Sammy Sosa was born November 12, 1968, in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. His mother, Lucrecia, raised him, his four brothers and two sisters after her husband, Juan, a farmer, died. .Sosa sold oranges for 10 cents, shined shoes for 25 cents, and worked as a janitor in a shoe factory to help with the family's finances. He, his mother and his siblings lived in a two room residence that once was a public hospital. San Pedro de Macoris is a town that has produced several major league players, including George Bell, Pedro Guererro, and Tony Fernandez. Boxing was Sosa's favorite sport until his brother Juan convinced him to try baseball. I played when I was little, but only in the streets. The streets were dirt. We didn't have gloves, we just used our hands. Instead of a ball, we'd take a sock and roll it up. We used sticks for the bats."
Sosa played baseball in his bare feet and often used a milk carton for a mit. In 1985 professional scout Omar Minaya of the Texas Rangers invited the 16-year-old Sosa to a tryout in Puerto Plata, a five-hour bus ride for the young player. Sosa's raw potential impressed the scout. . He worked out with some dirty baseball pants, old shoes with holes in them and a real thin baseball shirt with holes in it. Minaya signed Sosa for $3,500. .We negotiated for like half an hour to get to that middle. I liked that about him. He had a great desire to play professional baseball, but he wasn't just going to go. He had some principles, and he felt he was worth a little more that I was offering him." Sosa bought himself a new bike and gave the rest of the money to his mother. In the spring of 1986 Sosa came to the United States for the first time. Within three years he was playing in the major leagues, appearing in 25 games for the Rangers in 1989, batting .238. Later that year Texas traded Sosa to to the Chicago White Sox . Sosa played his first full major league season in 1990. He had a solid start with 15 home runs, 70 runs batted in, and 32 stolen bases. Early in his career Sosa felt the pressure of having a large family to support. He determined that the best way to succeed was to hit home runs and build his own personal statistics. Sosa struggled in 1991, batting only .203 with 10 home runs and 33 RBI in 116 games. The White Sox gave up on the young slugger and traded him before the 1992 season to Chicago Cubs . Over the next years Sosa established himself as a great player.