MLB: Fairness Dictates That Sammy Sosa Belongs in the Hall of Fame

Harold FriendChief Writer IJune 13, 2011

Sammy Sosa
Sammy SosaRonald Martinez/Getty Images

It will never happen because emotion, a warped sense of morality and a philosophy that penalizes those that do not fit the model of those with the power will never let it happen, but fairness dictates that Sammy Sosa belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Sammy Sosa belongs in the Hall of Fame because he had a Hall of Fame career.

Sosa broke Roger Maris' single season home run record three times. Not even the great Barry Bonds or the almost as great Mark McGwire could match that feat.

In 1998, Sosa hit 66 home runs and followed that with 63 the next season. In 2001, he hit 64 home runs.

From 1901 until 1927, no batter broke the 60 home run barrier. In 1961, Roger Maris became only the second player to hit as many as 60 home runs in a single season.

Just think of the enormity of the feat when Sammy Sosa broke the 60 home run barrier three times in four seasons.

From 1998-2003, Sosa batted .302 with a .391 on base average. He slugged .635 and averaged 59 home runs over a 162-game season.

Mickey Mantle's peak seasons were not as good as Sosa's.

From 1955-58, Mantle hit .331 with a .462 on base average and a .643 slugging average. He averaged 41 home runs, which increase to 46 when adjusted for a 162 game season.

The next two years were not Mantle's best but he had excellent seasons in 1961 and 1962, hitting .319 with a .465 on base average and a .652 slugging average. He averaged 42 home runs, which increase to 50 when adjusted for 162 games.

Neither Willie Mays' nor Hank Aaron's peak seasons came close to Sosa's.

That should be the end of the story, but of course, it is not.

Sammy Sosa has been accused of cheating. The definition of "cheating" changes more often than Casey Stengel changed his batting order when he managed New York's other team, the New York Yankees.

Jonathan Prager of the Wall Street Journal wrote a book, The Echoing Green, in which he chronicled how the 1951 New York Giants stole signs using mechanical means that enabled them to overcome a 13 and one-half Brooklyn Dodgers lead. Several Giants players confessed that it was true.

The Giants didn't think what they did was wrong or that it was cheating.

"Everything we did was our own," Monte Irvin told the Associated Press. Barry Bonds had help from the steroids, but he still had to hit the ball himself, do the weight training himself and be patient at the plate himself.

In 2011, amphetamines are among banned substances, but they were not banned when Hank Aaron (claims he used them but once), Mickey Mantle and Ralph Kiner (claims they were to help an injury) used them.

Jim Bouton, who became a pariah after Ball Four, wrote "Baseball players will take anything. If you had a pill that would guarantee a pitcher 20 wins but might take 5 years off his life, he'd take it,"

Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to coerce Bouton into denying that his book was factual.

Sammy Sosa has been linked to steroid use. On June 16. 2009, the New York Times, a newspaper that is no longer as respected as it used to be, reported that Sosa's name was among those players who allegedly tested positive for performance enhancing substances. The Times, in its usual fashion, failed to identify the substance.

In 2005, Sosa's attorney testified on his behalf before Congress, whose members are among the most moral, honest and law-abiding citizens in the world. Sosa's lawyer told the Charlie Rangels and Anthony Weiners "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."

You explain why Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Pete Rose, Joe Jackson and Alex Rodriguez shouldn't be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.


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