Report: Sosa denies steroids played part in success

Sammy Sosa, contemplating a return to baseball in 2007, would like to end the speculation that steroid use played a part in his impressive career slugging statistics.

"No question about it," Sosa told the Chicago Tribune on Friday. "I am clean, and I always have been clean. There has been a lot of speculation, but they don't have no evidence. So you take it from there. They haven't been writing a book about me doing this or doing that."

Despite word surfacing the past few months that steroid user Jason Grimsley implicated Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons in a federal probe involving steroid abuse, Sosa's name has yet to surface in any credible report

"Because I don't do that," Sosa told the newspaper. "My name would have been in there. Think about it. All of the questions and all the speculation, my name is never there …

"Yeah, everyone is surprised because, you know why? I hit 60 [homers] three times. I put up the numbers. But you know what? I put up those numbers by going to bed at 9 o'clock at night in Chicago because I have to play a day game every day at 1 o'clock. I prepared myself for that.

In 1998, Sosa and Mark McGwire grabbed the nation's attention as they wages and assault on the all-time single-season home run record.

McGwire swatted 70 homers and Sosa hit 66, both eclipsing Roger Maris' 1961 mark of 61.

McGwire is eligible for the Hall of Fame on the next ballot, and voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America have been debating whether to vote for him in light of his refusal to answer questions during a congressional hearing on steroids.

Pressed to talk about the importance of he and McGwire addressing the rampant speculation they had used performance enhancers to achieve their power numbers, Sosa replied to the Chicago Tribune with a bit of agitation.

"I understand your point," he said. "Remember, I am not a writer. I am a baseball player. And no matter what happens, we are family. Mark is part of my family. My opinion is always going to be in a good way when I refer to someone in my family. I am not going to sit here and say, `Do this and don't do that.' Because I am not like that.

"The Hall of Fame means everything, and I think my way to the Hall of Fame is there. There has been a lot of [steroid use] speculation. But I don't think that speculation is going to stop me from going to the Hall.

"And remember, I always treated all of the writers great. I always had time for everybody. I am not saying that's why they should vote for me. [They should vote for me] because the numbers, they are there. That thing don't lie."