Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire set the summer of 1998 on fire with an epic home run chase in which the St. Louis Cardinals slugger finally broke Roger Maris’ record for most home runs in a single season with 70, while the St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Chicago Cubs hit 66.

Sosa would hit 60 or more home runs three times in his career, and won National League MVP in 1998 despite not leading the league in home runs.

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Former Cubs player Ryne Sandberg waves before throwing out a ceremonial first pitch before the National League Championship Series game between Los Angeles and Chicago at Wrigley Field on October 18, 2017.
(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

It’s what came next that tarnishes Sosa’s reputation. Sosa used a corked bat in a game in 2003 and was embroiled in Major League Baseball’s steroids scandal, though he maintained he never used «illegal performance-enhancing drugs» while playing.

Ryne Sandberg spoke briefly about Sosa’s position with the organization. Sandberg will receive a statue outside Wrigley Field in the summer of 2004. The Hall of Fame second baseman told ESPN that he supported the organization’s decision not to immortalize Sosa in the same way.

5-TIME ALL-STAR RETURNING TO THE TEAM HE WON MVP WITH: ‘WHERE IT ALL STARTED’

Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs during their 3-1 win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 of the NLDS at Wrigley Field.

Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs during their 3-1 win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 of the NLDS at Wrigley Field.
(Dilip Vishwanat/Sports News via Getty Images via Getty Images)

«For me, playing the game the right way, with respect, was always what I was taught in the minor leagues,» Sandberg told the outlet. «That was my Hall of Fame speech. I think I said it 28 times. And there was a little problem with the way Sammy played the game. If that’s a hindrance, that’s a hindrance.»

Sosa was on the Baseball Writers Association of America ballot for his 2022 entry to Cooperstown, his 10th and final year on that ballot. She received 18.5% of the vote. Any potential new member needs at least 75% of the vote to get into the Hall of Fame.

Current Hall of Famers might end up voting for Sosa, but he’s not eligible for that until 2024.

Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs strikes out in the fifth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field.

Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs strikes out in the fifth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field.
(John Zich/AFP via Getty Images)

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Sosa played 18 years in the majors. He hit 609 home runs with 1,667 RBIs.

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