Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Should the Cubs Retire #21?

The once-heralded Sammy Sosa is reportedly saying the Chicago Cubs should retire his old jersey number. According to ESPN.com:
"That number should be untouchable because of the things that I did for that organization," Sosa said in an interview with Chicago Magazine. "That right there shows me that they don't care about me, and they don't want to have a good relationship with me."
This is, remember, the same Sammy Sosa who put up incredible statistics with the Cubs. He hit 609 career home runs -- most of which with the Cubs. He had three season -- again, with the Cubs -- where he hit an absurd 60 or more home runs. He has a career .370 wOBA, which is good enough 126 wRC+ -- or, in other words, about 26% above average. However, with the Cubs, his median and mode wRC+ was much more like 160.

He was a beast.

He was the face of the Cubs, as well. He was on Pepsi adds, billboards, and promos. When Sammy made contact with a pitch and did his little hop, the crowd became a screaming choir of Sammy's cathedral. For a short, glimmering time, Sammy Sosa was Chicago.

He was also, from what we can ascertain from the leaked 2003 drug test results, bending the rules. This, in retrospect, is highly unsurprising. The infamous home run chase between he and Mark McGuire both filled stadiums and defied reality.

So should this tainted superstar get to see his number waving in the wind above Wrigley Field? I honestly don't know. Sammy was my hero growing up. For many of us, he was a gateway drug into baseball.

But, here's my problem. Sammy was great, and he added a lot of lore and culture to the Cubs. But he also added a lot of negative lore and culture as well. I'm really heartbroken by how things played out for Sosa, but it's really hard to rationalize matching his name with:
Ernie Banks (14), Ron Santo (10), Ryne Sandberg (23), Billy Williams (26), Greg Maddux (31), Fergie Jenkins (31)[, and] Jackie Robinson's No. 42...

No comments:

Post a Comment