Home News JAWS and the 2019 Hall of Fame Ballot: Sammy Sosa

JAWS and the 2019 Hall of Fame Ballot: Sammy Sosa

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2019 BBWAA Ballot
The Ballot’s Big QuestionsMariano RiveraEdgar MartinezMike MussinaRoy HalladayLarry WalkerScott RolenTodd HeltonAndruw JonesOmar VizquelGary SheffieldManny RamirezFred McGriffLance BerkmanJeff KentAndy PettitteRoger ClemensBarry BondsRoy OswaltBilly WagnerCurt SchillingSammy Sosa

The next article is part of Jay Jaffe’s ongoing look at the candidates around the BBWAA 2019 Hall of Fame ballot. Originally composed for the 2013 election at SI.com, it has been updated to reflect recent unemployment consequences in addition to further study. For a thorough introduction to this season ’s ballot, along with other candidates in the show, use the instrument above; a debut to JAWS can be found here. For a tentative schedule and a opportunity to complete a Hall of Fame ballot to our crowdsourcing job, see here. All of WAR figures consult with the Baseball-Reference version unless otherwise indicated.

Like Mark McGwire, his rival in the great 1998 home run chase, Sammy Sosa was hailed at the peak of his celebrity as a hero, a Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, along with a great global ambassador for baseball. At exactly the same year that McGwire set a fresh single-season album with 70 home runs, Sosa hit 66 and took home the National League MVP award. Three days in a post-apocalyptic stretch from 1998 to 2001, he surpassed Roger Maris’ previously unbreakable mark of 61 homers, and he hit more homers over a five- or 10-year stretch than any player in history. In 2007, he became just the fifth player to attain the 600-home-run landmark after Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, also Barry Bonds.

Just like McGwire, the meaning of Sosa’s home runs transformed once baseball began to crack down on performance-enhancing drugs, together with suspicions mounting regarding his achievements. He was also called to testify before Congress in 2005, along with McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, and several different players. Sosa denied with PEDs, but while he had tested positive once Major League Baseball began devoting penalties for use, The New York Times reported 2009 that he was among at least a hundred players who had done so during the supposedly anonymous survey tests six years prior.

Though his instance doesn’t precisely parallel with people of McGwire or even Palmeiro, Sosa received comparable treatment from BBWAA voters in his 2013 ballot introduction, getting just 12.5percent of the vote. Since then, he’s sunk into the single digits (7.8percent in 2018) suggesting he’s more likely to fall off the ballot à la Palmeiro than to last for the entire ten years, since McGwire did. Even beyond the Hall of Fame voting, however, he’been snubbed from the Cubs, first suspended from the centennial anniversary of Wrigley Field in 2014, then similarly shunned amid the team’s 2016 championship series. While Bonds, Roger Clemens and others are trending towards eventual election as voters reconsider their hardline stances and their position as the morality police, it’s worth contemplating Sosa’s exile.

2019 BBWAA Candidate: Sammy Sosa

Player
Career WAR
Peak WAR
JAWS

Sammy Sosa
58.6
43.8
51.2

Avg. HOF RF
72.7
42.9
57.8

H
HR
AVG/OBP/SLG
OPS+

2,408
609
.273/.344/.534
128

SOURCE: Baseball-Reference

Produced on November 12, 1968 at the baseball of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, Sosa was detected and signed for a $3,500 bonus from Rangers scout Omar Minaya in 1985. At the time, Sosa has been a sore 16 years old, standing 5-foot-10 and weighing 150 pounds, with just two years of experience in organized baseball in the Dominican Republic. Flashing greater speed than electricity since he increased through Texas’ system, he held his own given his young age; he was just 20 years old when he debuted to the Rangers on June 16, 1989. After playing just 25 matches for Texas — with a 20/0 strikeout-to-walk ratio — he was sent back to the minors, then traded to the White Sox on July 30 in a bundle for

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