By George Castle
Sosa helped positioned the highlight again on significant league baseball in the summertime of '98. His record-setting season made him a media magnet and style has made him a star. Clearing the Vines is a paperback biography that takes activities fanatics from the Dominican streets the place Sosa grew up, to his days in Wrigley box the place he has built right into a nationwide hero.
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Extra resources for Sammy Sosa: Clearing the Vines
But to zoom past a slew of baseball elite players, collaborate with Mark McGwire to break a seemingly iron-clad record, and become one of the most popular athletes in the world? Sixty-six homers. Five more than Roger Maris' best, six more than Babe Ruth's best. That's more RBI than any player has racked up in one season since Ted Williams' and Vern Stephens each had 159 for the 1949 Boston Red Sox, one year after Joe DiMaggio had 155 for the New York Yankees. Wait a minute. The spectacularly imperfect player can't walk with legends.
They have trenches and outhouses," Chase said. "They'd take empty cement drums and let rain water collect in them. " Sosa was so busy hustling pesos that he didn't play baseball regularly. Luis Sosa, who had played, got his brother started in the game in an organized fashion at 14. Chase bought him his first real glove. Sosa did not at first impress as a player. "I never thought he'd turn out like this. He was a mediocre player," David de la Cruz, now manager of Sosa's baseball school team, said to Lester Holt and a crew documenting Sosa's San Pedro roots for Chicago's WBBM-TV.
Sosa's hustle, work ethic and endurance were rarely questioned. He hit the weights and took care of himself, bulking up from a sinewy 175 pounds over his 6-foot frame to possessing blacksmith's biceps and more muscle mass totaling 200 pounds in the last few years. Sosa's body is, as they say, cut. But his patience and ability to refine his game, to slow up from his all-out pace when needed, was another matter. But maybe his development couldn't have been forced any quicker. Sosa needed to learn patience, and maybe a whole lot of folks needed to be more patient with Sosa.