Sammy Sosa Reportedly on 2024 Cubs HOF Ballot

Sammy Sosa has been a Cubs pariah since being shipped out in a deal with the Orioles following the 2004 season. He exacted a small measure of fitting revenge by hitting his 600th homer in 2007 against the team he carried on his shoulders for the better part of 13 seasons, but neither that nor time has healed old wounds.

Sosa was a diva, there’s no doubt about that. He’s also considered a cheater, whether it was the corked bat or PED allegations, though no one cared about the origins of his hulking physique when he was launching 60+ homers on an annual basis. The Cubs certainly didn’t mind that Sosa’s rise to superstardom coincided with skyrocketing ticket prices that continued to trend up steeply well after he was gone.

There have also been domestic violence allegations, which, while they can’t and shouldn’t simply be brushed aside, are not the reason Sosa is considered persona non grata at Wrigley Field. No, his most grievous sin was walking out on his team late in the ’04 season, something he’s since apologized for. That’s apparently not enough for Tom Ricketts, whose family didn’t even purchase the team until five years after Sosa’s departure.

The chairman’s repeated insistence on a public mea culpa is tantamount to idiotic political ads in which fear-mongering candidates warn of China “hypnotizing our youth with TikTok.” But is Ricketts really catering to a majority of Cubs fans there? Even if most fans harbor ill will toward Sosa, which I don’t believe to be the case, ownership’s argument against a reunion is being made in exceedingly bad faith.

Purchasing the Cubs was made possible because family patriarch Joe Ricketts was sold on the idea that the club is a massive revenue machine. We can talk about the national brand all we want, but Sosa is more responsible for those sky-high ticket prices than any other individual in the organization’s history. Just look at that hockey stick growth that began amid his best seasons. Hell, the trend actually flattened out following the World Series victory.

It’s asinine for Ricketts to be so obstinate about this, but there may be a way to facilitate a reunion sans ownership’s blessing. According to former Cubs beat writer Bruce Miles, and as shared by the infamous Crawly of the Fly the W podcast, Sosa is on the ballot for the 2024 Cubs Hall of Fame.

Because induction is determined by an independent panel of living Cubs Hall of Fame members and sports journalists, Ricketts has nothing to do with it. Or at least he’s not directly involved, which means he may be able to influence things in the background without having to proactively offer the invitation. Previous inductees have been announced at Cubs Convention, which would make for a huge pop even if the Cubs don’t otherwise have the most exciting offseason to tout.

I bet Obvious Shirts would even be willing to produce another run of these beauties.

Sosa is an enigmatic — and in many ways problematic — character whose Cubs legacy is anything but pure. If we distill it to just what he did for the franchise itself and baseball writ large, however, it’s wild that the Cubs didn’t welcome their prodigal son back with open arms a long time ago. I really hope this happens if for no other reason than we can stop talking about it.

More to come in the next few weeks.

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