Sammy Sosa

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Sammy Sosa : biography

November 12, 1968 –

Sosa in spring training with the Orioles in 2005. On January 28, 2005, the Cubs traded Sosa to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for infielder/outfielder Jerry Hairston, Jr., infielder Mike Fontenot, and RHP Dave Crouthers. To facilitate the deal, Sosa and his agent agreed to waive the clause that guaranteed his 2006 salary, and the players’ union indicated it would not object to that agreement. Under the deal, Sosa earned $17,875,000 for the 2005 season, with the Cubs paying $7 million of his salary. By playing for the 2005 Orioles alongside fellow 500-home-run batter Rafael Palmeiro, Sosa and Palmeiro became the first 500 home run club members in history to play together on the same team after reaching the 500 home run plateau.Hank Aaron reached 500 homers shortly after his teammate Eddie Mathews (512 homers) retired.

Sosa finished the 2005 season batting .221 with 14 home runs, his worst performance since 1992, and continuing his post-2001 trend of declines in batting average, homers, total bases, and RBI. On December 7, 2005, the Orioles decided not to offer him an arbitration contract, effectively ending his Baltimore Orioles tenure and making him a free agent.

In 2005, The Sporting News published an update of their 1999 book Baseball’s 100 Greatest Players. Sosa did not make the original edition, but for the 2005 update, with his career totals considerably higher, he was ranked at Number 95. During a stretch of nine consecutive years, Sosa hit 35+ home runs and 100+ RBIs, all with the Chicago Cubs.

At the end of January 2006, the Washington Nationals offered Sosa two different minor-league offers, both of which he turned down. On February 15, 2006, Sosa’s agent Adam Katz stated: "We’re not going to put him on the retirement list. We decided that [not putting him on that list] was the best thing to do. But I can say, with reasonable certainty, that we’ve seen Sammy in a baseball uniform for the last time."Jayson Stark (February 16, 2006). ESPN.com. Accessed 2007-06-05.

During this year, Sosa accompanied President Fernández of the Dominican Republic on several diplomatic trips including to the United States, Japan, and Taiwan.

End of Career (2007–2009)

The Texas Rangers, Sosa’s original team, signed him to a minor league deal worth $500,000 on January 30, 2007. This was the same contract that Sosa turned down the previous year from the Nationals. The contract included an invitation to spring training, where Sosa competed for a spot in the lineup with Nelson Cruz, Jason Botts, and other rookies/prospects.T. R. Sullivan (January 17, 2007). MLB.com. Accessed 2007-06-05. Sosa was successful during spring training and was added to the team’s 25-man roster. He started the 2007 season as the Rangers’ designated hitter and occasional right fielder.

At the same time, the Chicago Cubs awarded Sosa’s # 21 to new pitcher Jason Marquis, despite the fact that it was formerly worn by Sosa, who coincidentally later hit his 600th home run against Marquis. This caused some concern, due to Sosa’s accomplishments with the Cubs, including his status as the Cubs’ all-time home run leader.]

, accessed 6/6/07]