Sammy Sosa: A Corked, Corrupt, Conundrum of Saviors, Steroids & History



By:  Soxman

On June 3rd, 2003 Sammy Sosa used a corked bat in a baseball game.  With a Ruthian swing, the bat exploded into 1000 pieces exposing a hollow core.  Sosa smiled and walked away denying any knowledge of wrong doing.  Years later this memory becomes the perfect analogy for not only his career, but the career of almost anyone who used illegal performance enhancing drugs.

As the unofficial steroid correspondent for the Sportsbank, I, like most baseball fans can’t say I’m at all surprised by the revelation from the New York Times yesterday that Sammy Sosa was among the 104 players who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003.  Honestly, with the exception of Sosa himself, who appears to suffer from short-term memory loss, was anybody?

My memory is not short-term either.  After the 1994 season was cancelled, baseballs true most valuable player, the fan, filed for divorce from the game.  One of the seven deadly sins, Greed appeared to forever tarnish America’s pastime.  Attendance was down and the game seemed to lose that magical romantic connection that fans, regardless of age or gender, had with it since the first time they could grip a baseball.


1998, enter Sammy Sosa and McGwire:  The Saviors of the Game.

Engaged in an epic race to break Roger Maris’ season record of 61* (remember this asterisk) homers, the fans’ love affair with the game was reborn.  Fans flocked, cash flowed, and baseball once again had “juice.” Unfortunately, it was much more than “juice” as the term is used in the world of hip hop, which means “power and influence.”  The balls and players were also juiced up- in a totally different way.

We know now that everyone knew it too, players and owners alike, but they turned their heads because everyone was happy. I question, if the fans knew then, what they know now, would the magic truly have returned to the game?  Maybe, but perhaps on a level equal to that of World Wrestling Entertainment, another “sport” rocked by steroid scandals. Like watching Hulk Hogan body slam the Big Show, Sosa and McGwire traded gargantuan homers.  Would we say: “I know its fake, but I love it anyway.”  Like it requires skill to belt a 500 foot blast, it requires strength to slam 600 lbs like a paperweight.

Enough conjecture, let’s look at the facts.

Major League Baseball, modifying a bat or a ball with foreign substances and using it in play is illegal and subject to ejection and further punishment.  Until 2003, it was ok to modify bodies with foreign substances, but not bats and balls.

Baseball has a moral clause since the early 1900s, where illegal actions taken by a player outside the game can lead to suspensions inside the game. Another key part of the moral clause has not been enforced for years.  If a players knows of illegal activity but fails to report it, that player possesses the same guilt as if those who committed the crime. Buck Weaver batted .324 in the 1919 World Series, tallying 11 hits. He also played errorless ball in the Series, yet was banned for life from the game based on his Black Sox connections.

Weaver was banned for having knowledge of other players’ plans to throw the World Series and failing to tell team officials. However, Charles Comiskey, owner of the Chicago White Sox, had learned of the fix before the World Series began from both Kid Gleason, manager of the White Sox, and Hugh Fullerton, a Chicago baseball reporter.  Yet, he was never fined, reprimanded, or punished in any way.  Sound familiar?

Baseball management’s drug policy has prohibited steroid use without a prescription since 1991, but the policy had no penalties associated with it.  Why?  Because fans were happy and money flowed. Sosa sat alongside Rafael Palmeiro, Canseco and McGwire at a 2005 hearing before Congress and testified: “To be clear, I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs.”

“I have never injected myself or had anyone inject me with anything,” he told the House Government Reform Committee on March 17, 2005. “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.”

Sammy Sosa likely lied in official testimony to Congress in 2005.  It’s a crime called perjury.  Yet no moral clause was ever evoked for him or Palmeiro, who tested positive for steroids after his testimony.
So where do we go from here?vince_mcmahon_-_ecw_champion

My final thought on the matter of steroids in baseball is as follows:

Steroid use without a prescription has always been illegal outside of the game in America, so why did baseball develop a special set of laws to govern an already illegal activity?  Where is the moral clause and in fairness to the players, where is the penalty to the owners and executives of Major League Baseball who turned the other cheek in the interest of the game..or the almighty dollar? MLB owners deserves no less scrutiny than Vince McMahon received when his employees started dying from chronic steroid and painkiller abuse.

So the question of the day: Does Sammy Sosa deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?

In giving my answer, know this admission of honesty by Soxman.  As a former member of the White Sox, I loved Sammy Sosa even when he wore the colors of the enemy.  I owned a Sosa Jersey, his Wheaties Box, and a hat which commemorated his 66* (like the asterisk?), bombs in 1998. 6th on baseballs all-time HR list with 609*.  1667 RBIs*, 234 SBs* and a lifetime .534 slugging percentage* is worthy of Hall of Fame consideration, providing the Hall, which is the protector of our game’s history, however dark it may be, has the courage to tell a truth its owners and players couldn’t.

* All record denoted with an asterisk are reflective of an era in major league baseball where performance enhancing substances while illegal, where not actively tested for.

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  1. mswollering says

    Masks off to you Soxman,

    Detailing parts of baseball history where a blind-eye has been turned to other corruption/scandal is great way to look at the current steroid mess. I would say if the Hall of Fame “passed” on Sosa, it would be the equivalent of legislating from the bench. Make HOF the Supreme Court with the final say….put the President Bud Selig and Congress in their respective places. This is the only way to truly make a statement.

  2. paulmbanks says

    I like the title Soxman, it reminds me of Canseco’s Juice. Our caped crusader br brought in the history here this time to give us the proper perspective. it’s a little different from the wildly popular Manny Ramirez piece which had a very humorous slant.

    most importantly, he brought up the fact that in the 1919 Black Sox scandal, Comiseky got off scot free (leaglly anyway) while the players suffered baseball’s death penalty. I love black sox references, but it’s true that nothing has changed today. in baseball, and in life in general, the ultra rich and powerful get to play by another set of rules. they dont get punished for malfeasance, the everyday guy does.

    look at aig bankers, goldman sachs, execs getting bailouts from the gov, while the rest of us get nothing. baseball is reflective of the deep class divisions that exist in AMerica

  3. Well put, Soxman.. Not at all surprised by the Sosa stuff.. Like you said, “Was anybody?” Just crazy how sad it is to continue to hear these stories. Constant reminders that the integrity of the game and it’s history is gone..

  4. Soxman is the F—ing man!

    I agree with you this sh-t is f—ing old. Release all of the f–king players on that list.

  5. Sportsbank powers that be:

    You should submit this sotry to the yahoo blog list. Their stuff on Sammy fails to meet the true depth of this story by the Soxman. One of the better pieces he has ever written.

    Soxman- good work in the Red Eye. Ironic you answered Sammy Sosa has them ost over-hyped Cubs player before this all came out.

  6. prowriter0923 says

    It was only a matter of time before the truth about Sammy Sosa came out. It’s just sad that he had to lie so damn much about what was so obviously true just to save a couple years of glory from being completely ruined.

    I think Sammy should not be in the Hall of Fame because his numbers are based on a lie. If he did not use cork in his bat or performance enhancing drugs, would his numbers look the same? I don’t even know at this point.

    Someone who cheats his or her way to the top should NOT be allowed to share in the same company as a Babe Ruth, Roger Maris or Nellie Fox. Bottom Line

  7. Have to agree with toast. Most excellent piece. Loved the Black Sox tie in.

  8. Soxman you always leave your readers wanting more. You can be funny, you can be serious. Good job. I’d sumit this one somewhere. Its awesome.

  9. Soxy Sheri says

    Very good post. One of your best ever soxman. Your passion, whether funny or sad, serious or mad comes through in every post. Applause.

  10. Jackie G says

    Soxman, you are the “bomb”. It is such a shame that the Bulls’ NBA championships and the beloved White Sox winning the World Series that Chicago and the Cubs had to be somehow associated with this black mark. No matter how much good Sosa did, this will outshine all of that good stuff. He will be considered just another “has-been” in the wide world of sports!!!

  11. paulmbanks says

    Sosa probably knew this was going to come out…that’s why he made that public statement a couple weeks ago. It’s like when Paris Hilton’s sex tape “mysteriously leaked” and set off an explosion of publicity a couple weeks before her first ever television or film project debuted. Yeah, I just equated Sosa with Paris Hilton

  12. paulmbanks says

    Toast and Rocks,

    The place you want to send this link to get it on Yahoo is Big League Stew.

    email Kevin Kaduk at and tell him how much you love Soxman and The Sports Bank

  13. Sweet Lou says

    I’ll tell ya, since the media does not think I have any answers, i’m going to tell them to come to you for a quote on the Cubs. Yes, a Sox fan offering opinions on the Cubs, it’s the big change I’ve been promising. Hell I don’t know what else to do.

  14. Wow. This article really hit it on the head, taking a look at the historical perspective and not truly bashing Sammy as much as stating the case as we know it. Great work man. I love reading your stuff.

  15. Jeremiah D. says

    You are an excellent writer with a wealth of styles and skills Soxman. Read the piece on the death of your dog as well. You can capture emotions, comedy and facts all at once.

  16. Sox gal holla says

    You are hot, funny and an excellent writer. The sox are lucky to have you “representin!”

    LOVED your answer on how to slow Tiger Woods down in the Red Eye this morning. I seriously think I peed a little.

  17. Soxman very well done.

    I love the WWE and have toa dmit you have a point.

    The hell with Yahoo, you should be writing for ESPN or Fox Sports!

    Thome answer on Tiger Woods…only from you Soxman, only from you. Side splitting funny!

  18. Cubby blue says

    I’m a Cubs fan and an AVID reader of the Soxman’s work. This Sosa article nailed a subject that really all of america is just ready to put behind them. Every record of that generation is suspect.

    If Maris get an asterisk next to his 61* because he played a few less games than Babe Ruth, than all records of the steroid era should at least be the same.

    Keep up the good work and this Cubs fan will keep reading!

  19. Soxy Mama says

    I used to think Soxman was just a hot guy, who knew it, who put a costume on to get more attention from ladies.

    I was wrong. The way he acts with children, brushes off female advances with a polite smile, always has time for his fans does chairty work and writes…my god can he write….leaves no doubtabout how great you are.

    Thanks for being a celeb I’m proud for kids to look up to Soxman.

    For thinking you were just a player using your fame to score women, I apologize!

    Loved the Red Eye stuff this week. Keep up he good work!

  20. Great work as always. One thought to ponder: Do you think these players honestly even thought they were doing anything wrong? That has been something I’ve debated for a while.

    Palmero and Manny yes for sure because they tested positive after all of this hoopla started. But these other guys were just doing what everyone else was doing. Thats whats kinda hard to get past in terms of banishing them for life.

    Red Eye today was awesome. Loved the Taste of Chicago line the best but Thome was pretty darn funny as well.

  21. Mr. Banks, I read what you write to Toast and Rock and I just want to let you know I e-mailed Big League Stew a few minutes ago. The Soxman is an excelelnt writer and while he also writes for an excellent site, the world need to start sharing his excellence.

  22. Happy Man says

    The soxman told me he actually has a full time job as well at a game. How does he have time for everything he does for the fans, (a GF?) from the last exchange and to write this stuff? Amazing work.

    I also loved the Thome answer. Hilarious to tie a sox player to Tiger Woods with real “stats” about the players true abilty..yet double meanings..

  23. You raise very good points in a way where everyone can assoicate.

    Sammy really was no suprise. Its time to just release the whole list and be done with it.

  24. I’m a Cubs fan as well but loved this blog.

    Soxman how do you think we fix the Cubs?

    Great work and solid read.

  25. paulmbanks says


    Thank you- I really appreciate that. I think it’s great that I am available to provide a platform for Soxman, myself, and everyone else at TSB to get their opinions and thoughts out to the masses. But I’m the first to agree with you and others that the material here needs and seriously deserves to reach a much broader audience. You and the rest of Soxman Nation can help by

    reading other top blogs with link dumps and submitting TSB links to their editors.

    examples include The Big Lead, Cuzoogle, In Game Now, awful announcing, With Leather, deadspin, Yahoo!’s Ball Don’t Lie, the dagger, dr saturday, Big League Stew and Shutdown Corner.

    Pay attention to what they link. E-mail the editors, whose contact info will be available on their respective sites.

  26. Stumbled across this site and have actually met the Soxman in MN in 2006 while on travel with my job.

    To the Sportsbank he is a very gracious humble guy, you are lucky to have him.

    To Soxman you really hit a steroid free homer on this article buddy. Loved the history and the WWE reference. Great job.

    To Yahoo, great idea. He’s good.

  27. Live for Lee says

    Soxman again I have to tip my cap to you. Great article and sad but true as I have been a Sammy Fan and cub fan for over 40 years.

    So do you think Wood was on the juice? Care to speculate on other Cubs? D Lee? Just curious.

    Even for a Sox fan I respect you. Keep up the good work.

  28. Arlen Wicks says

    this chick is really nasty. She’s awesome but nasty

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