CHICAGO (AP) -- Sammy Sosa's return to Chicago would have been more dramatic Tuesday night if he'd been playing on the North Side rather than the South Side of town.
He did wear the White Sox uniform for parts of three seasons, but it was during 13 years with the Cubs at Wrigley Field that he became one of the most popular figures in the city's sports history and one of baseball's top home-run hitters.His legacy was diminished when he was caught using a corked bat in 2003 and left the clubhouse before the end of the regular-season finale in 2004."I explained to everybody and took the responsibility for that. I mean it. And I said it. It was a mistake on my part," Sosa said of the corked bat. "That is one thing I got to carry with me all my life, I always regret it. This is in the past."On a chilly night, he was back for the first time since that final game in 2004, which preceded a trade to the Baltimore Orioles. He struggled there, took 2006 off and returned this season with the Texas Rangers.Sosa, booed loudly in his first at-bat, talked before the game on how he wanted to remembered in Chicago."The way I was. The way I am," he said. "When I'm in the field, I gave you everything I had, and the numbers don't lie."Sosa has two homers this season, raising his total to 590, fifth on the career list."For a guy coming from the Dominican Republic and to be here in Chicago -- Chi-town -- I did pretty good."Sosa hit 545 homers with the Cubs, 28 with the White Sox, 14 with the Orioles and three in two stints with the Rangers, the team he broke in with in 1989."He had one pair of shoes when I met him. Now he has like 300. He tried to play this game to make his mom live better and he did a real good job out of that," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who was Sosa's teammate in 1989-91."We called him Zorro when he got here. He struck out every at-bat. When you hit 600 home runs, you should have confidence. You should be arrogant, he did something nobody can take away from him."Sosa was booed when introduced on the scoreboard Tuesday night. After all, he is a former Cub."I go with flow, whatever they want," Sosa said. "Whatever the reaction is, I'm going to enjoy it anyway."He will be remembered for his time with the Cubs: his home run hop, racing to his post in right field and saluting the fans from his heart and touching his fingers to his lips."Everybody knows the way I was in Chicago -- I mean the North Side. I played all my years with my heart," said Sosa, the only player in history with three 60-homer seasons. "There was definitely a misunderstanding in '04, but time will heal everything."Sosa has spoken with Cubs president John McDonough and said his relationship with the team can and will be repaired.Sosa and Mark McGwire were credited with restoring baseball's popularity with their 1998 home run duel. Seven years later, both were called to testify before a congressional hearing on steroids."We did save baseball in 1998. We did the best we can in the field and everybody was happy. But after that, I have no control about what happened," Sosa said.He said he was disappointed that McGwire wasn't voted into the Hall thus year."In my heart he's a Hall of Famer," Sosa said. "For anybody who plays the game, especially the numbers, the numbers don't lie. ... I want to get to the Hall of Fame. Definitely that's my dream."Sosa was batting .175 with two homers and seven RBIs before Tuesday night's game. He said he's adjusted to being a designated hitter."Oh, I'm going to get hot. I'm going to get hot," he said. "That you can put down in the book."