What Is Going On With Sammy Sosa?

After reading this tweet and following the link supplied by Jimmy Traina, I had to quickly post this.

Does anyone know what is going on with Sammy Sosa?

As Traina’s tweet wonders, did Sosa get a facelift? Botox? Is he possibly dealing with vitiligo (the disease Michael Jackson suffered from that causes splotches of pigment-less skin)?


I am wondering if any of our readers knows of an explanation for Sosa’s drastically altered appearance.

Update: here is a link to our subsequent post on this topic, exploring a hypothesis that Sammy’s new pale look could be the result of vitiligo-like symptoms caused by steroid use.

This is clearly not a lighting issue or anything of that nature. Sosa looks completely different, and you can see him here and here at the same event in different light.

Despite the fact that I hate the Cubs and never was a Sosa fan, I’m not posting this to poke fun at Sammy. It just completely took me aback when I saw the pictures and I wanted to share. I imagine post people’s reaction will be similar and I’m hoping someone can shed some light on the reasoning or explanation behind it.

I don’t really know what else to say.

Quick update: Just sent this post over to my co-worker and his first reaction was to say, “that’s not Sammy Sosa! It must be photoshopped.” I thought so too at first, expect that the links supplied above show Sosa looking the same in pictures taken by many different photographers.

Here is a bigger version of the thumbnail picture above:


Another quick update. Here is a picture that was just sent to me of Sammy Sosa from May of 2009. He’s obviously a little more plump than we remember him (which is to be suspected), but you can see the obvious difference in his skin pigmentation:


One possible explanation posited by a number of readers: a really bad makeup job. I suppose that is possible, although if you look at this picture in particular, his hand is same color as his face. Why would he get makeup on his hand? Not sure the makeup explanation really flies.

Update 9/9: The Chicago Tribune got ahold of a former Cubs employee who is still in contact with Sosa and says that Sammy is “not trying to be Michael Jackson.” Rather, he is supposedly going through a skin rejuvenation process that “women have…all of the time.”


* – Sammy Sosa looking white photo credit: PRN / PR Photos via Exposay.com

* – Sammy Sosa in May photo credit: Reuters via DayLife

About Jerod Morris

I love words. I write for Copyblogger and founded MSF, The Assembly Call, & Primility. I practice yoga, eat well, & strive for balance. I love life. Namaste. Say hi on Twitter, Facebook, & G+.


  1. Maybe he's dabbled in some hard drugs…wouldnt be that surprising after what hes been through in the media over the past few years.

    • Not sure about that one. Certainly we've seen pictures of people on hard drugs with much paler skin, but I think a more reasonable possibility is vitiligo and/or self image issues coming to the surface. That's what happened with Michael Jackson, who is obviously the first person everyone thinks of when they see these pics of Sammy.

  2. who cares..HIS WIFE IS HOTT!!!

  3. Sammy went to MIchael Jackson's doctor. And his wife has to take a monster dump.

    • Well, between his wife having to "take a dump" and looking like she "just smelled a fart" I think we've pretty much covered all the bases and gotten to the bottom of this.

  4. He is bleaching his skin like Micheal Jackson was bleaching his skin. He is bleaching his skin like Lil Kim is bleaching her skin. I dont believe in the vitiligo bs with Micheal Jackson nor do I believe it with Sammy Sosa. Sammy is wearing green contacts and has procesed his hair so this is a Self Image problem not vitiligo.

    I am originally from the Caribbean and have been to the Dominican Republic many times. Being dark skinned or "negro" or "cocolo" as they call it is like having the plague in the Dominican Republic.

    Sadly bleaching the of the skin is on the rise. Many Jamaican, and Haitian women in particular are bleaching their skin on a daily basis. Recently I have noticed more men starting the process.

    The bleaching of skin by black people can lead to skin cancer just as tanning of skin by white people can lead to skin cancer.

  5. Dominicans are weird. They want no association with Africa or black blood. Many of them proudly claim to be of
    Spanish (white) blood. Sosa is now the white Spanish man is always wanted to be.

  6. for the people making the cliche and incredibly uncreative Mj jokes, how about the toxology reports and 3 different doctors saying he had a sever case of vitiligo?

  7. Darnell Hutsin says:

    Does vitiligo make your eyes change from brown to green? Boo

  8. Alex, you are so biased and painfully obvious. Mr Jackson indeed suffered from Vitiligo. There is video evidence you moron. Mr Jackson was a perfectionist, with his connections do you really believe he wouldn't have his entire body bleached! If he really wanted to appear "white," as if that is really something to aspire to? Really! Till his untimely death he still had areas on his body where the evidence clearly shows lack of pigmentation on his body. So till you know for certain, keep Mj's name out of you mouth. Ass#ole.

  9. Not for nothing but he's not out working in the sun for 8 hrs a day, 200 days a year anymore and his nuts are un-shriveling as we speak now that he's off the juice. I think he gets a free pass on looking a little pale.

    • I agree with this. Dominican men are not really all that dark. Sammy was dark because he spent everyday all day out in the sun, and now that he doesn't he's going to get a little white.

      • EboniiKitten says:

        @Cait: You obviously have not met alot of Dominicans. They share an island with Haiti, although most like to deny. They are part African. Sosa isn't suffering from a lack of sun, but a lack of identity. Drastically lightened skin and green eyes don't happen from from skin rejuvenation. It's called bleach and contacts.


  10. Dr. Knowledge says:

    Did Mikey Jackson's "vitiligo" also cause his nose to fall off, and his eyelids and lips to get tattooed? Or the cleft to appear in his chin? Vitiligo doesn't just happen overnight, and it also doesn't cover complete areas like an entire face. And, toxology reports would have absolutely nothing to do or show for vitiligo. It's not something that shows up in your blood. "Three different doctors" said he had it? Hmmm…. since ALL of MJ's doctors were prescribing illegal drugs, and taking money under the table, I doubt any of them have much credibility. MJ was trying to turn white, and looks like Sammy Sosa is too. Hmmm…. why is being white so much a goal of black people?? Maybe they are all going to start listening to Lawrence Welk music too? ;)

    • Truth Is Weird says:

      MJ's vitiligo was confirmed by the autopsy. His nose never fell off (that's a tabloid myth) and his plastic surgery has nothing to do with his vitiligo. If MJ wanted to turn white he would have had his hair dyed and started wearing contacts like Sammy Sosa.

  11. cubanmahogany says:

    I think he looked better with his dark skin. He is definately bleaching his skin. The color doesn't even look natural on him. I think that he's going to have to do his lips next b/c they are still dark. LOL.!

  12. I'm pretty convinced that Sammy is suffering from the same disease as Michael Jackson did…..and it ain't vitiligo. I think that it's something akin to 'I want to look like a whiteman- itis! I loved MJ to bits, but I beleive that the white blotches on his skin were NOT viligo, but the remnants of uneven bleach jobs. If uneven blotches appear, (as in vitiligo) wouldn't the sufferer be inclined to want to keep his/her natural (preblotched) skin colour?

    I heard one of MJs make-up artists (well before his death) say that they started off trying to match up his naturally dark skin with dark make-up, but the whiteness became far too extensive – so they then went for the white look. (Perhaps she was on the payroll, too.)

    Did the coroner report on his vitiligo?? I can't remember – but I'd be more inclined to beleive that report, over a 'friend'. I must research it. Off topic, I know – so back to Sammy. Whatever it is, he looks creepy. MJ always looked gorgeous until the last few years (IMO), when the repeated plastic surgeries made him look completely bizaar

    • Truth Is Weird says:

      Actually the autopsy DID confirm that Michael Jackson had vitiligo universalis. Both autopsies. He was first diagnosed in 1986 (though he had been seeing signs as far back as 1983 and 1984, possibly earlier) and there are many pictures and videos showing vitiligo spots on various places on his body between 1983 and 1997. He used a chemical treatment called "Benoquin" to even it out after unsuccessfully trying to re-pigment himself in the late 80s and early 90s while wearing dark makeup to attempt to hide it from the public. He was deeply ashamed of his vitiligo and for the first half of his adult life considered it disfiguring. He wouldn't even admit he had it to the public until 1993. In various leaked private phone conversations he talked with friends about how he tried to hide it for years.

      It is possible for some people with localized vitiligo to have their splotches re-pigmented. TEMPORARILY. It only lasts a few months or a few years. With vitiligo universalis this doesn't seem to work. Possibly because it covers the entire body. Michael tried having his pigment brought back more than once but it just started disfiguring him and aggravating his already Lupus-damaged skin. By some time in the late 90s or early 2000s he seemed to just come to terms with his new skin color.

  13. Even his lips have got thinner! (Sammy, that is) Does vitiligo cause lip thinning too??

  14. I'm with what Alex said. 'Skin rejuvenation' my ass. The green contacts and chemicalised, slicked down hair are dead giveaways – Sammy doesn't want to be what he is – which is a BLACK man – and pleeeeease don't give me this 'Dominicans are not that dark' bs – there are plenty black Dominicans and Sammy is (was?) one.

    And the fact that former Cubs employee said Sammy told her he was using a moisturising treatment on his skin at night to 'cleanse' it – oh PLEASE! You mean Nadinola? Or Maxi White? How shameful.

    Black people know what's up. We've seen bleaching and yes, it is sadly popular among certain sectors of society in some Caribbean islands. Like Alex, I'm from the Caribbean and I spent time in Jamaica – I used to see it there all the time – the signs are very obvious – the skin always looks a little off and uneven, as Sammy's does.

  15. Who said his wife is hot?????? LOOK at her chest. One boob is TWICE the size of the other. bad boob job or something. looks nasty.

  16. I think his skin changes could be related to liver failure due to the many years of steroid abuse. The sclera (the white part) of his eyes don't appear icteric or yellow but they are not clear either. The puffiness in his face could also be attributed to liver failure due to a phenomenon called "third spacing". It would be interesting to see his extremities.

  17. OMG He looks sick! He is bleaching and it looks horrible.

  18. Sam, love who you are!!! Love being black!!! Don't worry if you don't, I love being black enough for the both of us.

  19. He does not have vertigilo! This is similar to the tons of women that undergo treatment to get "glowing" or "toned" skin. A full shot of Sosa at this event shows that his hands are normal, not pasty. Secondly, let's not get into the "black denial" issue because it's not a denial, it's that the term "black" doesn't adequately identify a person who has likely descended from mix of races (indian, spaniard, african).
    And yes, they are MANY dominicans of African descent. That being said, there are MANY white dominicans, they're just not the majority. But that is the latin mentality, and they do not like to be dropped into a bucket and told that they are exactly like another group of people because they are similar in genetics. Try telling a korean that he is no different from a chinese, and see what you get! Jamacains HATE being compared to Haitians, and so forth. Sammy's skin "skin change" reflects a personal decision, not an entire ethnic mentality.

    • What fuck Haitian come in this conversation. Leave our fucking names out of ya'll bullshit. New day , big things happen , small shit stopping.

  20. Anyway, at the end of the day, your blood and genes can never be changed no matter what hair color, hairstyle, or skin treatment you use to change your appearance. Look at the common african american woman how they straighten, perm, and relax THEIR hair-they even tease each other's nappiness…but that doesn't necessarily mean they don't embrace who they are.

    That's like saying that every white person in the 70's who sported an Afro was rejecting their 'whiteness', or that European women who always want to tan are 'rejecting their whiteness'. The way you look is a choice made mostly on the basis of exposure to society. Slaves weren't forced to wear suits and ties, they got rags. Boiling the reason down to self-hate or desire to be caucasian is too easy.

  21. Love Naturals says:

    I can't surmise either way what the heck happened to Sammy….But I gotta say this in Response to Nicey's post above….. I say his wife is hot….And as for one of those massive boulders being larger than the other… It aint nasty its natural! Probably you're not used to being with a woman with large natural breasts… You see… when they're real and a chick is right handed you naturally work one side of your chest muscles more and thus the other side less which usually results in large natural breasted women having one larger breast! I guess you're to used to the "Playboy" images. Try a real woman on for size and then start making comments like that! lol IMAO

  22. Dominicans are of pure African decent when it comes to a Latin carribbean Island . they will deny this to the end. the fact is they all look African. where as Puerto Ricans and cubans look white or Indian. the black Puerto Ricans you see or cubans are really Dominicans that have moved and live in PR or Cuba. BE PROUD OF YOUR ANCESTRY

    • um sorry sweety not all domninicans are pure African decent many r from spain, the african were slave there .. know ur history b4 assuming

    • u know what u are so right …. hunny

    • you couldn't be more wrong, i'm dominican and i'm not from african decent , thats like saying there's white people who aren't african i have a friend who is white who was born and raised in africa then she moved to the united states when she graduated from high school.

    • You need to educate yourself…..pure african decent …..African decent yes not pure though. You have zero knowledge you need to inform yourself properly before you make assumptions.

  23. look Sammy Sosa is BLACK… BLACK Dominican of African Descent.. If he was born in Chicago he would be African American… Get over it.. He just hates his black skin…

  24. Sammy please dont do that u look better as black. What were u thinking……………..and for everyone else if u dont know here's a lot of white Dominican and a lot of white African just a info.

  25. There are some Dominicans that are white and there are some Dominicans that are black, an example is Juan Luis Guerra and Amelia Vega that are of white skin. Dominicans are of Spanish, African, and Indian decent for those who are not educated. If Sammy Sosa decided to change his skin color that is his decision and should be respected just like white skin people that want to have dark tans.

  26. next michel jaxson!!!!!!!!!!! first the steriods and now this lol

  27. Wow! People are more gullible than I thought! Don't believe the speculation that the media puts out there! Michael had vitiligo! The coroner even confirmed this in the autopsy, there's pictures of Michael back in the late 70's – early 80's which you can clearly see the white patches on his neck and face! (Just google it!) The media is garbage, don't buy into it! They WANT you to think Michael wanted to become white! The tabloids are a business and they want you to spend your money reading their bogus stories! Knowledge is so important! Seek out the truth for yourself!

  28. My mother has vitilago and I know that people get it on their hands first, thats why michael Jackson wore a glove. There are treatments to take the pigment out of your skin so you don't look so bad. I can tell that Sammy has this disease.

  29. "which is to be suspected?" How about "which is to be expected".

  30. I remember this! what happened here because now 2 years later he looks dark again!


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