Hall of Famer Ernie Banks is calling on Sammy Sosa to address allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune on Monday. In the wake of Mark McGwire's recent admission that he took steroids during his career, including the 1998 season in which he hit 70 home runs and Sosa hit 66, Banks told the newspaper that Sosa needs to "come clean with it." "I would say just what Mark McGwire did," Banks told the Tribune.
"Explain it to them. ... Just say: 'This is what happened.' It is hard to do, to admit this. Just admit it and live with it and understand it. I am sure a lot of people will forgive him." Sosa was identified in June 2009 as one of the 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in baseball's 2003 survey testing, according to a report by The New York Times. Sosa hasn't publicly responded to Banks' comments and has generally avoided talking to the media since his playing career ended in 2007. Banks said he tried to reach out to Sosa last year when he traveled to the Dominican Republic on behalf of the Cubs, but Sosa was in Brazil working as a representative for his native country. "I would like to see Sammy come back," Banks said. "Throw out the first pitch, sing 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game,' you know, meet some of the players and all of that. I was dreaming about it. I always thought that the way he left here and went to his demise here was quick. The lesson from that is that fame is fleeting. It can go in a minute."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.