Report: Banks asks Sosa to come clean

Some fans suspected Sammy Sosa of using performance-enhancing drugs as far back as June 2003. AP Photo/Roberto Borea

In the wake of Mark McGwire's admission that he took steroids during the 1998 season, Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks is calling on Sammy Sosa, who competed with the former Cardinals slugger that season to break baseball's home run record, to address allegations that he also used performance-enhancing drugs.

"Come clean with it," Banks advised Sosa in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. "Explain it to them ... Just say: 'This is what happened.' It's 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."

The New York Times reported last June that Sosa is one of the 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in baseball's 2003 survey testing.

Sosa, whose career with the Cubs ended on a sour note when he left Wrigley Field during the final game of the 2004 season, has not publicly addressed the Times' report. He denied taking steroids during a 2005 hearing before Congress.

The Tribune reports that the 79-year-old Banks traveled to Sosa's native Dominican Republic last year as a Cubs representative in an effort to contact Sosa but was unsuccessful.

"I would like to see Sammy come back," Banks told the Tribune. "Throw out the first pitch, sing 'Take Me Out To The Ballgame,' 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."