Sammy Sosa : biography
Samuel Peralta "Sammy" Sosa (born November 12, 1968) is a Dominican retired professional baseball right fielder. Sosa played with four Major League Baseball teams over his career which spanned from 1989–2007. Sosa’s Major League career began with the Texas Rangers in . After three seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Sosa became a member of the Chicago Cubs in 1992 and became one of the league’s best hitters. In 1998, Sosa and Mark McGwire achieved national fame for their home run-hitting prowess in pursuit of Roger Maris’ home run record.
Sosa finished his career with brief stints with the Baltimore Orioles and the Texas Rangers. Baseball-reference.com. Accessed 2007-06-05. With the Rangers, Sosa hit his 600th career home run to become the fifth player in MLB history to reach the milestone. He is also the all-time home run leader among foreign-born MLB players. Sosa is one of only two National League players to ever reach 160 RBIs in a season, a milestone he reached in 2001. The other was Cubs player and RBI Champion Hack Wilson during his record setting 1930 season in which he recorded 191 RBIs. Sosa is the only player to have hit 60 or more home runs in a single season three times.
Sosa is known to family and friends as "Mikey." His maternal grandmother, who had suggested his birth name of Samuel, also came up with his nickname: "[She] heard the name on a soap opera she liked and decided from that moment on he would be Mikey."Sosa: An Autobiography, Sammy Sosa and Marcos Bretón, Time Warner, 2000, p.16
Sosa was born in the Dominican Republic. Although his officially registered birthplace is San Pedro de Macorís, Sosa was actually born in Consuelo. San Pedro de Macorís was "the largest town nearby." Both Consuelo and San Pedro de Macorís are in San Pedro de Macorís Province.Sosa: An Autobiography, Sammy Sosa and Marcos Bretón, Time Warner, 2000, p.23. Sosa is married to Sonia Sosa.
Major league career
Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox (1989–1991)
Sosa made his major league debut on June 16, 1989, with the Texas Rangers, and he hit first career home run off Roger Clemens. Later in the season, the Rangers traded Sammy to the Chicago White Sox. In 1990, Sosa batted .233 with 15 home runs, 70 runs batted in, 10 triples, and 32 stolen bases. However, he also struck out 150 times, fourth most in the American League. Sosa started the 1991 season by hitting 2 home runs and driving in 5 runs. However, he would slump for the rest of the year and ended up batting .203 with 10 home runs and 33 runs batted in. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder George Bell before the season.
Chicago Cubs (1992–2004)
Sosa batted .260 with 8 home runs and 25 RBIs in his first season with the Cubs. Although not spectacular numbers, it showed that Sosa improved as a hitter. In 1993, Sosa batted .261 with 33 home runs with 93 RBIs. He also showed his speed by stealing 38 bases. He became the Cubs’ first 30-30 player in their history. Sosa continued to hit for power and speed in 1994 but he also improved his batting average. He ended up batting .300 with 25 home runs, 70 RBIs, and 22 stolen bases.
Sosa was named to his first All-Star team in 1995. In 144 games, he batted .268 with 36 home runs and 119 RBIs. Sosa continued his success with the Cubs in 1996 as he batted .273 with 40 home runs and 100 RBIs. However, the next year, Sosa struggled. Despite hitting 36 home runs with 119 RBIs, Sosa batted just .251. He struggled to get on base(.300 on-base percentage) and led the league in strikeouts with 174.
After years as a respected power/speed threat with a rocket arm in right field, he emerged during the season as one of baseball’s greatest. It was in this season that both Sosa and Mark McGwire were involved in the "home run record chase", when both players’ prowess for hitting home runs drew national attention as they attempted to pass Roger Maris’ single season home run mark of 61 home runs that had stood since . For the early months of the year, Sosa would trail McGwire significantly, being as many as 16 homers behind in one point in May. But as the chase progressed, Sosa would rally and eventually tie McGwire with 46 jacks each on August 10, after a couple months of straggling within a few homers for the lead. However, the moment was short lived as McGwire would pull away slightly and reach 62 home runs to break the record first on September 8, but once again Sosa would excitingly heat up the race by tying McGwire once again at 62 on September 13. Eleven days later, with two games left to play in the season, the two were tied at 66 home runs each. Sosa would end the season with 66 after playing both games without a home run(still a team record), just behind McGwire’s 70 after hitting two jacks in each of the last two games. However, Sammy had become the first Major League batter ever to hit 66 homers in a season. It was during that season, that Cubs announcer Chip Caray nicknamed him "Slammin’ Sammy", a nickname that quickly spread. In addition, Sammy produced then career highs in batting average and slugging percentage, at .308 and .647 respectively. Sosa also lead the league in RBIs and runs scored. Sosa wore the iconic #21 with the Cubs in honor of his childhood idol [[Roberto Clemente]] Also in 1998, Sosa’s 416 total bases were the most in a single season since Stan Musial’s 429 in . Sosa’s performance in the month of June, during which Sosa belted 20 home runs, knocked in 47 runs, and posted an .842 slugging percentage, was one of the greatest offensive outbursts in major league history. Sosa won the National League Most Valuable Player Award for leading the Cubs into the playoffs in 1998, earning every first-place vote except for the two cast by St. Louis writers, who voted for McGwire. He and McGwire shared Sports Illustrated magazine’s 1998 "Sportsman of the Year" award. Sosa was honored with a ticker-tape parade in his honor in New York City, and he was invited to be a guest at US President Bill Clinton’s 1999 State of the Union Address. 1998 was also the first time the Cubs made the post-season since 1989. The Cubs qualified as the NL Wild Card team, but were swept by the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.