06/21/07 1:24 AM ET
Sosa blasts No. 600 off former team
Slugger becomes fifth player to join club, hits first off Cubs
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
It was the biggest individual moment at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington since Rafael Palmeiro hit his 500th home run on May 11, 2003. The only other comparable moment was Kenny Rogers' perfect game on July 28, 1994."To hit it at home in front of the Texas fans was great," Sosa said. "Now I can go home, relax and concentrate on baseball." One of the heart-tap salutes was directed toward the Cubs dugout. "I respect the Cubs as the other team," Sosa said. "That's how I show my respect to them." Sosa's wife Sonia, sons Sammy Jr. and Michael and daughters Keysha and Kenia, his agent Adam Katz and other family and friends, were all at the game sitting in a private box. "This one is pretty big because I didn't know if I was going to come back to baseball," Sosa said. "I took a year off and I might have been home by now. But I kept working and I kept fighting and there were a lot of people who kept supporting me. Now we get a chance to celebrate 600." Sosa, who sat out all of last season, was the oldest of the five to reach 600. He is 38 years and 222 days old, just a little older than Mays, who hit his at 38 years and 139 days. It was his first home run against the Cubs, and he has now gone deep against every Major League franchise. "It couldn't have happened to a better guy, especially when some people wrote him off," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We saw he had something left in him, and he's been a model citizen and a model teammate. He's worked his tail off, and he deserves everything that's going to come along with hitting No. 600." Sosa isn't finished. He'll likely get Thursday off to enjoy the moment. Then he'll go back to work on Friday against the Houston Astros, and he's made it clear that he won't be satisfied with 600 home runs. When asked how long he'll keep going, Sosa looked at Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and said, "It just depends on how many years that J.D. signs me." Then he smiled. "Texas is the team that has given me the opportunity, and they've treated me so great," Sosa said. "I fit perfectly here. I feel happy here. I'm doing my job and showing people I have more years left. I'm hungry, and I'm here because I want to compete. "Right now I feel great."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.