Sammy Sosa’s skin has been a major topic of discussion as the Cubs legend looks noticeably lighter than he did during his playing days. The explanation to Sosa’s appearance is tied to a few things, but it may have been a bit exaggerated after a 2009 photo went viral of the former baseball player doing an interview.
Former Cubs employee Rebecca Polihronis explained to the Chicago Tribune in 2009 that Sosa was undergoing a “rejuvenation process” when the photo was taken. This made Sosa’s skin look lighter than it really appears.
“He is going through a rejuvenation process for his skin,” Polihronis explained. “Women have it all of the time. He was surprised he came out looking so white. I thought it was a body double. Part of (the photo appearance) is just the lighting. He is in the middle of doing a cleansing process to his skin. The picture is deceiving. He said, ‘If you saw me in person, you would be surprised. When you see me in person, it is not going to seem like the picture.”
Sosa Used a Bleaching Cream That Lightened His Skin
Sosa noted during an interview with Univision that he used a “bleaching cream” that lightened his skin. Sosa emphasized he was “not a racist” but used the cream to help with his skin.
“It’s a bleaching cream that I apply before going to bed and whitens my skin some,” Sosa noted in 2009, per ESPN. “It’s a cream that I have, that I use to soften [my skin], but has bleached me some. I’m not a racist, I live my life happily.”
Sosa Believes the Camera Lights Made His Skin Look Lighter
While Sosa has admitted he used a cream that lightened his skin, the former baseball player believes that some of his television interviews have made it look much different than it does in reality as a result of the lighting. Sosa joked that he does not “look like Michael Jackson.”
“What happened was that I had been using the cream for a long time and that, combined with the bright TV lights, made my face look whiter than it really is,” Sosa noted, per ESPN. “I don’t think I look like Michael Jackson. I’m going to market it, I’m a businessman.”
NBC Sports’ David Kaplan conducted an in-person interview with Sosa in 2018. Kaplan described Sosa’s skin as lighter but “nowhere near what people have perceived.”
“Sosa has received a lot of attention for the changes to his appearance,” Kaplan explained. “His skin is noticeably lighter, but he is still in outstanding physical condition and as he approaches his 50th birthday this November and still looks like he could play. His appearance is nowhere near what people have perceived it to be after seeing a handful of photos online over the past few years.”
Sosa’s skin has lightened since his playing days, but it has likely been exaggerated throughout the years, in large part, as a result of a photo that went viral more than a decade ago.