Sammy Sosa is one of the greatest Cubs to ever put on the blue pinstripes. He ranks in the top ten in franchise history for several offensive categories: WAR (6th-58.8), Slugging % (2nd-.569), OPS (2nd-.928), Hits (9th-1,985), Runs (6th-1,245), RBI (3rd-1,414), and Walks (6th-798).
Sosa also is the all-time franchise leader in home runs, hitting 545 of them while playing for the Cubs — an achievement that earned him the moniker Slammin’ Sammy. Despite a less than graceful end to his Cubs career and the fact many in the game believe he cheated on multiple occasions, Sosa is still beloved by many Cubs fans.
Given all of his controversies and his status as a polarizing figure in the sport, it’d be tough to deny that Sosa provided Cubs fans with year-after-year of exciting and record-breaking baseball that we will never forget.
No. 1 – March 30, 1992: Cubs Trade George Bell to the White Sox for Sammy Sosa and Ken Patterson
Larry Himes replaced Jim Frey as the general manager of the Cubs after the 1991 season. Himes was the same GM who acquired Sosa from the Texas Rangers when he held the same position with the White Sox just a few years earlier.
Bell would go on to hit .240/.274/.396 over two seasons with the Sox while Sammy hit .284/.358/.569 over 13 seasons with the Cubs. Good trade for the North Siders.
No. 2 – 1993 Season: Sammy Takes Over the Starting Right Field Spot From Fan-favorite Andre Dawson
The 1993 season was the first Sosa took over as the starting right fielder for the Cubs, and boy, did he have big shoes to fill. Fan-favorite Andre Dawson had been a five-time All-Star with the Cubs, but he’d sign with the Red Sox before the 1993 season.
It became Sammy’s time to shine as he took over RF duties and he didn’t look back for 13 seasons. Sosa hit .269/.309/.485 during the 1993 season.
No. 3 – June 30th, 1998: Sosa Blasts 20th Home Run During the Month of June
Heading into June 1998, Sammy had just 13 home runs and was trailing Mark McGwire by 14 home runs. However, Sosa went onto hit a record-breaking 20 home runs during that epic June. By the time July rolled around, Sosa had ignited the famous 1998 home run chase and only trailed McGwire by four home runs.
Sosa’s 20 home runs during June remains the record for most home runs during a single calendar month.
No. 4 – September 13, 1998: Sammy Sosa Breaks Maris’ Record and Hits Home Run No. 61 & 62
Mark McGwire hit his 62nd home run five days before Sosa, but he went into a bit of a home run lull. This allowed Sammy to catch and tie him with two home runs, the latter of which broke the previous home run record held by Roger Maris. At this point, both McGwire and Sosa had 62 home runs apiece.
Furthermore, this home run helped the Cubs win a ballgame. It tied the game in the ninth inning, which set up Mark Grace for the eventual walk-off home run.
No. 5 – September 28, 1998: Sosa’s Two Hits and Two Runs Help the Cubs Beat the Giants in the National League Wild Card Tiebreaker Game
The Cubs and Giants met at Wrigley Field to decide the winner of the 1998 NL Wild Card. Sosa ended up being instrumental in the Cubs 5-3 victory, as he provided a pair of singles and runs in the ballgame.
His hits came in the sixth and eighth innings, both starting rallies that scored runs in each inning. The Cubs would go on to be swept by the Atlanta Braves in the NL Division Series.
No. 6 – 1998 Sports Illustrated Sportsmen of the Year
Every year, Sports Illustrated selects an athlete or a group of athletes to be the Sportsperson of the Year. The home run race that made Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa household names also put them on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the Sportsmen of the Year.
Sosa was truly on top of the sporting world:
No. 7 – Sosa Wins the 2000 Home Run Derby
Turner Field played host to MLB All-Star Weekend in 2000, where Sammy Sosa won his first home run derby. He launched 26 long balls, 15 more than the runner-up, Ken Griffey Jr., who lost to Sosa 9-2 in the final round. You can watch all of Sosa’s home runs below:
Stay tuned to On Tap Sports Net for the rest of Sammy’s 21 Most Memorable Moments over the next two days.