Cubs: Prodigal son Sammy Sosa wants to come home to Wrigley

Cubs: Prodigal son Sammy Sosa wants to come home to Wrigley
October 12, 2013, 11:15 am
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Tony Andracki

Sammy Sosa can't wait to re-emerge at Wrigley Field, where he spent 13 years of his life putting on a show for the bleacher bums.

What would it be like when he finally does step out onto the field? Will fans go wild like they did when he sprinted along the right-field warning track before each home game?

In Sosa's head, he envisions it like the prodigal son returning home in the Bible.

"It was my house for many years," Sosa said. "It's like the father got the son home. The son leaves for many, many years.

"All of a sudden, 10, 20, 30 years later, the son comes back to the house. That's my hope and expectation. So one day, I will go back to my house."

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Now estranged from the city and the organization, Sosa laid out that vision in an interview for "5 Outs...," a documentary on the 2003 Cubs that will premiere Tuesday night on Comcast SportsNet.

After that memorable playoff run, it was an ugly ending for Sosa in 2004. He left Wrigley Field early on the final day of the season. A smashed boom box showed what his teammates thought of him.

But what really happened that day?

Sosa said manager Dusty Baker gave him the green light to go home early and took issue with the way it was portrayed in the media.

"They don't want that to be public," Sosa said. "They wanted to keep me in the dark. But it's impossible. You cannot keep the good man down."

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Ozzie Guillen — the former White Sox manager who played with Sosa on the South Side — can’t believe an icon hasn’t been welcomed back to Wrigley Field yet.

"I don't care what people say about Sammy," Guillen said. "Sammy Sosa saved baseball and the Cubs. Now, we're just kicking him in the butt and saying 'get out of here.' And somebody else [Junior Lake] is wearing [jersey] No. 21. That's disrespectful.

"I don't think any player in the history of the game did more for the Cubs than Sammy Sosa did."

Tom Ricketts has admitted it’s an awkward relationship. But the chairman also signaled at the 2013 Cubs Convention that there could be ways to repair it in the future.

Sosa has denied using performance-enhancing drugs to propel his game to great heights. He hit 545 of his 609 home runs in a Cubs uniform and became the first player to hit 60 homers in a season three times.

"You can call it whatever you want. Illegal or whatever," Guillen said. "We didn't find anything about this kid yet and we treat him like that? I don't think that's classy at all.

"I don't see why...Maybe they know something I don't. Maybe they have a good reason. I don't know."

[MORE: Cabrera, Pierre on 2003 NLCS: Wrigley Field was 'bananas']

Sosa claims he's not worried about his perception in Chicago, and says his heart is filled with love for the city. He has no reservations about how fans might react.

"Every time I [travel] and I see people from Chicago, they go crazy," Sosa said. "Because they know I made them very happy. They know that I spent all my life, all my years in Chicago.

"So I feel comfortable with that. They're excited to see me. Every time they see me, they give me a hug like I'm one of them."

Sosa joked he still works out every day, just in case "they" call him back to the game. For more than a decade, he was the king of the North Side, a main attraction that loved the crowd as much as they loved him.

"Sammy, man, he did a lot for baseball and for the Cubs," Guillen said. "A lot. The Cubs were nothing before Sammy got there."

Guillen closed it out with one more dig: "Maybe Sammy jinxed them."

David Kaplan (@thekapman) and Ryan McGuffey, senior producer of original content (@RyanMcGuffey), contributed reporting.