Tag:Sammy Sosa
Posted on: January 9, 2012 2:57 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 3:52 pm
 

2013 Hall class to raise questions

Barry Bonds

By C. Trent Rosecrans

If steroids have clouded the Hall of Fame voting the last few years, a hurricane is coming in 2013. 

While the Hall of Fame is the ultimate honor for a baseball player, we all know there's a difference between the Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays Hall of Famers and the Phil Rizzuto, Andre Dawson, Jim Rice Hall of Famers. While Jeff Bagwell, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro were probably better than the later group, they certainly don't belong with the former. That changes next year.

Hall of Fame coverage

In December, members of the Baseball Writers Association of America that are eligible to vote for the Hall of Fame will receive their ballot and on that ballot will be baseball's career home run leader and perhaps its greatest pitcher. While most voters agonize over their votes and research each and every name in front of them, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens shouldn't take time. In a perfect world, a world where the only considerations are on the Baseball-Reference.com page, more time would be spent putting ink to paper than actually breaking down the candidacy of Bonds and Clemens.

This, as we know, is not a perfect world. And the Hall of Fame debate, which has always been hotly contested, takes on a different debate with the class of 2013. For the first time not only will Bonds and Clemens be eligible for the Hall, so too will Sammy Sosa and Mike Piazza. While Sosa and Piazza aren't in the same class as Bonds and Clemens, they do have 1,036 homers between them and without allegations of steroid use, they'd be no-doubters as well.

As long as the Hall doesn't have any guidelines for the voting bloc, there will be a mixture of four types of voters when it comes to steroids:

1. Hardline no: These are the folks who don't vote for Bagwell. If there's even a rumor about a player having a zit on their back, these defenders of the Hall will keep a player out.

2. Proof only: Here's where it gets tricky -- some voters want hard evidence before they keep a player out. But what's the line here? Is it a failed test like Palmeiro? Or is it overwhelming evidence such as the cases against Bonds and Clemens? And then what about the Mitchell Report? Is that good enough? And then there's other ties, like Sammy Sosa, who was never suspended and not in the Mitchell Report, but just about everyone suspects he used.

3. Worthy before PEDs: Then there's the "he was a Hall of Famer before steroids." This is the argument you can use to OK Bonds and Clemens, while rejecting the likes of McGwire and Sosa. This, though, assumes you can tell when a player started using steroids just by their head growth or some other assumed symptom.

4. Numbers voters: Finally there are those who say the only thing we know is the results that were on the field. We don't know the extent of steroid use during the so-called steroid era or how much the results were changed by their usage or even who exactly did or did not use them. 

In the end, the results are likely to say more about the voting bloc than the players themselves -- and as many people who get upset about the voting every year will get louder next year as the steroid question will divide almost all baseball fans. Here's a quick look at the new players who will be on the 2013 ballot:

Craig Biggio -- Biggio finished his career with 3,060 hits and nearly 300 home runs (291). The seven-time All-Star put up a career line of .281/.363/.433. He started his career at catcher before moving to second base and was the face of the Astros, playing 20 years in Houston. And despite his close association with Bagwell during their playing days, he hasn't been associated with Bagwell's alleged steroid use. In the end, his squeaky-clean image could do as much to aid his Hall candidacy as his numbers.

Barry BondsBarry Bonds -- And this is where it gets real. Bonds has more home runs (762) in the history of the game, had a career OPS of 1.051. A seven-time MVP, Bonds may be the best hitter in the history of the game. And then there's Game of Shadows and BALCO -- the baggage surrounding Bonds is as big as his batting helmet. The common belief is Bonds didn't start using steroids until seeing the hoopla around Sosa and McGwire in 1998, and by that time he already had three MVPs under his belt. A great player and future Hall of Famer before the 1998 season, he hit 351 home runs from 1999-2007, breaking McGwire's single-season mark with 73 home runs in 2001.

Roger Clemens -- Like Bonds, Clemens had a Hall of Fame career before suspicion of steroids. Clemens had three Cy Young Awards in his first eight seasons, before going on to win four more later in his career. Clemens finished his carer with a 354-184 mark, a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts, third all-time after Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson.

Steve Finley -- The outfielder had a solid 19-year career, picking up 2,548 hits, 304 home runs and 320 stolen bases, to go along with five Gold Gloves. A fine career, but not a Hall-worthy one.

Julio Franco -- Franco's a better candidate for Ripley's Believe It or Not than the Hall of Fame. Franco played his last game at the reported age of 49 in 2007. In his 23 seasons, he hit .298/.365/.417, collecting 2,586 hits. In addition to his 23 seasons in the big leagues, he had two years in Japan, another in Korea and played his last season in Mexico. A three-time All-Star, he also won a batting title in 1991 with a .341 average. He won't be voted into the Hall, but he had one amazing career.

Roberto Hernandez -- A closer, Hernandez finished his career with 326 saves and a 3.45 ERA. He had a good career, but is unlikely to stay on the ballot more than one year.

Kenny Lofton -- Because Lofton played in the steroid era, his talents may be under-appreciated. A leadoff man, Lofton finished with a .299/.372/.423 line, stole 622 bases and had 2,428 hits. He also had 130 homers, winning four Gold Gloves and appearing in six All-Star Games. A premier defensive player, Lofton has a better case than you'd think at first glance.

Jose Mesa -- Mesa's numbers are just a tick below Hernandez's, finishing with 321 saves and a 4.36 ERA.

Mike PiazzaMike Piazza -- If there are whispers, but no proof, that Bagwell used steroids, there are shouts that Piazza did, despite the same lack of hard evidence. The best offensive catcher of the modern era, Piazza had 427 home runs and hit .308/.377/.545 in his 16 seasons. He wasn't considered a good catcher, but that was beside the point -- Piazza was a middle of the order presence. Without steroids involved in the discussion, there's no discussion of whether he's in or not. But that's not the world we live in.

Curt Schilling -- Jack Morris' candidacy has been built largely on his postseason exploits -- and with all due respect to Morris, he can't hold a candle to Schilling's postseason accomplishments. Morris was 7-4 with a 3.80 ERA in 13 postseason starts. Schilling was 11-2 with a 2.23 in 19 postseason starts, winning four of his seven World Series starts. In 20 years in the big leagues, Schilling was 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA, but that was done in a much better offensive era than Morris' 3.90 ERA. Injuries throughout his career kept his career numbers down, but his candidacy will be heavily debated from both sides -- and in a rarity, it may be an old-fashioned baseball debate, not one about steroids.

Sammy Sosa -- Sosa will likely be remembered as much for his sudden inability to speak English when facing Congress as his 609 home runs. He's the only player to hit 60 or more home runs in three different seasons, but he didn't lead the league in homers in any of those three seasons. He reportedly tested positive during the 2003 PED survey test. On sheer numbers, he's tough to pass up, but with the steroid question, he's unlikely to get in.

David Wells -- Wells no doubt got bigger throughout his career, but the belief is he did it the old fashioned way -- by eating. Never small, Wells went 239-157 for nine different teams in parts of 21 seasons, but his 4.13 ERA will make him easy to keep out of the Hall of Fame. He was 10-5 with a 3.17 ERA in 27 postseason games and 17 starts.

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Posted on: November 30, 2011 2:56 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 4:45 pm
 

Weak Hall ballot good news for Larkin

Barry Larkin

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Get your indignation ready, as the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot has been mailed to the voting member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. 

The 13 new players on the ballot this season are Bernie Williams, Bill Mueller, Ruben Sierra, Vinny Castilla, Tim Salmon, Javy Lopez, Tony Womack, Terry Mulholland, Brad Radke, Jeromy Burnitz, Brian Jordan, Eric Young and Phil Nevin. None of those really seem to have much of a chance to earn the 75 percent necessary to gain enshrinement, which is good news for Barry Larkin.

Hall of Fame

Last year Roberto Alomoar (90 percent) and Bert Blyleven (79.7 percent) got in, leaving Larkin as the highest vote-getter not to reach 75 percent. Larkin received 361 votes (62.1 percent) in his second year of eligibility, while Jack Morris (53.5 percent) was the only other player to receive at least 50 percent of the votes.

Larkin's strong showing in 2011 suggests he could get the requisite bump in his third year to get to 75 percent, but it could be close.

Players not elected can stay on the ballot for as many as 15 years, as long as they receive at least five percent of the vote.

In addition to the newcomers, Larkin and Morris, the other players on the ballot are Jeff Bagwell, Juan Gonzalez, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro, Tim Raines, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell and Larry Walker.

Members of the BBWAA with 10 or more years of continuous active membership are eligible to vote, including CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler and Scott Miller.

Next year's ballot will bring more conversation and controversy, as the biggest names of the steroid era appear on the ballot, including Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza and Sammy Sosa, in addition to Curt Schilling and Craig Biggio. 

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 17, 2011 3:09 pm
 

Sosa says Zambrano shouldn't retire

Sammy SosaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Of all people to be giving Carlos Zambrano advice, Sammy Sosa may not be the best. 

That said, Sosa's advice for Zambrano through MLB.com's Carrie Muskat isn't that bad. The gist, don't retire because the money is too good.

From Muskat's story:

"I see a lot of players make all their money in baseball and when they retire it's a mess," he said. "They surround themselves with some bad people. There's so many bad people outside waiting to get their money.

"That reaction [on Friday] cost [Zambrano] $3 million," Sosa said. "Maybe he doesn't need it now, but later on he will. That's money he worked hard for all his life."

Sosa also said a lot of his friends waste their money and have to go into coaching because "they don't know how to do anything else."

Zambrano, 30, is in the fourth year of a five-year, $91.5 million contract and is owed $18 million for 2012. Still, most in or around the Cubs organization seem to have zero interest in Zambrano returning to a Cub uniform.

Zambrano is 9-7 with a 4.82 ERA this season -- the highest ERA of any full season in his career. But the right-hander has enough talent that he'll be able to find a job pitching somewhere, even if there are justifiable concerns about his mental stability and the way he'll fit in to a clubhouse. Of course, he'll have a hard time finding anyone to give him near $18 million a year again or a long-term deal of any sort.

Zambrano has made repeated statements that he plans to retire after his current contract runs out and just last week threatened retirement after being thrown out of a game against the Braves. He is currently on the disqualified list and not being paid.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 17, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2011 8:20 pm
 

Thome 4 homers away from 600

Jim ThomeBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Lost amidst Derek Jeter's run at 3,000 hits is Jim Thome's pursuit of 600 home runs. With a three-run shot of Kansas City's Felipe Paulino in the sixth inning of Sunday's game, Thome hit the 596th home run of his career.

Thome, 40, did it in style, too -- hitting the ball an estimated 490 feet to right-center field, making it the longest homer hit in the short history of Target Field. Last year he hit a 480-foot shot.

The homer also broke a 1-1 tie, giving the Twins a 4-1 lead in the sixth inning. Minnesota went on to win 4-3.

Watch Thome's bomb here

Thome is attempting to become just the eighth player in baseball history to reach 600, but the fifth since 2002. The fact that the other names to join the 600 club this decade include Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa has marred the accomplishment -- all three have been tied to performance-enhancing drugs. Ken Griffey Jr. is the only one of the newest members of the 600 club not to be tied to PEDs, although nobody  -- including Griffey and Thome --- are above suspicion just by the virtue of having played during the so-called Steroid Era.

Sunday's home run was the 500th of his career in the American League. Thome hit 96 home runs with the Phillies from 2003-05. He's the 11th player to hit 500 home runs in the American League.

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Posted on: November 3, 2010 9:39 am
 

Sosa would give ex-teammate Remlinger money

Remlinger If Mike Remlinger needed money, Sammy Sosa tells the Chicago Tribune , "he should have just asked me for some money," the slugger said through his spokesperson on Tuesday.

Sosa was speaking about Remlinger's auctioning of his corked bat from 2003. The left-handed reliever did not see his reserve met during bidding where the high bid was $14,407. Reminger (pictured) has the option to negotiate with the high bidder to increase his offer or go in another direction.

That direction could be Sosa, who says Remlinger never offered him the bat back.

While Sosa made millions upon millions of dollars, Remlinger bounced around to six teams in a 14-season career, making over $18 million in his career. Due to a late start, Remlinger did not crack the annual barrier of $1 million until age 33, when he signed a deal with the Atlanta Braves and spent four seasons in town.

He finished with a 3.90 career ERA in 879 innings while Sosa has 609 career home runs and a tainted reputation thanks to steroids.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 18, 2010 6:18 pm
 

Sosa misguided in complaints

Sammy Sosa As a college student in 1997, I sat in the Wrigley Field bleachers with an Old Style or six -- and always made sure to sit in right field.

Why?

1. Left field sucks. (Or so we chanted.)

2. Sammy Sosa.

Sosa had a special relationship with the right field fans. He'd sprint out to right from the team's dugout on the third-base side and the fans would salute him with a raise of their beer as we ran by like a Dale Earnhardt victory lap. During the inning, someone would always yell, "How many outs, Sammy?" and he'd hold up two fingers to let the fans know he knew. No many how many times fans called, he'd do it. After hitting a home run, he'd come back out the next inning and salute the right-field fans.

One time I even watched as Sosa took a young fan from his parents, brought him out onto the field as the team stretched and allowed him to collect autographs from every player. After the kid finished and he was walking back toward his parents, I could see him say, "thank you Mr. Sosa" and Sosa told him to stop, he couldn't leave until he got a hug. It was a really cool scene.

Bottom line, Sosa got it.

Or seemed to. He doesn't get it anymore.

Chicago magazine has an "exclusive" interview with Sosa and is teasing it on their website. Here's the money quote:
“[The Cubs] threw me into the fire. They made [people] think I’m a monster." No, Sosa, with his temper, his clubhouse tyranny, his demands and his use of performance enhancing drugs did that all by himself.

There are plenty of opportunities to criticize the Cubs and their management over the last 100 years or so, but not on this topic. Sosa reaped what he sowed, plain and simple.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Category: MLB
Tags: Cubs, Sammy Sosa
 
Posted on: July 8, 2010 4:30 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:58 am
 

1999: the Kid steals the show

In anticipation of the 2010 All-Star Game in Anaheim on Tuesday, July 13, the CBS Sports MLB Facts and Rumors blog looks back at some of the more memorable editions of the All-Star Game. Today looks at the 1999 All-Star Game.

I sat slack-jawed with a tape recorder rolling and no questions in my head, just a desire for the answers to never stop coming.

It was a hotel ballroom in Boston, and Warren Spahn and I were among four or five stragglers in there. He was telling the story of his epic 16-inning, complete-game performance against Juan Marichal and the Giants at Candlestick Park in 1963. It was at least the second time Spahn had told it that day and likely the 10th, and I'd even heard it once before, but I listened again. Just as he mentioned Willie Mays' homer, someone walked into the room and said it was time for Spahn to go.

He apologized, said he could go on for hours and I told him I could listen for more. An hour before, the room had been full of the greatest major-league players in history. Mays was there, so was Marichal, not to mention Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Bob Gibson, Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson -- pretty much everywhere I turned, I bumped into a Hall of Famer.

While All-Star Games are naturally filled with All-Stars, the 1999 game was different. It was filled with bigger stars than just the usual names, even in this, the summer following the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa slugfest before it lost its luster. They were there, as was Ken Griffey Jr. at the height of his popularity. Pedro Martinez was making hometown fans think the curse may be bunk. But still, among all the All-Star Games in the history of the exhibition, this was less about the game and the current players than any other.

The 1999 game was not only at one of the country's most historic ballparks, Fenway Park, it was also coming at the time of an endless stream of best-of-the-century lists. But baseball's list, its Team of the Century, was kicked off in a different fashion than any other.

While other places talked of history, it was on display in Boston. Most people didn't see this part, because it was before MLB had 24 hours a day to fill with TV programming, but baseball announced its 100 greatest players of the 20th century in a news conference with the vast majority of the living members of that club in attendance in a hotel ballroom in Boston.

It was an amazing display of the game's greats, and after an entertaining hour-or-so, the players were brought into another room for one-on-one interviews. It was an hour of baseball geek bliss. At 23, I was slightly intimidated and more than happy to listen in on the conversations of the likes of Willie McCovey, Robin Yount, Mike Schmidt and Yogi Berra, among others.

Ted Williams, Pete Rose and Sandy Koufax weren't there, but it was hard to complain about their absence -- or the two from the dais that skipped the one-on-ones, Stan Musial and George Brett, although with Missouri roots, those were the two I'd hoped to interview more than the others.

Ted Williams By the time the all-time greats were introduced on the field the night of the game, I thought I was goose-bumped out. Until, right in front of my seat in the right field auxiliary press box, came Williams in on a golf cart. He did a lap and ultimately was the center of attention as he prepared to throw the first pitch.

It was a moment. A moment for baseball, a moment for baseball fans across the country to share their memories with another generation of fans -- to share their own stories of seeing Mays or Mantle play. In short, it was the rare moment when the ceremonial first pitch outshines the real first pitch. Even future Hall of Famers like Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn seemed to grasp the special nature of the moment. We all did -- those at Fenway and even those watching at home.

Martinez went on to become the first All-Star pitcher to strike out the side in the first inning, fanning Barry Larkin, Larry Walker and Sosa to start the game. He then struck out McGwire to lead off the second, bringing to mind Carl Hubbell's 1934 feat of getting Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin consecutively. It was an impressive display, even after Matt Williams broke Martinez's strikeout streak, reaching on an error. Martinez would win the game and the MVP, but even before he faced Larkin, the game had earned its spot in history.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

More All-Star memories -- 2002: The Tie ; 1949: First integrated edition ; 1941: Teddy Ballagame's walk-off homer

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com