MLB Hall of Fame: Breaking down the 2020 ballot

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 02: Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees field a ball against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Five of the 2009 MLB World Series at Citizens Bank Park on November 2, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 02: Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees field a ball against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Five of the 2009 MLB World Series at Citizens Bank Park on November 2, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) /
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(Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images) /

Sammy Sosa – eighth year on ballot (8.5% in 2019)

Back in 1998, Sammy Sosa was one of the darlings of baseball. Those days feel like a lifetime ago.

His epic home run chase with Mark McGwire, as both players surpassed Roger Maris‘ record of 61 homers in a season, captivated a nation. Sosa would hit over 60 homers three times in four years, the first player to do so. He also, interestingly enough, is the only player to hit over 60 homers in a season and not lead the league, which happened in each of those three seasons.

Sosa had a strong career as well. He changed from being a wiry, faster outfielder into a muscle bound slugger, leading to his emergence as a superstar. Sosa was a seven time All Star and six time Silver Slugger, winning the 1998 NL MVP over McGwire. Overall, Sosa put together a .273/.344/.534 batting line, hitting 609 homers and stealing 234 bases.

There are issues with Sosa’s candidacy that go beyond the statistics. He had essentially walked out on the Cubs at the end of the 2004 season, leading to his being dumped on the Orioles prior to 2005. Sosa, like McGwire, became one of the poster children of the PED Era, although he never tested positive during his playing days. Of course, his being named in the Mitchell Report did not help matters, nor did his sudden inability to speak English during a Congressional hearing.

At one point, Sammy Sosa was being hailed as one of the players to save baseball. How quickly times can change…