Sammy Sosa’s tenure with the Cubs ended on a sour note, as the slugging right fielder left the final game of the 2004 season shortly after first pitch. The Cubs fined him and eventually dealt him to the Orioles in January 2005.
Sosa is one of the most decorated players in Cubs history, but he’s been estranged from the team since the incident. He attempted to clear the air on Saturday, telling Z101 Digital (translated from Spanish) then-manager Dusty Baker gave him permission to leave the Oct. 3, 2004, game against the Braves.
Sammy Sosa regarding his relationship with the @Cubs: “There was a game when I left early and I did it with Dusty Baker’s permission. The problem is that it was on a bad stretch the team had so there was a lot of blame to go around."@z101digital @ZDeportes— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) April 11, 2020
The incident occurred a day after a loss to Atlanta officially eliminated the Cubs from postseason contention. They lost seven of their final nine games in 2004, and Sosa said while he was used to winning and upset at how the season ended, leaving the game early was a mistake.
Sammy Sosa regarding his relationship with the @Cubs: “But it was a mistake I made leaving early on my last game. We were finishing on a bad streak and I was used to winning so I felt bad about it."@z101digital @ZDeportes— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) April 11, 2020
Sosa apparently called Baker to clear the air afterwards.
Sammy Sosa regarding his relationship with the @Cubs: "It was my mistake, still I talked to dusty afterwards and clear things up with him by saying: “You gave me permission to leave early, told me it was Ok I left.”@z101digital @ZDeportes— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) April 11, 2020
Sosa told NBC Sports Chicago in May 2018 he’s open to a reunion with the Cubs, but owner Tom Ricketts said last January “nothing’s changed” regarding their desire for the slugger to come clean about steroids.
"Like I've said in the past, everyone loved Sammy as a player — one of the greatest players in the history of baseball," Ricketts said. "But he played through a pretty awkward era. We owe all the guys that played in that era a lot of understanding.
“There were a lot of PEDs being used by a lot of players — I mean, there's a sealed, federal investigation that has over 100 players that tested positive. I don't want to judge those guys in a way that's too harsh.
“But on the other hand, I think they owe us a little bit of honesty. I think we need to think that through.”Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.