I was walking up Broadway yesterday in Lower Manhattan and I was at that part of the street that has the listings of everyone who has ever been honored with a ticker-tape parade up Broadway, which is called "The Canyon of Heroes." Naturally I came across those that honored the MFY (fortunately it's only happened once in this decade and not once in this century).
The first one occurred in 1886, when the Statue of Liberty was dedicated, and there have been only two in 2000s (The MFY in 2000 and the Giants on their Super Bowl win in 2008. Here's the complete list of those honored.) But I've always been curious as to why Sammy Sosa got one in 1998 (and a key to the city of New York as well). He's not from New York, and never played for a New York team, and I wondered about that again yesterday.
But Wikipedia said he was honored by NY's Dominican community for his 66 home run season that year and because of his relief efforts from a hurricane that hit the Dominican Republic that year as well. Oh, OK.
I must admit that I always respected Sosa during his home run chase with Mark McGwire in 1998. He handled with a lot of grace, and seemed like a pretty good guy. (I remember someone on TV saying about how it was a good thing Sosa and McGwire were chasing the record, and "that it wasn't someone thoroughly hated like Barry Bonds." I honestly can't remember who said it.)
Just hours after I was in Lower Manhattan, I went to Professor Thom's and heard that Sosa was outed by The New York Times as one of those 104 players who failed a steroid test back in 2003. Was it a shock? Actually, no. I think that since the 2005 Congressional hearings about the juice that Sammy dragged an interpreter to because his English skills were failing turned many against him.
And now Sosa still believes he's heading to Cooperstown one day (courtesy of Surviving Grady):
"I will calmly wait for my induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Don't I have the numbers to be inducted?"
I wouldn't be writing the acceptance speech just yet, Sam. It might be a rather long wait. If ever.