Sosa, Sammy

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Sosa, Sammy

Sammy Sosa (Samuel Kevin Sosa Peralta) (sämwĕl´ sō´sä pĕräl´tä), 1968–, Dominican baseball player. An outfielder and designated hitter, he broke into the major leagues with the Texas Rangers and then the Chicago White Sox (both American League; AL) in 1989, moving to the Chicago Cubs (National League; NL) in 1992 and the Baltimore Orioles (AL), for one season, in 2005. In 2007 he returned to the majors for a season with the Texas Rangers. Long regarded as a powerful hitter and prolific base stealer, but prone to striking out, Sosa engaged in 1998 in a highly publicized race with Mark McGwire to break the single-season home-run record (61) held by Roger Maris. McGwire finished with 70 home runs, Sosa with 66, and their good-natured competition was widely hailed; Sosa won the NL's Most Valuable Player award. In 1999, Sosa became the first player ever to reach the 60-homer plateau in two seasons but was overtaken by McGwire, finishing with 63 home runs to the Cardinal slugger's 65. Sosa led the NL in homers in 2000, with 50, and hit 64 in 2001, finishing second to Barry Bonds record-breaking performance (73) and becoming the first player to hit 60 home runs in three seasons. Sosa's image was hurt in 2003 when he was caught using an illegal, corked bat; suspicion that he used anabolic steroids has also tarnished his reputation. He hit more than 600 career home runs.

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