Sosa has done it all in career odyssey

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

Sammy Sosa has hit home runs off future Hall of Famers, Cy Young award winners and a whole bunch of others. And ... one of his bosses.

Hitting lead off, Sosa hit homered off Blue Jays lefty Mike Flanagan April 28 1990, or 15 years ago next Thursday if you are remembering along at home.

Now, Jim Beattie and Flanagan run the Baltimore Orioles for Peter Angelos, will decide in a few months whether to bring Sosa back for 2006.

Flanagan was remembering the home run, after his Orioles dropped a six-spot on the Jays in the eighth for a 13-5 win.

"It was at old Comiskey in Chicago, I fell behind 2-0," Flanagan said, "Here was this young kid, I tried to get him out in front a little and took a something off a fastball.

"I remember it. He probably doesn't," Flanagan said. "He's only hit about 570 since then."

Sosa's homer off Flanagan --- as a 20-year-old -- was the fifth of his career. He's asked about all his victims on his home run list.

"I don't really look at that," Sosa said. Told he took his his boss deep and that Flanagan remembers the homer, even the count, Sosa says "no way." Way.

No surprise. Pitchers always claimed they have better memories than hitters. The White Sox edged the Jays 5-4 that night.

Sosa came to town with 576 career home runs. Only 18,095 fans showed to see Sosa as he makes a run for 600. Not a good sign, especially since the Maple Leafs had last night off.

Only Barry Bonds, of the San Francisco Giants, has come into town with more career homers. Bonds had 588 in June of 2002 during inter-league play. Bonds drew 18,081 fans in his first game.

That's a jump of 14 total fans for Sosa over Bonds which means? Well, we're not quite sure. But fans do not have a love affair with the moon shot launchers from the National League.

Sosa was homerless last night. He had two singles, scored twice and flashed the million-watt smile explaining his relief that shortstop Miguel Tejada's tumble at first base was not serious.

Sosa has homered off future Hall of Famers ... like his first one as a Texas Ranger against Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux.

He has homered off a pitcher who is now a pitching coaches like Brad Arnsberg, of the Jays and off brothers Greg and Mike Maddux.

He homered off Jays pitchers Jimmy Key, John Candelaria and Willie Fraser.

He 'dialed nine' off former and future Jays like Joey Hamilton, Tom Candiotti, David Weathers, Willie Blair, Al Leiter, Cory Lidle, John Hudek, FrankCastillo, Cliff Politte, Miguel Batista, Juan Guzman, John Wasdin, Dave Stewart, Felix Rodriguez, Justin Speier, Esteban Loaiza and Chris Carpenter.

He homered off Canadians like Rheal Cormier, Ryan Dempster, Mike Johnson and Chris Reitsma,

In all, he has homered at 42 different ball parks, one behind Fred McGriff's record.

Sosa was the feel-good story of 1998 wearing a Cubs uniform as he and Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals battled for the single-season home run title.

Sosa's rep, built on a signature hop out, his race around the bases and his hand signals to mama via the WGN cameras at Wrigley have taken a hit.

There was the corked bat used in 2003, an early departure from the Cubs clubhouse on the final day of the 2004 and he was called before the congressional hearings on steroids.

Sosa denied taking drugs, but after a then career high 40 homers in 1996, a year later he jumped to 66 in 1998; 63 in 1999; 50 in 2000 and 64 in 2001.

Should he go to Cooperstown? Unless it's proven he tested positive, he has my vote.


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