With the news that Sammy Sosa was formally announcing his retirement from Major League Baseball -- we would also like to take this moment to announce our retirement from Little League Baseball -- earlier this week there have been many Cubs fans reliving their memories of the man that made the franchise noteable in the 90s. Yes, Cubs fans can choose to remember Sosa for all the bad things surrounding him during the time he left Chicago, or they can choose to remember the good times.
Of course what Sosa's retirement really does is begin the talk of whether or not he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Though he's never been busted for using steroids during his time in the Majors, most people assume that like everybody else in the game lately, Sosa used them. Mark McGwire, Sosa's partner in long-ball for so many years, has never tested positive for steroids either yet he continually gets the cold shoulder from Hall of Fame voters.
So it's likely Sosa will as well, though some current Cubs and former Sosa teammates think he deserves to get in. Derrek Lee said as much earlier this week, and now Lou Piniella and Kerry Wood are both saying the same thing.
"You look at his numbers, and obviously they're Hall of Fame numbers," Piniella said. "He had a really, really prolific home run career. You put his numbers offensively (against) other people in the Hall of Fame, and you've got to (say) he belongs."
Wood, who is back in town to face the White Sox, also thinks people need to give Sosa consideration.
"Sammy never failed a drug test, never got caught up in any of that stuff and there's no evidence that anybody has against him that he did something wrong. As his teammate for many years, he's one of the guys I remember who came in and was prepared to go every day. What he did in his career was amazing and he deserves some credit for it."
This from the man who allegedly treated Sosa's boombox the same way Carlos Zambrano treats a Gatorade machine.
Really it's hard to predict how Hall of Fame voters are going to vote in upcoming years. While they've kept guys like McGwire out recently it's going to be a lot harder to keep somebody like Barry Bonds out, and now that it's becoming more evident that steroids are something everybody is/was doing it's only going to be harder to keep players out.
So Sammy may have a shot after all, which couldn't be said even two years ago.
Along with writing for NBCCHICAGO.com, Tom Fornelli can also be found contributing at FanHouse, SPORTSbyBROOKS, and his own Chicago sports blog Foul Balls.