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I don't care who you are or what you say, the 1998 home run chase to beat Roger Maris' record of 61 bombs in a single season was the most exciting thing baseball had seen for a long time.
Remember how ESPN would break into other games or televised events whenever Sammy Sosa or Mark McGwire came to the plate? It was awe-inspiring. We all were wrapped up in it, and every last one of use looked the other way.
The game needed it. The game needed Sosa and McGwire. Baseball was still reeling from the 1994 strike. The fans needed excitement and drama. Sosa and McGwire gave them, nay, us, all of us, just that.
However, Sosa did test positive for steroids on the 2003 MLB survey test. This test was meant to be anonymous and to gauge the level of use in baseball. That is neither here nor there. He did test positive in 2003. It does call in to question what he had done previously.
Once again, though, steroids were not illegal in baseball during the 1998 run. Sosa did not test positive after the 2003 report. However, looking at his career statistics, most of his accomplishments seem to come from 1993-94 onward. I'm purely speculating here; just making observations.
During his career, other than the mesmerizing 1998 season, Sosa was a seven-time All-Star, won the NL MVP award in 1998 and has six Silver Sluggers on his resume. His career batting statistics are formidable with a .273/.344/.534/.878 batting line with 2,408 career hits, 609 career home runs and 1,667 career RBI.
Chance of Getting In: Five percent
Does He Deserve It: Is Batman a good guy or a bad guy? He breaks the laws to help the city of Gotham rid itself of crime. Sosa, while surely his intentions were self-serving, possibly used steroids during a race that brought national attention back to America's past-time. I think it is hard to ignore his impact on the game.
However, there are players that I think are made better by taking steroids. Their talent is elevated to a state whereby they become, well, legendary.
I fear Sosa may be one of those players. During his career, he was a good to very good player from 1989 until around 1995, and that is when his career took off.
Does he deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? In my opinion, no.