Sammy Sosa: 1968—: Professional Baseball Player
Immersed in family responsibilities at age 30, at a Chicago condo overlooking Lake Michigan and a luxury summer home at Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic, Sosa centered his hopes and activities on his wife, Sonia, and their children, Keysha, Kenia, Sammy, Jr., and Michael. Sosa treated his mother to a series of three upgrades in residence and rewarded himself with a fleet of expensive cars, SUVs, and a yacht he dubbed the "Sammy Jr." His ritual of touching his heart and kissing the index and middle fingers of his right hand as he approached the plate honored peace, love, and the two women in his life, his mother and wife. His jersey, number 21, celebrated Puerto Rican star athlete Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates, whom Sosa had admired from early childhood.
Athletic success did not spare Sosa from severe criticism of his actions and attitudes. With class and dignity, he weathered accusations of selfishness and cockiness and faced down boos from disgruntled Chicagoans at the annual Cubs fan convention in February of 2001. One of the league's highest-paid players, he began investing his earnings and time in others. In October of 1997, he established the Sammy Sosa Foundation to aid underprivileged young islanders in the Dominican Republic as well as Chicago's poorest children. To assure local children a chance to advance through sports, he treated them to free admission to Cubs games on "Sammy Sundays." His generosity to youngsters growing up in the type of poverty that he survived won him the Roberto Clemente award for outstanding service to the community.
Accolades continue to pour in to Sosa for his support of charities and for his influence on young fans to emulate his sportsmanship and great-heartedness. In the January of 1999 State of the Union address, President Bill Clinton recognized Sosa, who sat with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in the chamber balcony. The President praised Sosa for aiding his homeland with shipments of beans, rice, and bottled water after Hurricane Georges slammed into the island in September of 1998. Clinton also thanked Sosa for purchasing school books, computers, hospital equipment and ambulances, and an office building to benefit fellow Dominicans. Quoted in Jet, Clinton told the nation, " … sports records are made and sooner or later, they're broken. But making other peoples' lives better, and showing our children the true meaning of brother-hood—that lasts forever."
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—Mary Ellen Snodgrass
Brief BiographiesBiographies: Nate Smith Biography - Fought His Way into the Union to Theodosius II BiographySammy Sosa: 1968—: Professional Baseball Player Biography - From Poverty To Professional Athletics, Stardom Amid Frustrations, Glory Days With The Cubs, A Spectacular Season