Trachsel: Sosa Wasn't A Good Teammate

Former Cubs pitcher Steve Trachsel says Sammy Sosa "was not the easiest guy to get along with"

Zach Gelb
July 02, 2020 - 8:41 am

In June, ESPN aired Long Gone Summer, a documentary about the 1998 home run race between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. Sosa not only lost the home run race, but also lost the respect of teammates during his tenure with the Cubs.

Turk Wendell, who pitched for the Cubs from 1993-97, called Sosa “one of the worst teammates ever.” Steve Trachsel, who pitched for the Cubs from 1993-99, wasn’t a fan, either.

“He’s not in my top 10,” Trachsel said sarcastically on The Zach Gelb Show. “There’s plenty of stuff out there. You can see in that documentary – and in others that Sammy’s done – he’s kind of built his own bed that he’s laying in now. He was not the easiest guy to get along with, but that’s just how it is. There’s always a couple of guys on each team that goes one way or the other where, for some reason or another, you just don’t get along. That’s the beauty of the game. You have all year long to come together as a team. Sometimes it takes longer and some guys just are harder to deal with. But you come together with 25 guys, you try to get it done – and that year we did it. Definitely couldn’t have done it that year without Sammy hitting 21 homers that month in June just to get us fired up. It’s a give and take. But I haven’t seen Sammy since 1999. Haven’t even spoken to him. There’s not too many guys I played with that I can say that.”

Sosa hit .308 with 66 home runs and 158 RBIs in 1998, leading the Cubs to the playoffs. He was named NL MVP for his efforts. Sosa hit 63 home runs in 1999, 64 in 2001, and averaged 58.4 homers over five seasons from 1998 to 2002.

Nevertheless, he is not in the Hall of Fame, which is fine with Trachsel.

“No, I’m firmly in the camp of [if] you did steroids and PEDs and all that, you’re definitely not getting in,” he said. “I’m 100 percent in that camp. That’s for everybody. I kind of look at it this way: if you had to take steroids in order to stand in the box to face me, then I must have been doing something pretty good.”

Trachsel, a former All-Star, said he never took steroids or even thought about taking them.

“I never saw it, never even talked about it,” he said. “That year, even the year after, never even was asked about it by reporters. So that’s the one thing across the board: everybody was complicit in it. From the reporters to the owners – everybody. Everyone was willing to look the other way, and it’s kind of unfortunate because it leaks into now. You can’t look at anybody that hits 35, 45 homers and the first thing everyone wonders is if he’s doing it legit. That’s unfortunate because I think for the most part 95 percent of the guys were.”