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Why Sammy Sosa Belongs in the Hall of Fame

Sammy Sosa’s numbers are worthy of a Baseball Hall of Fame spot. His numbers with the Cubs were so good, he’s unrivaled in the sport.

Sammy Sosa Cubs
Photo: RVR Photos/USA TODAY Sports

On January 25, 2022, the Baseball Writer’s Association of America (BBWAA) will announce the results of its 2022 Hall of Fame vote live from Cooperstown on MLB Network.

If you remember, no member on the ballot earned enough votes to take a spot in Cooperstown in 2021. Players on the ballot have to reach 75 percent of the vote to be elected.

It’s bad enough that Tom Ricketts won’t let Sammy Sosa back in the Friendly Confines, but he will likely not get into the Baseball Hall of Fame either.

Bring Sammy Back to Wrigley

Maybe I am biased because I grew up with Sosa. After all, he is why I became a Cubs fan, other than the fact I am a third-generation fan in my family. He was one of the top power hitters of the mid-to-late-1990s and early 2000s days in Major League Baseball.

Anytime I see random highlights of him participating in the home run derby or highlights from the infamous 1998 home run chase with Mark McGwire, I still get chills.

Many people remember McGwire hitting more homers in ’98 but forget Sosa hit 20 of his 66 homers in June and won the NL MVP that season. He led the league in runs batted in, total bases, and runs scored.

After the 1997 season, the Cubs’ average fan attendance per game grew from 27,041 to 32,186 in 1998. The average has only increased annually ever since. The average attendance per game has not dipped below 30,000 in the last 23 years.

After the ’98 season, Sosa posted three more consecutive seasons of 50 homers or more. He then followed those up with a 49- and 40-homer season. He was the reason folks came to Wrigley Field, and his seven All-Star appearances prove that.

Sosa helped save baseball after the strike in 1994. The ’90s were not good for the game, and the outfielder’s personality, skill, and smile won so many fans nationwide.

He was displayed as a hero to the entire city of Chicago, an international ambassador for baseball players from outside the United States, and was Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year.

The Cubs also welcomed Conor McGregor into Wrigley Field this past season. McGregor has multiple assault arrests on his record.

Sosa probably used steroids, but the Cubs continue to shoot themselves in the foot over this issue. Sosa isn’t even in the team’s Hall of Fame.

Making the Case For the Hall

Sosa is No. 9 all-time on the home run list, 31st all-time in runs batted in (1,667), 32nd in extra-base hits (1,033), and 40th in total bases (4,704). He’s the Cubs’ all-time home run leader at 545. His .273/.344/.534 slash line in 8,813 at-bats shows his consistency over 18 years.

Many remember the 1998 season, but Sosa’s 2001 campaign was even better, leading the league with 146 runs scored, 160 runs batted in, 64 homers, 10.3 bWAR, and a .328/.437/.737 slash line. He finished second in MVP voting that season behind Barry Bonds, who beat Mark McGwire’s home run record.

Sosa finished in the top 10 of NL MVP voting six times in total. He won the Silver Slugger Award six different times, hit 30 or more homers 11 times, including seven times with 40-plus and three times with 60-plus home runs. Slammin’ Sammy is the only player to hit 60 or more home runs in three different seasons. Sosa hit more homers over a five- or 10-year stretch than any player in history.

He finished with 100 runs batted in nine times, scored 100-or-more runs in five seasons, and led the NL in runs scored three times — including 2001 and 2002.

The Steroid Era

Like Bonds, Sosa has been under fire for performance-enhancing drugs for the last 15 years, leading to many reasons why neither has entered the Hall in the previous decade. Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, Bonds, and Sosa are all in their 10th year on the ballot. All have an association with steroids, except Schilling, but his questions of character kept him below the 75 percent threshold.

Sosa has consistently denied using steroids. He never tested positive once MLB instituted usage rules. However, The New York Times reported he was one of more than 100 players who had used during an anonymous survey six years before the penalties were instituted.

Apparently Numbers Don’t Matter

There’s no doubt Bonds is a better baseball player than Sosa, and he’s unlikely to enter baseball lore in July of 2022 due to his link to steroids. It’s just the fact of the matter, unfortunately. However, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan Rodriguez entered the Hall in 2017, and two of the three have been linked to steroid use in the past, at least by Jose Canseco.

Hall of Fame voters have turned what is supposed to be something players, fans, and other sports fans around look forward to into something we know they will screw up. Don’t forget David Skretta, who left his entire ballot blank this past year. It’s a disgrace, and the BBWAA continues to lose credibility each year that passes by.

Nonetheless, until January 25, there is hope the voters finally get this situation right. It’s the final year for Sosa, Bonds, and Clemens. All three belong in Cooperstown. No one will take the Baseball Hall of Hame seriously as we have the last several decades if none of them get in.

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Dave Tynes
Dave Tynes
28 days ago

Cheaters should never prosper and that man and McQuire made baseball a farce and then Bonds showed how ridiculous it had become. Can’t believe you are actually a baseball fan

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