Sammy Sosa is on the ballot for the tenth and last time. Last year he received 17.0% of the vote (up from 13.9%). Not the kind of jump that will get you into the Hall.
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 seven times, was MVP once, came in second once, and won the Silver Slugger six 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 do not believe 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, they caught him 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 eighth 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 dividing 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 e should be a member of the Hall of Fame. But McGwire didn’t make it in his ten tries, and I think of him as the better player. 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 borderline 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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