Chicago Cubs: Who were the five best players on the 1998 team?
Chicago Cubs – #1: Slammin’ Sammy takes home NL MVP honors
It’ll be interesting to see if and when the Cubs and Sammy Sosa ever reunite, helping a tenuous relationship fraught with emotion heal. This would allow fans to truly celebrate what the Dominican-born superstar did for the city and the franchise during his time with the club.
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From 1995 to 1997, Sosa was a very strong offensive presence. Over that span, he averaged a .263/.320/.511 line with 37 home runs, 23 doubles and 113 RBI. Seriously, any team would be happy to get those contributions from their corner outfielder.
But in 1998, he flipped a switch and went off – smashing 66 home runs, driving in 158 and slashing .308/.377/.647 en route to the NL MVP award. This was the beginning of an absolutely dominant stretch for Sosa, who, at the time, looked like a lock for Cooperstown.
Looking at his numbers from 1998 to 2001, Sosa was a juggernaut at the dish. Plain and simple. He averaged 61 home runs and 149 RBI to go along with his .310/.396/.662 line.
To this day, he remains the only player in big league history to hit 60 or more home runs in three separate seasons.
Tomorrow, ‘Long Gone Summer’ will bring it all back – the mammoth home runs, the otherworldly performance in the month of June and the scandal that painted the once revered slugger in a different light. I can’t wait.