Yeah, that’s the kind of Hall we’re going to be. You got a problem with that? Luis Sojo was…not great. In fact it would be a stretch to say he was really good. But goddamn it, the guy’s career was absolutely fantastic. And as the HORG celebrates the previously unrecognized greatness of baseball, we’re putting this guy into the HORG.
Yes, the HORG fully recognizes that had he never been traded to the New York Yankees in 1996, Luis Sojo would most likely have been forgotten. But he was, which means he got to film Adidas commercials with David Cone, because sometimes life is awesome.
Feast on this man’s unbridled joy of being a Yankee.
I dare even the most ardent Yankee hater to tell me they don’t feel at least a little good that this guy who looks like he would make a decent beer league softball player (Not captain, mind you, but a solid glue guy for your work team), who has consistently been in the right place at the right time, as if he were God’s favorite son. This man, whose own Wikipedia page looks like it is mocking him with quotes like “He continued his hot streak into the 1995 American League Championship Series, again going 5-for-20...”
Alright guys. You don’t need to clown him over going .250. But year in and year out it always seemed like this guy had a couple of big hits down the stretch, even though I am almost assuredly misremembering his actual contributions. Either way, Luis Sojo was the hipster Yankee fan’s player to root for.
The guy played with the Blue Jays for about five seconds in 1993, but the man got his World Series ring. Then he played with a fun bunch of Seattle guys, until they lost a few players and started to fall into the abyss in 1996, and was given a lifeline by the suddenly surging Yankees. He even hit the cover off the ball in the 1996 World Series going .600 with an RBI…over five at bats. And without scoring a run of his own. Still, he mixed a double in there. And they won the damn World Series, lifting the dreaded Yankees curse of 18 years in between titles. The guy got to wear a uniform for the 98 Yanks, and won his fourth ring before the party ended and he was forced to sign with the horrific Pittsburgh Pirates, which has to be a letdown, going from a team that won three titles in four years to a team that would eventually lose 93 games.
But then when all hope was lost the man was traded back to the Yankees, because God was only kidding with the poor bastard.
And as the year went on, every Yankee fan was forced to ask themselves one question. “Wait, Luis Sojo is still on the team? Was he always here? I feel like he went to Cincinnati or something?” And then we went to our desktop PC because cell phones didn’t have internet, and thought about looking up where he’d been all year, but ended up falling into a Napster rabbit hole, because man, this is the most year 2000 story ever. Heh. Mystikal. Shake yo ass. But watch yo self.
And what does the guy do when he’s getting less and less time in the game. Oh nothing.
As I watched that team I kept seeing Luis Sojo, smiling like a stoned 14 year old, realizing that he’d been saved from the indignity of playing on a team that probably more truly reflected his actual talent. All I thought was, that man is clearly the happiest person to ever play for the Yankees. Maybe he was just always happy. I don’t know. I’m not going to claim to have watched a ton of California Angels games in the early 90’s. But it always seemed to me like he was the biggest fan who realized he was riding a wave he had no business approaching. The man earned a World Series ring for every million dollars he collected in salary. 5 rings, lifetime earnings $4,940,000.00.
Hey, he rode his marginal talents just about as far as anybody ever has. And in 2003 the guy got to hit a game winner in the Yankees old timer’s day game. That’s a really great capper on an extraordinary career, isn’t it? Actually nope, because the crazy bastard actually made the team later that year. Played in three games, which meant he got hot food in the clubhouse for half a week. Not too bad, Luis.
Also, this happened.
Oh yeah. I do not have any idea what that is, but good on you, Sojo.
Look, I’m probably being something of a homer here by adding Sojo to the hall. I don’t care. Look at this guy and tell me you don’t want to hang out. I bet he knows a good fishing hole somewhere nearby. I don’t even like fishing, but I’d go. Then we’ll clean up at his place, and go to a shitty bar together. Not a strip bar, but one of those local versions of Hooters like ‘Sportz Dawgz’ or ‘The Ditch’ where the girls wear the shorts that barely cover their ass. I guarantee you every one of those waitresses light up and call him by his nickname as soon as we walk through the door. Probably Gopher or something. The guy hasn’t even fooled around with any of them, but they know he’s a sweetheart, and the two of you are getting 50 cent drinks all night long. Then he’ll get way too drunk and you’ll end up at one of the server’s apartments, asleep on her leather couch while a fully clothed Gopher is passed out on the corner of her bed, respectfully giving her space. God, that idiot wore his 2000 ring, didn’t he? It’s right there on his hand. I fucking love you, Sojo.
Luis Sojo, as I can only assume some veteran’s committee isn’t going to enshrine you, and I don’t believe the Yankees will be retiring your number…[checking]…I guess we’ll go with 19, then this is probably the end of the line for your accolades. I just want you to know that you were…well I’m not going to say really good, more like…good career? Oh fuck it. You were really good, Gopher.