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Chicago White Sox

Chicago White Sox

Chicago White Sox Logo

Ballpark:
U.S. Cellular Field
Established:
1901
Affiliations:
Retired Numbers:
2, 3, 4, 9, 11, 16, 19, 35, 72, 42
Owners:
Jerry Reinsdorf, Eddie Einhorn, Robert Mazer, Robert Judelson, Judd Malkin, Allan Muchin, Jay Pinsky, Larry Pogofsky, Lee Stern,
Manager:
General Manager:
Kenny Williams (GM)
Played As:
CHA

All-Time Team – Chicago White Sox

Scarred by the Black Sox scandal of 1919, the Chicago White Sox experienced little in the way of success in subsequent seasons.  The penurious ways of tight-fisted owner Charles Comiskey doomed the franchise for many years thereafter, throwing Chicago into a seemingly endless cycle of losing.  Although the White Sox eventually became contenders once more during the 1950s, they failed to win a World Series until 2005, when their starting rotation carried them through a terrific playoff run.  As you will see, Chicago’s all-time team is littered with players who spent significant portions of their careers with other teams.  Only a few “home grown” White Sox made the final roster.

First Base – Paul Konerko

I thought briefly about putting Frank Thomas here but realized in the end he was better suited to DH.  I also gave some consideration to Dick Allen for the two or three exceptional years he compiled for the White Sox.  However, Paul Konerko clearly earned the starting job with the 358 home runs and 1,127 RBIs he has posted for Chicago in his 12 years with the team.  The right-handed hitting slugger has surpassed 30 homers six times for the White Sox, reaching the 40-homer plateau on two separate occasions.  He has also driven in more than 100 runs five times and batted over .300 three times.  

Second Base – Eddie Collins

It wasn’t easy to exclude Hall of Famer Nellie Fox from Chicago’s All-Time Team.  After all, he accumulated 2,470 hits, scored 1,187 runs, batted .291, compiled a .349 on-base percentage, won three Gold Gloves, and earned 12 All-Star selections in his 14 years with the White Sox.  But the fact that Eddie Collins compiled even more impressive numbers during his 12 years with the team made it necessary to relegate Fox to a spot on the bench.  Although Collins sandwiched his time in Chicago between two stints in Philadelphia playing for Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics, he had many of his best years with the White Sox.  Playing for Chicago from 1915 to 1926, Collins scored 1,065 runs, collected 2,007 hits, stole 368 bases, batted .331, and compiled a .426 on-base percentage.  While Fox led the White Sox to the A.L. pennant in 1959, capturing league MVP honors in the process, Collins helped lead the team to two pennants and one world championship, placing in the top five in the MVP balloting three times, and earning two second-place finishes.  Fox was a fine player, but Collins is considered by many baseball historians to be the greatest second baseman in baseball history. 

Third Base – Robin Ventura

Although he also had some solid seasons playing for other teams, Robin Ventura spent his peak years with the White Sox, establishing himself in the process as Chicago’s finest third baseman ever.  Ventura hit 171 home runs, drove in 741 runs, batted .274, and compiled an OPS of .805 in his nine full seasons with the White Sox.  He surpassed 20 homers five times and 100 RBIs twice, posting his best numbers for the team in 1996, when he hit 34 home runs, drove in 105 runs, scored 96 others, and batted .287.  A fine fielder as well, Ventura earned five Gold Gloves as a member of the White Sox. 

Shortstop – Luke Appling

This was a choice between offense and defense.  Luke Appling was clearly the finest hitting shortstop in White Sox history.  He batted .310, knocked in 1,116 runs, accumulated 2,749 hits, and compiled a .399 on-base percentage in his 20 years with the team.  He won two A.L. batting titles, topping the junior circuit in 1936 with a mark of .388 – the highest average ever posted by a major league shortstop.  Appling, though, was considered to be a marginal fielder, at best, having led all players at his position in errors no fewer than six times.  Meanwhile, Luis Aparicio was reputed to be the finest defensive shortstop of his time, earning seven Gold Gloves in his 10 years with the White Sox.  Yet, Aparicio was a mediocre offensive player who batted .269, drove in only 464 runs, compiled 1,576 hits, and posted an on-base percentage of just .319 while in Chicago.  Only Aparicio’s ability to steal bases made him somewhat effective on offense (he stole 318 bases for the White Sox).  Although defense is usually a top priority in the middle of the infield, the decision here was to go with Appling based on his vastly superior hitting ability and the fact that he played for the White Sox twice as long as Aparicio.

Left Field – Minnie Minoso

In three different stints with the White Sox that covered parts of 12 seasons, Minnie Minoso hit 135 home runs, knocked in 808 runs, scored 893 others, accumulated 1,523 hits, and compiled a batting average of .304.  A full-time player for nine years in Chicago, Minoso batted over .300 six times, compiled an on-base percentage in excess of .400 five times, hit more than 20 home runs twice, knocked in more than 100 runs four times, and scored more than 100 runs four times.  Minoso had his best year for the team in 1954, when he hit 19 homers, drove in 116 runs, scored 119 others, and batted .320, en route to earning a fourth-place finish in the A.L. MVP voting for one of four times.  He also earned six All-Star selections and two Gold Gloves as a member of the team.

Center Field – Shoeless Joe Jackson

Shoeless Joe Jackson spent only four full seasons in Chicago, and he played both corner outfield positions during his time with the team.  Nevertheless, the absence of a truly outstanding centerfielder in White Sox history, along with the greatness displayed by Jackson during his brief time with the team, compelled me to award the centerfield spot to the man generally considered to be one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen.  Jackson posted batted averages of .341, .301, .351, and .382 in his four years as a full-time starter in Chicago, finishing with an on-base percentage well in excess of .400 in two of those campaigns.  Although he hit only 30 home runs as a member of the White Sox, Jackson amassed 79 triples and 139 doubles.  He made his final season in the big leagues his best one in Chicago, hitting 12 home runs, driving in 121 runs, scoring 105 others, accumulating 218 hits, 20 triples, and 42 doubles, batting .382, and compiling a .444 on-base percentage and a .589 slugging percentage.  

Right Field –Harold Baines

I hated to exclude Magglio Ordonez from Chicago’s All-Time Team since he posted such outstanding numbers for the White Sox from 1999 to 2003.  Over that five-year period, he averaged 32 homers, 118 RBIs, and 102 runs scored, while batting over .300 all five times.  However, once the decision was made to insert Frank Thomas into the DH spot, it became necessary to move Harold Baines to right field, a position he manned for the White Sox his first seven seasons.  Although he later made a name for himself primarily as a designated hitter, Baines actually did a creditable job in the field for the White Sox early in his career, before his ailing knees forced him to relinquish his spot in the outfield.  Over the course of 14 years in Chicago, Baines ended up hitting 221 home runs, driving in 981 runs, accumulating 1,773 hits, and batting .288.  He surpassed 20 homers seven times and 100 RBIs twice, and he batted over .300 on five separate occasions.  

Catcher - Carlton Fisk

Although most people tend to associate Carlton Fisk more with the Boston Red Sox, the fact of the matter is that Fisk actually spent more time in Chicago.  After spending his first 11 years in Boston, the Hall of Fame catcher played his final 13 seasons for the White Sox.  During his time in Chicago, Fisk hit 214 home runs, drove in 762 runs, and accumulated 1,259 hits.  He earned four All-Star selections, three Silver Sluggers, and a third-place finish in the A.L. MVP voting in 1983, when he hit 26 homers, knocked in 86 runs, and batted .289.  He established career-highs two years later with 37 home runs and 107 RBIs.

Designated Hitter - Frank Thomas

After spending his first several seasons playing first base for the White Sox, Frank Thomas gradually assumed the role of DH – one he filled his final eight years with the team.  Over the course of his 16 years in Chicago, Thomas hit 448 home runs, knocked in 1,465 runs, compiled 2,136 hits, batted .307, and posted on-base and slugging percentages of .427 and .568, respectively.  A true offensive force throughout much of his time in Chicago, The Big Hurt topped 40 homers five times, 100 RBIs 10 times, 100 runs scored nine times, and 100 walks 10 times, and he also batted over .300 on 10 separate occasions.  Thomas earned two A.L. MVP Awards and five All-Star selections while with the team.

Starting Pitcher – Ed Walsh

One of the Dead-ball Era’s finest pitchers, Ed Walsh spent 13 years with the White Sox, compiling a record during that time of 195-125.  Although he had only six truly impactful seasons, the spitball throwing right-hander compiled a career ERA of 1.82, which is the lowest mark posted by any pitcher in baseball history.  Walsh had his greatest season in 1908, when he led all of baseball with 40 victories, 269 strikeouts, 464 innings pitched, 42 complete games, and 11 shutouts, while pitching to a 1.42 ERA.  In all, Walsh won more than 20 games four times, posted an ERA below 2.00 six times, and completed more than 30 of his starts, threw more than 300 innings, and struck out more than 200 batters five times each. 

Starting Pitcher – Ted Lyons

Spending most of his career pitching for losing teams in Chicago, Ted Lyons nevertheless managed to win a franchise record 260 games for the White Sox.  He posted more than 20 victories for the Pale Hose on three separate occasions, having his finest season in 1927 when he compiled a 2.84 ERA and led the league with 22 wins, 30 complete games, and 308 innings pitched, en route to earning a third-place finish in the A.L. MVP voting.   Lyons led all A.L. pitchers in wins, complete games, and innings pitched twice each, while also topping the circuit once in earned run average.

Starting Pitcher – Ed Cicotte

Before being banned from Major League Baseball for his participation in the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, Ed Cicotte established himself as one of the American League’s most dominant pitchers.  After coming over to the White Sox from Boston in 1912, the right-hander went on to post a record of 156-101 for Chicago over the next nine seasons.  Cicotte surpassed 20 victories for the team three times, leading all A.L. pitchers in wins on two separate occasions.  He had his two best years in 1917 and 1919, leading the White Sox to the league championship both times.  Cicotte led the junior circuit with 28 wins, a 1.53 ERA, and 347 innings pitched in the first of those campaigns.  He matched that performance two years later when he finished a league-leading 29-7, compiled a 1.82 ERA, and led all A.L. hurlers with 30 complete games and 307 innings pitched.

Starting Pitcher – Red Faber

Second to Ted Lyons on Chicago’s all-time win list with 254 victories to his credit, Red Faber spent his entire 20-year career with the White Sox.  During that time, Faber won more than 20 games four times, compiled an ERA below 2.00 twice, completed more than 20 games four times, and threw more than 300 innings on three separate occasions.  He had perhaps his finest season in 1921 when he finished 25-15, tossed 331 innings, and led the league with a 2.48 ERA and 32 complete games.

Starting Pitcher – Billy Pierce

Early Wynn, Gary Peters, Tommy John, and Wilbur Wood all received some consideration before the final decision was made to go with Billy Pierce for the fifth and final spot on our starting staff.  Pierce spent 13 years with the White Sox, compiling an overall record during that time of 186-152, along with a 3.19 ERA.  The lefthander won 20 games twice for the team, surpassing 15 victories another five times.  Pierce led all A.L. starters in wins and ERA once each, and he also topped the circuit in complete games on three separate occasions.

Closer – Hoyt Wilhelm

This was really a tough decision because more recent closers such as Bobby Thigpen and Bobby Jenks compiled many more saves for the White Sox than Hoyt Wilhelm did during his six years with the team.  However, the game has changed considerably since the knuckle-balling Wilhelm pitched for Chicago during the 1960s, making it much easier for Thigpen and Jenks to post more impressive totals in that particular category.  Wilhelm, though, pitched more effectively than either of the other two men during his time in Chicago, compiling an ERA below 2.00 in five of his six seasons, while also posting an overall record of 41-33 and saving a total of 98 games.

Manager – Al Lopez

Ozzie Guillen is more colorful, and he managed the team to the world championship in 2005.  But Al Lopez led the White Sox to the 1959 A.L. pennant and a total of 840 victories during his time in Chicago, and his.564 winning percentage is easily the best figure compiled by any White Sox skipper.

 
Tagged:
Chicago White Sox
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