In baseball, steroids began to change their classification and drift into the class of banned substances roundabout 1991, but the premier league players’ PED tests did not begin until over a decade later, in 2003. Experts believe “the Steroids Era” in the sport of baseball really commenced during the early eighties, leading to a demonstrable increase in the occurrence of offences, especially the number of long-range hits. For example, during the period 1961 through to 1994, nobody managed to knock out 50 home runs per season, whereas, in 1997, two players beat this record in one year. These guys were Mark McGwire & Sammy Sosa. Did Sammy use banned steroids? Or is it just hearsay?
Short Biography of Sammy Sosa
Samuel Kelvin Peralta Sosa is a Dominican baseball player, nicknamed “Slammin’ Sammy” by the Cubs announcer, Chip Caray. He was born in 1968 in the Dominican Republic (Batey community, Consuelo). He broke into the main league initially with the Texas Rangers, then in 1989, he started playing for the Chicago White Sox (both these teams were in the US League). In 1992, the guy changed his team again, becoming a Chicago Cubs player (national league). In 2005, the sportsman played one season for the Orioles, the team performing in the American League East division. Then in 2007, he returned to the main league with the Texas Rangers.
A strong right fielder, who took many bases, Sammy was an enduring crowd-pleaser. However, in 1998, Sammy Sosa & Mark McGwire both hit the headlines for breaking the home run record during that season. Previously, this record had belonged to Roger Eugene Maris with a career total of 61 home runs. McGwire ended the season with 78 home runs, while Sosa hit 66. Their friendly rivalry was the subject of much debate.
Sammy achieved the title of top sportsman in the MLB. In 1999, the athlete became the first player to maintain the number of home runs above the magic figure of 60 for two consecutive seasons. However, McGwire was still ahead of him. In 2010, “Big Mac” admitted for the first time, that he had dabbled with illegal steroids.
In 2000, Sosa made 50 home runs in the US league, and in 2001 he bettered this by hitting 64, becoming the first baseball player to hit over 60 home runs per season for three consecutive seasons. Prior to that, Slammin’ had become the second baseball player in MLB history (after McGwire), to gain over 50 home runs during four seasons in a row. Throughout his career, the right fielder made a total of 600 HRs.
The reputation of Slammin’ Sammy suffered in 2003 when he was accused of using a banned corked bat (a specially remodelled baseball bat filled with cork to decrease the weight). In addition, suspicion was mounting that he took illicit substances, which further damaged his reputation.
Sammy Sosa’s Skin Whitening
In 2009, the athlete appeared on a music awards show and people remarked that his skin was much paler than it had been a few months earlier. The rumour machine went into overdrive forcing the former baseball player to visit Spanish-language TV and deny that he was ill. The suggestion was that he hated being black and that his skin color had changed because of steroid injections. Sosa’s account was that he had been applying special cream for skin bleaching. Moreover, Sammy maintained that bright, artificial television lights made his countenance appear less black than it really was. The former melanin-filled man denied a resemblance to the legendary “King of Pop”, Michael Jackson.
Did Sammy Sosa Use Steroids or Other Performance-Improving Meds?
In 2005, the baseballer participated in a congressional hearing on the prevalence of anabolic steroid usage in baseball. An attorney represented him, seemingly because he was not sufficiently fluent in English.
In 2009, the NY Times published information that Sosa was allegedly on the list of sportsmen who had failed the med test in 2003 to detect drugs used to improve performance. Crucially, the NY Times didn’t reveal the source of the data or the exact medication that Sammy allegedly used. Sosa’s agent told the media he had no comment.
In the autumn of 2016, at a conference in Fenway Park, MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred, told journalists that the anonymous test for the use of performance-enhancing drugs in 2003 was unconvincing. He said it was difficult to distinguish illegal steroids from certain remedies that were legal, easily available without a doctor’s prescription (OTC steroids), and not on the banned list according to the rules of the MLB. Manfred said it is great that folks understand that even if the name of a particular athlete was on the 2003 list, it is not concrete proof he had used banned substances. In addition, the commissioner argued that the 2003 test should have remained confidential and its results undisclosed. Therefore, in his opinion, it is unfair to evaluate baseball athletes based on rumours, suspicions and the unconfirmed positive results of anti-doping tests.
What Does Sammy Think About This?
In early 2017, Sosa told a columnist: “I never failed a drug test. Never in my life.” He also compared the allegations of steroid usage to the persecution of Jesus Christ! In 2018, he was questioned again about PEDs, as reported by ABCnews. And he again deflected the question, telling Jeremy Schaap: “No, I never missed any test at major league level”. Damon Amendolara at CBS Sports Radio said in June 2018, that Sosa should just admit he did steroids. Amendolara firmly believes Sosa is dishonest and is lying about his use of illegal substances.
We cannot prove definitively that shifty Sammy Sosa used steroids, such as Winstrol, Turinabol and testosterone enanthate; there is currently no tangible evidence. But if we take into account, the proven fact that steroids in baseball are taken by other sportsmen, it seems plausible that perhaps Sammy has deceived everyone after all. Many players have a history of either refusing point blank to discuss the steroid issue or saying they did not use steroids. But subsequent revelations have proved that in fact, this was not the case.