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Sammy Sosa spent nearly two decades in the majors, where he rose to prominence as one of MLB’s best players. The former Dominican-American right fielder experienced the bulk of his success during his 12-year stint with the Chicago Cubs.

Over the years, however, the focus on Sosa has shifted to possible steroid use during his playing days, which he continues to deny. The former Cubs great has maintained that the PED-use conversation shouldn’t involve him.

Sammy Sosa’s MLB career

Sammy Sosa high fives a teammate during his Chicago Cubs playing days
Sammy Sosa with his Cubs teammates | PAUL BUCK/AFP via Getty Images

After spending his first two seasons in the league with the Chicago White Sox (1989-91), Sammy Sosa started to hit his stride in the mid-’90s with the Cubs.

Sosa earned seven All-Star Game selections, an NL MVP award, and six Silver Slugger nominations. He led the NL in home runs twice and RBI twice. Although he thrived, the Cubs reached the playoffs once during his 13-year tenure.

Sosa saw his popularity reach great heights in the 1998 season as his home run battle with Mark McGwire saw him fall short of the rival in head-to-head totals. However, he did secure his only MVP award that season.

Since then, the conversation has shifted over to potential steroid use, which Sosa has repeatedly denied.

Why Sammy Sosa denies steroid use

Sammy Sosa has been tied to performance-enhancing drugs over the last decade-plus as he was named part of the anonymous list of players linked to steroids in 2003. He was also one of the 11 players and executives subpoenaed to speak in front of Congress in 2005 concerning steroids. 

This goes beyond the corked bat incident in 2003 that further brought questions to his performance on the field. In the years that have followed, he’s remained firm that he didn’t take steroids, as voiced to Jeremy Schaap of ESPN that he never had a positive test in the U.S., according to USA Today.

I never had a test positive in this country,” Sosa said, although the New York Times reported in 2009 that he did have a positive test during MLB’s anonymous survey testing six years earlier.

“No, I never missed any test at the major league level,” he said in response to a follow-up question.

If Sosa’s 2003 test is to be held up as the truth, it would negate his stance about not testing positive in the U.S. Nonetheless, there doesn’t appear to be any change in his position on the issue.

The potential evidence suggests otherwise, but he hasn’t gone the route McGwire did with his situation.

Sammy Sosa’s reputation forever tied to steroids

Sammy Sosa hasn’t wavered throughout the entire process, but it’s becoming a battle he has already lost in terms of his reputation.

Sosa’s legacy, like McGwire, has become associated with steroid use. It’s resulted in him falling off the ballot for Hall of Fame voting in 2022 as NBC Sports reports. He received 18.5% of the vote. Players need at least 75% to be inducted.