What Happened to Sammy Sosa?
Former Major League Baseball player Samma Sosa is one of the greatest ever, but you might not recognize him if he walked past you on the street today after his Michael Jackson-esque transformation.
Sosa blossomed at the height of the Steroid Era alongside Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire, and he was one of MLB’s poster children during baseball's growth in the United States.
Across 18 seasons with the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles, he clobbered 609 home runs and 1,667 RBIs. Born in the Dominican Republic, Sosa still ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time home run list.
In retirement, however, he underwent a wild transformation.
Sosa’s skin transformation is the result of skin bleaching. He's used what he calls a skin bleaching cream, as he told Univision’s Primer Impacto show in 2009.
“It’s a bleaching cream that I apply before going to bed and whitens my skin tone,” Sosa said. “It’s a cream that I have that I use to soften [my skin], but has bleached me some. I’m not a racist, I live my life happily. What happened was that I had been using the cream for a long time and that, combined with the bright TV lights, made my face look whiter than it really is."
Why change his appearance? Well, Sosa told Sports Illustrated in a 2018 interview in Dubai, “This is my life, and I don’t take garbage from nobody. I do whatever I want.”
The New York Times estimated that 70 percent of women in West and South Africa use similar techniques to get a lighter complexion. In Asia, the billion-dollar industry exists because a white, milky skin color is a symbol of status and wealth.
Sosa and his wife Sonia now live in the United Arab Emirates. The slugger has done well for himself, investing in various business interests. He even has houses in Miami and Santo Domingo.
Sosa put performance-enhancing drugs and steroid use allegations behind him, and that should be applauded. He’s appeared on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot ever year since 2013, but has failed to gain support.
Slammin’ Sammy’s legacy wearing a Chicago Cubs uniform is impossible to dispute for what he did for that city and franchise.
Still, it’s odd to see Sosa’s appearance in its current form. Social media focuses on it from time to time, but honestly, Sammy, never change.
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