Paul Konerko

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.

When you compare Yoan Moncada's career start to Paul Konerko's, it's a little easier to relax

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AP

When you compare Yoan Moncada's career start to Paul Konerko's, it's a little easier to relax

Yoan Moncada's high strikeout total has an awful lot of folks in a tizzy.

There are plenty of reasons why no one should freak out over this quite yet: It's still very early in the season (and Moncada's career), it's part of Moncada's still-ongoing development and it's not exactly keeping the White Sox from an imminent pennant race.

But here's one that might make some people relax: The start of Moncada's career has gone a lot better than the start of Paul Konerko's.

Konerko went on to become one of the greatest White Sox hitters ever, but he didn't start out that way. Before he finished with 439 career home runs, made six All-Star appearances and helped the White Sox win the 2005 World Series, things didn't go so hot right out of the gate.

When you compare the first 308 major league plate appearances of Konerko and Moncada, Moncada has the edge in batting average, homers, walks, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Konerko didn't strike out as much, but Moncada's off to a better start in many other categories.

Here are those numbers, courtesy of our own Chris Kamka:

While the White Sox fan base has been generally great about embracing the rebuild and exercising patience with the organization's fleet of talented prospects, some eager rebuild-lovers are itching to see Moncada, who was the No. 1 prospect in baseball last season, have success at the big league level. (By the way, Konerko was a highly rated prospect, too, landing on Baseball America's top-100 prospects list in four different years.) Moncada's still developing, but if his "poor" start turns into the kind of career that Konerko's did, that ought to make White Sox fans very happy.

Until then, some patience and relaxation might be in order — and perhaps this comparison can help.

Acquiring Patrick Sharp helped change the Blackhawks

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USA TODAY

Acquiring Patrick Sharp helped change the Blackhawks

Patrick Sharp, Jake Arrieta and Paul Konerko. Three names Chicago sports fans will never forget and they have something else in common. 

You build championship teams by making the right choices on draft day. The Blackhawks, Cubs and White Sox have all done it in the last 15 years. All three teams also made some shrewd trades that changed the future of their franchises.

In December 2005, Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon made one of the best trades in team history. Unquestionably top three. "We addressed a need for speed and skill in getting Patrick Sharp," Tallon told reporters after acquiring the 23-year-old winger from the Phialdelphia Flyers.

The deal turned out to be outragously lopsided, as Matt Ellison and a third round pick went to Philly. Ellison never scored another NHL goal and played just seven games for the Flyers.  Sharp played 749 games in the Blackhawks sweater. He scored 249 goals and piled up 532 points. He was a key part of three Stanley Cup championships.

So, what does Sharpie have to do with Jake Arrieta and Paul Konerko? They were all part of franchise changing trades that led to championship parades in downtown Chicago.

Anthony Rizzo was Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer's first big trade. Kris Bryant and Rizzo turned into Wrigley's Kane and Toews. But Arrieta's move to the Cubs was just as lopsided as the Blackhawks swap for Sharp. A third key piece to the puzzle. The Cubs found a way to fleece Baltimore in July 2013, acquiring Arrieta and Pedro Strop for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.

Arrieta helped change the Cubs culture by transforming himself from a struggling starter that once had a bright future into a dominating Cy Young winner who threw two no-hitters and helped win a historic World Series championship. He didn't stay in town as long as Patrick Sharp, but his impact was undeniable.

Paul Konerko was a Sharp-like piece for the White Sox. On Nov. 11, 1998, the Sox stole Konerko from the Cincinnati Reds. The price for their future captain was Mike Cameron, who was certainly more accomplished than Scott Feldman, Steve Clevenger or Matt Ellison.

The Sox won big, as Konerko joined Mark Buehrle and developed into one of the faces of the franchise while winning it all in 2005. In 16 seasons on the South Side, Konerko ripped 432 home runs and drove in nearly 1,400 runs.

Three great trades in Chicago sports history and with Sharp waving at center ice this weekend, all three have now said goodbye. Thanks for the memories and the parades.