What Happened To Sammy’s Face?

Much like Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro after the steroids hearing prompted by Jose Canseco’s tell-all book, Sammy Sosa has kept a somewhat of a low profile after his retirement.

In May of this year, Sosa attended a People Magazine event and looked like he could still hit 50 home runs without even trying. This week, Sammy attended the Latin Academy Person of the Year event and something was definitely not right.

Does anyone have a theory on how someone’s appearance can change so much in just six months? Along with the whitening skin and fake eyes, it appears that he might have also lost some weight.

As you can see from these Yahoo! photos, Sammy is now using contacts to change the color of his eyes. It’s just as pathetic today as it was when this dummy began wearing them.

Is this a case of bad plastic surgery or something much worse?

(thumbnail leads to a full-size scan)

Say It Aint Sosa

Brady Anderson’s SHOCKING year!

Sometimes it’s hard to remember 1996, what with all the coverage given to stars like Albert Pujols. I personally would like to forget about that year because it’s when a little-known lead-off hitter and bunting expert came out of nowhere to hit 50 home runs.

Keep in mind, Brady Anderson was not completely unknown. He had already served ten years of Major League service before 1996 but what was perhaps most shocking was his home run totals before 1996. In ten seasons, Brady’s season-high was 21 and had hit a total of 73 in ten seasons.

How he came into camp and hit 50 is beyond me. In the next six seasons he would reach 20+ home runs just once before ending his career in Cleveland with just one home run. While looking at his career numbers sure strikes up some possible scenarios to explain Brady’s Ruthian-season, there is one guy who shocked us even more.

In 1989, a very mediocre player named Cecil went to Japan to play a season. A four year veteran with the Toronto Blue Jays, Cecil Fielder never hit more than 14 home runs in a season and had just 31 career blasts before leaving for Japan. Upon his return, Cecil signed with the Detroit Tigers and began hitting bombs at a surprising rate.

When all was said and done, Cecil ended the 1990 season with 51 home runs and 132 RBI. The following year he won his second Home Run Crown and spent the rest of his career as one of the game’s most feared sluggers before retiring from baseball in 1998 at just 34 years of age.

Can you think of any other players that put up monster numbers out of the blue?

Is the end near for Jason Giambi?

Jason Giambi, 38, was released from the Oakland Athletics today. Although his power numbers were not lower than expected (11 HR/40 RBI), his batting average was an abysmal .183 after 83 games.

Jason, a former Most Valuable Player, became one of baseball’s premier slugger during the height of the Steroid Era. In Jose Canseco’s first book, ‘Juiced’, Jose called Jason the “poster child” for Steroid use. After a public apology in 2005, most fans forgave the fan friendly Giambi.

Jason’s numbers have been in a steady decline for a few seasons but in his final year in New York he did manage to hit 32 bombs while driving in close to 100 RBI. The Oakland Athletics brought him back to where he began his career in 1995 but clearly the magic was gone.

Jason hit his 400th career home run early in the 2009 season.

Boston’s Big Cheaters

Source: New York Times

Let’s be honest, you’d have to be living with your head in the sand to not suspect Dominican-born David Ortiz of cheating. After all, this is a guy who hit 68 home runs in six seasons in Minnesota and then had one year with 54 while teammates with Manny Ramirez, another known cheater.

Not surprisingly, Big Papi has just 13 home runs in close to 100 games and is hitting a career-low .224 this season. His partner in crime, Manny Ramirez, just finished serving a 50-game suspension. It could easily be argued that without Manny and Big Papi, Boston would have never won the 2004 or 2007 World Series.

Other names supposedly on the list: Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa.

This is called “beating a dead horse”

I make it a habit to never watch ESPN. I do however occasionally find myself looking through their website for stories and news items. One recent article really made me think about Jose’s claim of being “blackballed” from baseball.

Joe Posnanskyi wrote in detail about how many players begin a downward spiral at the age of 33. It’s happening to David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez this season but it’s even hit legends like Mickey Mantle and Hack Wilson.

By 1998, a 33-year old Canseco had failed to reach his usual 30HR/100 RBI plateau three seasons in a row. There were whispers around the league that the former unanimous M.V.P was washed up so naturally it was difficult finding someone willing to give Jose a chance. Luckily, Canada came through.

Surprisingly, Jose had a career year in 1998, bashing a career-high 46 home runs, driving in over 100, scoring close to 100 times, and stealing 29 bags. All these numbers came while earning money through an incentive-laden contract. Not so surprising, Canada dumped Jose by year’s end.

By next season, Jose would enter the All-Star break with more home runs than anyone in baseball. Two years later, he was out of baseball, 38 home runs away from an almost guaranteed ticket into the Hall of Fame. His skills may have diminished but at that point in his career, Jose could hit 25HR/80RBI with his eyes closed.

He even offered to play for free or donate his paycheck.