Last month, the biggest heroes from the Marvel Universe came together in an epic battle against Thanos in Infinity War. Meanwhile, in the real world, people are still on the fence about one Chicago Cubs’ hero coming home.
Heroes. Individuals we look up too, whether they’re from a comic book, entertainer, family member, athlete; we all have one or many. These are characters who influence the paths in which we decide to take as we grow older.
As a fan of the Chicago Cubs, I recall watching games with my Grandfather. For those of you who have followed me since I joined this website in October 2013, you’d know he’s the reason why I love this sport and team as much as I do.
One of my heroes. The other? Sammy Sosa. When you’re young, you don’t pay attention to all the negativity that follows someone who is an international superstar. Does it justify specific actions? Of course not.
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However, at the time, all we could focus on is No. 21 swatting home runs at an alarming rate, eventually racing with Mark McGwire in 1998.
These two men, regardless of what was to come later on, put on a show that nobody will ever forget. Especially, for kids, at the time, like myself who adopted Sosa’s infamous hop after belting a pitch.
Honestly, anyone reading this article has done Sammy’s hop and home plate celebration several times in their lives during a regular pick up or organized baseball game.
Reviewing the numbers
Over the course of 18 seasons, 13 of those were spent with the Chicago Cubs. Not only did Sosa make a name for himself with the Cubs, his arrival would soon pump new life into a franchise who struggled to reach the promised land.
Year after year, Sosa evolved into one of the league’s most feared hitters. His reign of terror on opposing pitchers picked up between 1998-2001 where he recorded a total of 243 home runs, 597 RBI, and 760 hits with an OPS of over 1.000.
"“To have that great year that I have in ’98, changed everything. I mean, Mark (McGwire) and I shocked the world.” — via NBC Sports Chicago (David Kaplan)"
The stats listed above were only a small contribution from Sammy Sosa while wearing a Chicago Cubs uniform. In total, 545 home runs, 1,447 RBI, and 1,985 career hits graced scorecards as representative of Chicago’s North Side.
Not defined by growing pains
During his interview with David Kaplan, Sosa admitted that he had a little bit of an ego when he was playing, mainly because he was in the zone. Which is understandable and could rub people the wrong way — it did, leading people to see him in a different light.
Now, closing in on his 50th birthday and becoming a grandfather, Sosa told Kaplan that his intentions were not to offend anyone if he made a mistake in his big league journey.
Him wanting to return has nothing to do with a job, it’s all about the love he still has for this team and most importantly, us.
We, as a unit, a family not made entirely of flesh and blood, share a similar passion for this organization, owe it to him. Sosa has provided us with far too many memorable moments that played a huge part in our lives, not only as Cubs fans but a fan of the game in general.
It doesn’t matter if you were growing up in the 90’s, getting through high school, college, relaxing on a beautiful spring afternoon with your grandchildren, Sosa stepped up and gave us something to smile about.
Day in, and day out, he gave us his all. He deserves to walk into Wrigley Field, he deserves to throw out the first pitch. He deserves to conduct the stretch. He deserves to be remembered for everything he has done.
Sammy Sosa needs to be home.