Jenkins, Fingers don't see a place for Sosa in Hall of Fame

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Jenkins, Fingers don't see a place for Sosa in Hall of Fame

It was obvious Sammy Sosa wasn't going to stay hidden for long.

After receiving just 12.5 percent of the votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America earlier this month, the former Cubs slugger was turned away from the Hall of Fame his first year on the ballot.

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Wednesday, he was interviewed on Ustream and aired his thoughts -- which were not surprising -- for the world to hear.

It's never been a question of whether Sosa thinks he should be in the baseball Hall of Fame. He's been saying it for years.

But hardly anybody agrees with him, despite some eye-popping numbers that include 609 career home runs. He's not alone, though. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire were all denied baseball's greatest honor, as the cloud of performance-enhancing drugs hangs over that particular group of players.

"I think it's pretty obvious the playing field was not level," former Cubs catcher Jody Davis said at the Cubs Convention last weekend. "They can say they didn't use PEDs, but you can look at the numbers and there's just no way those guys got that much better in just one year.

"I don't believe they should be in. It's hard when, knowingly, those guys were doing something that had never been done before."

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Davis spent much of the weekend at the Fergie Jenkins Foundation table at the Convention, sitting alongside a trio of Hall of Famers in Rollie Fingers, Gaylord Perry and Jenkins, who felt the same way.

"I'm against them getting in," said Fingers, who was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1992. "I see records that are being set by guys that have been straight, that have done it on their own. Sportswriters want to keep the sanctity in the Hall of Fame. They don't want guys using steroids to break records. I believe that, too.

"If they're innocent, I'm all for it. If they've used, and sportswriters have proof of them being used, I don't see them getting in. That's just the way it is."

As for Sosa in particular, Fingers, Davis or Jenkins don't see him getting voted in anytime soon.

"It's hard to say," Jenkins said. "Maybe after 15, 16 years, the Veterans Committee might vote him in. I'm not sure if we'll even be around to really know.

"Unfortunately, those guys had great beginnings to their career and then the latter part of their career -- when numbers should be declining -- they kept building for those guys. And it's due to whatever they were putting in their system."

Even if Sosa never gets in the Hall of Fame, there are still ways his legacy could live on forever. The Cubs could retire his No. 21 -- something he thinks should have already happened -- or he could receive an invite to Cubs Convention, just like Davis and Jenkins have been getting for years.

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"He was an outstanding player here," Jenkins said. "People remember what he did. Hitting 60 home runs two years in a row, that's a feat Ernie Banks, Billy Williams or Ron Santo couldn't do.

"He was a strong athlete. I knew him when he was 16 years old. He had pretty good lower-body strength, but his upper body got bigger. I don't know if it was just lifting weights or how he got bigger, but he's just a strong athlete.

"He just had a grooved swing after a while. And he was just going for it most of the time. He really didn't care about strikeouts. He just wanted to put that ball out of the ballpark."

As for how fans may perceive "Slammin' Sammy" if he came back to Chicago for a Sammy Sosa Day at Wrigley Field or attended the 2014 Cubs Convention, Davis thinks he'd be welcomed with open arms by at least some of the Cubs faithful.

"Cubs fans are a unique breed," said Davis, who played with the Cubs from 1981-88. "Sammy did a lot of good things here. I don't think actual Cubs fans really care if he's in the Hall of Fame or not. They loved him and they always will."

Dustin Johnson, Kevin Chappell tied for lead at Tour Championship

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Dustin Johnson, Kevin Chappell tied for lead at Tour Championship

ATLANTA (AP) — Dustin Johnson had a reasonable lie in the rough and only a few pine tree branches blocking his path to the 17th green. Neither seemed like a problem until he played the wrong shot, clipped the tree and wound up with a double bogey Saturday in the Tour Championship.

It was an example of how one hole can change everything at East Lake.

And it's why the final round of the PGA Tour season suddenly has more scenarios than Johnson cares to consider.

Johnson recovered with a birdie from the bunker on the par-5 18th for a 1-under 69, giving him a share of the lead with Kevin Chappell (68) going into the last round that will determine who wins the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup.

For the first time since 2009, there's a chance it might not be the same player.

"There's a lot of scenarios that could happen," Johnson said. "But yeah, I'm still going to go out and try to shoot as low a score as possible."

Johnson only has to win or finish second alone to claim the $10 million bonus as the FedEx Cup champion.

Rory McIlroy, who has gone 28 holes without a bogey at East Lake, had three birdies over his last six holes for a 66 and was two shots behind. If he were to win the Tour Championship and Johnson finished in a two-way tie for second or worse, McIlroy would claim the FedEx Cup.

"It would just be great to try to win the Tour Championship, and if the chips fall my way, then so be it," McIlroy said.

The winner of the Tour Championship has won the FedEx Cup every year since 2009, when Phil Mickelson won the tournament and Tiger Woods won the FedEx Cup.

Johnson led by as many as four shots when he ran off three straight birdies on the front nine, and he really didn't do much wrong to give up the size of that lead. He had a three-putt from 70 feet on No. 13, and missed the fairway by a few feet on the next hole, enough that his ball was buried so deep that even Johnson and his power couldn't advance more than about 135 yards.

It was the 17th hole that reshaped the tournament.

Johnson tried to played a fade from a flyer lie in the rough, and the ball came out high and hit a branch, leaving him in more rough about 60 yards short of the green. He put that in the bunker, blasted out to 6 feet and missed the putt to make double bogey.

Chappell rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt for a three-shot swing on the hole and suddenly had the lead, only for Johnson to catch him with the final birdie.

They were at 8-under 202.

Chappell, a runner-up three times this season who has never won on the PGA Tour, has made only one bogey in 54 holes this week, a show of consistency, discipline and a few good breaks when he does miss the fairway.

His next chance at a breakthrough victory is to face golf's best player at the moment (Johnson), with McIlroy and Ryan Moore (66) two shots behind.

"I've always kind of been the underdog, so it's a role I'm comfortable in," Chappell said.

Moore went out in 31 until he was slowed by a pair of bogeys, though very much in the mix just two shots out of the lead. The mystery is whether anything he does on Sunday - even if that means a victory - is enough for Davis Love III to use his last captain's pick on Moore for the Ryder Cup.

"I came here this week to win a golf tournament, and I'm 100 percent focused on that," Moore said, adding that the Ryder Cup is "completely out of my control."

And that's how the last day is shaping up for everyone - post a score and see where it leads.

Johnson, for a moment, looked as though he might take all the drama out of the season-ender when he made a 15-foot par putt early in his round and then ran off three straight birdies on the front nine to go four shots clear.

The putter cooled off, however, and Chappell stayed in range.

Chappell chipped in on No. 12 to match birdies and stay three shots behind, and then he quickly closed the gap when Johnson made back-to-back bogeys, only to respond with a 4-iron over the water to a peninsula green on the par-3 15th to 15 feet for birdie.

The 17th hole changed everything.

"I thought about just trying to hit it in the front bunker, which I probably should have done - probably would have made 4 if I'd have done that," Johnson said. "But it is what it is. I came back and birdied the last hole, tied for the lead going into tomorrow. I like my position."

And he doesn't need a degree in math to figure out the easiest scenario - just win.

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