The Chicago Cubs held their annual Cubs Convention this past weekend and one of the interesting topics to arise was the status of former slugger Sammy Sosa’s relationship with the team.
Team owner Tom Ricketts was asked if the team would ever be open to bringing Sosa back in the Cubs family. Ricketts was quoted saying that Sosa would need to “put everything on the table” referencing his steroid use during his tenure with the Cubs. Although a relationship with the Cubs still is undecided, a return to the White Sox and their fan base is still a possibility for Sosa.
One of the more infamous Chicago sports trades involves Sosa who was a member of the White Sox from 1989 to 1991 playing three seasons on the South Side. He was traded to the Cubs before the 1992 season along with Ken Patterson for premiere slugger George Bell who was an All-Star the year prior. The trade would go down as one of if not the most notorious trades between the Cubs and White Sox due to Sosa’s Hall of Fame career with the Cubs following the trade.
During his time with White Sox, he was seen as a reliable everyday player, but never flashed the star potential he would have later in his career.
In an injury-filled first season with the cubs where he only played in 67 games, Sosa averaged 34 home runs and 100 RBI in the five seasons before his M.V.P. season in 1998. It was the 1998 season and after to where he would become one of the biggest names in baseball. In his three seasons, with the White Sox, his best season came in 1990 where he hit 15 home runs and stole 32 bases.
When Sosa found national fame from 1998 and on, he was highly resented by the White Sox fan base due to his lack of success with the team during his tenure and because it overshadowed Frank Thomas status as the best baseball player in Chicago.
Many White Sox fans believed that Sosa was achieving his success due to steroids to where Thomas had been consistently successful and whose talent was all natural. Anytime he would return as a member of the Cubs or Rangers, Sosa was highly booed when he came up to bat.
The question now is to whether the White Sox organization would be opening to welcoming Sosa back in some form especially with the team’s recent history in bringing other former players back. The Homecoming Weekend promotion has been one of the more successful promotions used by the team over the last few years as many fan favorites have been welcomed back.
This past season, the team welcomed back members of the 2000 Central Division title team, including relievers Keith Foulke and Bob Howry.
It would be an intriguing idea for White Sox fans as many if not all players who have been brought back by the team to make an appearance have received favorable responses.
Many forget that Sosa was apart of the young crop of players that brought the White Sox back to relevancy during the early 90s. With youthful talent such Thomas, Robin Ventura, Alex Fernandez, and Roberto Hernandez, many forget that Sosa was supposed to be apart of that group before the Bell trade.
Furthermore, South Side fans would relish in the idea of one-upping their North Side rivals in welcoming back one of their most beloved and historic players.
The steroid era is still a mixed subject for many baseball fans and players from that era still have not been fully embraced by the fans. In Sosa’s case, it appears most fans are willing to forgive the former slugger and would like to celebrate his career with the team.
The White Sox fan base has been especially loyal to any player who has played for the team in the past few decades and could possibly do the same for their Sosa. If he were accepted to return to the White Sox family the one certainty is that would definitely affect the Cross-town rivalry.