Sosa, Sammy (1968—)

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Sosa, Sammy (1968—)

Born in the Dominican Republic, Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa became a baseball sensation almost overnight in 1998, when he was named the National League's Most Valuable Player after battling St. Louis Cardinals hitter Mark McGwire neck-and-neck for baseball's home-run championship. In that year, Roger Maris's 37-year-old record was broken twice, by McGwire who hit 70 homers, and by Sosa, with 66. In June, Sosa had hit 20 home runs, the most ever by one player in a single month. Sosa's 158 runs batted in (RBIs) in 1998 ranked him fourth in National League history. His impressive statistics helped the Cubs to make the post-season playoffs for only the third time since 1945. Despite being constantly followed by the media during his home-run chase with McGwire, Sosa maintained his good charm and easy-going manner and helped contribute to a renewal of America's faith in its national pastime, beset by strikes and player scandals in recent years.

—Matt Kerr

Further Reading:

Preller, James. McGwire & Sosa: A Season to Remember. New York, Aladdin Paperbacks, 1998

Sammy's Season. Introduction by Skip Bayless. Lincolnwood, Illinois, Contemporary Books, 1998.

Smith, Gary."The Race Is On." Sports Illustrated. September 21,1998, pages 48-51.