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.

MORE: No-confidence vote for Sammy Sosa in Hall of Fame shutout

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."

RELATED: Kerry Wood, Sammy Sosa and the Hall of Fame guessing game

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.

RELATED: Cubs might look to repair 'awkward' relationship with Sosa

"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."

Suspended White Sox ace Chris Sale to start Thursday against Cubs

Suspended White Sox ace Chris Sale to start Thursday against Cubs

Chris Sale will return to the White Sox mound Thursday against the Cubs for the first time since being suspended five games for cutting up his team’s 1976 throwback uniforms on Saturday. 

The 27-year-old left-hander, who was issued a five-game suspension by the White Sox on Sunday for “violating team rules, for insubordination and for destroying team equipment,” will remain away from the team for the first three Crosstown games this week. Manager Robin Ventura said Sale would probably throw a side session sometime this week, but due to his suspension, any work will have to come on his own. 

Ventura said he won’t necessarily have a discussion with Sale when the five-time All-Star returns to the club in the cramped confines of Wrigley Field’s visiting clubhouse later this week. 

“He’s going to pitch. That’s what he does,” Ventura said. “I don’t think there has to be a big meeting or anything. He’s pitching Thursday.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Because of Sale’s bizarre pregame incident, the White Sox on Saturday had to use six relievers — Matt Albers, Dan Jennings, Tommy Kahnle, Zach Duke, Nate Jones and David Robertson — to get through eight innings before the game was suspended due to a line of heavy thunderstorms that rolled through the South Side. Robertson on Sunday pitched the ninth inning of the suspended game and the ninth of the regularly-scheduled contest against Detroit (he gave up three solo home runs to blow the save in the second game) and is likely unavailable for Monday night’s Crosstown opener against the Cubs. 

White Sox players said they moved on quickly after Sale destroyed those uniforms he didn’t want to wear, pointing to the team’s two wins on Sunday for supporting evidence. And Ventura doesn’t think a team-wide meeting is necessary to address any issues when Sale does come back on Thursday. 

“Guys have seen a lot of stuff and it’s about playing, I think they’re about playing and we’ll go with that until something needs to be addressed,” Ventura said. “As far as playing, guys are just moving on and playing.

“…  I’m sure they’ll have conversations about it. But I don’t think we need to have a whole team meeting and address it that way.”

White Sox will start Anthony Ranaudo Wednesday against Cubs

White Sox will start Anthony Ranaudo Wednesday against Cubs

The last time the White Sox saw Anthony Ranaudo pitch, they drew five walks and scored five runs without recording a hit against the 26-year-old right-hander. 

That disastrous outing — which came in a 13-11 White Sox loss to the Texas Rangers — was Ranaudo’s last major league appearance. The former LSU ace and 2010 first-round pick was traded to the White Sox May 12 for minor leaguer Matt Ball and spent the last two months with Triple-A Charlotte. 

But with Chris Sale earning a five-game suspension for destroying throwback jerseys on Saturday, the White Sox needed to bring up another arm. And with right-hander Jacob Turner struggling in two outings in place of the injured Carlos Rodon, Ranaudo will start for the White Sox Wednesday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. 

“Hopefully I get another chance to go back out there and prove that’s not who I am,” Ranaudo said before learning of his scheduled start. 

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Ranaudo once was a big-time prospect, being ranked 67th in baseball by Baseball America prior to the 2011 season. But he’s never been able to find success in the majors and will enter his start with a 6.33 ERA and more walks (32) than strikeouts (28) in 58 1/3 innings from 2014-2016. 

In 13 starts with Triple-A Charlotte, Ranaudo posted a 3.20 ERA with 53 strikeouts, eight walks and 12 home runs allowed over 78 2/3 innings.

“I think he’s refined (things) a little bit more to be able to throw some strikes and have command,” manager Robin Ventura said. “You’re going to have to have it, especially if it’s warm. So hopefully he’s got it.”

Ranaudo can’t afford to have his command escape him, as it did in May against the White Sox, when he faces the Cubs — which lead baseball with a 10.6 percent walk rate — on Wednesday. 

If his Crosstown start goes well, Ranaudo could stick around after Sale returns on Thursday. But for now, the right-hander is happy to get another opportunity to prove himself at the major league level.

“It was a little unexpected at the time, obviously, with everything going on,” Ranaudo said of his call-up. “But it was awesome, yeah. I’m just happy to be here and whatever role I’m in, I’m excited about.” 

Former North Lawndale star Jonathan Mills killed in shooting

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Former North Lawndale star Jonathan Mills killed in shooting

Former local high school basketball star Jonathan Mills was shot to death on Monday in North Lawndale, a source confirmed to CSN.

A Class 2A state champion and city champion who played high school ball at North Lawndale and college basketball at Southern Miss, Mills was shot multiple times in the 4100 block of West Roosevelt at 1:27 p.m., police told the Chicago Sun-Times.

The 26-year-old Mills was pronounced dead at the scene. He is survived by two daughters. 

Mills became a West Side legend in Chicago basketball circles as one of the hardest-working rebounders the city has seen in the last decade. Taking North Lawndale to two state semifinals and winning a Class 2A state championship in 2008, the 6-foot-5 lefty wasn't particularly skilled as an undersized forward, but he was relentless in his pursuit of the ball and a rugged defender.

In his first varsity season at North Lawndale as a junior, Mills averaged 16.8 points and 13.7 rebounds per game as he led the Phoenix in rebounding 31 of 33 games during a state title run. In a Class 2A sectional title game against Englewood, Mills had a legendary performance as he had 22 points and 23 rebounds in a two-point win. 

During his senior season, Mills averaged 14 points and 13 rebounds per game in helping the Phoenix win the school's first city championship. Beating Hyde Park in overtime for the city title, Mills had 13 points and 23 rebounds in a 54-51 win as he secured the game-clinching rebound off of teammate Terry Johnson's missed free throw. 

After playing two years of junior college ball at Eastern Utah, Mills played his final two seasons of college basketball at Southern Miss in Conference USA. Mills earned third-team All-Conference USA honors as a junior while also making the All-Defensive Team as he averaged 9.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. During his senior year, Mills was once again on the Conference USA All-Defensive Team as he put up 9.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.

On Monday, Twitter was filled with memories of Mills from coaches, players and reporters that watched him play.