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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.
Sammy Sosa says he wasn't trying to look white like Mike.
The ex-Cubs slugger said a European skin cream he uses at bedtime combined with a strong camera flash caused his face to appear ghost white in a recent headline-grabbing photo from Las Vegas -- and he "respected" Michael Jackson too much to try to match his appearance.
"I'm doing well, doing well, thanks to God. A little surprised by the tsunami of attention," Sosa told a reporter for Spanish TV network Univision, the New York Daily News reports.
"I use a cream to keep my skin smooth and soft,” he said without naming the product. “I apply it before I go to bed. When I was playing for Chicago all those years, I was in the sun a lot for one o'clock games.”
Sosa said he’s such a fan of the mystery cream, in fact, that he’s in negotiations with its maker to go to bat as a company pitchman.
When Sosa’s ghostly photo from the Latin Grammys first appeared, speculation centered on whether his lighter appearance was the result of vitiligo, a skin-whitening condition that Michael Jackson said he suffered from.
Sosa denied he was trying to emulate the late King of Pop.
"Not at all, I respect him very much," he said. "I'm not a racist. I'm not like that. I'm just a happy person."