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Should Sammy Sosa be in the Hall of Fame?

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Should Sammy Sosa be in the Hall of Fame?

Should Sammy Sosa be in the Hall of Fame?

You could make a case that this is the most important question facing Cubs fans today, a modern-day equivalent of Shakespeare's "To be or not to be."

I'm totally serious.

What other player impacted the North Side like Sosa? Even when he left, his exit was as controversial as any Cubs player's ever, including Carlos Zambrano's one-way ticket out of town last winter.

Yes, there are some Cubs fans that are done with the Sosa era, that want to keep the past in the past. And you can't blame them. But no matter what they want, Sosa's name is on the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot, and there may come a day where he gets voted in.

After the 1994-95 MLB strike, Sosa and Mark McGwire brought worldwide interest back to the game with their thrilling home run chase in 1998. Yeah, there are questions regarding their use of performance-enhancing drugs during that time, but the numbers still stand. Go to BaseballReference.com and there are no asterisks next to Sosa's 66 homers in '98 or 64 dingers in 2001.

It happened. Regardless of how people -- mainly, Cubs fans -- think and feel about it today. Sosa hit 545 home runs in a Cubs uniform, more than any other player. (He also struck out almost 600 times more than any other Cub, but hey, that was Slammin' Sammy.)

For 13 years, some of the loudest cheers heard at Wrigley Field came when Sosa streaked along the right-field wall, waving to the crowd. His home-run hop and two-finger salute became Chicago and national icons. Kids imitated them at sandlot fields across the country.

But that was long ago. Baseball fans remember the steroid suspicions and the corked bat. Cubs fans remember the injuries (like that time he hurt his back sneezing) and the attitude. Everybody remembers his most famous quote -- "Baseball has been very, very good to me." And, anybody who has ever seen a recent photo of Sosa will never forget his Michael Jackson-esque makeover.

From strictly a statistical standpoint, Sosa is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. There's no question. But in this day and age, in the post-steroid era, numbers are not the only thing that matters. There will always be a black cloud hovering over Sosa's head.

So I ask you, baseball fans, should Sosa be in the Hall of Fame?

Check out the complete 2013 Hall of Fame ballot, which features a slew of other controversial names.

Source: Cubs set to hire David Ross as new manager

Source: Cubs set to hire David Ross as new manager

According to David Kaplan, the Cubs have made their decision on a new manager. And to no surprise, they've landed on David Ross.

Ross was widely speculated as the heir apparent to Joe Maddon and that's exactly how the situation has played out. The team also interviewed current bench coach Mark Loretta, first-base coach Will Venable and former Cubs player and Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

Ross retired after the 2016 season and has spent the last three seasons working in a special assistant role in Theo Epstein's front office while also serving as an MLB analyst/broadcaster for ESPN. He has not coached or managed at any level. 

During his two years as a player with the Cubs, Ross was an integral part of changing the culture inside the clubhouse and is revered as a legendary leader to all the young players that came up and helped end the 108-year championship drought. Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant affectionately dubbed him "Grandpa Rossy" and he rode that popularity on the shoulders of his teammates in a Rudy-esque celebration after Game 7 and then a stint on "Dancing with the Stars." Every time he is shown on the video board at Wrigley Field, it elicits a deafening cheer from Cubs fans.

Even three years since he last donned the uniform, Ross' impact remains and the Cubs have been searching for the type of clubhouse leadership he provided. Earlier this season, Javy Baez brought up Ross unprompted, mentioning advice from his former teammate that he still thinks about on a daily basis.

The question was never really if and more about when Ross was going to get a chance to manage the Cubs in the future. Just last fall, he was brought up as a potential option to replace Brandon Hyde as Maddon's bench coach, but Ross still wanted to spend time with family in retirement and wasn't yet ready to commit to the grind of a long season. 

Still, Epstein mentioned at the GM Meetings last November that he and the front office were pushing Ross to be around the team more in 2019. GM Jed Hoyer followed that up at the Winter Meetings in December talking about how much of an impact Ross has on these players and the level of trust that's already inherent within this group.

Apparently, Ross is now willing and able to put in the 7-to-8 month time commitment to step in as the Cubs' new manager. When it was officially announced Maddon would not be returning, Ross was on ESPN's Baseball Tonight and expressed interest in the job and Epstein confirmed the next day Ross was on the team's list of managerial candidates.

Epstein mentioned he would prefer hiring a manager with big-league experience and the main theme of his end-of-season press conference was all about change, not hanging their hats on 2016 and climbing out of the "winner's trap." But they still opted for Ross as the organization's new field general.

"I always have greater comfort level hiring for roles in which the person has done the role before, especially with manager," Epstein said on the final day of September. "I think there are ways for that to be overcome. There’s a lot of different ways to get experience in this game. Beliefs, skills, personal attributes, those can outweigh a lack of experience, but experience certainly helps.

“David Ross has a lot of great things going for him, I would say. His connection to the players on this team, and especially his connection to the 2016 team, are not necessarily assets that distinguish him. Those are not necessarily things that are gonna be important to us.

“I think Rossy is a really attractive candidate, and he’s gonna be evaluated on the merits, what he can bring to the table as a major league manager given his skills, given his experiences, given his world-view, given what he knows about winning, all those things.”

We now know how that evaluation process has played out.

The question now becomes — how would the Cubs players handle Ross as a manager, moving from friend and teammate to boss? 

We'll find out in the coming months.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Mailbag edition

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Mailbag edition

3:00 - Listener question: Espada or Ross? Kelly Crull shares some inside info on Joe Espada

7:30 - Kelly talks about David Ross' second interview for the Cubs managerial job.

11:30 - Listener question: Say it is Espada, do you see any way David Ross comes on as a coach behind Espada?

13:30 - Listener question: Could the team regress further due to a lack of familiarity with a new manager?

20:10 - Listener question: How hard will Theo and Jed go after Gerrit Cole? And if he's not available who else is?

23:30 - Listener question: Are you trying to extend Castellanos?

26:00 - Listener question: If you sign Castellanos are you also trading Kyle Schwarber?

28:45 - Listener question: Should the Cubs trade Kris Bryant? What would they get back in return?

33:00 - Lighting round: Will Nico Hoerner be the opening day second baseman and keep the job in 2020?

33:10 - Lightning round: Will the Cubs bring back Cole Hamels?

33:45 - Can we and should we clone Javy Baez so we have a fresh Javy when he retires, or is that unethical?

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

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