Sammy Sosa's Stunning Transformation

Former MLB slugger's skin change is causing speculation about player's health

By Tamer El-Ghobashy
|  Saturday, Nov 7, 2009  |  Updated 3:00 PM PDT
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Sammy Sosa is seen at an event in May 2009 on the left, looking a little heavier than in his playing days. On the right, Sosa is pictured in November 2009 looking much lighter - in the face.

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It's typical for an athletes' appearance to change after they retire from professional sports -- they pack on a few pounds and age like normal people. But there's something stunningly different about Sammy Sosa's post-baseball look.

Recent photos snapped of the former Chicago Cubs slugger show a shocking transformation: his skin is turning white -- stark white. In addition, he appears to be wearing green contact lenses, which is no big deal compared with the impossible-to-miss pigmentation change.

The above photo shows Sosa on the left at a May 2009 People Magazine event. The right is Sosa, who retired in 2007 with 609 career homers, earlier this week in Las Vegas for the Latin Grammys.

While neither Sosa or anyone close to him has addressed the change in skin tone, baseball bloggers are speculating that it could be some cosmetic lightening process or worse, a side-effect of using performance enhancing drugs --  although there appears to be little to no evidence that steroid use can lead to skin lightening disorder such as vitiligo. In June, the New York Times reported that Sosa tested positive for a banned substance in 2003.

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