White Sox

Didinger's all-time Super Bowl team

Didinger's all-time Super Bowl team

Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011
2:26 p.m.
By Ray Didinger
CSNPhilly.com

Offense

QB Joe Montana, San Francisco Undefeated in four trips to the big game, MVP three times, QB rating of 127.8.

RB Franco Harris, Pittsburgh Most rushing yards in Super Bowl history (354) and scored four touchdowns in the Steelers four victories.

RB Terrell Davis, Denver Set a Super Bowl record with three rushing touchdowns in 31-24 win over Green Bay. Dominated the game with 157 rushing yards despite missing most of the second quarter with migraine headaches.

WR Jerry Rice, San Francisco, Oakland Holds Super Bowl records for points (48), touchdowns (eight), pass receptions (33) and yards (589). Enough said.

WR Lynn Swann, Pittsburgh The first wide receiver to earn Super Bowl MVP honors for his spectacular performance (four catches, 161 yards, one touchdown) in a 21-17 win over Dallas.

TE Dave Casper, Oakland Outstanding receiver and devastating blocker, scored a touchdown and helped pave the way for the Raiders 32-14 rout on Minnesota in Super Bowl XI.

T Art Shell, Oakland Pitched a shutout at Viking defensive end Jim Marshall (no tackles, no assists) in Super Bowl XI.

T Joe Jacoby, Washington The Redskins offensive line, known as the Hogs, were the key to the team winning three Super Bowls. Jacoby was the tackle who most often pulled to lead the counter trey, their bread and butter play.

G Bob Kuechenberg, Miami Played Super Bowl VIII with a cast on his broken arm and dominated Vikings All-Pro Alan Page as Miami ran the ball 53 times in a 24-7 win.

G Larry Allen, Dallas Big, mauling blocker cleared the path for Emmitt Smith to rush for 289 yards and a record five touchdowns in three Super Bowls.

C Mike Webster, Pittsburgh The only Hall of Famer on an underrated offensive line. Outstanding run blocker.

Defense

E Reggie White, Green Bay Set Super Bowl record with three sacks in one game, the 35-21 win over New England.

E Charles Haley, San Francisco, Dallas Played on five Super Bowl winners, more than any other player. Holds the Super Bowl record with 4.5 career sacks.

T Joe Greene, Pittsburgh Mean Joe was the heart and soul of the Steel Curtain defense that crushed Minnesota (17 yard rushing) in Super Bowl IX.

T Manny Fernandez, Miami Should have been the MVP of Super Bowl VII. Had 17 tackles in the Dolphins 14-7 win over Washington.

OLB Rod Martin, Oakland -- Set a Super Bowl record with three interceptions in the Raiders 27-10 win over the Eagles.

MLB Ray Lewis, Baltimore Tough call, Lewis over Jack Lambert of the Steelers, but the Ravens won with defense and Lewis was the MVP of the Super Bowl rout of the New York Giants.

OLB Mike Vrabel, New England Had two sacks and a forced fumble in the win over Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII as well as catching a touchdown pass. Had a sack and another touchdown reception the following year in the win over the Eagles.

CB Larry Brown, Dallas The only cornerback to earn Super Bowl MVP honors. He had a mediocre career except for Super Bowl XXX when his two interceptions (OK, they were gifts from Steelers quarterback Neil ODonnell but still) set up 14 points in a 27-17 Cowboys win.

CB Ty Law, New England Returned an interception 47 yards for a touchdown to lift the Patriots to a 20-17 upset of the favored St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.

S Ronnie Lott, San Francisco Leader of the 49er defense, played both corner and safety. His head-snapping hit on Cincinnati fullback Icky Woods was a tone-setter in Super Bowl XXIII.

S James Washington, Dallas Overlooked, but a key performer in the Cowboys 30-13 win over Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVIII. Washington had 11 tackles, an interception and returned a fumble for a touchdown.

Special Teams

Placekicker Adam Vinatieri, New England Kicked two last minute field goals to win Super Bowls for the Patriots. Sure bet to become only the second kicking specialist voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Jan Stenerud of Kansas City is the other.

Punter Jerrel Wilson, Kansas City -- Averaged 46.5 yards per punt in two Super Bowls, highest average in Super Bowl history.

Kick Returner Desmond Howard, Green Bay The only return specialist voted Super Bowl MVP. His 99 yard kickoff return for a touchdown helped the Packers defeat New England, 35-21, in Super Bowl XXXI.

Coach

Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh The most underrated coach in NFL history. Transformed the NFLs most hapless franchise into a dynasty. A perfect 4-0 in the Super Bowl.

E-mail Ray Didinger at viewfromthehall@comcast.net.

Eloy Jimenez is swinging some kind of a hot bat in Triple-A, giving White Sox fans visions of the (near?) future

0722_eloy_jimenez.jpg
USA TODAY

Eloy Jimenez is swinging some kind of a hot bat in Triple-A, giving White Sox fans visions of the (near?) future

The White Sox once more dropped to 30 games below .500 on Sunday, providing another reminder that this isn't the season where the team will be competing for a playoff spot or any kind of championship.

But all fans have to do is check the box scores rolling in from Triple-A Charlotte to get another kind of reminder: that a season where the White Sox will be competing for a playoff spot and a championship could be right around the corner.

Eloy Jimenez, the team's top-rated prospect and the No. 2 prospect in baseball, is killing it lately. Since returning from the disabled list in the middle of the month, Jimenez has a .424 batting average and is slugging a jaw-dropping .818 — thanks to three homers and four doubles — in eight games.

These are just the latest superb numbers from Jimenez, who has torn it up all season long, first at Double-A Birmingham and then in Charlotte since his promotion on July 1. Heading into Sunday's game, he was slashing .324/.375/.572 between the two levels. Then he upped those numbers with a base hit in his lone plate appearance as a pinch hitter in Sunday's game.

The only thing that can be seen as a negative for Jimenez this season — and this really isn't too much of one — has been health. While he's avoided the significant injuries that have stolen months of development time away from the likes of Luis Robert, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning, Jake Burger and Micker Adolfo, Jimenez did start the season late with a pec injury and then missed a couple weeks earlier this month with a strained adductor muscle. Judging by the results, neither injury has done much (if anything) to negatively impact his offensive capabilities.

And so with the statistics remaining ridiculously good and getting better, the question that's dogged the White Sox dating back to the end of last season remains: When will Jimenez join the big league roster?

Only the White Sox have the answer to that question at the moment, but it would figure to be some time relatively soon and almost certainly before this season is over. That might not be specific enough for the fans clamoring to watch Jimenez play on the South Side. But take some cues from what general manager Rick Hahn has been saying all season:

First off, the White Sox performance and place in the standings will have no bearing on when Jimenez is promoted. The team will not bring Jimenez up just to inject some life into the final 60 games of the 2018 campaign. Jimenez's development has nothing to do with this team's win-loss record and is completely tied to the team's future, not its present.

Second, Hahn has talked about the benefits of Jimenez receiving at-bats at the Triple-A level and gaining experience facing the kinds of pitchers he didn't face in the lower levels of the minor leagues. He obviously didn't put a number on it, so the argument that Jimenez's 80 plate appearances in 20 games are enough to determine he's big league ready is potentially valid or potentially invalid, depending on what the White Sox have determined they want to see behind the scenes.

Third, Hahn has often said that not everything shows up in box scores. While Jimenez is putting up big numbers, the team is looking for other things that aren't as easy to recognize for those of us who aren't in the player-development business, not to mention those of us who don't even have an MiLB.TV subscription. Hahn said the same thing when Michael Kopech started the season in dominating fashion, and Kopech remains at Triple-A as the White Sox continue to wait for him to reach certain developmental benchmarks.

Fourth, Hahn has pointed to last year's treatment of Yoan Moncada as somewhat of a template for how the White Sox will treat their highest-rated prospects who are close to reaching the majors. Moncada, unlike Jimenez, had a small amount of big league experience before joining the organization in the Chris Sale trade, making his case slightly different. But he, too, was putting up good numbers at Triple-A, with a .282/.377/.447 slash line before his promotion on July 19. Moncada debuted about this time last season after doing well at the Triple-A level, but remember that he played 80 games there after starting the season with Charlotte. Jimenez joined that club in the middle of the season and has played in a quarter of the games that Moncada did before getting the call to make his White Sox debut. Though it's true that Jimenez is putting up significantly more impressive offensive numbers.

So "relatively soon" is perhaps the best we can do right now when trying to predict when Jimenez will reach the South Side. The White Sox have their own checklist when it comes to Jimenez's development, just like they do with every player, and only they will know when he's completed that list.

What is no mystery is how Jimenez is faring at Triple-A. He's swinging a red-hot bat, and few would argue that the numbers don't look major league ready. There's more to it than just the numbers, of course, but it would figure to be a safe bet that White Sox fans will be able to start purchasing Jimenez shirseys before the clock runs out on the 2018 season.

Jose Quintana saved the Cubs pitching staff...for now, at least

Jose Quintana saved the Cubs pitching staff...for now, at least

The Cubs showed up to the ballpark Sunday morning knowing they were going to have to get creative with their pitching staff.

Sure, they just had the All-Star Break, but they kicked the season's second half off by jamming the pedal to the metal with a hard-fought 5-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals in a four-day span. 

Despite another quality start out of Mike Montgomery and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Cubs simply had too many innings to cover in Saturday's doubleheader.

They entered Sunday with Steve Cishek, Pedro Strop and Justin Wilson all unavailable, closer Brandon Morrow on the disabled list and hoping they didn't have to use long man Luke Farrell out of the bullpen so he could start Monday night's game.

That left some combination of Chavez (who had already worked 2 innings in his Cubs debut Saturday), Randy Rosario, Brian Duensing and Carl Edwards Jr. as the guys available out of the bullpen.

And that's even with 3 different position players pitching during Friday's blowout loss to help save the bullpen.

"Sometimes, you just gotta regroup and you have to try to do it in other ways to make sure that these guys are gonna be well for the rest of the season," Maddon said.

Enter Jose Quintana.

Quintana wasn't masterful — he allowed 10 baserunners in 7 innings, though a pair of those were intentional walks — but he still managed to eat up a bunch of outs and pick up his 9th win of the season. The 121 pitches he threw tied a career high and was the first time he topped the century mark since May 19.

It allowed the Cubs to only have to rely on Chavez (who threw another perfect inning) and Rosario, leaving Edwards to get some rest and Farrell to be set for Monday's start.

The Cubs are currently in a tough stretch where they play 12 games in 11 days against playoff-hopeful teams (Cardinals, Diamondbacks). They don't have another off-day until next Monday and have only four off-days between now and Sept. 13 as they'll play 53 games in that 56-day stretch.

As creative as they had to get this weekend against St. Louis, the Cubs will still have plenty of hurdles to cross to ensure their pitching staff is healthy and fresh come October.