Chris Kamka

60 facts for Harold Baines' 60th Birthday


60 facts for Harold Baines' 60th Birthday

Happy birthday to 2019 Hall of Famer Harold Baines!

Here are 60 facts about the White Sox legend to commemorate the occasion.

1. Baines was originally discovered by White Sox then-owner Bill Veeck as a 12-year old little leaguer in Maryland

2. Baines was drafted first overall in the 1977 MLB Draft. He's one of two first overall picks in White Sox history. The other was Danny Goodwin in 1971, who did not sign after being drafted by the Sox but signed after the Angels drafted him first overall in 1975.

3. Baines, the first overall pick in 1977 was teammates with the first overall pick in:

1974 Bill Almon (drafted by the Padres, teammates with White Sox)

1976 Floyd Bannister (drafted by the Astros, teammates with White Sox)

1981 Mike Moore (drafted by Mariners, teammates with A's)

1985 B.J. Surhoff (drafted by the Brewers, teammates with Orioles)

1989 Ben McDonald (drafted by the Orioles, teammates with Orioles)

4. Baines is one of three No. 1 overall picks in the Hall of Fame, along with Ken Griffey Jr (1987) and Chipper Jones (1990)

5. Baines made his MLB Debut in the White Sox 1980 season opener against the Orioles at Comiskey Park. His first career plate appearance was against Hall of Famer Jim Palmer.

6. Baines led the AL in slugging percentage in 1984 (.541)

7. Baines holds the MLB record for latest walk-off home run (inning-wise) - 25th inning on May 9, 1984, in the conclusion of a game started the day before. It was the 753rd pitch of the game.

8. Three of Baines' first eight career MLB home runs were off future Hall of Famers. Jim Palmer (first), Gaylord Perry (sixth), Fergie Jenkins (eighth).

9. Baines had 113 RBIs in 1985 and 103 RBI in 1999. In between, from 1986-1998, 128 different players had at least 100-RBI season, but not Baines.

10. Baines appeared in a starting lineup with these starting pitchers on the mound as teammates: Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan, Mike Mussina, Dwight Gooden, Fernando Valenzuela, Bartolo Colón and Mark Buehrle.

11. He hit a walk-off sacrifice fly off the Mariners' Ed Vande Berg to clinch AL West Sept. 17, 1983

12. Was starting DH, hitting fifth for Rangers June 11, 1990 - Nolan Ryan's sixth no-hitter.

13. Hit sixth in the order for the Orioles, behind Cal Ripken on Sept. 6, 1995 - the day Ripken played in his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking the MLB record.

14. Baines is the only player in White Sox history to hit three home runs in a game twice. July 7, 1982 and Sept. 17, 1984. He also hit three home runs in a game for the A's on May 7, 1991

15. Baines is the only player in MLB history with a 100-RBI season prior to his age 25 season AND in his age 40 (or older) season (age season defined as player's age on June 30).

16. Baines was hit by a pitch 14 times in his 2,830 game MLB career. In 2018, 13 players had 14 or more HBP, including new Sox outfielder Jon Jay (who shares the same March 15 birthday with Baines), who had 18.

17. Eight players hit two home runs in a game off Nolan Ryan:

Dick Allen, Jim Wynn, John Briggs, Graig Nettles, John Mayberry, Duane Walker, Mike Greenwell and Harold Baines, who did it June 8, 1989.

18. Baines posted a solid .272/.350/.450 slashline with 36 home runs in 263 games after his 40th birthday.

19. The White Sox retired Baines' No. 3 on Aug. 20, 1989. He was only 30 years, 158 days old. He played 1,432 games (and an additional 27 in the postseason) after having his number retired by the White Sox.

Some of the number retirement dates vary and I had to use my best judgement to determine the most accurate dates, but here's a fun list:

Most games played by a player after having his number retired and team to retire number:

-1,432 Harold Baines - White Sox

-1,206 Eddie Murray** - Orioles

**Several sources note that Murray's jersey retirement was in 1998, though I believe it was originally done by the Orioles shortly after the deal to the Dodgers. For this list, I credit the date as prior to the 1989 season. A great resource is here, which notes the date as March 2, 1989.

A Chicago Tribune spring training report the next day mentions that "Eddie Murray's No. 33 will be retired by the Orioles sometime this season, the team announced."

-479 Frank Robinson - Orioles (number later retired by Reds and Indians)

-147 Robin Roberts- Phillies

20. Baines had 2,866 career hits, 46th in MLB history. 45th on the list is fellow Maryland native Babe Ruth with 2,873.

21. Baines (2,866 hits) had more in his career than several Hall of Fame outfielders, including Ken Griffey Jr (2,781), Andre Dawson (2,774), Billy Williams (2,711), Ted Williams (2,654) and Reggie Jackson (2,584)

22. Baines' .356 career on-base percentage is better than Ichiro's (.355)

23. Baines' .465 career slugging percentage is better than Cal Ripken's (.447)

24. White Sox put up a statue in Baines' honor on July 20, 2008.

25. Baines is one of only 12 players in MLB history with 20 or more seasons of double-digit home runs. The list: Henry Aaron (23), Carl Yastrzemski (22), Barry Bonds (21), Stan Musial (21), Ken Griffey Jr (20), Cal Ripken Jr (20), Eddie Murray (20), Dave Winfield (20), Reggie Jackson (20), Willie McCovey (20), Al Kaline (20) and Baines (20)

26. Baines' seven seasons with 20+ home runs with White Sox is most in franchise history among lefties and third overall (13 by Paul Konerko, 11 by Frank Thomas)

27. 221 home runs and 981 RBIs are White Sox career records for lefties.

28. Six-time All-Star: 1985-87 and 1989 (representing White Sox), 1991 (representing A's), 1999 (representing Orioles).

29. Had career-long 19-game hitting streak in September 1983.

30. Is the oldest White Sox player with a postseason hit. 2000 ALDS, Game 3 (41 years, 205 days old)

31. Baines' .289 career batting average is better than Eddie Murray (.287) or David Ortiz (.286)

32. His 384 career home runs is 11th all-time among American League lefties

33. Baines hit 15 home runs off Hall of Famers (10 different pitchers - Jim Palmer, Gaylord Perry, Fergie Jenkins, Don Sutton, Phil Niekro, Bert Blyleven, Nolan Ryan, Jack Morris, Dennis Eckersley and Roy Halladay). He hit an additional homer off Jack Morris in the postseason.

34. Faced 17 different Hall of Famers total; had a .276/.331/.431 career line against them (includes postseason)

35. Baines is one of three players in MLB history with 1,000 career starts each as DH and in the field, along with Paul Molitor & Chili Davis

36. Baines is one of four White Sox players with three 20-home run seasons through age 25 season, with Bill Melton, Frank Thomas and Paul Konerko

37. Baines is one of three White Sox players with a 100-RBI season in his age 23-or-younger season. He had 105 RBIs at age 23 in 1982. The others are Frank Thomas (109) and Robin Ventura (100) both at age 23 in 1991

38. Baines is the only player in White Sox history with 25+ home runs and 10+ triples in a season - 29 home runs, 10 triples in 1984

39. He hit more career home runs against the Blue Jays (38) than any other team.

40. In 31 career postseason games, he hit .324/.378/.510 with 5 home runs and 16 RBIs...despite starting his postseason career 0-for-14.

41. Through 2001 (his final season), Baines was the all-time MLB leader in games played at DH (1,643) and home runs as DH (236). He has since been passed in both categories.

42. In his MLB career, Baines faced both Gaylord Perry (born Sept. 15, 1938) and Kyle Lohse (born Oct. 4, 1978). The plate appearance against Lohse was Baines' final MLB plate appearance.

43. Baines is tied for the second most career home runs in the history of Old Comiskey Park (88, tied with Bill Melton), only trailing Carlton Fisk (94).

44. Harold's son, also named Harold, was drafted by the White Sox in the 45th round in 2009.

45. Baines held the White Sox franchise home run record (either tied for or outright) from July 21, 1987 to Aug. 17, 1990, until Carlton Fisk passed him with White Sox home run No. 187.

46. His last career MLB start was as the DH on June 14, 2001 against the Reds. The opposing DH was Deion Sanders.

47. Baines struck out 100+ times in a season only once - 109 in 1988. He struck out 90+ times in a season only twice - 1988 and 1982, when he struck out 95 times.

48. Four players in MLB history have had 40 home run/40 stolen base seasons. Baines isn't one of them. But he did have more career triples (49) than three of the four - Alex Rodriguez (31), Alfonso Soriano (31) and Jose Canseco (14).

49. Baines had more career stolen bases (34) than Joe DiMaggio (30).

50. Baines is seventh all-time in American League history in games played (2,830). Three of the top seven were born in Maryland (Cal Ripken is first, Al Kaline is sixth, Baines is seventh).

51. Baines is sixth all-time among players born in Maryland in home runs - Babe Ruth (714), Jimmie Foxx (534), Cal Ripken (431), Mark Teixeira (409), Al Kaline (399), Baines (384).

52. Baines' most frequent home run victims were Charlie Hough and Todd Stottlemyre (five each).

53. Baines had more career regular season hits (32) against Roger Clemens than any other pitcher.

54. Was White Sox starting rightfielder Oct. 5, 1980 - the game Minnie Miñoso made his last career MLB appearance (he pinch hit). He was later teammates with Frank Thomas (1996-97, 2000-01), and Paul Konerko (2000-01). Baines was teammates with both Minnie Miñoso (born Nov. 29, 1925) and Jon Garland (born Sept. 27, 1979).

55. Every Jan. 9 has been declared "Harold Baines Day" in his hometown of St. Michaels, Md.

56. Was American League Designated Hitter of the Year in 1987 and 1988

57. Baines played for 12 MLB managers. Tony La Russa (with White Sox and A's), Doug Rader (for two games), Jim Fregosi, Jeff Torborg, Bobby Valentine, Johnny Oates, Phil Regan, Terry Bevington, Davey Johnson, Ray Miller, Mike Hargrove (with Indians & Orioles) and Jerry Manuel

58. Baines is 65th in MLB history with his 384 career home runs.

59. Baines' 384 career home runs is second most by a player who never hit 30 in a season (he topped out at 29), behind Al Kaline's 399.

60. Baines was elected to the Hall of Fame on Dec. 9, 2018.

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Remember That Guy: Fred Manrique


Remember That Guy: Fred Manrique

Eloy is the hottest name among White Sox fans right now.

The White Sox have had a pair of Eloys before. Well, as a middle name at least.

The first was Alejandro Eloy Carrasquel, a pitcher who appeared in three games for the 1949 White Sox. His nephew Alfonso “Chico” Carrasquel was the first of 10 Venezuelan-born players to play shortstop for the White Sox.

Of those 10 Venezuelan-born shortstops in White Sox history, Chico Carrasquel was followed by Luis Aparicio, and then came Ozzie Guillen. Next was Fred Manrique, whose middle name was Eloy.

Do you remember that guy?

Manrique was born Nov. 5, 1961, in Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela. He was signed by the Blue Jays shortly after his 17th birthday.

He made his MLB debut for the Blue Jays on Aug. 23, 1981, taking over for Alfredo Griffin in the top of the sixth inning of what would end up a 13-2 rout at the hands of the White Sox in Toronto. He went 0-for-2 at the plate, and his first defensive play was taking part in a 9-6 double play, receiving the throw from future White Sox DH/outfielder George Bell. Forming the left side of the infield: Manrique and Danny Ainge, who was more famous for his basketball career.

Manrique was the youngest player to appear in a MLB game in 1981; he was the first player born in 1961 or later to appear in a MLB game.

In all, he played 14 games for the Jays in 1981, then he spent the next two seasons in the minor leagues, building his reputation as a glove man, though he hit 10 home runs for the Syracuse Chiefs in 1983. In 1984, he returned for 10 more games with Toronto. The following season he appeared in nine games for the Expos (where he hit the first of his 20 career MLB home runs – a leadoff shot off Shane Rawley of the Phillies on Oct. 3 at Olympic Stadium), then was traded to the Cardinals for 1986 where he played in 13 games for St. Louis. From 1981-86, Manrique played in 46 Major League games. Then the White Sox gave him his break by acquiring him in exchange for righthander Bill Dawley.

Manrique played primarily second base for the White Sox, often forming a double play combo with fellow countryman Ozzie Guillen, though he did occasionally play shortstop. After playing 115 games in 1987, he played in a career-high 140 contests in 1988.

Manrique is notable for having (possibly) the largest pair of glasses in White Sox history since Harry Caray. Manrique is most notable for being traded with Harold Baines to the Rangers on July 29, 1989 in exchange for Wilson Alvarez, Scott Fletcher and Sammy Sosa.

Carlton Fisk’s reaction to the trade at the time:

"Harold and Freddy, two major leaguers for one. And not just a major leaguer. Harold Baines. Harold Baines. You know what I mean? Harold Baines."

Little did anyone know that following this trade Baines would still hit more home runs in a White Sox uniform (35) than Sosa (28).

As for Manrique, he hit a respectable .294/.326/.397 in 119 games for the White Sox and Rangers combined. His career-long hitting streak was 13 games in 1989 – his last two games with the White Sox and first 11 with Texas.

He was traded to the Twins in April 1990, and was released in August after appearing in 69 games. He signed with the Angels for 1991 but was released prior to opening day. He joined the Oakland A’s for nine final MLB games; the last of which was May 11, 1991, entering in the game as a defensive replacement at second base (Harold Baines was the Oakland DH that day).

That was the end of his MLB career; he was still months shy of his 30th birthday. I wasn’t able to find what happened to him after he hung up his glove.

More Manrique trivia:

He’s one of six players in MLB history to play for the Toronto Blue Jays, Montreal Expos and Chicago White Sox, along with Scott Downs, Jon Rauch, Charlie O’Brien, Dave Martinez and Kenny Williams.


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Talking through Yoan Moncada’s 2018 struggles

Talking through Yoan Moncada’s 2018 struggles

Yoán Moncada was at one time the No. 1 prospect in baseball, according to most outlets who put out annual rankings. So when he was acquired by the White Sox in the Chris Sale trade, Moncada brought a whole heap of high expectations.

When he made his first appearance at Guaranteed Rate Field in July of 2017, there was a huge ovation by the White Sox faithful; the awaiting of a golden prospect is something the fanbase was not accustomed to. This was a different kind of thing, and it was cool.

He drew a nine-pitch walk against the Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda in his first plate appearance with the White Sox, and the crowd went nuts. This was the beginning of something. His second game with the Sox featured a triple and four RBIs. It was real, and it was spectacular. But three days later came that first four-strikeout game. There were growing pains, but there were also undeniable flashes of greatness.

Then came 2018. More flashes of greatness, but it seemed like a step backward. Things didn’t go as planned. Of course, as they say, development isn’t linear. There were a variety of concerns. Sometimes it’s therapeutic to just talk things through, so let’s try it.

In 2018, Moncada had 217 strikeouts, which is one more than Hall of Famer Nellie Fox had in his career.

Yes, but the game has changed. Moncada is a near lock to pass Fox’s career home run total in 2019 (Fox had 35; Moncada is already at 25). Furthermore, Moncada’s career wRC+ of 97 is already better than Fox’s 96. While Moncada struggled in 2018, he’s only 23 and still possesses the tools to be a franchise cornerstone.

Moncada had a 19-game strikeout streak in 2018.

It didn’t even lead the team. Daniel Palka had a 21-game strikeout streak. Second of all, during that 19-game streak, Moncada had a slashline of .250/.318/.450, which believe it or not was better than his overall season slashline of .235/.315/.400. One more thing. The longest strikeout streak in MLB history is nearly double that. 37 games. And it was by Aaron Judge in 2017, when he hit 52 home runs with a .422 OBP and finished second in AL MVP voting.

But he struck out looking 85 times… 29 more than the next player (the historically bad Chris Davis).

Take the good with the bad. Moncada has a very critical eye at the plate. He also led the team in walks with 67 – 15 more than the next player. The White Sox desperately need a player who draws walks. In 2017, Todd Frazier led the team with 48 walks. And he was traded to the Yankees on July 19. This is something Moncada will have to work through, but plate discipline is tough to teach, and while it is excessive at the moment, it’s a better to start with a player who is too passive than it is with a player who swings at everything.

Only a .209/.287/.297 slashline in 168 plate appearances against lefties.

True, he struggled mightily against southpaws in 2018. But he started to turn the tide on that late in the season. Beginning with Aug. 21 when he homered off the Twins’ Gabriel Moya, he was 13 for his final 39 (.333) with a .395 OBP in his final 43 plate appearances against lefties to finish the season. A small sample to be sure, but progress nonetheless, and something to build on for 2019.

No home runs in September???

Right, but stretching back and including the last week of August (his last home run was Aug. 31), Moncada hit .303/.370/.434 over his last 32 games with that one home run. He finished strong, though with a highly inflated .434 batting average of balls in play, but it’s good for his confidence to end the season well. There were 13 extra-base hits over that span, so there was good contact. His 37 batted balls of at least 95 m.p.h. led the team over that span. The power will come.

I’m excited to see what Moncada can do in 2019. There is still a certain feeling whenever he comes up to bat that he could do something special at any moment. A disappointing 2018 didn’t change that. I think the arrival of Eloy Jiménez will be a big boost for Moncada. It will give the White Sox another impact bat to pitch to. It will divert some of the focus on Moncada as THE guy of the rebuild. He was once a No. 1 prospect for a reason. Let’s see what he’s got this season, then we’ll have another discussion a year from now.


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