A.J. Pierzynski

Limited edition A.J Pierzynski bobblehead now available

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AP

Limited edition A.J Pierzynski bobblehead now available

White Sox fan favorite A.J Pierzynski will be honored by Chicago White Sox Charities with a limited-edition bobblehead.

Each commemorative bobblehead purchase will also include a limited-edition certificate. They are available for purchase online at whitesox.com/ajbobble beginning today and at White Sox home games beginning Friday, July 13 in Section 135.

“A.J. has a special place in the hearts of all White Sox fans,” said Christine O’Reilly, Chicago White Sox Charities executive director. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate one of the most beloved players in White Sox history in a fun way, while also provide fans an opportunity to support the impactful work of White Sox Charities.”

Over the course of his Sox career, Pierzynski hit .279 with 198 doubles, 118 home runs, 460 RBI and 452 runs scored in 1,068 games over eight seasons with Chicago. He ranks third all-time among Sox catchers in home runs.

Pierzynski is tied for the major-league record with 13 consecutive seasons (2001-13) with at least 100 games caught and ranks sixth in major-league history with 16,335.1 innings caught. 

For Chicago White Sox Charities, this is the fifth straight year it’s held a fundraiser bobblehead campaign. 

Previous years have commemorated former team captain Paul Konerko in 2014, first baseman Jose Abreu in 2015, former two-sport athlete Bo Jackson in 2016 and Hall of Famer Tim Raines in 2017 – raising a combined total of more than $350,000.

To top it off, as legendary Sox play-by-play TV announcer Hawk Harrelson nears retirement, Pierzynski will join him in the booth as a special guest, Sept. 2 against the Red Sox.

Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski to join Hawk Harrelson as 'guest broadcasters' in sendoff season

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AP

Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski to join Hawk Harrelson as 'guest broadcasters' in sendoff season

This season's star-studded sendoff for legendary White Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson will continue this summer with some extra-special guests.

The team announced Friday that a trio of White Sox greats will each serve as a "special guest broadcaster" alongside Harrelson to celebrate his final year in the booth.

First up is Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, who will team with Harrelson during Sunday's game against the Detroit Tigers. He'll be followed by Paul Konerko, who will join Harrelson during the Aug. 19 game against the Kansas City Royals. And, in a much-anticipated pairing, A.J. Pierzynski will share the booth with Harrelson as the White Sox celebrate Hawk Day on Sept. 2 against the Boston Red Sox.

Additionally, the team announced a new Harrelson-inspired promotional giveaway item that is sure to go over as well as the Hawk Harrelson alarm clock and the Hawk Harrelson bobblehead: the Hawk Harrelson nesting doll, which will feature three different Hawks from throughout his decades-long career in baseball.

Mercy, indeed.

Will A.J. Pierzynski be a big league manager someday? If that happens, he wants to be like Joe Maddon

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AP

Will A.J. Pierzynski be a big league manager someday? If that happens, he wants to be like Joe Maddon

Folks on the South Side generally don’t like it when that team up north gets brought up in a positive light. But don’t get mad at the messenger. Get mad at the guy who once got a Cubs catcher to punch him in the face.

A.J. Pierzynski was back at Guaranteed Rate Field for Thursday’s home opener, and he was lobbed a question (multiple ones, actually) about managing and what kind of skipper he would be. He named a couple of guys he’d like to emulate — including Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

“If I get to a point where I’m ever given the opportunity to do that, you want to try to be a players’ guy, that’s the biggest thing,” Pierzynski said. “You’ve got to have the players trust you. You look at Maddon, different guys that are very successful, (Houston Astros manager A.J.) Hinch and Maddon and those guys, they have the players’ ear, they have the players’ trust.

“The No. 1 job, I truly believe, to be a good manager, especially in today’s world, you’ve got to have the players believe that no matter where you put them or how you put them in and what situation, they’re going to succeed. You’ve got to have communication with them. All you guys who covered me know that I was a guy that if there was a problem I’d go right up to people. That’s the biggest thing is have an open door, let the players have a little bit of say, give them structure but also let them have a say and be able to communicate with them so they know where they stand.”

Being like Maddon isn’t a bad thing, of course. The guy’s got a World Series ring, taken two teams to the Fall Classic and is a period of impressive success with the Cubs, who have advanced to the National League Championship Series in each of his three seasons on the North Side. And his unique managerial style is lauded around the game. Maddon’s relationship with his players, per Pierzynski is something worth emulating.

And Pierzynski wasn’t the only one with kind words about the Cubs’ manager. Hawk Harrelson, starting his last season in the White Sox booth, had good things to say about the skipper whose home park Harrelson has vowed never to set foot in again.

“We’re lucky because in my opinion we have two of the best managers in the game in this city,” Harrelson said. “I’m one of Joe’s biggest fans, and after watching Rick Renteria, I’m one of his biggest fans. He’s the right man in the right place.”

Surely, Harrelson would like to see his good buddy Pierzynski have a more successful managerial career than even Maddon.

“A.J., whatever he wants to do in the game, he’ll be successful in it. He’s always proven that,” Harrelson said. “It’s a different game today than when I played, there’s no question about that. And handling players today is the most important thing. The chemistry has never been bigger than it is today because you’ve got so many different aspects. You’ve got the analytics and the sabremetrics, you’ve got all this other stuff coming in. When he came up, he didn’t have that.”

Pierzynski’s time might eventually come, with recently retired big leaguers the new trend when it comes to skippers. And new New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone provides a very recent example of pulling a skipper from the broadcasting ranks.

If and when the times comes for Pierzynski to sit in the manager’s chair, he can count on having a big fan in Harrelson, who might have to jump his longtime friend above Maddon and Renteria on his list of favorite skippers in baseball.