Cubs: Sosa must make amends

ByJesse Rogers ESPN logo
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

CHICAGO -- Former Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa was not invited to participate in Wednesday's festivities commemorating the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, and a team official says Sosa has some work to do before being welcomed back by the organization.

"There are some things Sammy needs to look at and consider prior to having an engagement with the team," Cubs spokesman Julian Green said.

Sources indicate one thing Sosa has to do is make amends with some former teammates for his actions at the end of his Cubs career.

Sosa hit 293 of his 609 home runs at Wrigley Field in 13 seasons, from 1992 to 2004, and posted three seasons of 60-plus home runs, including the 1998 season when he and Mark McGwire eclipsed Roger Maris' then-record 61-homer season. But he left the team on bad terms after sitting out the final game of the 2004 season and leaving the stadium before the game was over. He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles that winter.

A New York Times story reported Sosa was on the 2003 list of players who flunked tests for performance-enhancing drugs.

The Cubs hope to mend fences with him before they celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the team moving into Wrigley, which occurred in 1916.

Sosa, the Cubs' all-time leader in home runs with 545, was a glaring omission on a day when the Cubs welcomed back other former players, including Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ferguson Jenkins, Lee Smith, Bob Dernier, Gary Matthews and Ryan Dempster to celebrate Wrigley's history.

"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," Green said.

Commissioner Bud Selig, who was at Wrigley for the celebration, said: "That's a decision that the Cubs have to make. I understand it. Every club handles it uniquely and differently."

Sosa said in January 2013 that he is open to re-connecting with the Cubs and would like to see his No. 21 retired by the team.

"I think that is something that I'm looking for," Sosa said of having his number retired. "That is something I want to happen. I'm kind of surprised it didn't happen before, but time will determine everything. When that happens, I would be more comfortable and more happy. I will be there with all my family."