Should Sammy Sosa be in the Hall of Fame?
You could make a case that this is the most important question facing Cubs fans today, a modern-day equivalent of Shakespeare's "To be or not to be."
I'm totally serious.
What other player impacted the North Side like Sosa? Even when he left, his exit was as controversial as any Cubs player's ever, including Carlos Zambrano's one-way ticket out of town last winter.
Yes, there are some Cubs fans that are done with the Sosa era, that want to keep the past in the past. And you can't blame them. But no matter what they want, Sosa's name is on the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot, and there may come a day where he gets voted in.
After the 1994-95 MLB strike, Sosa and Mark McGwire brought worldwide interest back to the game with their thrilling home run chase in 1998. Yeah, there are questions regarding their use of performance-enhancing drugs during that time, but the numbers still stand. Go to BaseballReference.com and there are no asterisks next to Sosa's 66 homers in '98 or 64 dingers in 2001.
It happened. Regardless of how people -- mainly, Cubs fans -- think and feel about it today. Sosa hit 545 home runs in a Cubs uniform, more than any other player. (He also struck out almost 600 times more than any other Cub, but hey, that was Slammin' Sammy.)
For 13 years, some of the loudest cheers heard at Wrigley Field came when Sosa streaked along the right-field wall, waving to the crowd. His home-run hop and two-finger salute became Chicago and national icons. Kids imitated them at sandlot fields across the country.
But that was long ago. Baseball fans remember the steroid suspicions and the corked bat. Cubs fans remember the injuries (like that time he hurt his back sneezing) and the attitude. Everybody remembers his most famous quote -- "Baseball has been very, very good to me." And, anybody who has ever seen a recent photo of Sosa will never forget his Michael Jackson-esque makeover.
From strictly a statistical standpoint, Sosa is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. There's no question. But in this day and age, in the post-steroid era, numbers are not the only thing that matters. There will always be a black cloud hovering over Sosa's head.
So I ask you, baseball fans, should Sosa be in the Hall of Fame?
Check out the complete 2013 Hall of Fame ballot, which features a slew of other controversial names.