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Sammy Sosa Reaches 600 Against Cubs

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jun 21, 2007 1:30PM

2007_06_sports_sosa_600.jpgFormer Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa on Wednesday night became only the fifth major leaguer to reach the 600 home run plateau. Maybe it wasn't quite rain on his wedding day, but Sosa's historic home run came not just against his old team, but even against his old jersey — Sosa's 600th came off the Cubs' Jason Marquis, who now wears the "21" that Sosa wore during his tenure with the Northsiders.

Chicagoist noted to a friend in a bar as Sosa came up to bat just how different he looked from his days with the Cubs. Then more He-Man than human, he now looks more like he did early in his career. Guess that's what happens when one gets off the juice! But some things never change as Sosa broke into his familiar bunny hop while leaving the batters' box as his home run sailed into the right field bullpen.

Because the MSM needs something to talk about when the milestone is really nothing more than just another hit, another home run, many are using the event as another opportunity to discuss whether Sammy Sosa belongs in the Hall of Fame. ESPN asked the question to a number of their baseball experts. Seven of the eight would vote Sosa into the Hall. The Trib asks readers to vote. Chicagoist voted No.

Whether Sosa hit 600 home runs or not is irrelevant to whether he deserves enshrinement in Cooperstown. His statistics clearly place him among the most prolific hitters in the history of the game.

The issue boils down to the allegations of steroid use and whether Sosa was guilty of cheating to achieve what he did. Has anything ever been proven? No. But in addition to a sudden surge in his power numbers after 1998 along with his physique at the time, his pimpled complexion and a number of freak muscle injuries indicate he may have been using something stronger than Flintstones vitamins.

Some take the view that because nothing has been proven, and performance-enhancing drugs were apparently prevalent during the era, Sosa deserves to be enshrined. We don't buy the "everybody was doing it" argument — we'd keep Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire out, too. We can be certain that this question will present itself over and over again in coming weeks, particularly as Bonds races towards Hank Aaron's 755 mark for the most home runs of all time.

Photo by AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez.