Sammy Sosa Was ‘One of the Worst Teammates Ever,’ Ex-Cubs P Turk Wendell Says

15 Apr 1997:  Pitcher Turk Wendell of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during a game against the San Francisco Giants at 3Comm Park in San Francisco, California.  The Cubs won the game 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule Jr.  /Allsport

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ESPN aired its “Long Gone Summer” documentary about the 1998 home run race between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire on Sunday night.

On Monday, Sosa’s former teammate, pitcher Turk Wendell, blasted him during an interview on WFAN.

“One of the worst teammates ever,” he said of Sosa (h/t Mollie Walker of the New York Post). “He only cared about himself, hitting home runs. He didn’t care if we lost 20-1; if he hit a home run, he was happy.”

Wendell said he liked Sosa as a person off the field but said the pair went to a shooting range together in Arizona and the Cubs slugger ignored the rules against rapidly firing guns. Wendell saw that as an example of entitlement. 

“That was just Sosa being Sosa, I guess. One-on-one, off the field, he was a good dude. And we went to a shooting range a couple of times. But Sammy was kind of just all about Sammy. … Sometimes some players get so used to people bowing down to them, giving them everything they want, they just think they can do whatever they want. He took that to the next level.”

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“One of the worst teammates ever. He only cared about himself, hitting home runs. He didn’t care if we lost 20-1, if he hit a home run, he was happy.” Former teammate Turk Wendell on Sammy Sosa.

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Wendell also took aim at Sosa over the rumors that he took steroids, though he said he never personally saw him using any banned substances.

“It’s sad because he was talented,” he said. “We did see his true athletic ability after they started testing for steroids; he went from 60 home runs to I think 12 or 14 with Baltimore and then he was out of the game.”

Sosa, who had 10 straight seasons with 35 or more home runs from 1995 to 2004, hit just 14 homers with the Baltimore Orioles in 2005. Major League Baseball began testing for steroids in 2003. 

Wendell added of the steroid rumors: “What am I going to do? Am I going to say something like, ‘Oh yeah, we won today because Sammy hit three home runs and he’s in the middle of a cycle.’ You can’t do that. You can’t throw your teammates out under the bus like that and I probably shouldn’t be talking about it right now. Facts are facts.”

Sosa and Wendell were teammates from 1993 to 1997 on the Cubs. Sosa finished his career with 609 home runs (ninth in MLB history) and 1,667 RBI. He was a seven-time All-Star, six-time Silver Slugger and the 1998 National League MVP. 

He has repeatedly denied using steroids and has maintained he never failed a drug test. The New York Times reported in 2009 that Sosa failed a 2003 drug test, however. 

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