Famous Baseball Players
Samuel (Sammy) Sosa Peralta (born November 12, 1968 in San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic) is a Right Fielder in Major League Baseball. He is currently a free agent. He has formerly played for the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles. He ended the 2005 season with 588 career home runs, placing him fifth on the all-time home run list. Following the 2005 season, Sosa was expected to retire, but his name is currently on the free agent list.
He made his major league debut on June 16, 1989 with the Rangers, who traded him to the Chicago White Sox along with Scott Fletcher and Wilson Alvarez in exchange for Harold Baines and Fred Manrique later that same season (a move that U.S. President George W. Bush, then the Rangers' managing general partner, later joked was the biggest mistake he ever made). After a promising 1990 season in which he hit 15 home runs and collected 70 RBI as a full-time player, in 1991 his production fell and Sosa was relegated to the minor leagues for a time.
Prior to the start of the 1992 season, Sosa was again traded. This time he was sent packing across town to the Cubs along with reliever Ken Patterson in exchange for slugger and fellow San Pedro de Macorís native George Bell. Many at the time thought the Cubs had been swindled by the White Sox in the trade, including a vocal George Bell, who said he was insulted at being traded for a player as unproven as Sosa. Larry Himes, who had been the general manager of the White Sox when they acquired Sosa, was now the general manager of the Cubs, and having traded for him a second time, defended his view that Sosa would turn out to be an outstanding player.
Sosa spent the 1992 season in center field for the Cubs, but spent more than half the season on the disabled list with a broken wrist from being hit by a pitch and a sore shoulder. In 1993 Sosa finally started to show the talent that scouts and fans alike had seen glimpses of for years. Sosa finished with 33 home runs and 36 stolen bases, the first Cub to join the exclusive 30-30 club. Sosa followed with another solid campaign in the strike-shortened season of 1994.
During the strike, Sosa supposedly agreed to a free agent contract with the Boston Red Sox, but Major League Baseball decided not to allow any contract negotiations between players and teams during the strike. By the time the strike had been settled, Sosa had had a change of heart and decided to stay with the Cubs.
Sosa once again reached the 30-30 plateau in 1995, and made the All-Star team for the first time. In 1996, Sosa was leading the National League in home runs with 40 when he was hit by a pitch, breaking his wrist and effectively ending his season. Sosa had trouble rebounding from his broken wrist during the 1997 season. A late-season surge saw his batting average rise to a mildly-disappointing .251, but the Cubs were well on their way to a last place finish by then.
During his subpar 1997 season, Sosa agreed to a contract extension with the Cubs that made him one of baseball's highest-paid players. Many experts felt that this was a mistake, since Sosa in their views did not possess the talent to merit such a contract.
After years as a respected power hitter, Sammy Sosa emerged during the 1998 season as one of baseball's greatest. It was in this season that both Sosa and Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris' long-standing single season home run record of 61 homeruns. Sosa ended the season with 66, behind McGwire's 70. His 416 total bases were the most in a single season in 50 years, since Stan Musial's 429 in 1948. Sosa found some consolation in winning 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 "Sportsmen of the Year" award. Sosa's accomplishments were celebrated with a ticker-tape parade in his honor in New York City, and he was asked to be a guest at US President Bill Clinton's 1999 State of the Union Address.
The following season Sosa hit 63 home runs, again trailing Mark McGwire who hit 65. Sosa, already a home run legend, finally claimed his first home run championship by hitting 50 in the 2000 season.
In 2001, he hit 64 home runs, becoming the first (and, thus far, only) player ever with three 60 home run seasons (though, oddly, he did not lead the league in any of those three seasons; in 2001, he finished behind Barry Bonds, who hit 73 homers, breaking the single-season HR record set by McGwire in 1998 (70)). In the same season he set personal records in runs scored (146), RBIs (160), walks (116), on base percentage (.437), slugging percentage (.737), and batting average (.328). He led the majors in runs and RBIs, was 2nd in home runs, 2nd in slugging percentage, 3rd in walks, 4th in on base percentage, 12th in batting average, and 15th in hits. He also surpassed his 1998 numbers in total bases, compiling 425. Sosa once again led the league in home runs with 49 in 2002. Known as a free-swinger in his early years, and as an easy strikeout candidate, Sosa became an effective hitter for average. He owns numerous team records for the Cubs, and holds the major-league record for the most home runs hit in a month (20, in June 1998).