White Sox

14 facts about former White Sox slugger Paul Konerko on his birthday


14 facts about former White Sox slugger Paul Konerko on his birthday

Paul Konerko was one of those players who united a fan base. Maybe he won’t ever have a plaque in Cooperstown, but when you walk through the gates at Guaranteed Rate Field, you see the retired No. 14 and you see the statue. And you don’t get those things unless you were a big deal.

Most White Sox fans know that Konerko is second on the Sox career home run list with 432. And they also may know his seven postseason home runs (five of them for the World Series champs in 2005) is a franchise record. 

Well, here are 14 nuggets about Paulie you may NOT know…

155 players in MLB history have at least 2,300 career hits. Only one had fewer than 10 triples: Paul Konerko (eight). 

Next fewest is 12 by Frank Thomas, but that’s not to say Konerko didn’t have a flash of speed at least once in his career.

His first home run in the 2000 season was an inside-the-park “blast” at Tropicana Field. Speedsters Ozzie Guillen, Lance Johnson, Tim Raines, Ray Durham and Juan Pierre combined for 4,800 games in a Sox uniform. They never hit an inside-the-park homer.

Career with White Sox                          Games           SB             IPHR

Paul Konerko                                         2,268             9                1

Ozzie Guillen, Lance Johnson, Tim Raines, Ray Durham & Juan Pierre      

                                                              4,800             846             0

Konerko also had a knack for not getting caught stealing. In fact, from June 22, 1998 to September 2, 2007, he went 1,350 straight games without getting caught stealing. Granted, he only had five attempts, but the fact remains (hat tip to Ryan Spaeder for sharing this fact).

Konerko only had nine career stolen bases. Even Greg Maddux (11) had more career steals than Paulie.

Konerko was known best, however, for hitting the ball out of the park. Did you know Konerko’s first Major League home run (with the Dodgers) as well as his first home run in a White Sox uniform were both hit at the same ballpark? It was Seattle’s Kingdome of all places.

Konerko hit the same number of home runs (259) at Guaranteed Rate Field as Babe Ruth hit at Yankee Stadium.

Konerko was born in Providence, R.I. He has the most career home runs of anyone born in the smallest US state. His 237th career home run (passing Gabby Hartnett for the record) came off Mariano Rivera.

Konerko’s 81 home runs from 2004-2005 is a White Sox record over a two-season span.

Konerko (60) is one of three players in MLB history with 60+ career interleague home runs (Albert Pujols, 60, Jim Thome, 64). 20 of those home runs were against the Cubs.

Konerko was the first White Sox player to hit a home run at four different ballparks:

Turner Field, Coors Field, Citizens Bank Park and Nationals Park

Konerko is the only White Sox player to hit three home runs in a game at Guaranteed Rate Field (June 7, 2009). Five opposing players have done it.

Konerko’s long career had moments where he was at the right place at the right time…

Konerko was teammates with: Yolmer Sánchez (born June 29, 1992) and Eddie Murray (born Feb. 24, 1956)

Adrián Beltré’s first career MLB plate appearance was a double which drove home Paul Konerko (June 24, 1998).

Konerko is the only player to drive in both Frank Thomas and José Abreu in a White Sox uniform.

Here’s to a happy birthday to PK as his age reaches three times his uniform number. #SoxMath

White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Baltimore Orioles?


White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Baltimore Orioles?

As the 2018 season nears and the White Sox get ready to take on the rest of the American League, we're taking a team-by-team look at all 14 of their opponents.

What’s there to know about the Baltimore Orioles?

Perhaps a better question for White Sox fans: When’s Manny Machado coming to the South Side? (Better question from me, personally, is when Chicago might acquire Maryland's greatest creation: the crab pretzel. Had in College Park last summer. It's amazing.)

Whether that ends up happening or not is a question for next offseason, but that query is one that plenty of South Side baseball fans on social media have asked for years now. Machado, mentioned in trade rumors during the Winter Meetings in December, is most likely entering his final season as an Oriole. His contract is up at season’s end, and he’s expected to land a gargantuan deal next offseason.

The funny thing is that for all the hullabaloo over the 25-year-old infielder, he’s coming off his worst statistical campaign as a big leaguer. In 2017, he slashed .259/.310/.782, all three of those percentages seeing huge dropoffs after a sensational 2016 campaign a year prior. His power numbers stayed relatively consistent, but his run and hit totals plummeted as the O’s weren’t quite as a competitive as in years past.

Now, Machado is likely still cruising for a big contract regardless of what he does in 2018. He’s moving to shortstop, which will be interesting. But he’s young enough that even another season like last year won’t make too big a difference, considering how good he’s been throughout his career.

That’s who White Sox fans will be watching whenever their gaze falls on the Baltimore baseball club. (They won’t be alone, by the way, and some contending teams might even try to add him at the trade deadline.) But the O’s are making news for other reasons, recent reasons, in fact.

The biggest name left on the free-agent market finally signed this week, and now the Orioles have a big-time addition to their starting rotation. Unlike Jake Arrieta, it appears Alex Cobb’s waiting game paid off in the form of dollars, years and a no-trade clause. How nice for him. It’s also nice for the O’s, who get to add a guy to a low-key decent starting staff.

Cobb, who had a 3.66 ERA in 29 starts last season, might not be ready to rock for the start of the regular season considering he didn’t ink a deal until a week out from Opening Day — bet he’s good at staring contests, too — but the trio of Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner (another new addition) and Kevin Gausman will be ready, and all those guys are coming off a solid-enough 2017. Bundy had a couple good stretches, posting a 3.03 ERA over his first 13 starts and then a 2.00 ERA in the month of August. Gausman had a 3.31 ERA over his final 18 starts. Cashner, another free-agent signing, had a 3.40 ERA with the Texas Rangers.

So while the likes of Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and the better-than-Machado-last-year Jonathan Schoop still make the O’s an offensive threat in a hard-to-win AL East, the starting pitching might be where the magic is this time around.

2017 record: 75-87, fifth place in AL East

Offseason additions: Alex Cobb, Andrew Cashner, Colby Rasmus, Alex Presley, Pedro Araujo, Joely Rodriguez, Nestor Cortes Jr.

Offseason departures: Welington Castillo, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Flaherty, Seth Smith, Jeremy Hellickson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Wade Miley

X-factor: I said it just above, and I'll say it again: Jonathan Schoop was better than Manny Machado last season. Schoop made the All-Star team and finished with 32 homers, 105 RBIs and a .293/.338/.503 slash line. His .841 OPS was one of the best 50 in the game. Should we expect Schoop to be the best middle infielder on the O's in 2018, too? Maybe that's a little extreme, but hey, good to have this guy.

Projected lineup:

1. Tim Beckham, 3B
2. Jonathan Schoop, 2B
3. Manny Machado, SS
4. Adam Jones, CF
5. Chris Davis, 1B
6. Trey Mancini, DH
7. Colby Rasmus, RF
8. Caleb Joseph, C
9. Alex Presley, LF

Projected rotation:

1. Dylan Bundy
2. Andrew Cashner
3. Kevin Gausman
4. Chris Tillman
5. Mike Wright Jr.

Prediction: Third place in AL East, no playoffs

Catch up on the AL:

Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels
Houston Astros
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles

Catch up on the NL:

San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers

Sounds like we know how the White Sox starting rotation will line up to start the season


Sounds like we know how the White Sox starting rotation will line up to start the season

Rick Renteria's starting rotation isn't exactly official for the start of the season, but it's about as close as it can be.

Maybe "unofficially official" is the best way to go?

The South Side skipper agreed with the assessment of reporters Wednesday in Arizona, saying that an order of James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer "sounds right."

Shields was already announced as the White Sox starter for the season opener next Thursday in Kansas City. That wasn't much of a surprise considering Shields' veteran status in this rotation.

Giolito, who made seven starts at the end of last season and looked mighty good doing it, might be the best starting pitcher on the team going into the season. He posted a 2.38 ERA in those games, with many fans hoping he would have been the one to take on the Royals in the opener. It sounds like he'll likely pitch two days later in Game 2 against the Crowns.

Lopez made eight starts at the end of last season, turning in a 4.72 ERA in those starts. He's another former highly touted prospect who will get a full season to continue his development at the major league level.

Gonzalez was brought back this winter after being traded away from the South Side last summer to bring another veteran mentor type to help along these young pitchers. He had a 4.31 ERA before the trade to the Texas Rangers after a 3.73 ERA in a full season with the White Sox in 2016.

Fulmer is another young arm who will be looking to earn a spot in the crowded rotation of the future this season. He's had a rough spring — though turned in his best start of the spring earlier this week — but he'll be given every opportunity to prove he can succeed as a big league starting pitcher after showing some promise at the end of last season.

Those first three guys will face off against the Royals on the season's opening weekend. Gonzalez and Fulmer are expected to make their first starts of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays in Canada.