Sammy Sosa, who along with Mark McGwire captivated baseball fans in the summer of 1998 while pursuing and surpassing Roger Maris's all-time home run record, tested positive for a banned substance in 2003 according to a report on the New York Times' website this afternoon.
The 40-year-old Sosa, who is sixth on the all-time home run list with 609, had long been suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs because of his unusual mid-career power surge. But had never been linked to a positive test until now.
Sosa, who hit more than 60 home runs in a season three times, is the second player to be revealed from a list of 104 who tested positive in 2003 during survey tests conducted by Major League Baseball to see if mandatory, random drug testing was needed. In today's report, the Times cited lawyers who have knowledge of the drug-testing results from that year as its source.
There were no penalties for a positive test in 2003, and surveys were supposed to remain anonymous. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was the first one the '03 list to be revealed as testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
ESPNDeportes.com reported earlier this month that Sosa, who has not played in the majors since 2007, would announce his retirement soon and "calmly wait" for his induction into the Hall of Fame.
"Don't I have the numbers to be inducted?" said Sosa.
But his induction is all the more unlikely now. Other players who have been linked to performance-enhancing drugs -- such as McGwire -- have received little support on the Hall of Fame ballot.
Sosa, who also was found during the 2003 season to have used a corked bat, testified before Congress in 2005 that he had "never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs."