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Samuel Peralta Sosa (born November 12, 1968) is a retired Major League Baseball right fielder.

Sosa's Major League career began with the Texas Rangers in . After a stint with the Chicago White Sox, Sosa became a member of the Chicago Cubs in 1992 and subsequently became one of the league's best hitters. In 1998, Sosa and Mark McGwire achieved national fame for their home run-hitting prowess in pursuit of Roger Maris' home run record. Although a fan favorite, Sosa fell out of favor in Chicago after he was caught using a corked bat in a 2003 game and later left the team during the final game of the 2004 season. Sosa finished his career with brief stints with the Baltimore Orioles and the Texas Rangers. With the Rangers, Sosa hit his 600th career home run to become the fifth player in MLB history to reach the milestone. He is also the all-time home run leader among foreign-born MLB players. Furthermore, Sosa is one of only two National League Players to ever reach 160 RBI, a milestone he reached in 2001. The other was Cubs player and RBI Champion Hack Wilson during his record setting 1930 season in which he hit 191 RBI.

Sosa has long been the subject of speculation about suspected anabolic steroid use during his playing career. On June 16, 2009, The New York Times reported that Sammy failed a test for performance enhancing drugs in 2003.

Personal life

Sosa is known to family and friends as "Mikey." His maternal grandmother, who had suggested his birth name of Samuel, also came up with his nickname: "[She] heard the name on a soap opera she liked and decided from that moment on he would be Mikey."

Sosa was born in the Dominican Republicmarker. Although his officially registered birthplace is San Pedro de Macorís, Sosa was actually born in Consuelomarker. San Pedro de Macorís was "the largest town nearby." Both Consuelo and San Pedro de Macorís are in San Pedro de Macorís Province.Sosa is married to Sonia Sosa.

Major league career

Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox (1989–1991)

Sosa made his major league debut on June 16, 1989, with the Texas Rangers, and he hit first career home run off Roger Clemens. Later in the season, the Rangers traded Sammy to the Chicago White Sox. He played two full seasons for the White Sox and was traded, along with pitcher Ken Patterson, to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder George Bell before the season.

Chicago Cubs (1992–2004)

After years as a respected power/speed threat with a rocket arm in right field, he emerged during the as one of baseball's greatest. It was in this season that both Sosa and Mark McGwire were involved in the "home run record chase," when both players' prowess for hitting home runs drew national attention as they attempted to pass Roger Maris's single season home run mark of 61 home runs that had stood since . Sosa ended the season with 66, behind McGwire's 70. However, Sammy had become the first Major League batter ever to hit 65 homers in a season. Then, McGwire passed him late in the season to become the first ever to hit 70.
Also in 1998, Sosa's 416 total bases were the most in a single season since Stan Musial's 429 in . Sosa's performance in the month of June, during which Sosa belted 20 home runs, knocked in 47 runs, and posted an .842 slugging percentage, was one of the greatest offensive outbursts in major league history. Sosa won the National League Most Valuable Player Award for leading the Cubs into the playoffs in 1998, earning every first-place vote except for the two cast by St. Louismarker writers, who voted for McGwire. He and McGwire shared Sports Illustrated magazine's 1998 "Sportsman of the Year" award. Sosa was honored with a ticker-tape parade in his honor in New York Citymarker, and he was invited to be a guest at US President Bill Clinton's 1999 State of the Union Address. 1998 was also the first time the Cubs made the post-season since 1989. The Cubs qualified as the NL Wild Card team, but were swept by the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.

In the season, Sosa hit 63 home runs, again trailing Mark McGwire who hit 65, however, Sosa became the first major leaguer to hit 60 or more home runs in back-to-back seasons. In the season, Sammy finally led the league by hitting 50 home runs.

In , he hit 64 home runs, becoming the first player to hit 60 home runs in three seasons in his career. However, he did not lead the league in any of those seasons; in 2001, he finished behind Barry Bonds, who hit 73 homers, breaking the single-season home run record set by McGwire in 1998 (70). In the same season he set personal records in runs scored (146), RBI (160), walks (116), on base percentage (.437), slugging percentage (.737), and batting average (.328). He led the majors in runs and RBI, was 2nd in home runs, 2nd in slugging percentage, 1st in total bases, 3rd in walks, 4th in on base percentage, 12th in batting average, and 15th in hits. He also surpassed his 1998 number in total bases, racking up 425. Sosa once again led the league in home runs with 49 in . Known as a free-swinger in his early years, and as a good strikeout candidate, Sammy became an effective hitter for average. He owns numerous team records for the Cubs, and he holds the major-league record for the most home runs hit in a month (20, in June 1998). In recognition of his accomplishments as a hitter, Sosa won the Silver Slugger award (an award for offensive output, voted on by managers and coaches) in and in 1998 through 2002.

Sammy Sosa had three 60+ home run seasons with the Cubs ('98, '99, & '01)
In , the Cubs won the National League Central Division title. The year was not all good news for Sosa, however. In May, he spent his first period on the disabled list since after having an injured toenail removed. On June 3, 2003, Sosa was ejected from a Chicago Cubs-Tampa Bay Devil Rays game in the first inning when umpires discovered he had been using a corked bat. Major League Baseball confiscated and tested 76 of Sosa's other bats after his ejection; all were found to be clean, with no cork. Five bats he had sent to the Hall of Fame in past years were also tested, and were all clean as well. Sosa stated that he had accidentally used the corked bat, which he claimed he only used during batting practice. But they soon interviewed the Cubs' manager, who said that any use of corked bats on his team is strictly prohibited. On June 6, Sosa was suspended for eight games. However, the suspension was reduced to seven games after appeal on June 11. Sosa finished the season with 40 home runs, and he hit two more in the 2003 NLCS against the Florida Marlins, but overall, the Cubs lost the series in seven games. According to the New York Times of June 16, 2009, Sosa had also tested positive for steroids at some point during the season.

In May , Sosa suffered an odd injury while sitting next to his locker chatting with reporters before a game in San Diego's PETCO Parkmarker. He sneezed very violently, causing severe back pain. He was diagnosed with back spasms and placed on the disabled list. Later, he fell into one of the worst slumps of his career, only snapping out of it during the last week of the season. He was greatly depressed when the officials told him he couldn't play. He finished with 35 homers, far below his numbers of his best years. The final straw for the Cubs seemed to be an incident in late 2004. Sosa requested to sit out the last game of the season, which was at home against the Atlanta Braves, and he left Wrigley Fieldmarker early in the game. It was his last time he would be in a Cubs uniform.

Baltimore Orioles and year off (2005–2006)

Sosa in spring training with the Orioles in 2005.
On January 28, 2005, the Cubs traded Sosa to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for infielder/outfielder Jerry Hairston, Jr., infielder Mike Fontenot, and RHP Dave Crouthers. To facilitate the deal, Sosa and his agent agreed to waive the clause that guaranteed his 2006 salary, and the players' union indicated it would not object to that agreement. Under the deal, Sosa earned $17,875,000 for the 2005 season, with the Cubs paying $7 million of his salary. By playing for the 2005 Orioles alongside fellow 500-home-run batter Rafael Palmeiro, Sosa and Palmeiro became the first 500 home run club members in history to play together on the same team after reaching the 500 home run plateau (Hank Aaron reached 500 homers shortly after his teammate Eddie Matthews (512 homers) retired. Willie McCovey reached 500 shortly after his teammate Willie Mays had left the Giants).

Sosa finished the 2005 season batting .221 with 14 home runs, his worst performance since 1992, and continuing his post-2001 trend of declines in batting average, homers, total bases, and RBI. On December 7, 2005, the Orioles decided not to offer him an arbitration contract, effectively ending his Baltimore Orioles tenure and making him a free agent.

In 2005, The Sporting News published an update of their 1999 book Baseball's 100 Greatest Players. Sosa did not make the original edition, but for the 2005 update, with his career totals considerably higher, he was ranked at Number 95. During a stretch of nine consecutive years, Sosa hit 35+ home runs and 100+ RBIs, all with the Chicago Cubs.

At the end of January 2006, the Washington Nationals offered Sosa two different minor-league offers, both of which he turned down. On February 15, 2006, Sosa's agent Adam Katz stated: "We're not going to put him on the retirement list. We decided that [not putting him on that list] was the best thing to do. But I can say, with reasonable certainty, that we've seen Sammy in a baseball uniform for the last time."

During this year, Sosa accompanied President Fernandez of the Dominican Republic on several diplomatic trips including to the United Statesmarker, Japanmarker, and Taiwanmarker.

Recent years (2007-2009)

The Texas Rangers, Sosa's original team, signed him to a minor league deal worth $500,000 on January 30, 2007. This was the same contract that Sosa turned down the previous year from the Nationals. The contract included an invitation to spring training, where Sosa competed for a spot in the lineup with Nelson Cruz, Jason Botts, and other rookies/prospects. Sosa was successful during spring training and was added to the team's 25-man roster. He started the 2007 season as the Rangers' designated hitter and occasional right fielder.

At the same time, the Chicago Cubs awarded Sosa's # 21 to new Cub Jason Marquis, despite the fact that it was formerly worn Sosa, who coincidentally later hit his 600th home run against Marquis. This caused some concern, due to Sosa's accomplishments with the Cubs, including his status as the Cubs' all-time home run leader.

On April 26, 2007, Sosa made history by hitting a home run in his 45th major league ballpark. He has also homered in The Ballpark at Disney's Wide World of Sportsmarker, near Orlando, Floridamarker, a usually minor-league and Spring Training park that hosted a regular season series between the Rangers and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in May 2007, although he did not hit a homer at the two regular season games the Cubs played at the Tokyo Dome in 2000 vs. the Mets.

On June 20, 2007, Sosa hit a home run off of Jason Marquis during an inter-league game against Chicago Cubs. Sammy became only the fifth man in history, following Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Barry Bonds, to hit 600 regular season home runs.

The home run was the first one that Sosa had recorded against the Cubs, and as a result he has hit a home run against every active MLB team. Sosa is the Cubs all-time home run leader with 545 home runs with that team.

On May 28, , Sosa announced that he instructed his agent not to offer his services to any Major League team for the 2008 season, and planned on filing for retirement, but never did.

On December 25, 2008, Sosa announced he intended to unretire and play in the World Baseball Classic and once again test the free agent market in hopes of signing for a Major League ballclub in 2009. Sosa said that he had been keeping in shape at his home, and was hoping that after a strong World Baseball Classic he would prove to major-league teams that he was still capable of playing in the MLB. However, he was not selected as part of the Dominican Republic's roster. He remained a free agent and did not actively look for a team.

On June 3, 2009, Sosa announced his intention to retire from Major League Baseball. He made the announcement in the Dominican Republic and said that he was calmly looking forward to his induction within the Baseball Hall of Fame since his statistics were up to par.

Drug test controversy

On June 16, 2009 the New York Times reported Sosa was on a list of 103 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. The paper did not identify the drug. Sosa's agent, Adam Katz, told The Associated Press he had no comment on the report. Rich Levin, commissioner Bud Selig's office spokesman, declined to comment on the situation, claiming that the MLB did not have a copy of the test results. Michael Weiner, the union general counsel, also declined comment. The union, while fighting to get the list back from the government, has mostly refused to discuss reports about the list because it does not want to confirm or deny who is on it.

Previously, Sosa sat alongside Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire at a 2005 hearing before Congress. His attorney testified on his behalf, stating "To be clear, I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs. I have never injected myself or had anyone inject me with anything. I have not broken the laws of the United States or the laws of the Dominican Republic. I have been tested as recently as 2004, and I am clean."

In a recent interview with ESPN Deportes, Sosa, 40, said he would "calmly wait" for his induction into baseball's Hall of Fame, for which he will become eligible for induction in 2013. His comment angered many people and again brought up the argument of positive drug testing players being accepted into the Hall of Fame.

Statistics

Major League Baseball
Year Age Team G BA. HR RBI SB AB H SO R BB OBP SLG OPS OPS+ OWn% FldR/yr
20 TEX/CWS 58 .257 4 13 7 183 47 47 27 11 .303 .366 .669 89 40.0 -15.0
21 CWS 153 .233 15 70 32 532 124 150 72 33 .283 .404 .687 92 40.0 1.2
22 CWS 116 .203 10 33 13 316 64 98 39 14 .241 .335 .576 59 23.7 23.3
23 CHC 67 .260 8 25 15 262 68 63 41 19 .317 .393 .710 99 51.0 -6.5
24 CHC 159 .261 33 93 36 598 156 135 92 38 .309 .485 .794 111 52.7 15.7
25 CHC 105 .300 25 70 22 426 128 92 59 25 .339 .545 .884 127 60.6 18.7
26 CHC 144 .268 36 119 34 564 151 134 89 58 .340 .500 .840 121 61.0 21.3
27 CHC 124 .273 40 100 18 498 136 134 84 34 .323 .565 .888 126 60.1 30.0
28 CHC 162 .251 36 119 22 642 161 174 90 45 .300 .480 .780 99 46.2 14.3
29 CHC 159 .308 66 158 18 643 198 171 134 73 .377 .647 1.024 160 72.9 2.2
30 CHC 162 .288 63 141 7 625 180 171 114 78 .367 .635 1.002 151 67.3 -0.7
31 CHC 156 .320 50 138 7 604 193 168 106 91 .406 .634 1.040 161 74.8 -4.8
32 CHC 160 .328 64 160 0 577 189 153 146 116 .437 .737 1.174 203 84.4 5.5
33 CHC 150 .288 49 103 2 556 160 144 122 103 .399 .594 .993 160 74.9 -7.8
34 CHC 137 .279 40 103 0 517 144 143 99 62 .358 .553 .911 133 64.8 -0.4
35 CHC 126 .253 35 80 0 478 121 133 69 56 .332 .517 .849 113 58.2 6.0
36 BAL 102 .221 14 45 1 380 84 84 39 39 .295 .376 .671 78 33.8 -5.8
38 TEX 114 .252 21 92 0 412 104 112 53 34 .311 .468 .779 102 48.2 -4.6
Career 2354 .273 609 1667 234 8813 2408 2306 1475 929 .344 .534 .878 128 62.2 6.5  
Bold indicates league leader.

See also



References

  1. Sammy Sosa career stats. Baseball-reference.com. Accessed 2007-06-05.
  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/sports/baseball/17doping.html?_r=1&hp
  3. Sosa: An Autobiography, Sammy Sosa and Marcos Bretón, Time Warner, 2000, p.16
  4. Sosa: An Autobiography, Sammy Sosa and Marcos Bretón, Time Warner, 2000, p.23.
  5. Sosa ejected after cork is found in shattered bat. (June 4, 2003) ESPN.com. Accessed 2007-06-05.
  6. Seventy-six Sosa bats found to be clean. (June 5, 2003). ESPN.com. Accessed 2007-06-05.
  7. Sosa banned over bat. (6 June, 2003) BBC Sport. Accessed 2007-06-05.
  8. Sosa has ban reduced. (12 June, 2003) BBC Sport. Accessed 2007-06-05.
  9. Jayson Stark (February 16, 2006). Sosa passes on Nats; likely to end career. ESPN.com. Accessed 2007-06-05.
  10. T. R. Sullivan (January 17, 2007). Sosa, Rangers agree in principle to deal. MLB.com. Accessed 2007-06-05.
  11. De Luca, Chris, "Sosa's 21 a long-distance number," Chicago Sun-Times, accessed 6/6/07
  12. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4229022
  13. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/sports/baseball/17doping.html
  14. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4264062


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