Sammy Sosa is on the ballot for the 9th time. Last year he received 13.5% of the vote (up from 8.5% the year before).
You know the Sammy Sosa story. Early in his career, he wasn’t a great player. He chased too many pitchers, didn’t take walks (think Kevin Pillar without the great glove). Then suddenly, he started hitting home runs by the dozen. He and Mark McGwire had a great battle to be the one to beat out Roger Maris for the home run record. They received credit for saving the MLB after two strike/lockout-shortened seasons.
He hit .273/.344/.534 with 609 home runs (8th all-time), 1667 RBI (28th all-time), in 2354 games over 18 seasons. He was an All-Star 7 times, MVP once, came in 2nd, and won the Silver Slugger 6 times. He had a career 58.4 bWAR.
I’ll admit I was never a fan. Mark McGwire had a value before the PEDs, but Sammy didn’t have much value outside of the home runs.
I’m not one that believes players shouldn’t be allowed in the Hall if they used, but, in Sosa’s case, I don’t think he would have come anywhere near Hall of Fame numbers without the drugs. Once, he was caught with a corked bat (if you are going to cheat, you might as well cheat in all ways). I’ve always wondered about the corked bat thing. Would it help you further hit the ball?
Usually, I would say that the guy 8th all-time in home runs should be in the Hall, but in this case, there are so many other deserving players on the ballot, I can’t get behind Sosa. My line is, would they have been a great player without the PEDs. Bonds was a great player before using. Sosa was a 4th outfielder/platoon type before he started using.
Sammy has been grumpy in interviews about the Hall. He thinks he should be a member of the Hall of Fame. But, Mark McGwire didn’t make it in his ten tries, and I think of him as the better player. I do think the writers worry too much about who used and who didn’t. I think Barry Bonds should be in the Hall, but I think it was a much better player than Sosa.
Sosa seems border-line candidate, just on his stats. A 58.5 bWAR doesn’t make a sure thing to me. He did one thing well; admittedly, if you are only going to do one thing well, it should be hitting home runs. But, by itself, is hitting home runs enough to get you into the Hall?
You can see Sammy’s stats here.
Would you vote Sammy Sosa into the Baseball Hall of Fame?
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