Samuel Peralta Sosa
(born November 12, 1968) is a
retired Major League Baseball
Sosa's Major League career began with the Texas Rangers
in . After a stint
with the Chicago White Sox
became a member of the Chicago Cubs
1992 and subsequently became one of the league's best hitters. In
1998, Sosa and Mark McGwire
national fame for their home run
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
and the Texas
. 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
during his record setting 1930 season in which he hit
Sosa has long been the subject of speculation about suspected
use during his
playing career. On June 16, 2009, The New York Times
Sammy failed a test for performance enhancing drugs in 2003.
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."
born in the Dominican
Republic. Although his officially registered birthplace
is San Pedro de Macorís, Sosa was actually born in Consuelo.
San Pedro de Macorís was "the largest town
nearby." Both Consuelo and San Pedro de Macorís are in San Pedro de Macorís
.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
. He played two full seasons for the White Sox and was
traded, along with pitcher Ken
, to the Chicago Cubs
outfielder George Bell
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
," 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
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.
Louis writers, who voted for McGwire.
McGwire shared Sports
magazine's 1998 "Sportsman of the Year
honored with a ticker-tape parade
in his honor in New York
City, and he was invited to be a guest at US President
Bill Clinton's 1999
State of the Union
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
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
, 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
(116), on base percentage
(.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
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
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
, Sosa was suspended for eight games. However, the suspension
was reduced to seven games after appeal on June
. Sosa finished the season with 40 home runs, and he hit two
more in the 2003 NLCS
the Florida Marlins
, but overall,
the Cubs lost the series in seven games. According to the New
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 Park.
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 Field 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
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
, 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
(512 homers) retired. Willie
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
, 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
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."
this year, Sosa accompanied President Fernandez of the Dominican
Republic on several diplomatic trips including to the United States, Japan, and
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
, 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
, 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 Sports, near Orlando, Florida, 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
, 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
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
Drug test controversy
On June 16, 2009 the New York
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
he had no comment
on the report. Rich Levin, commissioner Bud
'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
, 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
In a recent interview with ESPN
, 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.
Bold indicates league leader.
- Sammy Sosa career stats.
Baseball-reference.com. Accessed 2007-06-05.
- Sosa: An Autobiography, Sammy Sosa and Marcos Bretón,
Time Warner, 2000, p.16
- Sosa: An Autobiography, Sammy Sosa and Marcos Bretón,
Time Warner, 2000, p.23.
- Sosa ejected after cork is found in shattered bat.
(June 4, 2003) ESPN.com. Accessed 2007-06-05.
- Seventy-six Sosa bats found to be clean. (June 5,
2003). ESPN.com. Accessed 2007-06-05.
- Sosa banned over bat. (6 June, 2003) BBC Sport.
- Sosa has ban reduced. (12 June, 2003) BBC
Sport. Accessed 2007-06-05.
- Jayson Stark (February 16, 2006). Sosa
passes on Nats; likely to end career. ESPN.com. Accessed
- T. R. Sullivan (January 17, 2007). Sosa, Rangers agree in principle to deal.
MLB.com. Accessed 2007-06-05.
- De Luca, Chris, "Sosa's 21 a long-distance number,"
Chicago Sun-Times, accessed 6/6/07