Cubs News: The Hall of Fame clock is ticking for Sammy Sosa

(DOUG COLLIER/AFP via Getty Images)
(DOUG COLLIER/AFP via Getty Images) /

Former Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa makes his ninth appearance on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot.

Cooperstown is the current goal for Sammy Sosa. In 1998, the slugging right fielder put on one of the most memorable home run displays in Chicago Cubs history. His infamous bunny hop has since then been mimicked by fans of the game.

The man spoiled a generation of fans who did not get to experience a World Series title. How can you not recognize one of the team’s all-time greats after lifting a curse he attempted to undo himself?

In 1,811 games with the Cubs, the Hall of Fame hopeful recorded 1,245 runs, 1,985 hits, 545 home runs and 1,414 RBI while slashing .284/.358/.569/.928. He carries an all-time tally of 609 home runs, 1,667 RBI and 2,408 hits.

Sosa’s legacy was tainted by his decision to leave during the 2004 season finale and rumors of steroid usage. These allegations resulted in his retirement in 2007, several years following his departure from the Cubs.

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Teammates and fans were angry at how Sammy ended his Cubs tenure. However, second chances should always be left on the table despite how things ended. The man had done a lot for this team, giving fans some of the best years of his life.

Pleas for Sosa to return home have been voiced over the years – mine included. If Steve Bartman can be forgiven, why can’t bygones be bygones when it comes to Sammy?

Yet while his return home is up in the air, his hopes of enshrinement may be running out. Sosa is one of several Cubs who can receive votes on this year’s ballot. Other names include Dan Haren, LaTroy Hawkins, Shane Victorino, Manny Ramirez, and Aramis Ramirez.

Granted Victorino and Manny’s tenure with the Cubs didn’t involve a big-league stint, they were still part of the organization. As for Aramis, the former third baseman had spent the majority of his big league career on the North Side.

This is also his first year of eligibility on the ballot, though the chances of receiving a nod to Cooperstown seems slim for the 42-year-old. It is now year nine for the 52-year-old Dominican slugger. His 1998 counterpart, Mark McGwire, received only 12.3% of the vote in his final attempt.

In 2021, Sosa is one of four names on the list who enter year nine. Joining him in their final year of eligibility are Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, and Barry Bonds. Both Clemens and Bonds were also linked to performance-enhancing drugs.

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Is this the year in which one of these men from the Steroid Era finally gets the call? Or will they forever be labeled the black sheep of the greatest game ever played?