CHICAGO -- Cubs general manager Jim Hendry hopes Sammy Sosa is remembered for his positive contributions to baseball, rather than any negative impact Sosa's image will suffer in the wake of a report that the former Cubs slugger tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.
The New York Times is reporting that Sosa was included on the list of 104 players who tested positive in '03. That list also included Alex Rodriguez.
"Obviously we'd never been informed by MLB or anyone else of any validity to that, or were we when he was playing or in '03, when it is now speculated that it was a positive test," Hendry said.
Sosa played for the Cubs from 1992 through 2004. Hendry has been the GM since 2002.
When asked how Sosa will be remembered, Hendry said: "I hope it's still more positive than negative. He played well for a long time.
"I was around a few years. I was on the road most of the time in the glory years, doing the draft in the minor leagues in the '90s. But in my early GM days, he was a guy who played every day. He didn't want days off. He certainly put up numbers and performed for the fans here in high fashion in the '90s, where -- except for '98 [when the Cubs made the playoffs] -- there were some lean years. He had a lot to do with helping the franchise and certainly helping our fan base. I hope the game still remembers him for the good things he did."
Hendry and Cubs manager Lou Piniella both feel the focus should be shifted from what happened in the past to how the game is trying to rid itself of steroids.
Hendry lamented how the steroid cloud cast suspicion over innocent players.
"I like to look at the whole situation as it's really time to put the whole era behind us," Hendry said. "If anything, I feel badly for all the players who played the game right and clean.
"We always hear about the testing of a 103 people who tested positive in a very confidential way. Those names were never supposed to come out. That being said, as they leak out, it's then reported that over half the game -- 60 or 70 percent -- are cheating. Well 103 out of 1,200 people on major league rosters is certainly unfair to the other 1,100 who played the game clean.
"I think MLB and the union are finally on the same page," Hendry continued. "Bud Selig has wanted a strict program for a long time. I think they're continuing to make it harder and stricter. I think that's good. But to go back and try to figure out who did what and who didn't do what to me is a big waste of time."
Piniella, who said he wouldn't "know a steroid from a refer," is in favor of releasing the entire list of players who tested positive in 2003.
"It probably would create a lot of havoc for a while, but it might be the best thing," Piniella said. "I've said that before."
"I wasn't here then," added Piniella, who replaced Dusty Baker after the 2006 season. "It's a shame baseball keeps going back to the past. Baseball is doing a good job today of cleaning up all these issues. That's what we should be focusing on."
Hendry isn't sure about releasing the entire list, but he does see one problem that would solve.
"In one way I guess you'd like that so all the clean players would get their just dues," he said. "That being said, with my little knowledge of what was involved at the time between the union and MLB, was it was supposed to be totally confidential.
"It always comes back to me to the respect and appreciation for the guys who played the game right and battled and continued to get better and did do better than they used to do or up good numbers. They're not going to get their fair due. There are a lot of people who play this game who continue to get better and keep putting up high numbers."
"Guys it is America, and people do work hard and get better and improve the right way," Hendry said. "I'm afraid those kinds of people will never get their due."
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