BOSTON -- Manager Robin Ventura doesnt expect No. 14 to be available to future White Sox players. He thinks it wont be long before team captain Paul Konerkos number is retired by the organization.
Konerko played in his 2,000th game with the White Sox on Wednesday night. He is 116 games shy of moving past Hall of Famer Nellie Fox into second place in franchise history for games played. He trails all-time White Sox leader, Hall of Famer Luke Appling, by 422 games.
Theres just no way around it, Ventura said. You look at the numbers hes put up and the years hes been here. They won with him, so I dont see any other way around it.
The White Sox have gone to the postseason three times since Konerko arrived in 1999 after he was acquired in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds for Mike Cameron. The highlight, of course, was the four game sweep of the Houston Astros to help the White Sox to their first World Series title in 88 years, Konerko said.
Through Tuesday, Konerko has hit .285 with 403 homers, and has an .868 OPS for the White Sox.
It just kind of adds up, Konerko said. Definitely staying with one team that long, theres only one way you can do it and Im proud of that. It took two parties, myself and the team, to make that happen.
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski played his 1,000th game with the White Sox earlier this month. He credits Konerko not only for the accomplishment, but for how he has lived up to his status as team captain the entire way.
Konerko has appeared in at least 152 games in seven of his 13 full seasons with the White Sox and has never played in fewer than 122 (2008).
Paul deserves a tremendous amount of credit, Pierzynski said. I know he wont say anything about it, act like its not a big deal, but for him, to do that, especially with one team is unbelievable. Hes been the captain, the guy that has been the leader of the team since Ive been here. Hes never really missed any time, never had anything happen. He wants to play everyday, expects to play everyday and thats what you look for when a guy has a C on his chest.
Konerko, 36, hopes to create a few more memories before his career ends. He is signed through next season.
Its a lot of games, but hopefully a few more, Konerko said. Theres definitely a lot of memories: good ones, bad ones and all in between. The World Series was the biggest and the best one. There are a lot of names and a lot of people that youre still friends with. It goes by quick.