White Sox

Jose Abreu makes history, matches Pujols' record start to career

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Jose Abreu makes history, matches Pujols' record start to career

Jose Abreu made his way back into the record books on Thursday night.

And he knew it.

Abreu breathed a sigh of relief when -- in a 6-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals -- he joined Albert Pujols as the only player in major league history to begin his career with two consecutive seasons of at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. Abreu, who shared a hug with White Sox first-base coach Daryl Boston after he reached first, finished 2-for-4 as he plated RBIs No. 100 and 101 of the season with a seventh-inning single off Royals reliever Luke Hochevar.

“I was thinking a lot about it every time,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “I tried to not think about it, but I couldn’t do it because it was something that was in my head. Because I like the stats, it’s something that I was always thinking. I tried not to think about it, but I couldn’t it.

“It is a big honor to see my name along with Albert. He’s one of the greatest players in the history of baseball and now I have the opportunity to see my name next to his.”

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One night earlier, Abreu homered to become only the third player in baseball history -- and first American Leaguer -- to hit at least 30 homers in consecutive seasons to start a career along with Pujols and Ryan Braun.

To reach Thursday’s mark, Abreu needed some help from his friends. With two outs and the White Sox trailing by four runs, Tyler Flowers singled to right off Hochevar. Adam Eaton’s ground-rule double put a pair of runners in scoring position for Abreu, who fell behind in the count 0-2. Abreu took a pair of cut-fastballs off the outside corner before he ripped a 94-mph fastball past the dive of Mike Moustakas into left to score both runners. Eaton scored twice Thursday to give him 97 runs for the season as he vies to become the first White Sox player to score 100 times since 2006.

Pujols became the first player to post consecutive season of at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs from 2001-02.

“Jose is special,” starting pitcher John Danks said. “That’s really the only word I can come up with.

“We need to get him into the playoffs. He’s, if at all possible, maybe flying under the radar a little bit just because in the couple years he’s been here, we haven’t been in contention. He’s a great teammate, a hell of a ballplayer and it’s fun to watch him.”

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The reigning AL rookie of the year’s encore season has been superb in his sophomore season given he hasn’t been afforded the kind of protection he received from Adam Dunn in 2014.

Abreu, who earned all 30 first-place votes in the 2014 AL ROY balloting, hasn’t hit for as much power with runners in scoring position, but still brought a .980 OPS into Thursday’s game. Before he drove in the pair, Abreu had a .338/.449/.531 slash line with six homers and 62 RBIs with runners in scoring position.

Abreu hit .317/.444/.651 with 12 homers and 74 RBIs with runners in scoring position in 2014.

Abreu also established a career high for hits in a season with 178. Last season, Abreu finished with 176. The first baseman missed an opportunity to drive in his 100th run and set a career high in hits in Wednesday’s loss when he stranded the go-ahead run at third base.

“He went through the first time and everybody had questions about the next year and talking about power numbers, but when you’re the only two guys that have 30 and 100 it just shows his consistency that he had last year and his talent,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He was relieved. I know he was… this is important. I think guys count on numbers and things like that. For him, it’s special.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Memories of Old Comiskey Park

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AP

White Sox Talk Podcast: Memories of Old Comiskey Park

For many White Sox fans, Comiskey Park was their introduction to White Sox baseball when they were young. Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey, and Chris Kamka share their memories of the old ballpark. Among them: Chuck talks about seeing Al Cowens charge Ed Farmer on the mound in 1980 creating a bench clearing brawl, Ryan tells the story about catching a Mike Greenwell foul ball, Chuck talks about being there for the 1983 All-Star Game, they discuss the final game ever played there and read favorite memories sent in by White Sox fans.

You can listen to the whole thing right here, or in the embedded player below.

8:26 - Chuck talks about seeing Al Cowens charge Ed Farmer on the mound in 1980 creating a bench clearing brawl.

10:11 - Ryan tells the story about catching a Mike Greenwell foul ball.

12:49 - Chuck talks about being there for the 1983 All-Star Game

15:11 - The guys talk about the final game ever played there.

16:44 - The guys read favorite memories sent in by White Sox fans.

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'White Sox to the Letter'

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AP

'White Sox to the Letter'

Inspired by Ogden Nash’s 1949 poem “A Lineup for Yesterday”

 

A is for A.J.

Once punched in the face

If strike three ain’t caught

He’ll steal first base

 

B is for Baines

Who’s known to speak gently

When asked if he’ll homer

He said, “Evidently!”

 

C for Comiskey

The old baseball yard

When it was torn down

I took it quite hard

 

D is for Donkey

I mean Adam Dunn

He’d strike out or walk

Or hit a home run

 

E is for Eloy

He isn’t here yet

Though an All-Star career

Is still a good bet

 

F is for Fisk

The incomparable Pudge

From his perch behind home

Not an inch he would budge

 

G is for Gold

G is for Glove

Aparicio is

Who I’m thinking of

 

H is for Hawk

Unforgettable voice

Stretch! Dadgummit!

And don’t stop now boys!

 

I for Iguchi

Second base man

Won World Series

Returned to Japan

 

J is for Jackson

The legend still grows

A home run or touchdown

Only Bo knows

 

K is for Kopech

Speed, he has plenty

He’ll pile up strikeouts

In two thousand twenty

 

L is for Luke

Old Aches and Pains

Hit .388

That record remains

 

M is for Mark

As in Mister Buehrle

When he takes the mound

The game will end early

 

N is for no-no

Wilson Alvarez, Humber

Two by Mark Buehrle

Too many to number

 

O for Orestes

Miñoso’s real name

Not in the Hall

And that’s a real shame

 

P is for Paulie

He gave it his all

At the championship rally

Gave Jerry the ball

 

Q for Quintana

Kept coming up short

Only because

Of no run support

 

R is for Richie

But please call him Dick

A dangerous man

When he’s swinging the stick

 

S is for shoes

Which were not worn by Joe

In 1919

Please say it ain’t so

 

T is for Thomas

Amazing career

He went to the Hall

And brewed Big Hurt Beer

 

U for Uribe

He played everywhere

When the ball left his bat

Hands waved in the air

 

V is for Veeck

He knew how to sell

Fireworks, promotions

And Eddie Gaedel

 

W is for William

Or Bill; He was Beltin’

So hot was the corner

Third baseman was Melton

 

X is for Fox

At least the last letter

Among second basemen

Nobody was better

 

Y is for Yolmer

He has sneaky power

The master of giving

A Gatorade shower

 

Z is for Zisk

And others I missed

Unable to fit

In my White Sox list