15 best White Sox sluggers in franchise history
The South Side has seen its fair share of slugging. But of all the guys to send home runs soaring out of Comiskey Park and Guaranteed Rate Field, these are the ones who did it better than anybody else.
Here are the 15 best sluggers in White Sox history.
15. Joe Crede
Crede hit 125 home runs in his nine years with the White Sox, led by the 30 homers he hit in 2006, the same year he won a Silver Slugger. He also homered four times during the 2005 postseason, hitting the game-tying home run in the pennant-winning victory in Game 5 of the ALCS, the go-ahead homer in Game 1 of the World Series and the homer that started a five-run fifth inning in Game 3 of the Fall Classic.
14. Jim Thome
One of the best power hitters — if not the best — to ever play on the South Side, Thome only spent four of his 22 major league seasons in a White Sox uniform. They were mighty productive ones, though. He hit 134 of his 612 career dingers in 529 games with the White Sox, an average of a home run every four games. Though pretty consistent from a power standpoint, his best season on the South Side was his first (2006) when he hit 42 home runs and posted the second highest single-season OPS by a White Sox hitter in the 21st century, a mark of 1.014. His most memorable power moment, of course, came when he drove in the only run in the Blackout Game in 2008 with a solo homer.
13. Minnie Minoso
The Cuban Comet never hit more than 24 home runs in a single season (he was playing in Cleveland when he set that career high), but he spent a dozen years in a White Sox uniform and amassed 135 home runs. Though he didn’t rack up the wild single-season home run totals of modern sluggers, he still drove in a ton of runs, with four seasons of at least 100 RBIs with the White Sox. He made six All-Star teams and finished in the top 10 in AL MVP voting five times during his South Side tenure.
12. Jose Valentin
Already an eight-year major league veteran when he came to the White Sox, Valentin never hit more than 24 home runs in any one of those seasons. Then, he eclipsed that number in each of his five seasons on the South Side. He smacked 136 homers in a White Sox uniform, setting a career high with 30 in 2004. He scattered career bests across his half-decade in Chicago, including 92 RBIs in 2000 and a .509 slugging percentage in 2001.
11. Ron Kittle
Kittle never topped the long-held franchise-record 35 homers he hit in his rookie season in 1983, but he finished his eight non-consecutive seasons in a White Sox uniform with 140 dingers. He followed up that rookie campaign with 32 bombs in 1984 and hit 26 more in 1985. His 1983 total still ranks in the top 20 on the White Sox single-season homer list.
10. Carlos Lee
El Caballo launched plenty of baseballs out of the park throughout his six seasons with the White Sox, hitting 152 of his 358 big league home runs. His power grew season by season, and he hit 31 in each of his final two years on the South Side in 2003 and 2004 before continuing his power-packed career elsewhere.
9. Bill Melton
Beltin’ Bill earned his nickname by beltin’ 154 home runs in a White Sox uniform. He spent eight of his 10 big league seasons on the South Side, his most powerful coming in 1970 and 1971 when he launched 33 homers in each campaign, leading the American League for the second time.
8. Jermaine Dye
Dye spent the final five seasons of his major league career on the South Side and never hit fewer than 27 home runs in any one of them. His most explosive year came in 2006 when he hit 44 home runs (the second-highest single-season total in franchise history), drove in 120 runs, posted a 1.006 OPS, won a Silver Slugger and finished fifth in the AL MVP vote. Dye holds a pair of postseason power distinctions, too. His first-inning homer off Roger Clemens in the 2005 Fall Classic was the White Sox' first World Series home run since 1959. And his homer in Game 4 of the 2008 ALDS remains the White Sox' most recent postseason home run.
7. Robin Ventura
Before he managed the White Sox for five seasons, Ventura spent a decade hitting home runs for the South Siders. He wrapped his White Sox playing days with 171 home runs, led by a career-high 34 dingers in 1996. He eclipsed the 105 RBIs and .888 OPS he put up that year during a 1999 season with the Mets that earned him a sixth-place finish in NL MVP voting. But that home run total from three years prior remained his high-water mark for long balls.
6. Jose Abreu
The lone active player on this list (for now), Abreu has been a consistent power producer since arriving from Cuba ahead of the 2014 season. He won AL Rookie of the Year and broke Ron Kittle’s franchise record with 36 home runs by a first-year major leaguer. All told, Abreu launched 179 homers in his first six seasons with the White Sox, hitting at least 30 in four of those seasons. In 2019, he set a new career high with 123 RBIs, winning the AL RBI crown, and came three homers shy of matching that rookie year number. Clearly, he’s got plenty of pop left.
5. Magglio Ordonez
Maggs spent the first eight of his 15 major league seasons in a White Sox uniform and hit 187 homers during his South Side tenure. He set a career high with 38 home runs in 2002, his fourth straight season with at least 30 bombs. He came one homer shy of making it five straight the following year. From 1999 to 2003, he made four All-Star teams, posted a .918 OPS and averaged 32 home runs per season. Though his most famous homer came with the division rival Tigers (the walk-off shot that sent Detroit to the 2006 World Series), he hit considerably more of them on the South Side.
4. Carlton Fisk
Fisk spent 11 Hall of Fame-caliber seasons in Boston before changing the color of his footwear and coming to the South Side. He managed 214 home runs in a White Sox uniform, over 50 more than he hit with the Red Sox. His high point from a power perspective came in 1985 when he launched a career-high 37 home runs and racked up a career-high 107 RBIs. Fisk went to four All-Star Games with the White Sox and even homered in his first game against his old team in 1981.
3. Harold Baines
In 14 seasons with the White Sox, Baines hit 221 home runs. Though he never reached the 30-homer mark in a single season, he was consistently excellent during a six-year stretch in the 1980s when he averaged 23 home runs and 99 RBIs, went to three All-Star Games and finished in the top 20 in MVP voting four times from 1982 to 1987. The Hall of Famer hit a total of 384 home runs during his 22 seasons in the big leagues.
2. Paul Konerko
One of the franchise’s all-time icons, Konerko slugged his way into the unforgettable memories of a generation of White Sox fans. No home run was more memorable than his grand slam in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series, the fifth of his five home runs that postseason. But it’s the 432 regular-season dingers he hit in a White Sox uniform that land him at No. 2 on this list. Konerko posted back-to-back 40-homer campaigns in 2004 and 2005, and came one shy of his third 40-homer year in 2010, when he set a career high with a .977 OPS. He had seven seasons with at least 30 home runs and six with at least 100 RBIs. And one of those 432 home runs didn’t even have to leave the field of play.
1. Frank Thomas
Who else? The Big Hurt is the greatest home run hitter in White Sox history, with 448 long balls during his 16-year tenure on the South Side. He became a member of the 500-homer club in his final three big league seasons, but it’s the insane numbers he put up with the White Sox on an annual basis that sent him to Cooperstown. He won back-to-back AL MVPs in 1993 and 1994, put up five 40-homer seasons, had 10 seasons of at least 100 RBIs and finished seven different seasons with an OPS north of 1.000. For an entire decade (1991 to 2000), Thomas averaged 34 home runs and 115 RBIs, and owned an OPS of 1.020. After injury in 2003, he came back with a 42-homer, 105-RBI season. Mercy! Injured for almost the entire World Series season in 2005, he still contributed 12 home runs in 34 games. While Paul Konerko came just 16 homers shy of matching Thomas’ franchise-record total, there’s no doubt that The Big Hurt is the finest slugger the South Side has ever seen.