Sammy Sosa Best MLB Baseball Hitter Ever
by Michael Rodriguez
(Tampa Florida )
When I was younger I used to collect baseball cards religiously. I followed the best players and kept tabs of their performances and homeruns. I remember the baseball season of 1998 for one reason. That was the summer that Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire fought an intense battle to see who would break Roger Marris homerun record of 61 hits in a single season. In the end both Sosa and McGwire finished well over the 61 mark. McGwire broke the record first and finished the season at seventy homeruns and Sosa finished in at 66 home runs.
Some other kids in my neighborhood and myself included would all facetiously trade cards but when it came to a Sosa or McGwire card the bantering process became intense. Both McGwire and Sosa are awesome players and have earned my outright respect for their involvements and contributions to baseball. However, I have always had a very strong interest in Sammy Sosa. I could not have been more elated when Sosa made such a great name for himself during the 1998 season. He was after history. In the end he might not have broken the record first but he did end up beating the record -- which made me respect him as a player even more.
Sammy Sosa began playing professional baseball in 1989 with the Texas Rangers. Shortly after that he made a brief stop with Chicago White Sox before signing with the Chicago Cubs in 1992. Sosa hit his first homerun that was pitched by Roger Clemens while he was with the Texas Rangers. When Sosa signed with the Cubs in 1992 he would be a part of the Cubs team for
Early on he was known for his speed and his “rocket” of a right arm. 1998 was the year that catapulted his name into the spotlight and join the best in the history of the sport. 1998 was a great year for Sosa. Not only did he hit 66 home runs but he also covered an area of 416 bases between home runs and hits, had one month where his slugging percentage was .842 (which is phenomenal), won the MVP of the year award, shared the title of Sports Illustrated “Sportsman of the Year” with McGwire, honored in a parade in NYC and invited by President Clinton as a guest to the 1999 State of the Union Address.
Sosa would continue having a few more years of an excellent track record in the homerun department. He finally led the league with the most homeruns in the 2000 season. His legacy and good luck started to decline in 2003. He suffered a string of injuries, accusations of steroid use and suspension over using a corked bat.
After 2004, Sosa had Stints with both the Orioles and once again the Texas Rangers. He never again reached the full height of what he had in the past and announced his intention to retire from Baseball on June 3, 2009. He is calmly awaiting for his announcement in the Hall of Fame.
Despite the steroid controversy that followed which has become all too common in the sport of baseball, Sammy Sosa played with history, broke history and made history. For those contributions alone he goes down as one of my favorite baseball players, and the greatest hitter, in the history of the sport.