The Baseball Hall of Fame isn't the only place where Sammy Sosa isn't welcome apparently. The former Chicago Cubs slugger, the face of the franchise for a decade, wasn't invited Wednesday as the team celebrated 100 years of Wrigley Field.
The Cubs' pre-game ceremony included appearances from a number of Chicago sports icons — from Cubs legends Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins, Billy Williams and Andre Dawson to Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus of the NFL.
Bud Selig was there. Heck, even ex-Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster was there showing off his 2013 World Series ring won with the Boston Red Sox.
Sosa was not there.
And according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago, the Cubs didn't even invite Sosa, who hit a team-record 545 homers for the North Siders from 1992-2004.
From Rogers' report:
"There are some things Sammy needs to look at and consider prior to having an engagement with the team," Cubs spokesman Julian Green said. "Sammy Sosa was a Cub that left his indelible print on this franchise, but as it was said by [owner] Tom Ricketts before, he hopes there is a time when Sammy can be back and be with the franchise."
Sosa's reputation in Chicago — as it is baseball-wide — is tarnished with some fans because of PEDs. Beyond the PED controversy, Sosa soured his relationship with the Cubs when he sat out the final game of the 2004 season and left the clubhouse before the game ended. Since his retirement, he's gotten the cold shoulder from the team, which hasn't retired his number. In fact, Junior Lake currently wears Sosa's No 21.
There's no disputing Sosa's productivity with the Cubs and his popularity in his heyday. He hit .284 /.358/.569 with 1,414 RBIs, winning an MVP award and filling Wrigley with fans eager to watch his historic home-run chase of 1998. At Wrigley alone, Sosa hit 293 homers.
Honestly, Sammy Sosa was the best thing to happen to the Cubs in the last 30 years, but the organization prefers to pretend it didn’t happen— The Chicago Homer (@TheChicagoHomer) April 23, 2014
Honestly, Ryan Dempster is trotted out wearing his Red Sox World Series ring, and Sammy Sosa isn't included somehow? Confusing.— Born on 3rd CubsBlog (@BornOnThirdCubs) April 23, 2014
"Sammy Sosa didn't exist, we never knew anybody named Sammy Sosa"— Brandon H. (@BHIndepMO) April 23, 2014
That last one is spot on. Sosa is the Cubs' all-time home-run leader and they treat him like the ex who has been cut out of pictures.
It's the Cubs' party, they can invite whomever they choose. But on a day where the club is trying so hard to honor its history — the uniforms, the grounds crew jackets and everything else — Sammy Sosa is a glaring omission.
He's an important part of the club's history, like him or not.
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