15 most underrated players in White Sox franchise history
15. RHP Keith Foulke
Keith Foulke saved 100 games over five full seasons with the White Sox and was as reliable as they come. In 346 games and 446 innings with the White Sox, he posted a ridiculous 0.991 WHIP. Underrated by his own organization, the 2002 trade to Oakland for Billy Koch would be one of the worst in franchise history had Neal Cotts not come back as a player to be named later.
14. 2B Tadahito Iguchi
Iguchi doesn’t get as much credit as other members of the 2005 White Sox, but he was an extremely important player on that team. Extremely unselfish, Iguchi could be relied on to get runners over at the expense of his own statistics. That’s why he hit second in the batting order in 410 of 493 MLB games. Iguchi’s sidearm throw to first base while charging hard and falling down in 2006 is one of the best defensive plays I’ve ever seen.
13. LHP Matt Thornton
Thornton came to the White Sox in 2006 in one of the more underrated trades in White Sox history. It was a swap of former first round picks as Joe Borchard went to Seattle. Pitching coach Don Cooper worked his magic on Thornton, who had 7.5 good seasons in the White Sox bullpen. Thornton was especially dominant between 2008-10 when he posted a 2.70 ERA and a 1.028 WHIP in 200.1 innings.
12. LHP Gary Peters
An anchor of the solid 1960s White Sox rotations, Peters went 91-78 with a 2.92 ERA in seven full seasons in Chicago. A two-time All-Star, he led the American League in wins in 1964, and ERA in 1963 and 1966. Peters had some power at the plate too, hitting 19 career home runs, 15 of which came with the White Sox.
11. 3B Robin Ventura
He may not be underrated by White Sox fans, but Robin Ventura is underrated nationally. He had a borderline Hall of Fame career and doesn’t get that type of credit. Ventura hit 294 home runs in his career and piled up five Gold Gloves with the White Sox (six overall).
10. LHP Thornton Lee
Lee spent 11 years on some really bad White Sox teams, but still managed to go 104-104 with 3.33 ERA (119 ERA+). In 1941, he pitched 300 innings and was named an All-Star with 22 wins and a 2.37 ERA, which led the American League. It was a different era, but Lee threw 30 (!) complete games that season.
9. SS Alexei Ramirez
Seemingly never hurt, Ramirez was a great defensive player with speed and pop in his bat. He had a knack for hitting clutch home runs and was especially dangerous with the bases loaded. In 116 plate appearances with the bases loaded, Ramirez slashed .314/.319/.552 with six grand slams. Amazingly, four of those came in his rookie season in 2008.
8. CF Chet Lemon
The White Sox’s centerfielder from 1975-81 still holds the American League record for most putouts in a season by a centerfielder (509 in 1977). He was a two-time All-Star with the White Sox and amassed a 55.6 WAR over his 16-year MLB career.
7. LHP Juan Pizarro
Pizarro spent six seasons with the White Sox from 1961-66 and posted a 75-47 record with a 3.05 ERA (118 ERA+) in that time. From 1961-64, he had at least 160 strikeouts in all four seasons, which was only matched by six other pitchers during the same time period. Five of those pitchers are Hall of Famers, including Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale. Interestingly, Pizarro was dealt to Pittsburgh for the next guy on this list…
6. LHP Wilbur Wood
Wood was known for his durability as a starter, but the knuckleballer was also a remarkable weapon out of the bullpen for four seasons before he was converted to a starter. In 1968, he posted a 1.87 ERA while pitching in 88 games (then an MLB record). As a starter, Wood had a four-year run from 1971-74 where he averaged 45 starts, 22 wins, a 2.86 ERA and a ridiculous 348.0 innings per season.
5. SS Jose Valentin
Valentin was already 30 years old when he joined the White Sox in 2000, but he put together five very good seasons in Chicago with 136 home runs and an .802 OPS. He was a solid defensive player and had some versatility, playing shortstop, third and the outfield for the White Sox.
4. SS Chico Carrasquel
In six seasons with the White Sox, Carrasquel went to four All-Star games and formed an outstanding double-play combination with Nellie Fox. Known for his defense, Carrasquel set a then-MLB record in 1951 by going 53 straight games (297 consecutive chances) without committing an error. He joins Luis Aparicio, Ozzie Guillen and Omar Vizquel as other great shortstops to play for the White Sox (although Vizquel primarily played third base in Chicago).
3. C Ron Karkovice
Karkovice was never an exceptional hitter (.221/.289/.383 career slashline), but he was a very good defensive catcher, throwing out 41% of potential base stealers. After backing up Carlton Fisk for six seasons, “Karko” took over the starting job in 1992 and hit 20 home runs for the 1993 playoff team. His longevity — 12 years with the White Sox — speaks to his value and why he’s one of the more underrated players in franchise history.
2. 2B Ray Durham
Ray Durham is one of three players in White Sox history with 100-plus home runs and 100-plus stolen bases, joining Minnie Minoso and Alexei Ramirez. Between 1998-2001, Durham was a two-time All-Star and slashed .282/.359/.451. He played in over 150 games for the White Sox in six straight seasons and was on pace to do it again in 2002 before he was traded to Oakland.
1. RF Magglio Ordonez
Ordonez left the White Sox right before the 2005 championship season, so that’s probably why he gets overlooked among the all-time greats in franchise history. But he was an incredible player. From 1997-2004, Ordonez hit .307/.364/.525 for the White Sox and from 1999-2002, he posted four straight seasons of 30 doubles, 30 home runs, 100 RBI and a .300 batting average. No other player in team history had four such seasons in a row.