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 including 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.
Even though he had a less than graceful end to his Cubs career and many in the game believe he cheated on multiple occasions, Sosa is still beloved by many Cubs fans.
Given all of his controversies and the fact he is a polarizing figure in the sport, you simply cannot deny that Sosa provided Cubs fans with year after year of exciting and record-breaking baseball that we will never forget.
As Sosa turns 52 years old today, the Cubs On Tap crew breaks down — in chronological order — the 21 most memorable moments No. 21 produced on the North Side.
No. 15 – April 18, 2004: Sosa Passes Banks for Most Home Runs In Cubs Franchise History
Sammy came up to bat in the bottom of the first inning with the Cubs down 3-0 and hit a line-drive home run, his 513th as a Cub. This broke the franchise record for home runs previously held by Ernie Banks. Sammy still holds the record to this day.
No. 16 – May 18, 2004: Sneezin’ Sammy
While he was in the clubhouse before a game, Sammy sneezed “violently” twice, which causes severe back spasms. Sosa had to be placed on the 15-day DL. It was one of the many weird and unfortunate things to happen to the Cubs and to Sosa during his final season with the club.
No. 17 – 2004 Season: Sosa Breaks Record For Most Home Runs at Wrigley Field
It may seem intuitive given Sosa holds the record for most home runs as a Cub, but he needed nearly every single game at Wrigley to break Ernie Banks’ record for most home runs hit at the Friendly Confines.
Banks previously held the record with 290, but Sosa ended his Cubs career just in time as he ended up hitting 293 home runs at Clark & Addison.
No. 18 – October 6, 2004: Sammy Leaves Wrigley During Last Game of Season
Sosa arrived late to Wrigley on the day of the last game of the Cubs disappointing 2004 season. He didn’t expect to play but instead of dressing and being with the team, he left the ballpark just 15 minutes after the first pitch.
What made it worse was that he told reporters he stayed until the seventh inning, which was proven to be a lie via video cameras at the ballpark.
Sosa was fined $87,500, a fee that greatly upset him. It truly was the cherry on top that symbolized the frustration Sammy had with management and the frustration surrounding the ballclub overall.
The Cubs eventually traded Sosa to the Baltimore Orioles in the offseason. He had played his last game for the Cubs.
No. 19 – May 17, 2007: Sosa Hits Home Run In Record 45th Different MLB Ballpark
On this day in May, Sosa — now playing with the Texas Rangers — hit a home run off the Devil Rays’ Casey Fossum at Tropicana Field in Tampa, FL. It was the 45th different ballpark Sosa hit a home run in, breaking Ken Griffey Jr.’s record of 44.
No. 20 – June 30, 2007: Sosa Hits 600th Home Run…Against the Cubs
Sosa and the Texas Rangers were hosting the Cubs in an interleague game at The Ballpark at Arlington in June 2007. Sitting on 599, Sosa hit a Jason Marquis pitch into right-center field for his 600th home run.
Irony, karma, call it what you will — it was always very interesting he hit such a monumental home run against the team he spent 13 seasons with.
Additionally, Sosa had hit a home run against every MLB team except the Cubs up until that point.
No. 21 – “Sammy-isms”
Given all the accomplishments and controversies, Sammy was beloved by many throughout the sport. One of the main reasons for this was his “Sammy-isms”. His home-run bunny hop and his kissing into the camera are the first to come to mind.
He also channeled his inner Chico Escuela, the famous SNL character played by Garrett Harris, when he said, “Baseball has been berry, berry good to me.”
Baseball was good to you, Sammy. And you were also berry, berry good to baseball. Thank you for all the memories. And Happy Birthday.
From, The Cubs On Tap Crew