Soriano, Sosa headline Cubs on HOF ballot

November 18th, 2019

CHICAGO -- One is the Cubs' all-time home run leader. The other is one of the best power-speed players in baseball history. Both and are among the names listed on the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot, which was unveiled on Monday.

For Sosa, this marks his eighth time on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot, giving him two more chances to remain under consideration for enshrinement. Soriano is one of 18 ballot first-timers -- a list that is headed by long-time Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

Eligible voters must submit their ballots (with no more than 10 names selected) by Dec. 31 with the results set to be announced at 5 p.m. CT on Jan. 21 on MLB Network. A player must receive at least 75 percent of the votes cast for enshrinement, or at least five percent to stay on the ballot (up to 10 years).

Notable holdovers on the '20 ballot include Curt Schilling (60.9 percent in '19), Roger Clemens (59.5 percent), Barry Bonds (59.1 percent) and Larry Walker (54.6 percent), among others.

There is no denying Sosa's place in Cubs lore. The former outfielder launched a club-record 545 home runs for the Cubs and ended his 18-year career with 609 blasts overall. Sosa remains the lone player in MLB history to eclipse 60 home runs in three seasons -- he won the National League MVP in 1998 and was a seven-time All-Star.

Sosa electrified his audience on the North Side with his signature home run hop and pregame sprints to right field. After homers, he would tap his heart and blow kisses into the camera. Along with Mark McGwire, Sosa captivated the nation in the summer of '98, when the sluggers chased down and surpassed Rogers Maris' single-season home run record.

Sosa has, however, been denied entrance to the Hall of Fame largely due to questions about the legitimacy of his power pursuits during an era clouded with suspicion for some players and evidence for others. Sosa was named on 12.5 percent of the ballots when he debuted on the list in '13, but has hovered between 6.6 percent and 8.6 percent in the past six years. He was on 8.5 percent of ballots in '19.

Soriano, who suited up for the Cubs from 2007-13 as part of his 16-year career, has one of the more well-rounded offensive careers in MLB history. Soriano was initially a star second baseman before moving to the outfield in a career that featured stops with the Yankees, Rangers, Nationals and Cubs. He made seven All-Star teams, earning MVP honors in the Midsummer Classic in '04.

In 2006, Soriano became the fourth player to achieve at least 40 homers and 40 steals in a season, and he ended his career with 412 homers and 289 steals. Soriano is one of only seven players in MLB history to have at least 400 homers, 400 doubles and 250 steals, alongside Bonds, Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez, Andre Dawson, Carlos Beltran and Gary Sheffield.

During his seven seasons with the Cubs, Soriano hit .264/.317/.495 with 181 homers, 218 doubles, 70 steals and 469 runs scored in 889 games. In Cubs history, only Billy Williams, Ryne Sandberg, Sosa and Soriano had at least 150 homers, 200 doubles and 70 stolen bases.

Besides Sosa and Soriano, former Cubs first baseman is on the '20 Hall of Fame ballot. Peña spent one season (2011) of his 14-year career with the Cubs, launching 28 home runs and drawing 101 walks for Chicago that summer. Peña ended his career with 286 homers between stints with eight teams.