Chris Kamka

When They Were Prospects: Magglio Ordoñez

When They Were Prospects: Magglio Ordoñez

Ohhh-Eeee-Ohhh…. Maaaaagglio.

Once you hear it, you never forget it. But what you may have forgotten was exactly how GOOD Magglio Ordoñez was.

He was originally signed for $3,500 in 1991, and worked his way through the White Sox minor league system over the next half dozen years. 

He won the American Association batting title (.329) for the Nashville Sounds (AAA) in 1997 and was the 56th ranked prospect (by Baseball America) entering 1998.

Phil Rogers (then of the Chicago Tribune) said in mid-1997:

“Ordoñez is a deceiving package. He stands 5 feet 11 inches and is listed at 170 pounds. But an appetite for the weight room has given him an upper body that is much closer to Julio Franco than Julio Iglesias.”

Ordoñez was an All-Star in 1999, his age 25-season. It was the first of four consecutive seasons with 30 home runs and a .300 batting average. In White Sox history, the only other player who has done that is Frank Thomas (five straight, from 1993-97). 

As of this writing, Ordoñez is one of four players to hit 100-plus home runs with a .300 career batting average in a White Sox uniform.

Minnie Miñoso                 .304        135

Frank Thomas                    .307        448

Magglio Ordoñez             .307        187

José Abreu                         .300        134

Magglio’s stay in Chicago didn’t end the way everyone would have hoped. A knee injury ended his 2004 campaign prematurely, and when the White Sox won the Fall Classic in 2005 their rightfielder was the World Series MVP. But it wasn’t Magglio Ordoñez, who signed with the Tigers. It was Jermaine Dye, who ironically was born the very same day (January 28, 1974) as the man he replaced.

Ordoñez wasn’t done. He hit a walkoff three-run home run in the ALCS to send the Tigers into the 2006 World Series and won a batting title the following year (.363). He capped a fine career in 2011, finishing with 294 career home runs, a .309 batting average — the 28th highest of anyone with at least 200 career home runs — and a .502 slugging percentage.

But whenever South Side fans hear “Ohhh-Eeee-Ohhh” they still can’t help but to respond:


Who knew? Baseball oddities from Javier Báez, Yolmer Sánchez and more in Chicago baseball


Who knew? Baseball oddities from Javier Báez, Yolmer Sánchez and more in Chicago baseball

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

While you’re gathered with your families for the holiday, what better to entertain a crowd than a long list of baseball statistics! These outstanding feats in Chicago baseball are perfect to rattle off in between trips to the grill (or refrigerator)! So without further ado…

Catch Him if you Can

There have been 14 triples hit by catchers this season (through Sunday). 28.6 percent of them (four) have come off the bat of Willson Contreras.

Contreras is the first Cubs catcher with four triples before the All-Star break since Hall of Famer Gabby Hartnett in 1936.

Triple Threat

When Yolmer Sánchez isn’t dousing the field with Gatorade, he’s running wild on the bases. 

Sánchez hit his fifth triple (which is tied for the Major League lead with Javier Báez) on Sunday, and over the last year’s worth of games, he’s at the top of the list.

Most triples, last 365 days (May 28, 2017 – May 27, 2018):

Yolmer Sánchez    11
Nicholas Castellanos 10
Billy Hamilton  10

Double Up

José Abreu enters Monday tied for the MLB lead with 19 doubles this season.  He hit numbers 18 and 19 on Saturday, the team's 49th game this season. 19 doubles through 49 team games in a season is the best by a White Sox player since the legendary Zeke “Banana Nose” Bonura in 1937 (also 19). 


Sánchez (five triples) and Abreu (19 doubles) give the White Sox players tied for the MLB lead in each category.

The last time a team had the Major League leader in doubles and triples (or at least a share for the MLB lead) was 2007, when Curtis Granderson (23 triples) and Magglio Ordoñez (54 doubles) led the Majors in those categories for the Detroit Tigers.

A Contrast in Style

The Cubs mixed it up last Friday against the Giants at Wrigley Field. Consider this:

First batter of game: Gorkys Hernández facing Kyle Hendricks: 86.1 MPH 4-seam Fastball, 86.4 MPH Sinker, 87.1 MPH Sinker (three-pitch strikeout)

Last batter of game: Mac Williamson facing Brandon Morrow: 100.1 MPH Sinker, 99.8 MPH Sinker, 99.7 MPH Sinker (three-pitch strikeout)

The 10/10 club

Entering Monday, there are three players with double-digit totals in both home runs and stolen bases.

Mookie Betts, Mike Trout… and Tim Anderson!

Anderson reached the 10 home run/10 stolen base plateau in team game number 49 this season, the quickest Sox player to do so since Alex Ríos in 2010 (team game 48).

Anderson’s ninth and 10th home runs of the season came Saturday at Detroit. He now has three multi-home run games this season – at three AL Central ballparks (Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City opening day March 29, Guaranteed Rate Field May 5, and Comerica Park in Detroit May 26).

Anderson is one of only two shortstops in White Sox history with multiple multi-home run games in a season. 

Most multi-home run games in a season by a White Sox shortstop:

Tim Anderson 3 2018
José Valentín 3 2003
José Valentín 3 2002
José Valentín 3 2000
12 tied with    1

The 1/1 club

Last Wednesday, José Rondón and Adam Engel both hit a home run and stole a base. It was only the 13th time since 1908 that a pair of White Sox players homered and stole a base in the same game. It was the first time since exactly two years earlier (May 23, 2016) when Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie did it.

The Will to Not Walk

Javier Báez is the first Cubs player to hit five triples and 10 home runs before the All-Star break since Corey Patterson in 2004. 

And through Monday’s game, there are still 43 games to go before we reach the All-Star break.

The last time Báez drew a walk was April 11. 

From April 12 through May 27, 468 players (including Cubs reliever Randy Rosario, who walked in his first Major League plate appearance on Sunday) have drawn at least one walk. But not Báez. 

Mike Trout has drawn 39 walks over that same span.

Báez from April 12 to May 27: .275/.277/.542, no walks, 33 strikeouts

Oh yeah… that walk Báez took on April 11? It was intentional. His last unintentional walk was April 7.

Why walk when you can run, I guess...

Happy Birthday, Big Hurt! 50 Frank Thomas dates and fun facts for his 50th birthday


Happy Birthday, Big Hurt! 50 Frank Thomas dates and fun facts for his 50th birthday

May 27, 1968 – Frank Thomas born in Columbus, Georgia

June 5, 1989 – Frank Thomas drafted 7th overall (out of Auburn) in first round of 1989 MLB Draft

August 2, 1990 – MLB Debut – 0 for 4 with RBI at Milwaukee (Game 1 of doubleheader).  First PA was flyout vs Teddy Higuera. Knocked in GW run with a fielder’s choice off Randy Veres in top of 9th.

August 3, 1990 – First Major League hit – a 2-run triple off Mark Knudson in 7th inning at Milwaukee

August 28, 1990 – First career HR.  Solo HR at Metrodome off Gary Wayne in 9th inning

September 27, 1990 – First career Major League home run in Chicago (at Comiskey Park)

September 28, 1990 – Thomas hits the last White Sox home run at old Comiskey Park (off Randy Johnson)

June 24, 1991 – First career Grand Slam – off Michael Jackson of Mariners at New Comiskey Park

July 15, 1991 – First career multi-HR game – both off Mike Gardiner of the Red Sox at New Comiskey Park

September 28, 1991 – 128th walk of season, breaking Lu Blue’s club record set 60 years prior.  Thomas finished with 138.

September 16, 1992 – Lone career 5-hit game (in this game, Don Mattingly took a handful of some kid’s popcorn on a pop foul by Tim Raines)

August 31, 1993 – 100th career HR – off Sterling Hitchcock at Yankee Stadium

September 1, 1993 – 38th HR of season (at Yankee Stadium off Scott Kamieniecki), setting a new White Sox record (breaking record previously held by Dick Allen & Carlton Fisk)

September 5, 1993 – 40th HR of season – first player in White Sox history to reach 40.  Thomas finished with 41.

October 5, 1993 – First career postseason game.  He reached base 5 times. (1 for 1 with 4 walks) in Game 1 of 1993 ALCS vs Blue Jays at New Comiskey Park

October 9, 1993 – First career postseason home run.  Game 4 of 1993 ALCS vs Blue Jays at Skydome off Todd Stottlemyre

November 10, 1993 – Thomas named American League MVP by the BBWAA

April 19, 1994 – Home Run for the 5th straight game.  It’s the first of two 5-game HR streaks in 1994

May 29, 1994 – Home Run for the 5th straight game.  It’s his second 5-game HR streak of the season.

October 26, 1994 – Thomas named American League MVP by the BBWAA for the second straight season

July 10, 1995 – Won 1995 Home Run Derby at The Ballpark in Arlington, Texas

July 11, 1995 – First All-Star Home Run in White Sox history (at The Ballpark in Arlington, Texas)

March 31, 1996 – Frank Thomas hits the first regular season home run in March in MLB history (off Randy Johnson)

May 15, 1996 – Career-high 6 RBI (first of two times he did it) in 20-8 win vs Brewers in Milwaukee

June 9, 1996 – 200th career HR – off Jimmy Haynes at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

September 15, 1996 – first career 3-HR game (all three off Tim Wakefield); the first of which is career HR #215, passing Carlton Fisk for most HR in White Sox history  

May 20, 1997 – Thomas reaches base for the 15th straight plate appearance (HR, 1B, BB, 2B, 2B, BB, 1B, BB, 1B, 1B, 1B, 1B, 2B, BB, BB)

July 14, 1998 – First career walkoff HR (off Rick Aguilera of the Twins)

June 15, 1999 – Extended his hitting streak to 21 games – a career-best.  He reached base 44 times during the 21-game stretch (33 hits, 10 walks, 1 HBP)

August 7, 1999 – 300th career HR – off Kevin Appier at the Oakland Coliseum

July 15, 2000 – Career-high 6 RBI (second of two times he did it) in 15-7 win vs Cardinals at New Comiskey Park

July 23, 2002 – 495’ home run off Johan Santana in Chicago.  His longest home run at New Comiskey Park/Guaranteed Rate Field

July 2, 2003 – Second career Walkoff HR – off Eddie Guardado of the Twins

July 25, 2003 – 400th career HR – off Jorge Sosa of the Rays at US Cellular Field

August 4, 2003  - 2,000th career hit – a home run off Nate Field of the Royals at US Cellular Field

August 18, 2003 – Third career Walkoff HR – off Jarrod Washburn of the Angels

July 18, 2005 – 448th and final home run in a White Sox uniform (448 remains a franchise record)

July 20, 2005 – Last game in a White Sox uniform.  He went 1 for 4 (single off Nate Robertson) in 8-6 loss vs Tigers at US Cellular Field

May 22, 2006 – First game AGAINST the White sox.  He homers twice at US Cellular Field (2 solo HR off Jon Garland) but the White Sox win 5-4

July 6, 2006 – Fourth and final career walkoff HR (only one not in a White Sox uniform).  With Oakland A’s off Scot Shields of the Angels

September 11, 2006 – Home Run for the sixth straight game (with the Oakland A’s); his career-long streak

October 3, 2006 – His lone career postseason multi-HR game.  In his first postseason game not in a White Sox uniform (with A’s – vs Twins at Metrodome)

June 28, 2007 – 500th career HR (with Blue Jays – off Carlos Silva at the Metrodome)

September 17, 2007 – Second of 2 career 3-HR games.  This game was with Toronto Blue Jays.  Tim Wakefield allowed the first 2 (Wakefield allowed all 3 of his HR 9/15/1996)

August 9, 2008 – 521st and final career HR (with Oakland A’s) – off Armando Galarraga at Comerica Park

August 29, 2008 – Final MLB game – he went 2 for 4 vs Twins at the Oakland Coliseum.  His final hit was off Kevin Slowey; final plate appearance was strikeout vs Craig Breslow

February 12, 2010 – Held press conference at US Cellular Field to formally announce his retirement

August 29, 2010 – White Sox retire #35 on Frank Thomas Day at US Cellular Field

January 8, 2014 – Thomas elected to the Hall of Fame

July 27, 2014 – Inducted into the Hall of Fame, along with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa & Joe Torre




50 Frank Thomas fun facts


  1. 521 career Home Runs.

Tied for 20th in MLB history with Willie McCovey & Ted Williams

One of 27 players in MLB history with 500+ Home Runs


  1. Thomas had 11 career grand slams


  1. 7 extra-inning home runs is a White Sox franchise record.


  1. Thomas holds the White Sox season record for both

Home runs at home (30 in 2000)

Home Runs on the road (25 in 1995)


  1. Thomas homered against every MLB team except the Pirates


  1. Thomas homered more against the Twins (52 HR) than any other team


  1. Thomas had 2 career pinch hit home runs.  Both times he pinch hit for pitchers.  Jim Parque & Luis Vizcaino


  1. Thomas hit 3 triples before he hit his first Major League home run.

He’s one of two 500-HR club members with 3 or more triples before hitting his first HR.  The other one is Reggie Jackson (4 triples before first HR)


  1. Thomas had 3 triples in his first 17 MLB games.

Thomas had 9 triples in his remaining 2,305 MLB games.


  1. Thomas was born the same day as Jeff Bagwell.   They both won 1994 MVP awards.


  1. Thomas (1993-94) was the first to win American League MVP in consecutive seasons since Roger Maris in 1960-61.  Only Miguel Cabrera (2012-13) has done it since.


  1. Thomas’s .419 career On-Base percentage is the best by any right-handed hitter alive (with at least 100 career Major League plate apperances).


  1. His last 162 games in a White Sox uniform:  .254/.387/.566, 104 Runs, 47 Home Runs, 121 RBI


  1. Thomas (the White Sox 1989 first round pick) and Alex Fernandez (the White Sox 1990 first round pick)

made their Major League debuts in the same game (August 2, 1990 – game 1 of doubleheader at Milwaukee)


  1. Frank Thomas had 9 seasons with 100 Runs, 100 RBI and 100 Walks.  Only three players had more.

Babe Ruth (11), Lou Gehrig (11) and Barry Bonds (10)


  1. 521 career HR x 4 bases per HR x 90 feet per base = 187,560 feet.  Or roughly 35.52 Miles.  Thomas’s #35 is retired by the White Sox.


  1. Thomas collected his 500th career home run the same day Craig Biggio collected his 3,000th career hit.  June 28, 2007


  1. Thomas collected his 300th career home run the same day Wade Boggs collected his 3,000th career hit.  August 7, 1999


  1. Thomas hit the last White Sox home run at Old Comiskey Park (9/28/1990) and the first White Sox home run at New Comiskey Park (4/22/1991)


  1. Thomas also had the first White Sox home run at five other parks.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards (5/8/1992), Progressive Field (7/21/1994), Rangers Ballpark (5/13/1994), Tropicana Field (4/4/1998) & Minute Maid Park (6/2/2000)


  1. In 14 career games on his birthday, Thomas hit .468/.583/.766 with 2 HR, 10 RBI, 22 Hits & 13 Walks


  1. From 1951-present, 1,109 players have appeared in at least one game with the White Sox**  One has won a batting title for the White Sox.  Frank Thomas (.347 in 1997)

(prior to Thomas, Luke Appling won two batting titles – 1936 & 1943.  His last game with the Sox was 1950)

                **through May 24, 2018


  1. In 1997, Frank Thomas hit .417/.524/.748 in 185 PA with RISP.

He had 39 walks.  Only 14 strikeouts.


  1. Frank Thomas had 3 receptions for 45 yards as a Tight End for Auburn’s football team in 1986


  1. Thomas’s #35 is retired by the White Sox, but his first career Major League hit came while wearing #15.


  1. Had a hit off Charlie Hough (born 1/5/1948) & Felix Hernández (born 4/8/1986)


  1. In Thomas’s first 8 MLB seasons (1,076 games), he hit .330/.452/.600 with 879 walks and only 582 strikeouts.  And a 177 wRC+  Mike Trout is in his 8th MLB season.  His career wRC+ is 170


  1. Thomas is one of six players in MLB history with 500+ Home Runs and .300 BA, .400 OBP & .500 SLG. The others: Babe Ruth, Manny Ramírez, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams & Mel Ott


  1. Prior to joining the White Sox, Frank Thomas had 112 walks in 109 games with Birmingham in 1990


  1. Joe DiMaggio had 361 career home runs.  Frank Thomas had 361 career home runs… against right-handed pitchers alone.


  1. Frank Thomas had more career stolen bases (32) than Joe DiMaggio (30)


  1. Thomas homered in 28 different MLB ballparks, off 336 different pitchers.


  1. The most home runs Thomas hit off a pitcher was 9 off Mike Mussina.

30 hits is the most by Thomas off any pitcher during his career


  1. 9 of Thomas’s home runs were off pitchers currently in the Hall of Fame.

5 off Randy Johnson, 2 off Jack Morris, 1 off Pedro Martínez, 1 off Goose Gossage.


  1. Thomas homered off 17 different pitchers who won a Cy Young award

(Clemens, Colón, Cone, Hentgen, Hershiser, R. Johnson, P. Martínez, McDowell, Sabathia, Saberhagen, Santana, Sutcliffe, Valenzuela, Viola, Webb, Welch & Zito)


  1. Thomas homered off 6 pitchers who threw a perfect game

(Mark Buehrle, David Cone, Dennis Martínez, Kenny Rogers, David Wells & Randy Johnson)


  1. Thomas had 1,704 career RBI. 

He drove himself in 521 times.

He drove in exactly 100 different teammates

Most often driven in?  Ray Durham (184 times)


  1. 1,047 players had at least 100 career plate appearances at old Comiskey Park.  Frank Thomas had the best on-base percentage of all of them

(.510 OBP in 102 PA)


  1. Thomas had a 52-game on-base streak to begin 1996… the streak was 57 games if you included the last 5 games of 1995.


  1. In his first 162 career MLB games, Frank Thomas reached base 313 times.

He hit .317/.449/.532 with 110 Runs, 27 HR, 106 RBI, 134 BB, 132 K, 3 HBP


  1. Frank Thomas has 5 of the 12 seasons of at least 40 home runs in White Sox history.  Nobody else has more than two. 


  1. A Double in his 149th career plate appearance (in his 39th career MLB game) put his career batting average at .303.  That career batting average never fell under .300 again.


  1. Frank Thomas has the most career HR by a player named Frank Thomas (521); which is 235 more than the other Frank Thomas, who was the Frank Thomas who played his final MLB game in a Chicago Uniform (5/30/1966 – with the Cubs).


  1. Frank Thomas’s first career grand slam (6/24/1991) scored two future Hall of Famers (Thomas & Tim Raines) and two future White Sox managers (Ozzie Guillen & Robin Ventura)


  1. Four position players were picked ahead of Frank Thomas in the 1989 MLB Draft.  Two never reached the Majors (Jeff Jackson & Paul Coleman) and the other two combined for 65 career home runs (Tyler Houston & Donald Harris).


  1. 508 players had at least 1,000 plate appearances during the 1990s.  Of those 508 the top two in on-base percentage were Frank Thomas (.440) and Barry Bonds (.434)


  1. Thomas hit .322/.448/.635 career vs lefties


  1. Thomas is the only player in White Sox history with multiple 5-game home run streaks.  Both were in 1994.


  1. In 38 career plate appearances against Bartolo Colón, Thomas hit .483/.605/.828 with 2 HR, 14 hits & 9 walks


  1. Besides his 448 HR, Thomas also is the White Sox franchise career leader in Runs (1,327), Doubles (447), RBI (1,465), Walks (1,466), OBP (.427 – min 1,500 PA) & SLG (.568 – min 1,500 PA)