Chicago Cubs: Former players hopeful for shot at HOF

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Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Eighth all-time on the home run list with 609…

The only player to hit more than 60 home runs in a season three times…

A seven-time All Star and an MVP award winner…

One of the men who helped revive professional baseball with his magnetic personality and monster home runs…

A positive steroids test in 2003…

Because of that last statistic, Sammy Sosa sits outside the Hall, awaiting an invite in.

The numbers are certainly there for Sosa. Unfortunately, the “cheater” tag is there, too (besides the steroids, there was also bat-corking incident).

Is there a way to put Sosa’s achievements in context to his era? While we have to admit that Sammy was cheating, we also have to admit that a lot of other players were cheating–that same test that nabbed Sammy in 2003 nabbed 103 other players. So to put things in context, what was Sosa’s WAR for the five seasons prior to his positive test? They ranged from 4.8 to 10.3. In other words, Slammin’ Sammy was pretty valuable to his team in terms of producing wins. He was incredibly valuable to Major League Baseball during that time in terms of tickets sold and games watched.

BUT, (here’s the big but) Sammy Sosa doesn’t quite meet the criteria for voting, according to the Hall of Fame web site:

"Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played."

His record and contributions are undeniable. However, the questions about his integrity and sportsmanship are hard to overlook.

The young version of me who watched Sammy during those magical years around the turn of the century beg this older me to look past those questions and remember how great he made all of us feel about the game. That kid still wants to see Sammy in the Hall. This older me doesn’t think he’ll get there.

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