Sammy Sosa

Roster Update: Angel Guzman to the DL with a right triceps strain, Kevin Hart called up from Iowa.


Happy Father's Day everyone.

I've mostly been shoulder shrugging since the story came out that Sammy Sosa was on the positive test list for PED's that the MLB Players Association didn't destroy. To me it was old news. After the "Steroid Era" cloud passes and everyone in it washs off the stink, I wonder what will be the impact on what baseball should consider one of it's most important assets, the kids who fall in love with the game because of their father's (or mom's, but today is father's day) love of the game.

On this father's day, one of the things I treasure most is that my son is a Cubs fan and a Baseball fan. So when I read this brief Fred Mitchell article in the Tribune, it made more impact on me than when the Sammy news was leaked in the NY Times.

"The worst part for me is that I don't know what to tell my son [Darren]," the Reds manager said after Saturday's Civil Rights Game luncheon at the Duke Energy Center. "He asks me, 'Dad, are there any good hitters not on something?' I just tell him that everyone is under suspicion. I will just be glad when it's all over."

There was always one brief glint of hope for Sammy Sosa to wiggle his way into the Hall of Fame and eventually get his number retired by the Cubs and that was to cover his tracks better than the other nincompoops who abused performance enhancers. Well...he didn't or so it seems.

With the Cubs announcing that #31 will be retired in honor of Ferguson Jenkins and Greg Maddux, waxpaperbeercup recently asked if the Cubs should retire #21 in honor of Jason Marquis? Suprisingly, 40% thought the Cubs should do so...which I thought was a bit high for someone that was a Cub for just two years. 

All kidding aside, it's an intriguing question and I imagine I'll get a similar response here, but let's try it anway. For anyone who reads this site regularly, they'll know where I stand when it comes to Sammy Sosa. The man deserves far more gratitude from Cubs fans than the vitriol that seems to be prevalent, but let's put it to a vote and see if we can up the sample size.

 

As part of this Cubs history kick that started with Wiklifield, I had this idea of trying to figure out what was the best individual season by a member of the Cubs. As I started pouring through the research I decided that the burden of annointing the best Cubs' season ever was too much for this humble Cubs fan. Now I realize as a blogger and top 10 list-maker, I'm suppose to just present my opinion as fact and not accept any other arguments, but I decided for this instance to enlist the rest of the TCR writers.

I put together a list of 27 great Cubs seasons and put it to a vote and would weigh it MVP-style (10 pts for a first place vote, 9 for a second place vote, etc). The criteria for this list were all the Cubs' NL MVP seasons and Cy Young winners and then the best of the rest based on sabermetric dominance in either WARP-3 or Win Shares (Lee in 2005) , historical signifcance  (Wilson's RBI record in 1930) or place in Cubs history (Sutcliffe in 1984). Now there may have been a few names that deserved to be in that
original top 27 list over some other names, but I'm sure I didn't miss
the top season. As I mentioned in the poll, just think of it as the
NCAA tournament...there's a lot of arguments on who deserved to be in
the original 65 picks, but those that are left out never really had a
chance to win the whole thing. 

The only instruction I laid out for their votes was to use whatever
criteria each writer saw fit. Some of us have a sabermetric slant to
the world, some like MVP trophies, some just remember what we saw and
its impact at the time and so forth and so on. Transmission, Cubnut, Dr. Hecht and myself ended up participating and our ballots are listed at the end of the post. The final results for the readers voting is also at the end. We by no means believe this is the list to rule all lists, but it was an interesting exercise nonetheless. I mean if Arizona Phil or Christian had submitted their ballots, the final results could have been very different. Also, we tend to believe with our eyes and hearts and I don't think any of us saw much baseball before 1950 - and for some of us - not much before 1980. Speaking for myself, I had a hard time giving double credit for a player, generally focusing on what I felt to be their best season, even if they had a second or third great season that deserved to be recognized. But this is more art than science and the final results certainly are skewed by a small sample size.

So ends the saga of Jake Peavy to the Cubs for 7 or more players. But is the deal really dead? In fact, even the Brian Roberts deal isn't exactly dead. These kind of non-transactions take a "life" of their own. So I thought we might play a little game. One of the more common cliche's is "the best trade is often the one not made". So I'm asking for you to reach back and see what you can remember as to rumored trades that never occurred but if they had been made, would have been one gigantic mistake for someone or maybe even a timeline changer in the course of baseball history. Sosa for Soriano circa 2000 comes to mind. I'm sure there are some good one's out there to remember. Please help.

Jerry Crasnick has a story up at espn.com about the significant number of free agents still looking for work. "The game's rampant unemployment problem," he refers to it jokingly.

It's a long list--more than 90 players are still unattached according to ESPN's Free Agent Tracker--but 12 of the names on the list caught my eye:

Antonio Alfonseca
Paul Bako
Luis Gonzalez
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Kenny Lofton
Ramon Martinez
Damian Miller
Corey Patterson
Josh Paul
Neifi Perez
Sammy Sosa
Steve Trachsel

From the headline on this post, you can probably guess the question:

If you absolutely, positively had to make room on the current Cubs roster for one of these former Cubs, which one would it be?

Would it be Lofton, who, in his age 40 season, still turned in a .296/.367/.414 line for the Rangers and Indians and could keep centerfield warm until Pie grows into it? Of course it would be Lofton, so take him out of the equation.

Antonio Alfonseca
Paul Bako
Luis Gonzalez
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Kenny Lofton
Ramon Martinez
Damian Miller
Corey Patterson
Josh Paul
Neifi Perez
Sammy Sosa
Steve Trachsel

Now what you do say? And no, death is not an option.

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