The Crosstown Classic annually serves as a reminder of the strong first base presence on Chicago's baseball teams. Years ago, it was Derrek Lee and Paul Konerko, and now it's Anthony Rizzo and José Abreu, two of the best in the game at their position.
Abreu has been on a tear in the first two games of this weekend's Cubs-White Sox series, hitting five homers in two days. After Saturday's game, Rizzo shared the strong sense of respect he has towards the 33-year-old Sox slugger.
“A lot of respect. A lot of respect," Rizzo said of Abreu. "He does it every single year, year in and year out."
Abreu has played for the Sox since 2014 and has largely been on losing teams. His strong numbers may have gotten lost in the shuffle as a result despite averaging 30 homers and 102 RBIs the last six seasons.
The Sox have a loaded lineup now but Abreu has been the "staple" on the South Side, all while replacing another great first baseman in Paul Konerko.
"Replacing a legend in Paulie Konerko is no easy bill and he’s just come in year in and year out and has been one of the most underrated first basemen in the game, in my opinion," Rizzo said.
"Every year he's close to .300, he's got over 100 RBIs, 30+ homers. It's a lot of respect for him because it’s not easy what he does, and he does it year in and year out.”