Monday, March 02, 2009

CHICAGO WHITE SOX - ALL TIME HOME GROWN TEAM vs. ALL TIME ACQUIRED TEAM



We're getting closer to the end of these Home Grown vs. Acquired entries...
I need to keep up the pace. I can't call on the bullpen and I have no pitch count.

I've got to keep going!

Today we look at The Chicago White Sox, or as the rest of the country knows them, the OTHER team in Chicago.

White Sox fans always seem to be a little angry... at least the ones who write to my blog, calling me retarded.

I wrote about the fact that nobody seems to like White Sox and how odd that is...

But I have a message for White Sox fans everywhere:

To paraphrase the late great Riccardo Montalban on Fantasy Island, "Smiles everyone smiles!"

Things are good for the White Sox... especially this decade.

They have had three division titles, including two where they had the best overall record in the American League and another that was won on a 1-0 one game playoff victory.

They had a remarkable post season run in 2005 where they lost only one game. To remember that 2005, check out Danny Sheridan's great count down of the top 10 playoff memories from '05 (including my beloved Red Sox being cut down to size.)

The President of the United States is a White Sox fan!

And oh yeah... your team got a World Series title and a parade this century while that other team is still blathering on about Billy Goats!

So feel good about your team!
They've stopped wearing ugly uniforms.

And let's take a look back at some of the great players over the years... some would give anything to win a World Series. A few bent over backwards to NOT win a World Series.

But they are your team. They might not be as cuddly as the other teams, but at least you no longer have to wonder what a World Series title would feel like.

As always the rules for the rosters can be found here.

Let's pull up our sox (sic) and start a list!



ALL TIME HOME GROWN WHITE SOX TEAM



STARTING CATCHER
RAY SCHALK

The Hall of Fame has been kind to member of the 1919 White Sox who actually tried to win. He wasn't much of a hitter, but his defense and his ability to call a game gave him two top 10 MVP finishes and a plaque in Cooperstown.

Gamblers knew better than to try and payoff Schalk. He was not a warm and cuddly guy and played his heart out in the series, fighting with Lefty Williams when the paid off pitcher wouldn't throw a curve ball.

In Field of Dreams there is a White Sox player in the cornfield in catchers gear. It's not Schalk. He actually tried to sue his former teammates for defrauding him in the World Series. I'm guessing he wouldn't be that pleasant to be with in the corn field.

In a side note, let's all wish Brian Cooper luck in getting his Ray Schalk biography published. Here's his blog.




STARTING FIRST BASEMAN
FRANK THOMAS

In the 1989 draft, the White Sox picked 7th while the Cubs picked 8th.

The Cubs were thrilled when the White Sox picked one dimensional Auburn slugger Frank Thomas, allowing multi-tool star in the making Earl Cunningham to slip to #8.

That one dimensional hitter won two MVPS, led the league in on base percentage four times, won a batting title in 1997, had the top OPS in the league four times, hit 40 or more homer four times, has 500 homers and an average above .300.

He has the highest career on base percentage, the highest slugging percentage, the best OPS, scored the most runs, had the most total bases, the highest number of doubles and home runs, more RBIS and more walks than any hitter in White Sox history.

Imagine how good he'd be if he had more than one dimension like Earl Cunningham! (Cunningham never made the majors.)


STARTING SECOND BASEMAN
RAY DURHAM

In a three year span, starting with the 2000 Division winners, Ray Durham hit at least 15 homers with 20 steals, 100 run scored, a .450 slugging percentage and 65 RBI. Pretty solid seasons. He's one of ten players in HISTORY to do that over three seasons.

Other names on the list include Hank Aaron, Joe Morgan, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Willie Mays.
That's good company to be in!

Someone sign the guy already!



STARTING SHORTSTOP
LUIS APARICIO

Aparicio wasn't the first Latin star infielder, nor was he the biggest... but he was the first to make a huge impact.

He cost $10,000 to sign from Venezuela and wound up winning 9 Gold Gloves (seven with the White Sox) and making 10 All Star teams. Not known for his bat, he wound up getting 2,677 hits and starring for the 1959 White Sox team that won the AL Pennant (one of only three AL pennants not won by the Yankees between 1947 and 1964.)

Still loved by White Sox fans, the Hall of Famer threw out the first pitch in the 2005 World Series and has a statue erected in his honor outside U.S. Cellular Field.

Safe to say that $10,000 was well spent.


STARTING THIRD BASEMAN
ROBIN VENTURA

The year before the White Sox selected Frank Thomas instead of sure fire star Earl Cunningham, there was another intriguing draft drama among the two Chicago teams.

The Cubs drafted 9th and the White Sox 10th... and two star College playing Olympic hero infielders were available.

The Cubs snagged Ty Griffin, a second baseman whose ceiling was so high that experts thought he would force Ryne Sandberg to move to first base.

The White Sox picked slick fielding third baseman Robin Ventura.

Ventura played 9+ seasons for the White Sox, driving in 100 runs twice, putting up solid power numbers and winning five Gold Gloves.

Ty Griffin, like Earl Cunningham, never played a major league game.
So much for the "Who was better? Ventura and Thomas or Griffin and Cunningham" debate!


STARTING LEFT FIELDER
BIBB FALK

When Shoeless Joe Jackson was suspended for life along with the other seven 1919 White Sox, Bibb Falk had to take over Jacksons shoes (so to speak.)

No pressure.

He actually did a solid job. He batted over .300 five times for the White Sox, getting some MVP consideration in 1926 when he drove in 108 runs with only 8 homers and hitting .345 with an OPS of .892.

He became a beloved baseball coach at the University of Texas and the stadium is named after him. And to the best of my knowledge never had a whiff of scandal hanging over him.


STARTING CENTER FIELDER
AARON ROWAND

I can list a whole bunch of stats about Aaron Rowand. He was a solid defensive center fielder with some pop (his 24 homers in 2004 led all American League centerfielders) had speed and a flair for the dramatic.

But that can't seem to capture what he meant to the team and the fan base. Ozzie Guillen called him one of the leaders on the 2005 World Champs, Kenny Williams seems to regret dealing him (even though they got Jim Thome in the deal) and White Sox fans love him.

He smashed his face against a wall in his first game for the Phillies. It's hard not to root for a guy like that.


STARTING RIGHT FIELDER
MAGGLIO ORDONEZ

Ordonez had five All Star caliber seasons in Chicago, including 2002 when he hit 38 homers, 35 RBI, batted .320 with an OPS of .978, winning the Silver Slugger.

I really hope that Ozzie Guillen and Magglio Ordonez have patched things up.

I'm of course responding to the time that Ozzie Guillen said

"If Magglio doesn't want to be my friend, I'm not going to lose sleep at night. He's a piece of sh*t. He's another Venezuelan motherf*cker. F*ck him. He thinks he's got an enemy? No, he's got a big one. He knows I can f*ck him over in a lot of different ways. He better shut the f*ck up and just play for the Detroit Tigers. Why do I have to go over and even apologize to him? Who the f*ck is Magglio Ordóñez?"

Strangely Ozzie was responding to the question "Hi Ozzie, how are you doing?"



STARTING DESIGNATED HITTER
HAROLD BAINES

I remember seeing a photograph after the 2005 World Series of White Sox coach Harold Baines holding up the World Series trophy. And that to me was more special than the players celebrating.

In many ways Harold Baines WAS the White Sox for a generation. The first overall pick in the 1977 draft played nine and a half seasons and while never was an MVP, he was a model of consistency. He'd hit around .300, he'd smack 20 some odd homers, drive in 90 some odd runs and led the league in slugging in 1984. His sacrifice fly clinched the 1983 AL West title, the White Sox first post season berth since 1959.

He would leave the White Sox midway through the 1989 season as their All Time home run leader and still holds the mark for left handed hitters. He later came back to the White Sox in 1996 and later in time for the 2000 Division Series. He has a statue outside of U.S. Cellular Field and a ring as a coach.

And it hit me as kind of poignant but also strange. Isn't it odd that we never think about the coaches who win World Series rings? Maybe someone who never won the World Series as a player could have a weight off of their shoulders as a coach.

Someday I'll write a post about that. Let me finish this obsessive post first.


THE STARTING ROTATION

ED WALSH

I think ERA is a great yardstick for measuring a pitcher's worth, but it isn't perfect. Sure someone can post a low ERA, but if they only did so over a small number of innings, then the low ERA could be deceiving.

So when I looked up some of Ed Walsh's stats, I saw he posted a 1.41 ERA in 1908.
OK, but for how many innings?

Try 464. That first number is a 4.
He won 40 games that year. Again, that first number is a 4.

He posted back to back 400+ innings seasons, keeping his ERA below 2.00 both times. He also was a pitching hero in the 1906 World Series win over the Cubs.

He has the lowest career ERA in history and earned a place in the Hall of Fame. That isn't bad.

Yes I know he threw the spitball then. It wasn't outlawed then, and no, that isn't the equivalent to steroids.


TED LYONS

Arguably the greatest pitcher in White Sox history. Lyons put up great numbers during one of the truly brutal eras for pitchers. Lyons had to pitch when the ball was suddenly wound tighter, dirty baseballs were tossed out and spitballs were illegal.

And yet he would win 20 games regularly for some terrible White Sox teams. He threw a no hitter in 1926 that took 67 minutes. Tony LaRussa can't manage an inning these days that last shorter than 67 minutes.

The White Sox retired his #16 and he's now in the Hall of Fame.

He had what was known as a Double Pump wind up that would frustrate hitters. I'm surprised they didn't outlaw that too!


JACK McDOWELL

When my family first moved to Palo Alto in 1987, we went to a few Stanford baseball games. Mark Marquess had his entire team standing during the game... with one exception. Jack McDowell was allowed to sit.

He was a dynamic and imagination grabbing star at Stanford and everything seemed right on schedule when he was drafted by the White Sox and went 3-0 in 1987, the same year he led Stanford to the college World Series title. By 1990 McDowell was a legitimate ace. By 1992 he was the runner up for the Cy Young Award. By 1993 he won it and made his first post season appearance.

I was convinced that the cocky, rock and roll playing, good looking ace was going to be one of the greatest pitchers of all time.

Alas it didn't happen. He was dealt to the Yankees where he flipped off the fans and served up Edgar Martinez's Division Series winning hit. He pitched a few seasons in Cleveland and faded out, losing all four of his starts in 1999 for the Angels.

But for a magical five seasons, the White Sox had a legit rock n roll Ace.



ALEX FERNANDEZ

The 1993 White Sox looked like they were putting together the American League answer to the Atlanta Braves pitching staff. Jack McDowell was only 27, Wilson Alvarez and Jason Bere were 23 years old as was budding ace Alex Fernandez.

Fernandez went 18-9 with a 3.13 ERA over 247 1/3 innings. He was a hard luck loser in the post season, losing both of his starts despite a 1.80 ERA, but he looked like he was the kind of ace that would help win a World Championship.

He did... for the 1997 Marlins. Ah that 1993 White Sox staff... what could have been.



BRITT BURNS

Burns put up some nice numbers for some bad White Sox teams before injuries cut his career short. His final year he won 18 games and finished in the top ten Cy Young voting.

The one time All Star pitched the game of his life in Game 4 of the 1983 ALCS. The Orioles had bombarded Rich Dotson the day before along the way to an 11-1 rout, putting the White Sox on the verge of elimination.

Proving that momentum is indeed the next day's starting pitcher, Burns shut down the potent Orioles line up inning after inning. The White Sox bats were dead, having scored only three runs total in the previous three games, but a victory in Game 4 would mean a rested LaMarr Hoyt, who won the opener, would be available to pitch the deciding game.

Burns worked out of jams in the second, the sixth and got Dan Ford to fly out in the 8th leaving the bases loaded.
But the White Sox just couldn't score. They put two runners in scoring position in the 9th... but the game went to the tenth... and so did Burns.

In the 10th inning with one out, Burns let up a home run to Tito Landrum and was pulled. He got tagged with the loss, but you can't help but admire the heart of a starter who gave MORE than nine innings with the season on the line.


THE BULLPEN


BOBBY THIGPEN

Nobody could have predicted the season that Bobby Thigpen had in 1990.
He was a nondescript white guy closer playing for an irrelevant White Sox team in the late 1980s. I was at Northwestern during the summer of 1989 and TRUST ME, nobody was talking about the White Sox!

Thigpen was a nice 30 save a year pitcher, but not one you'd think would get any Cy Young consideration.
Heck, with the way the White Sox were playing, the idea of them even winning 57 games wasn't a lock.

But the 1990 White Sox were a better squad and Thigpen made sure the close games were nailed down.
And on September 3, 1990 he got George Brett to hit into a double play to break Dave Righetti's single season save record with his 47th. He would save 10 more.

It was a fluke. The next year, he went back to being a good solid 30 save guy until back problems derailed his career.


MARK BUEHRLE

OK, what the heck is Mark Buehrle doing in the bullpen?

Well, I had to include Buehrle on this list... the wonderfully consistent Buehrle has won 15 or more games five times for the White Sox (including a 19 win season in 2002) and tossed a no hitter on April 18, 2007. And he pitched a complete game victory in Game 2 of the 2005 ALCS.

Fair enough... but the Bullpen?

Here are my two reasons for putting him in the pen.

1) In Game 3 of the 2005 World Series, the White Sox and Astros were battling it out over 14 wonderful innings. The Astros desperately needed a win to make it a series. The White Sox wanted to take a 3-0 lead. Both teams staged comebacks. Both teams held the other team off. Finally the White Sox broke through with 2 in the 14th. But Damaso Marte allowed two runners on and Adam Everett came to the plate as the winning run. Guillen had already used 8 pitchers in the game and summoned Buehrle, who started Game 2, to stop the bleeding. It was his first relief appearance in 5 years, but he got Everett to pop up for the only save in his career.

If you are only going to have one save, it might as well be a World Series game.

2) I HAD to put Britt Burns in there. The guy had such bad luck. So I gave Burns the spot in the rotation that would have been Buehrle's. So sue me!




RICH GOSSAGE

Goose was a product of the White Sox farm system and an All Star closer in 1975. But then, as now, people discount the value of a closer and they tried to turn Rich Gossage into a starting pitcher.

That is almost like saying "We want to turn Joe Montana into a running back."

He had one season as a starter, pitched better than his record, but was traded away after the 1976.
Who needs a closer anyway?

Who needs possibly the greatest closer in the history of baseball anyway?


GARY PETERS

Peters had cups of coffee with the White Sox over four seasons but made the most out of his true rookie year. He went 19-8 with a 2.33 ERA over 243 innings to win the 1963 Rookie of the Year. He fit in perfectly into the White Sox rotation as the team regularly won 90+ games but kept falling short of the pennant.

He was primarily a starter, but would come out of the pen for some critical outs, including down the wild pennant stretch of 1967.



SALOME BAROJAS

The White Sox brought Barojas to Chicago from the Mexican League before the 1982 season and he paid dividends right away.

His first appearance he came into a crowded Yankee Stadium on April 11, 1982 and pitched three shutout innings to save a 2-0 victory over the defending AL Champs. He got a save in his first five appearances and converted his first 10 save chances. He saved 21 games in all, helping the White Sox to a winning season.

Along with Dennis Lamp and Dick Tidrow, anchored the 1983 Division Champion's bullpen before having his career fade out in Seattle.



THE BENCH

RESERVE INFIELDER
LUKE APPLING

Old Aches and Pains! The franchise that gave us the Big Hurt also gave us Aches and Pains.

The guy was the prototypical lead off hitter, constantly with a .400+ on base percentage, a low strikeout rate and a high OPS. The problem was there was nobody on those White Sox teams that could drive him in, so he usually hit third. He won a pair of batting titles (including hitting .388 in 1936) and twice finished second in the MVP votes.

In 1936 he drove in 128 runs with only 6 homers.
That's almost impossible.


RESERVE INFIELDER
JOE CREDE

On October 16, 2005, the White Sox were trying to clinch the American League pennant in the California rain. They were up 3-1, but the Angels were a tough team.

Joe Crede came through that night. In the second inning, he hit a sacrifice fly that game the White Sox an early lead. But the Angels fought back and had new life going into the 7th inning. But Joe Crede hit a lead off homer off of Kelvim Escobar in the 7th to tie the game.

And then in the 8th, with the game tied and two outs and two strikes, he got an infield hit that scored Aaron Rowand and put the White Sox on top for good.

Crede would be the offensive hero of the clincher... hit the walk off double to win game 2 and finished with a .368 average with an OPS of 1.139, 2 homers and 7 RBI in the 5 game series.

Yet they gave the series MVP to Paul Konerko, who didn't top Crede in any of those categories.
Go figure.


RESERVE OUTFIELDER
JIM LANDIS

Landis was not an overpowering force at the plate, he became an All Star and fringe MVP candidate based on his glove.

He won four Gold Gloves while playing for the White Sox and was consistently among the league leaders in triples.

And while his bat usually didn't do the talking, in Game 1 of the 1959 World Series, he went 3-4 with three run scored.


RESERVE OUTFIELDER
CARLOS MAY

When the White Sox suddenly got really bad in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Carlos May was practically the only thing worth watching at Comiskey Park.

He was their lone All Star his rookie year in 1969... the same year he blew part of his thumb off one weekend as a member of the Marines Reserve.

He continued playing after having a skin grafting to repair his thumb and made a few more All Star Games.

Seriously, how could I not include a guy who blew his thumb off???



RESERVE CATCHER
RON KARKOVICE

Karkovice thought he had an easy gig. He was the White Sox big catching prospect. Granted he had Carlton Fisk ahead of him. But come on... Fisk was 38 years old when Karkovice made his debut in 1986. How many more years could Fisk have left?

Well Fisk made the 1991 All Star Team and six years later Karkovice was still the understudy.

Karkovice didn't have much of a stick (he hit .087 in 1987) but he was terrific defensively. Finally, the White Sox showed Fisk the door and Karkovice responded in 1993 with a 20 homer season and helped the White Sox win the Division. Good thing Karkovice was patient.


25TH MAN
BUCK WEAVER

Regarding Buck Weaver, all I know is...

1) He was a terrific hitter with solid speed.

2) He was such a good third baseman that Ty Cobb wouldn't bunt towards him.

3) He batted .324 and didn't make an error in the 1919 World Series.

4) He fought for his reinstatement right through the end of his life.

5) John Cusack, who played him in the amazing Eight Men Out, is much better looking than the real Weaver




That's a solid team with a whole lot of pitching depth... and confirms that the White Sox drafted MUCH better than the Cubs in the late 1980s.

But how about the players they acquired? Any iconic names there?

Just the most famous (and tragic) figure in White Sox history that inspired two great movies in the 1980s...
Just the biggest October heroes of 2005...
And possibly the most loved White Sox player of them all...

Read on.




ALL TIME ACQUIRED WHITE SOX TEAM




STARTING CATCHER

CARLTON FISK

Carlton Fisk played more games as a Chicago White Sox catcher than as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Just writing that sentence made me almost vomit on my key board.

The Red Sox didn't mail his contract in time and he became a free agent... and always seemed to get the big hit against the Sox when he returned to Fenway.

Has his number retired and a statue in his honor in Chicago. At least his Hall of Fame plaque has a Red Sox hat on it!



STARTING FIRST BASEMAN

DICK ALLEN

Dick... NOT Richie!

Allen was an outspoken combative guy who played himself off of the Phillies despite putting up MVP type numbers. He was passed around like a hot potato between St Louis and Los Angeles depite still crushing 30+ homers a year.

When he ended up in Chicago in exchange for Tommy John, manager Chuck Tanner did the darndest thing: He anchored Allen at first base and let him play.

The result was an MVP season and the White Sox contended, being in first place as late as August 28th.
He had a singing career, lost his home to a fire, went through a tortured divorce... all chronicled in his book Crash, which I am sure is much better than the lousy movie than won Best Picture a few years ago.


STARTING SECOND BASEMAN
EDDIE COLLINS

Collins was the defending AL MVP when the A's sent him off to the White Sox. He was Ivy League educated, well paid and a bit of a snob. In other words he was hated by almost everyone on the 1919 White Sox. He wasn't approached by the gamblers and played honestly... and had much worse numbers than Buck Weaver or Shoeless Joe Jackson.

He stayed on the team after the others were banned and continued his great play including MVP runner up seasons in 1923 and 1924.

The amazing Bill Irwin (aka Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street) played him in Eight Men Out. I did a show with Irwin on the now defunct Trio Network and he talked about how much he loved playing second base in the movie... even though all of his throws went into the stands off camera.



STARTING SHORTSTOP
OZZIE GUILLEN

When the White Sox dealt Lamarr Hoyt to San Diego so he could be closer to the drug cartel, they got back Guillen. It didn't take long for Guillen to become one of the all time great figures in White Sox history.

He won the Rookie of the Year in 1985. He made three All Star teams and got some points in the 1990 MVP vote. He won a Gold Glove and stared on the 1993 Division Champs.

And oh yeah, returned to the White Sox as manager and without a legit superstar or Hall of Famer on his active roster put together the second 11-1 playoff run since the playoff expanded. And he's also the most entertaining foul mouthed manager we've seen since Billy Martin. Don't get fired Ozzie... a few more Division Titles and you might be mentioned in a Cooperstown discussion (and hopefully give the most profanity laced acceptance speech in history.)



STARTING THIRD BASEMAN

GEORGE KELL

Kell was no longer an MVP candidate when he came over to the White Sox, but the future Hall of Famer became a legit All Star in his brief stint in Chicago. In 1955 he finished third in the batting race and was still a .313 hitter when he was dealt off to Baltimore.

Defensively was considered the best third baseman of his era and made the Hall of Fame via the veterans committee.


STARTING LEFT FIELDER
SHOELESS JOE JACKSON

What can be said about Shoeless Joe Jackson that hasn't already been said by John Sayles or expressed with a baseball diamond in the middle of a corn field?

I don't think of him as a bad guy but I also have a hard time buying the "he was a rube who didn't know what he was doing" theory either.

But what I do know is this... if he was banned for life, then he has paid his debt.
I would have no problem with him in the Hall of Fame.

And for those of you who only know him from Field of Dreams, he was NOT a right handed hitter!




STARTING CENTER FIELDER

LANCE JOHNSON

The St. Louis Cardinals in the 1980s were a factory of line drive hitters who can steal bases. I guess they felt that Johnson, who played for the Cardinals in the 1987 World Series, was expendable when they wanted Jose DeLeon from the White Sox.

Sure DeLeon had a couple of decent seasons in St. Louis, but Johnson became the leadoff hitter the White Sox needed. He was a .311 hitter for the 1993 Division Champs and hit an unexpected homer in the ALCS against the Blue Jays. He also tripled in that series... that WAS expected. He led the AL in triples four straight years and led the AL in hits in 1995.

By the way, DeLeon was back with the White Sox in 1993... a trade that worked out perfectly for the White Sox.


STARTING RIGHT FIELDER
JERMAINE DYE

It's hard to remember that most people picked the Houston Astros to win the 2005 World Series. Jermaine Dye had something to say about that.

He homered in the first inning of game 1 against Roger Clemens. He coaxed the "phantom hit by pitch" in Game 2, setting up the Kornerko grand slam. He drove in a run and scored in the wild five run 5th inning rally of Game 3. And finally in Game 4 he drove in the only run and with his .438 average and 1.214 OPS was named Series MVP.

And with that win, clinched not only a World Series but indefinite bragging rights in Chicago for White Sox fans.


STARTING DESIGNATED HITTER
PAUL KONERKO

Now before you White Sox fans get angry and say I was trashing Konerko in my Joe Crede bio, I wasn't. I was praising Crede because his numbers and his big hits all dwarfed Kornerko.

That being said, Konerko was probably the offensive MVP for the White Sox in the post season... at least with the long ball.

He homered twice in the 2005 Division Series against my Red Sox, including the eventual series winner.
His first inning homers in Games 3 and 4 of the ALCS changed the tone of the series and gave the edge to the White Sox.
And his Grand Slam in Game 2 of the World Series almost shook US Cellular Field off of its foundation.

Watch this clip and you'll see how nuts the place went.

He may not be home grown, but 2009 will be his 11th with Chicago and he's been on 3 Division Champs. No doubt his number will be retired.



THE STARTING ROTATION


RED FABER

Red Faber got the flu in 1919. Normally getting the flu would be a bad thing. It was the best thing that ever happened to Red Faber in his life. Bear with me.

Faber was one of the aces of the White Sox in the teens, including a 16 win season for the 1917 World Series Champs. He won three games in that series including throwing a complete game victory in the sixth game to clinch the World Series.

He missed most of 1918 while serving in the Navy and looked like he was going to be a solid member of the 1919 team. But he caught the flu. And the flu prevented him from pitching. And he was left off of the playoff roster.

And because he was left off of the playoff roster, gamblers never approached him to throw games in the 1919 World Series.

He recovered from the flu and resumed his career. He won 23 games in 1920. After his teammates were banned, he won 25 in 1921 and 21 in 1922. He finished his 20 year career in 1933... 14 years after the 1919 series... and was eventually elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

If he didn't have the flu, there might have been nine men out. We'll never know. We'll never have to.


EARLY WYNN

Wynn was 38 years old when the White Sox acquired the future Hall of Famer from the Indians before the 1958 season. Usually that's when a pitcher winds down. Granted, he led the AL in strikeouts in 1957, but what were the chances he'd do that again.

Well, he did in 1958, making him the first person to lead the league in strikeouts in consecutive years for different teams.
He was even better in 1959, going 22-10, winning the Cy Young Award and leading the White Sox to their first pennant since the Black Sox scandal.

Not bad for a 39 year old.


BILLY PIERCE

The best American League left hander in the 1950s not named Whitey Ford, he had back to back 20 win seasons in 1956 and 1957. He was named the Sporting News Pitcher of the Year both seasons.

His 1959 season was subpar and was regulated to the bullpen in the World Series.

The Dodgers never scored a run off of him... maybe they should have given him a start!


JOSE CONTRERAS

Most people don't remember that it was the tug of war between the Red Sox and Yankees over Jose Contreras that prompted Larry Lucchino to dub the Yankees "The Evil Empire."

Contreras looked like a huge bust in New York... basically a Cuban Hideki Irabu. The Yankees tried everything... he pitched out of the pen, he pitched against bad teams, they rescued his family from Cuba. Nothing worked.

The Yankees sent him packing to Chicago for Esteban Loiaza, and his fortunes turned.

He became the work horse for the 2005 Champs, winning the opening games of the Division Series and the World Series. He pitched well in the Game 1 loss in the ALCS but threw a complete game to clinch the pennant in Game 5.


Turns out he needed to get out of New York!


LaMARR HOYT

Oh I know some people will be screaming for playoff heros Freddy Garcia and Jon Garland. Maybe Go Go Sox star Bob Shaw deserves a spot. Others still might be saying Black Sox Eddie Cicotte and Lefty Williams need to be on here.

But here was my rationale:

The White Sox have only had three Cy Young Award winners in their history. Wynn, McDowell and Hoyt... and that deserves some love.

Also he was the ace on the White Sox first playoff team since 1959.
And while he was caught in a scandall, I think trafficking drugs (even those kept in your jock) isn't as damaging to the sport as purposely tanking a World Series game or two (or three or four.)

So apologies to the other players... but Hoyt gets the nod here.


THE BULLPEN


BOBBY JENKS

When I write these Home Grown vs. Acquired columns, it is always important to double check facts before I hit "Publish Post." I was going to write about how the Angels gave up on Bobby Jenks and he came back to haunt them in the 2005 ALCS. But here's the deal... he didn't make an appearance in the ALCS. Kind of blows that thesis out of the water.

But Jenks has become the big man (literally) for the Sox out of the pen. He didn't make his debut in 2005 until July 6th and only compiled 6 saves during the season. He nearly matched that total in the post season with 4.

And he's become a legit All Star closer, clinching the 1 game playoff against the Twins and Game 3 of the 2008 Division Series.

But of course his greatest highlight will be ending the 2005 World Series. Look at that shot of the big guy after the last out.

I bet that's as high as he could leap.


HOYT WILHELM

The first great Hall of Fame closer made a stop in Chicago and had some of his best seasons. He won 12, saved 27 and pitched to a 1.99 ERA over 136 1/3 innings in 1964. In fact he threw to a sub 2.00 ERA in five straight seasons in Chicago.

And as always he was not a 1 inning and out closer.
On September 6th, 1964 he pitched 1/3 of an inning in the first game of a double header. Clearly he had enough in the tank for the next game. He came into the 8th inning of the second game with the White Sox behind. The Sox tied the game and Wilhelm pitched 6 shutout innings for the win.

Those knuckleballers didn't need a pitch count. Why aren't there more knuckleball relievers?


WILBUR WOOD

Speak of the devil! It's a knuckle ball reliever!

Wood came over to the White Sox and Wilhelm taught him the knuckler. It worked.

He first became an All Star caliber reliever, throwing 88 games (86 out of the pen) and throwing 159 innings (145 in relief) in 1968. He won 13 games and saved 16 for a sub .500 White Sox club and was named the Reliever of the Year by the Sporting News.

He would later develop into a Cy Young contending 40 start a season ace for the White Sox throughout the 1970s, twice leading the league in victories.. His knee cap was shattered by Ron LeFlore in 1976, but he came back to pitch in 1977 and 1978.

I do not know if he passed the knuckleball knowledge to anyone else.


DOC WHITE

White Sox fans who hate the Cubs and their fans (which pretty much covers all White Sox fans) should have a small altar built in Doc White's honor.

White, who had the consecutive scoreless inning record of 45 that was broken by Don Drysdale, split his time between the rotation and the bullpen for his 11 years in Chicago. He was one of the top pitchers (along with Ed Walsh) in 1906 when the White Sox played the heavily favored Cubs in the only All Chicago World Series.

With the series tied at 2 in Game 5, the White Sox and Walsh had a two run lead in the 7th but Harry Steinfeldt hit a lead off double. White, who had lost game 2, came out of the bullpen to preserve the lead.

He got out future Hall of Famers Tinker and Evers and escaped the inning with the lead. He threw a shutout 8th and worked around a Tinker walk to get the three inning save and give the White Sox a 3-2 series lead.

The very next day he started game 6. He pitched a complete game, retiring Wildfire Frank Schulte to clinch the World Series.

Admit it, White Sox fans... you'd love to see the White Sox beat the Cubs in the World Series. Do you know what that would feel like?

Doc White did.


JERRY STALEY

Where's Roberto Hernandez or Keith Foulke?

Look, those guys were great and pitched the White Sox into the post season.
But when they did it, it wasn't such an unthinkable proposition.

Here's why I am honoring Staley.
He was an All Star starter with the miserable St. Louis Browns who had reinvented himself as an All Star reliever for the White Sox. He got some MVP points in 1959 when he won 8, saved 14 and gave the Go Go Sox 116 1/3 innings all out of the pen.

The first place White Sox were playing the second place Indians in front of 54,000 Cleveland fans on September 22nd with only 3 games left in the season. Early Wynn and Bob Shaw held the Indians to two runs, but they were rallying in the 9th.

With one out, the Indians loaded the bases in the 9th. The tying run was in scoring position. The winning run was on first. Staley was called in from the pen to face All Star Vic Power.

He got Power to hit sharply to Aparicio who turned two. The White Sox won the pennant.
They won their first pennant since fixing the 1919 World Series. And from 1946 to 2004, it would be the only pennant the city of Chicago would see.

THAT'S why he's on here!


THE BENCH

RESERVE INFIELDER
NELLIE FOX

How good was the double play combination of Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio?
They finished 1-2 in the 1959 MVP vote, with Fox winning the MVP on the strength of his .306 average and Gold Glove.

That is the only time a double play combination finished 1-2 in the MVP vote.
Fox was a three time Gold Glove winner, a 15 time All Star and along with Aparicio, is a member of the Hall of Fame.

There is a statue of Fox and Aparicio turning two outside of U.S. Cellular Field.

They don't erect statues to pretty good double play combinations. Only the best.


RESERVE INFIELDER
JULIO CRUZ

The "Cruiser's" stats weren't eye popping when he came over from Seattle on June 15th in exchange for Tony Bernazard. His average was .251 and his on base percentage was .311. Not exactly the kind of numbers to make a fantasy baseball manager drool (save for his 24 steals.)

Yet he got some points in the MVP vote that year. He was a spark plug and the team took off after he arrived. The White Sox were 29-32, in fifth place when he played his first game.

They went 70-31 after his arrival. And on September 17th the White Sox clinched the Division. How did they clinch it? Harold Baines hit a sacrifice fly scoring Julio Cruz.

Whatever his numbers might have read, he certainly didn't HURT the team!

I originally had Willie Kamm here, but I realized that he was actually home grown. Sorry Willie, you were a good player, but I am not bumping Joe Crede's heroics for you.


RESERVE OUTFIELDER
RON KITTLE

Every White Sox fan I have met has a special place in their hear for Ron Kittle.

I think part of that came from his magical Rookie of the Year campaign for the 1983 Division Winners. He hit 35 homers and 100 RBI that year.

I think part of it comes from the fact that he was a true swing from his heels slugger... crushing 30+ homers with an awful average and a ton of strikeouts. Those guys may not be a favorite of sabermetric fans, but they are fun to watch.

It could be because he kept coming back to Chicago.

Maybe it was because he was the only guy who actually looked good in those mid 1980s uniforms.

Either way, I knew there was no way I was leaving him off this list!


RESERVE OUTFIELDER
SCOTT PODSEDNIK

The 2005 World Series was actually a good series. Yes I know it was a sweep, but each game was competitive and the last three games were decided late. I think the series will always be underrated.

And in the middle of it all was possibly the most unlikely and will probably be the most underrated walk off homer in World Series history.

The Astros got to Bobby Jenks with two outs in the 9th of Game 2 basically serving notice that this was not going to be a cakewalk World Series.

Brad Lidge came in to pitch the 9th and send the game to extra innings. It was the first appearance for Lidge since serving up Pujols' monster shot in Game 5 of the NLCS. Manager Phil Garner didn't use him to clinch the pennant, but this seemed like as good a time to use him.

Scott Podsednik came up with one out in the 9th. He had zero regular season homers.
ZERO!
ZILCH!

As many as the Pope.

Now he DID hit one in the Division Series, but that was off of mop up man Geremi Gonzalez in a game that was already out of hand.

So when Podsednik launched a shot into the damp air, a grand total of ZERO people were thinking "Walk off homer."
The announcers called it like a potential double into the gap.
Podsednik was running like it was a potential double into the gap.
Lidge was watching it like it was a potential double into the gap.

When it climbed over the wall, the place reacted in a way as if Lupus just hit one out.

Can you imagine what was going through Brad Lidge's head? "Pujols... OK fine. PODSEDNIK???"

If the series went 6 or 7 games, it would be considered one of the great home runs in World Series history.



RESERVE CATCHER
SHERM LOLLAR

Wait a second! Where's A.J. Pierzynski?

Yes I know Pierzynski won games in 2005 with his bat, his glove and his nerve (Why not run to first on that third strike?)

But Lollar was a better player. A six time All Star with the White Sox, he won four Gold Gloves and two times finished in the top 10 of the MVP vote.

And in Game 4 of the 1959 World Series, hit a game tying two out three run homer in the 7th inning.

And who knows? Maybe he would have run to first on a third strike like Pierzynski!


25TH MAN
MINNIE MINOSO

Am I supposed to write a list like this and NOT include a man known as "Mr. White Sox?"

He was actually acquired from the Indians in a three team trade... but he was a star long before that. He was a Negro League star, a star in Cuba and a star in Mexico. He made up for lost time becoming a star in the Big Leagues. He finished 4th in the MVP vote his rookie year and became an MVP candidate and All Star over his first seven years in Chicago. It was almost cruel that he was traded back to the Indians when the White Sox finally made the World Series. He returned to the White Sox in 1960 and was once again an MVP candidate.

He appeared in three games at age 50 in 1976 and in a pair of games at age 54 in 1980 to make him the only player to appear in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Sure it was a publicity stunt, but he singled off of Sid Monge on September 12, 1976.

He appeared in a game for the St. Paul Saints in 1993 and 2003. Look for him to show up somewhere in 2010.
He'll only be 85!


WHO WOULD WIN A HEAD TO HEAD SERIES?

Both teams have some firepower and both can play some solid defense. And we know that both Buck Weaver and Shoeless Joe Jackson will be playing their guts out. But if you give the home team the lead, that bullpen won't let up a run. And I pity any gambler who tries to get Goose Gossage to throw a game.


VERDICT: THE HOME GROWN TEAM WINS... AND THERE IS NO NEED TO SHOW UP IN AN IOWA CORN FIELD


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One more down!

That's the White Sox.

And the Royals
And the Brewers
And the Reds
And the Dodgers
And the Blue Jays
And the Pirates
And the Diamondbacks
And the Mariners
And the Nationals
And the Angels
And The Padres
And The Twins
And The Orioles
And the A's
And the Astros
And the Giants
And the Rockies
And the Mets
And the Rangers
And the Marlins
And the Yankees
And the Red Sox

7 to go...

NEXT ALL TIME HOME GROWN VS. ACQUIRED TEAM:
THE DETROIT TIGERS

9 comments:

  1. Anonymous3:46 PM

    Buck Weaver man...Buck Weaver...give him his due. - Wes

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  2. sully...thanks for yr entertaining site. i love baseball and i enjoy reading yr little stories about the players in the HOME GROWN VS ACQUIRED segments. too many folx are focussed on the numbers...it's good to know someone considers the soul of the game!
    i enjoy the posts. keep it rollin'!

    bombasticos@yahoo.com

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  3. I agree with pretty much all your analysis. Great job!

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  4. There should be a separate category for the "all-acquired broadcast team" of Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall. Ladies and gentlemen, that was vintage Chicago sports.

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  5. Hey, not really a big deal, but Rowand didn't go facefirst into the wall in his first game with the Phils, it was in May, maybe June. A real minor point, but whatever.

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  6. RW WARD7:48 PM

    For a Red Sox fan you did one helluva job. Johnny Mostil should have beat out Rowand as the homegrown CF. Lifetime .300 avg. Great defensively, once caught a foul ball from CF in a spring training game. Never played a game for another team and was nicknamed "Bananas" for reasons I won't get into.(Trying to pique your curiosity to do some research on him.)

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous12:19 PM

    what about ceiotte?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous12:20 PM

    caicotte...idk how u spell it

    ReplyDelete