By the time the 1998 season came around, Chicago Cubs fans were in the pit of misery. It had been 90 years since their last World Series win, and 54 years since their last appearance. The heartbreaks of 1969 and 1984 remained in memory and the curse was 100% real. Little did Cubs fans know, they were in for a summer they would never forget.
Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa was in an electric battle with Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals for the home run crown, the most entertaining summer maybe in the history of summer. Home run bombs were flying on a seemingly daily basis at the Friendly Confines from Sosa’s bat. When school started back up, kids would race home to either catch the last half of the game or see if Sosa had homered earlier and check the stats to see where McGwire was. Long story short, McGwire won the race with 70 home runs, Sosa had 66.
Thereafter came some tough and awkward times. We later found out that this all came in an era where steroids were taken by players to gain more power, that’s kind of cheating. Though it was never proven or admitted, Sosa was directly in the middle of it. Since his playing days ended, at the wish of Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, Sosa is not welcomed back to Wrigley unless he admits and apologizes for cheating. That has never stopped Cubs fans from loudly voicing how much they want him to come home. That time is potentially coming.
Crawly is one of the greatest Cubs fans out there and his connections are plentiful. He released to us that Sosa’s name could be on the ballot for next summer’s Cubs Hall of Fame voting (located in the concourse under the left field bleachers). This honor is voted on by an “independent committee,” meaning Ricketts could potentially have no say if he is elected or not.
When Sosa’s time with the Cubs ended, it certainly did not end pretty. With the whole cheating thing and some inner clubhouse sour relationships, it was definitely time for everyone to move on. But plenty of time has now passed. There is a whole generation of Cubs fans that are Cubs fans because of Sosa alone, especially that summer of ’98. He undoubtedly is a huge part of the history of the Chicago Cubs and deserves an honor such as this because of that.
Who knows, maybe meeting face to face will lighten Ricketts’ heart and they’ll become friends. Maybe we even retire the number 21 and he throws out the first pitch at a World Series. Time will tell.