Chicago Cubs: Sammy Sosa had no business winning 1998 NL MVP

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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: A summer of excitement at the Friendly Confines

Aside from 2016, it’s hard to recall a single season that witnessed Cubs history in the same way as 1998. Sosa played an integral role in the now-infamous Home Run Chase with McGwire and Ken Griffey Jr., Kerry Wood made his debut and tied a big league record, striking out 20 batters in early May and Chicago made it to the postseason for the first time since 1989.

Make no mistake – Sosa played a huge role in the Cubs making it back to the postseason. It’s hard to imagine that team without his presence solidifying the heart of the order. He led the league, driving in 158 runs. That figure has been eclipsed just twice since 1998 – with Sosa accounting for one of them in 2001, when he plated 160 runs. The other? Manny Ramirez‘s 165-RBI 1999 campaign.

He also paced the National League in runs (134) and total bases (416), ranking second in the league with a .647 slugging percentage, fourth in both OPS (1.024) and OPS+ (160), fifth in hits (198) and ninth in games played, appearing in all but three of the Cubs’ contests.

Calling Sosa’s 1998 performance anything but historic would be foolhardy – and I’m well aware of that fact. The only problem? McGwire turned in a season that was even more historic – and you the numbers bear that out pretty clearly.