Ryne Sandberg, who played his way into the Hall of Fame alongside Sammy Sosa, says his former Cubs teammate does not belong in Cooperstown. Appearing on Chicago's ESPN 1000 radio, Sandberg on Tuesday said recent published reports that Sosa tested positive in 2003 for performance-enhancing drugs meant he "was cheating in the sport." "They use the word 'integrity' in describing a Hall of Famer in the logo of the Hall of Fame, and I think there are gonna be quite a few players that are not going to get in," said Sandberg, lumping Sosa with other players who have been linked to PEDs.
The former second baseman was appearing on ESPN's "Waddle & Silvy" show on the 25th anniversary of the so-called Sandberg Game: The 12-11, 11-inning victory over the Cardinals in which he went 5-for-6 with two homers, driving in seven runs. "We have some other players like [Rafael] Palmeiro coming up soon [for Hall of Fame election], and it'll be up to the sportswriters to speak loud and clear about that," Sandberg said. "I don't see any of those guys getting in. "It's been evident with the sportswriters who vote them in, with what they've done with Mark McGwire getting in the 20-percent range." Sandberg played with Sosa from 1992 to '94 and, following his temporary retirement, again in 1996-97. At the time, he admitted, he respected the work he saw Sosa put into his game. "I was around Sammy for about five years before I retired, and there wasn't anything going on then," Sandberg said. "I did admire the hard work he put in. He was one of the first guys down to the batting cage, hitting extra. I figured he was working out hard in the offseason to get bigger. It was just happening throughout the game, that even myself was blinded by what was really happening, maybe starting in the '98 season. "I think it's very unfortunate. I think suspicions were there as they are with some other players. Those players are now put in a category of being tainted players with tainted stats. I think it's obviously something that was going on in the game. Players participated in it and as the names have come out I think that they will be punished for that." Sandberg considers it important to deliver a strong message in the dispensation of players proven to have taken PEDs. "I think it has to be spoken very loud and clear on the stance, and baseball needs to stand as they have," he said. "I'm very, very satisfied with the testing program they have in place now. "For a guy who's tested positive today under what happens now like Manny Ramirez, it almost takes an idiot to participate in that. For the society, for the up-and-coming players and youth out there, I don't think those guys should be recognized at all."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.