|Birth Day:||November 12, 1968|
|Birth Place:||San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic|
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He was called Mikey by his entire family.
Sosa made his major league debut on June 16, 1989, with the Texas Rangers, wearing #17 and leading off as the starting left fielder. He hit his first career home run off Roger Clemens.
On July 29, 1989, the Rangers traded Sosa with Wilson Álvarez and Scott Fletcher to the Chicago White Sox for Harold Baines and Fred Manrique. In 1990, Sosa batted .233 with 15 home runs, 70 runs batted in, 10 triples, and 32 stolen bases. He also struck out 150 times, fourth most in the American League. Sosa started the 1991 season by hitting 2 home runs and driving in 5 runs. However, he would slump for the rest of the year and ended up batting .203 with 10 home runs and 33 runs batted in.
The White Sox traded Sosa and Ken Patterson to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder George Bell before the 1992 season. Sosa batted .260 with 8 home runs and 25 RBIs in his first season with the Cubs. In 1993, Sosa batted .261 with 33 home runs with 93 RBIs. He also showed his speed by stealing 38 bases and became the Cubs' first 30-30 player. Sosa continued to hit for power and speed in 1994 but he also improved his batting average. He ended up batting .300 with 25 home runs, 70 RBIs, and 22 stolen bases. Sosa was named to his first All-Star team in 1995. In 144 games, he batted .268 with 36 home runs and 119 RBIs. Sosa continued his success with the Cubs in 1996 as he batted .273 with 40 home runs and 100 RBIs. However, the next year, Sosa struggled. Despite hitting 36 home runs with 119 RBIs, Sosa batted just .251 with a .300 on-base percentage, and led the league in strikeouts with 174.
Also in 1998, Sosa's 416 total bases were the most in a single season since Stan Musial's 429 in 1948. 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. 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 City, 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 1999 season, Sosa hit 63 home runs, again trailing Mark McGwire, who hit 65. In the 2000 season, Sosa led the league by hitting 50 home runs. He received the Babe Ruth Home Run Award for leading MLB in homers.
In 2001, he hit 64 home runs, becoming the first player to hit 60 or more home runs three times. 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 2001, he also 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 2002. 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 1995 and in 1998 through 2002.
In 2003, the Cubs won the National League Central Division title. In May, he spent his first period on the disabled list since 1996 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, and apologized for the incident. When Cubs manager Dusty Baker was interviewed later, he stated any use of corked bats on his team is strictly prohibited. On June 6, Sosa was suspended for eight games which was reduced to seven games on June 11 after appeal. Sosa finished the season with 40 home runs and hit two more in the 2003 NLCS against the Florida Marlins falling to the team in seven games.
In May 2004, 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. He finished with 35 homers, far below his numbers of his best years. Despite his declining production and release from the team at the end of the 2004 season, between 1995-2004 Sosa clubbed 479 home runs which is the most home runs by a player in history over a 10-year span. He also 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).
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 million 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.
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 or more 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."
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 number 21 to new pitcher Jason Marquis, who coincidentally served up Sosa's 600th career home run. 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 the Chicago Cubs. Sosa 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, having hit 545 with that team.
On May 28, 2008, Sosa announced that he instructed his agent not to offer his services to any MLB 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 with 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 baseball. He made the announcement in the Dominican Republic and said that he was calmly looking forward to his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame since his statistics were up to par.
On June 16, 2009, The New York Times reported that Sosa was on a list of players who had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, in baseball's steroids scandal. The paper stated that this information had been obtained from unnamed attorneys with knowledge of Major League Baseball drug test results from 2003.
In 2009, Sosa appeared at a music awards show looking much lighter in complexion than he had just months earlier. The buzz around this drastic change prompted him to go on a Spanish-language television station to deny that he was ill, or that he hated being dark-skinned, or that his new skin tone was the result of steroid use. Sosa explained that he uses a bleaching cream before going to bed that softens and lightens his skin.
In an interview with ESPN Deportes, Sosa said he would "calmly wait" for his induction into baseball's Hall of Fame, for which he became eligible in 2013. On January 9, 2013, Sosa was not elected by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) into baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, receiving 12.5% on his first year on the ballot (the requirement for election is 75%). In the following years his voting percentage dropped as low as 6.6% in 2015 to a high of 13.9% in 2020. A candidate remains eligible for inclusion on subsequent ballots as long as he receives a minimum of 5.0% of the vote in a given year, and is removed from consideration by the BBWAA after ten years on the ballot.
Currently, Sammy Sosa is 53 years, 2 months and 13 days old. Sammy Sosa will celebrate 54th birthday on a Saturday 12th of November 2022.
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