Here at On Tap Sports Net, we continue the countdown to Sammy Sosa’s birthday with 21 of his most memorable moments. In case you missed it, we released Part 1 yesterday, which included the first batch of Sammy memories:
Reminder: these moments are presented in chronological order. Let’s carry on with the middle seven.
No. 8 – September 27, 2001: Sammy Carries American Flag Around the Bases
In the first game at Wrigley Field since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, Sammy Sosa hit a home run. As he rounded the bases, he pulled out a small American flag and lifted it up as he touched them all. It was a phenomenal and monumental moment for a grieving nation.
No. 9 – October 2, 2001: Sosa Becomes First Player to Hit 60+ Home Runs In Three Different Seasons
Sosa hit his 60th home run of the season on this day, a first-inning blast off of the Reds’ Lance Davis. Sosa remains the only player to hit 60 or more home runs in three distinct MLB seasons. He ended the 2001 season with 64 home runs.
No. 10 – Sosa’s Unbelievable 2001 Season:
Sosa’s 1998 season is certainly remembered the most by baseball fans, but many don’t realize his best offensive season actually came in 2001. Sosa hit a career-high .328/.437/.737 and also achieved career highs in runs (146) and RBIs (160). His RBI total made him just the third NL player since 1900 to drive in 160+ runs in a season.
If it wasn’t for Barry Bonds’ record-breaking year, Sosa certainly would have received his second NL MVP award.
No. 11 – Sosa Falls Just Short in 2002 Home Run Derby:
While Sosa did not win the 2002 Home Run Derby, he certainly put on one hell of a show. Miller Park was enthralled with Sosa as he outhomered the rest of the field during the first two rounds.
Furthermore, Sosa’s home runs didn’t just squeak over the wall — they were crushed. Five of his home runs were recorded to travel over 500 feet!
However, he did run out of gas in the final round as he lost to Jason Giambi by a score of 7-1.
No. 12 – June 4, 2003: The Corked Bat
You cannot talk about Sosa’s accomplishments without talking about the controversies. One of the biggest of these controversies was the corked bat incident against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in June 2003.
In one at-bat, Sosa grounded out to the second baseman to score a runner from third. His bat broke on the play and the Devil Rays asked the umpire crew to take a look at the inside of the bat. They deemed the bat was filled with cork and they sent the runner who scored back to third.
This, on top of the steroid controversy, has caused many in the game to believe Sosa is a cheater and does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
No. 13 & 14 – Games 1 & 2 of the 2003 NLCS: Sosa Hits Two Massive Home Runs
Sammy had two of the biggest home runs in his career during Games 1 and 2 of the 2003 NLCS. But they were massive for two different reasons.
In Game 1, the Cubs were down two in the bottom of the ninth. With a runner on, Sosa hit a homer out onto Waveland, tying the game and sending Wrigley into a frenzy. Unfortunately, the Cubs would go on to lose that game in extras.
The home run the next day was massive because, well, it simply traveled a very, very long way. Sosa’s home run in the bottom of the second made it 5-0 Cubs and sent them on their way to a Game 2 victory. And yeah, the ball traveled a recorded 500 feet and landed on the camera well in center field.
Take a look at these home runs below:
Stay tuned for the third and final part of Sammy Sosa’s Most Memorable Moments tomorrow, his 52nd birthday.