With Wednesday’s announcement of the MLB Hall of Fame class of 2013 just a few hours away, Sammy Sosa is quietly waiting for his call to come. He believes he deserves to be in the HOF.
Surprisingly, there are many fans out there who agree! He did have impressive numbers in his career. He did have a lot to do with the revival of the game with the Home Run race with McGwire after many fans had walked away from the game after the strike. They brought the spark back to the game, reminded us all how we loved the sport, even after the business side of the sport got in the way during the strike.
As a Cub fan, I can say that I cheered for many of those 609 home runs he hit, most of which were hit in a Cubs uniform. I did the “Sam-my! Sam-my!” chant when he’d come to the plate in big situations. I forgave (but didn’t forget) the corked bat incident. I heard the whispers, and deep down, knew they were probably true, when it came to the steroids, but he was our beloved Sammy Sosa! He was our star! However, it was on October 3, 2004 when I realized that the love for his fans was as fake as the validity of the numbers he put up under the steroids he put in his body! It was the last day of the season, the one named “Fan Appreciation Day”. If you can think back, that was the year the Cubs collapsed (again) in the final few weeks of the season after staying in playoff contention for most of the season. The expectations were high after coming off the 2003 playoff run (you know, the one were the Cubs were “5 outs away”). In 2004, the Cub fans filled each of those seats for every game. They showed their love and affection with the money in their wallets. On that final day, the day the Cubs were to show their appreciation to the fans who pay their checks, our beloved Sammy Sosa showed his affection by leaving the park 15 minutes before the first pitch was ever thrown. Yeah, we loved you too, Sammy!
Now, I wouldn’t say that THIS is why I would keep him out of the HOF, but that was the day that I really had to let my love for him go and the forgive and forget mentality was gone. There would be no more defending his name. There would be no more supporting his numbers.
He has never come out and admitted he was part of the steroid era. Oh, wait, that’s right, when he was in front of Congress, he totally forgot how to speak English, so perhaps he mis-understood what they were accusing him of. His name was brought up by others, and sorry, Sammy, but unfortunately in this country, you are guilty until proven innocent in cases like these! He did give an interview in 2006 on Comcast Sports Net out of Chicago (yes, in English…amazingly he remembered how to speak the language when he wasn’t surrounded by Congress). BTW, I suggest you read that article, pretty entertaining!
My biggest issues would be with allowing Sammy into the HOF would be if they allow him in there, then 1. Does it lessen the significance of the current members, the ones who earned their spots by playing the game the right way? 2. Does this open the door to all of the players with the inflated numbers due to the stuff they put in their bodies? Does that open the door to Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire? (All of which are eligible this year as well). Is it fair to the players who have played the game the right way, and were overlooked because of the monster numbers the steroid users have?
It’s a hot debate. I would not want to be a writer who had a say in this election. If I DID have a say in this one, I would definitely say that this is ONE Cub I would NOT want representing my team in the Hall of Fame.