positive test and the perjury, he's toast for quite some time.