Sammy Sosa in 2003.
As if there weren't going to be enough wars of words in the stands of Wrigley Field this week with the White Sox on the North Side, the ammo just got nuclear.
The New York Times is reporting that Sammy Sosa, holder of most of the Chicago Cubs power records from his homer-happy reign at Clark and Addison, was on the juice in 2003.
According to the paper:
Sammy Sosa, who joined with Mark McGwire in 1998 in a celebrated pursuit of baseball's single-season home run record, is among the players who tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in 2003, according to lawyers with knowledge of the drug-testing results from that year.
The disclosure that Sosa tested positive makes him the latest baseball star of the last two decades to be linked to performance-enhancers, a group that now includes McGwire, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro.
Sosa has long protested his innocence, when not outright denying accusations, as the focus of constant rumors of using illegal substances since his race with McGwire in '98, often joking that he only uses Flintstones vitamins and hard work.
Sosa exceeded 60 homers three times, but if these accusations are true, the biggest bomb he ever launched may have come in 2005 when he testified on the use of banned substances in baseball before Congress. Sitting next to Rafael Palmeiro, McGwire and others at a hearing called by the House Government Reform Committee to examine the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, Sosa testified that:
"everything" he had heard "about steroids and human growth hormones is that they are bad for you, even lethal" and that he "would never put anything dangerous like that" in his body. "To be clear, I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs. I have never injected myself or had anyone inject me with anything."
Now Sosa, who retired last week and told ESNdeportes that he would "calmly await" his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in five years, will be cast into the same tainted pool of names that the Cooperstown crew are shunning. Yes, you, McGwire.