According to go-to ballot tracker Ryan Thibodaux, it is officially mathematically impossible for Sosa to attain the necessary 75 percent required to enter Cooperstown, meaning that, barring some down-the-road nod from a Veteran’s Committee or something of the sort, he’ll wind up relegated to the dustbin, instead of finding a place among baseball immortality.
There are few players who have run into as many walls erected by the game they played as much as Sosa who, not only continues to be rebuffed by national writers, but can’t even set foot in the ballpark he called home for 13 years. There have been extremely minor signs of a thaw in the relations between Sosa and the Cubs – in the sense he’s now at least acknowledged on social media at times – but there’s clearly plenty of bad blood left between the outfielder and ownership.
As for his Hall of Fame candidacy, this is one that doesn’t add up. You can chalk it up squarely to writers’ interpretation of the character clause in the voting guidelines, but in case you didn’t know, there are some pretty not-so-great human beings already enshrined in Cooperstown.
Two other prominent suspected PED users, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, are also in their tenth and final year on the ballot – and with just under 40 percent of ballots known, both are right around 80 percent. Of course, that means 60 percent of the ballots remain out of the public eye – so punching their ticket this time around still isn’t a certainty.
Bonds needs 71.5 percent of the remaining ballots to go his way, while Clemens needs 72.4 percent. The only other player who is on track for Cooperstown at this point is David Ortiz, yet another suspected PED user. But he’s always been a lovable guy in the baseball world – and seemingly gets a free pass where guys who butted heads with the media like Sosa – are shown the door.
Chicago Cubs: Sammy Sosa deserved better, despite all his apparent flaws
Make no mistake. The role Sosa, along with Mark McGwire and, to a lesser extent, Ken Griffey Jr., played during the Home Run Race of 1998 cannot be overstated. Just a few years removed from the stoppage of 1994, their back-and-forth power battle helped pull the game back from the brink and put it back squarely in the national spotlight.
But for his 2,408 hits, 609 home runs, six Silver Sluggers and status as the only player to ever hit 60 or more home runs in three separate seasons, all Sosa will get is a wave as the game moves forward – while leaving him behind.