White Sox

60 facts for Harold Baines' 60th Birthday

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USA TODAY

60 facts for Harold Baines' 60th Birthday

Happy birthday to 2019 Hall of Famer Harold Baines!

Here are 60 facts about the White Sox legend to commemorate the occasion.

1. Baines was originally discovered by White Sox then-owner Bill Veeck as a 12-year old little leaguer in Maryland

2. Baines was drafted first overall in the 1977 MLB Draft. He's one of two first overall picks in White Sox history. The other was Danny Goodwin in 1971, who did not sign after being drafted by the Sox but signed after the Angels drafted him first overall in 1975.

3. Baines, the first overall pick in 1977 was teammates with the first overall pick in:

1974 Bill Almon (drafted by the Padres, teammates with White Sox)

1976 Floyd Bannister (drafted by the Astros, teammates with White Sox)

1981 Mike Moore (drafted by Mariners, teammates with A's)

1985 B.J. Surhoff (drafted by the Brewers, teammates with Orioles)

1989 Ben McDonald (drafted by the Orioles, teammates with Orioles)

4. Baines is one of three No. 1 overall picks in the Hall of Fame, along with Ken Griffey Jr (1987) and Chipper Jones (1990)

5. Baines made his MLB Debut in the White Sox 1980 season opener against the Orioles at Comiskey Park. His first career plate appearance was against Hall of Famer Jim Palmer.

6. Baines led the AL in slugging percentage in 1984 (.541)

7. Baines holds the MLB record for latest walk-off home run (inning-wise) - 25th inning on May 9, 1984, in the conclusion of a game started the day before. It was the 753rd pitch of the game.

8. Three of Baines' first eight career MLB home runs were off future Hall of Famers. Jim Palmer (first), Gaylord Perry (sixth), Fergie Jenkins (eighth).

9. Baines had 113 RBIs in 1985 and 103 RBI in 1999. In between, from 1986-1998, 128 different players had at least 100-RBI season, but not Baines.

10. Baines appeared in a starting lineup with these starting pitchers on the mound as teammates: Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan, Mike Mussina, Dwight Gooden, Fernando Valenzuela, Bartolo Colón and Mark Buehrle.

11. He hit a walk-off sacrifice fly off the Mariners' Ed Vande Berg to clinch AL West Sept. 17, 1983

12. Was starting DH, hitting fifth for Rangers June 11, 1990 - Nolan Ryan's sixth no-hitter.

13. Hit sixth in the order for the Orioles, behind Cal Ripken on Sept. 6, 1995 - the day Ripken played in his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking the MLB record.

14. Baines is the only player in White Sox history to hit three home runs in a game twice. July 7, 1982 and Sept. 17, 1984. He also hit three home runs in a game for the A's on May 7, 1991

15. Baines is the only player in MLB history with a 100-RBI season prior to his age 25 season AND in his age 40 (or older) season (age season defined as player's age on June 30).

16. Baines was hit by a pitch 14 times in his 2,830 game MLB career. In 2018, 13 players had 14 or more HBP, including new Sox outfielder Jon Jay (who shares the same March 15 birthday with Baines), who had 18.

17. Eight players hit two home runs in a game off Nolan Ryan:

Dick Allen, Jim Wynn, John Briggs, Graig Nettles, John Mayberry, Duane Walker, Mike Greenwell and Harold Baines, who did it June 8, 1989.

18. Baines posted a solid .272/.350/.450 slashline with 36 home runs in 263 games after his 40th birthday.

19. The White Sox retired Baines' No. 3 on Aug. 20, 1989. He was only 30 years, 158 days old. He played 1,432 games (and an additional 27 in the postseason) after having his number retired by the White Sox.

Some of the number retirement dates vary and I had to use my best judgement to determine the most accurate dates, but here's a fun list:

Most games played by a player after having his number retired and team to retire number:

-1,432 Harold Baines - White Sox

-1,206 Eddie Murray** - Orioles

**Several sources note that Murray's jersey retirement was in 1998, though I believe it was originally done by the Orioles shortly after the deal to the Dodgers. For this list, I credit the date as prior to the 1989 season. A great resource is here, which notes the date as March 2, 1989.

A Chicago Tribune spring training report the next day mentions that "Eddie Murray's No. 33 will be retired by the Orioles sometime this season, the team announced."

-479 Frank Robinson - Orioles (number later retired by Reds and Indians)

-147 Robin Roberts- Phillies

20. Baines had 2,866 career hits, 46th in MLB history. 45th on the list is fellow Maryland native Babe Ruth with 2,873.

21. Baines (2,866 hits) had more in his career than several Hall of Fame outfielders, including Ken Griffey Jr (2,781), Andre Dawson (2,774), Billy Williams (2,711), Ted Williams (2,654) and Reggie Jackson (2,584)

22. Baines' .356 career on-base percentage is better than Ichiro's (.355)

23. Baines' .465 career slugging percentage is better than Cal Ripken's (.447)

24. White Sox put up a statue in Baines' honor on July 20, 2008.

25. Baines is one of only 12 players in MLB history with 20 or more seasons of double-digit home runs. The list: Henry Aaron (23), Carl Yastrzemski (22), Barry Bonds (21), Stan Musial (21), Ken Griffey Jr (20), Cal Ripken Jr (20), Eddie Murray (20), Dave Winfield (20), Reggie Jackson (20), Willie McCovey (20), Al Kaline (20) and Baines (20)

26. Baines' seven seasons with 20+ home runs with White Sox is most in franchise history among lefties and third overall (13 by Paul Konerko, 11 by Frank Thomas)

27. 221 home runs and 981 RBIs are White Sox career records for lefties.

28. Six-time All-Star: 1985-87 and 1989 (representing White Sox), 1991 (representing A's), 1999 (representing Orioles).

29. Had career-long 19-game hitting streak in September 1983.

30. Is the oldest White Sox player with a postseason hit. 2000 ALDS, Game 3 (41 years, 205 days old)

31. Baines' .289 career batting average is better than Eddie Murray (.287) or David Ortiz (.286)

32. His 384 career home runs is 11th all-time among American League lefties

33. Baines hit 15 home runs off Hall of Famers (10 different pitchers - Jim Palmer, Gaylord Perry, Fergie Jenkins, Don Sutton, Phil Niekro, Bert Blyleven, Nolan Ryan, Jack Morris, Dennis Eckersley and Roy Halladay). He hit an additional homer off Jack Morris in the postseason.

34. Faced 17 different Hall of Famers total; had a .276/.331/.431 career line against them (includes postseason)

35. Baines is one of three players in MLB history with 1,000 career starts each as DH and in the field, along with Paul Molitor & Chili Davis

36. Baines is one of four White Sox players with three 20-home run seasons through age 25 season, with Bill Melton, Frank Thomas and Paul Konerko

37. Baines is one of three White Sox players with a 100-RBI season in his age 23-or-younger season. He had 105 RBIs at age 23 in 1982. The others are Frank Thomas (109) and Robin Ventura (100) both at age 23 in 1991

38. Baines is the only player in White Sox history with 25+ home runs and 10+ triples in a season - 29 home runs, 10 triples in 1984

39. He hit more career home runs against the Blue Jays (38) than any other team.

40. In 31 career postseason games, he hit .324/.378/.510 with 5 home runs and 16 RBIs...despite starting his postseason career 0-for-14.

41. Through 2001 (his final season), Baines was the all-time MLB leader in games played at DH (1,643) and home runs as DH (236). He has since been passed in both categories.

42. In his MLB career, Baines faced both Gaylord Perry (born Sept. 15, 1938) and Kyle Lohse (born Oct. 4, 1978). The plate appearance against Lohse was Baines' final MLB plate appearance.

43. Baines is tied for the second most career home runs in the history of Old Comiskey Park (88, tied with Bill Melton), only trailing Carlton Fisk (94).

44. Harold's son, also named Harold, was drafted by the White Sox in the 45th round in 2009.

45. Baines held the White Sox franchise home run record (either tied for or outright) from July 21, 1987 to Aug. 17, 1990, until Carlton Fisk passed him with White Sox home run No. 187.

46. His last career MLB start was as the DH on June 14, 2001 against the Reds. The opposing DH was Deion Sanders.

47. Baines struck out 100+ times in a season only once - 109 in 1988. He struck out 90+ times in a season only twice - 1988 and 1982, when he struck out 95 times.

48. Four players in MLB history have had 40 home run/40 stolen base seasons. Baines isn't one of them. But he did have more career triples (49) than three of the four - Alex Rodriguez (31), Alfonso Soriano (31) and Jose Canseco (14).

49. Baines had more career stolen bases (34) than Joe DiMaggio (30).

50. Baines is seventh all-time in American League history in games played (2,830). Three of the top seven were born in Maryland (Cal Ripken is first, Al Kaline is sixth, Baines is seventh).

51. Baines is sixth all-time among players born in Maryland in home runs - Babe Ruth (714), Jimmie Foxx (534), Cal Ripken (431), Mark Teixeira (409), Al Kaline (399), Baines (384).

52. Baines' most frequent home run victims were Charlie Hough and Todd Stottlemyre (five each).

53. Baines had more career regular season hits (32) against Roger Clemens than any other pitcher.

54. Was White Sox starting rightfielder Oct. 5, 1980 - the game Minnie Miñoso made his last career MLB appearance (he pinch hit). He was later teammates with Frank Thomas (1996-97, 2000-01), and Paul Konerko (2000-01). Baines was teammates with both Minnie Miñoso (born Nov. 29, 1925) and Jon Garland (born Sept. 27, 1979).

55. Every Jan. 9 has been declared "Harold Baines Day" in his hometown of St. Michaels, Md.

56. Was American League Designated Hitter of the Year in 1987 and 1988

57. Baines played for 12 MLB managers. Tony La Russa (with White Sox and A's), Doug Rader (for two games), Jim Fregosi, Jeff Torborg, Bobby Valentine, Johnny Oates, Phil Regan, Terry Bevington, Davey Johnson, Ray Miller, Mike Hargrove (with Indians & Orioles) and Jerry Manuel

58. Baines is 65th in MLB history with his 384 career home runs.

59. Baines' 384 career home runs is second most by a player who never hit 30 in a season (he topped out at 29), behind Al Kaline's 399.

60. Baines was elected to the Hall of Fame on Dec. 9, 2018.

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Struggles continue for White Sox starters, but there's not much in the way of alternatives

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USA TODAY

Struggles continue for White Sox starters, but there's not much in the way of alternatives

The White Sox will give Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito every opportunity to iron out their inconsistencies this season. But the numbers have not been good for the two veteran members of the starting rotation, and considering Ivan Nova and Ervin Santana aren't part of the team's long-term plans, how long a leash the newest additions to the starting staff will have remains to be seen.

The sample sizes are small, and questioning how long these two remain members of the rotation does not come without acknowledging that neither seems to be in danger of getting cast out anytime soon. But the numbers have been downright ugly. Nova was lit up by the Baltimore Orioles in Tuesday night's 9-1 loss, inverting the damage the White Sox did against baseball's worst pitching staff a night earlier by allowing nine runs and four homers against a team that's terrorized him throughout his career. He was yanked after four incredibly ineffective innings, the third outing of his five-start season in which he's allowed six or more runs. Santana has made only two starts to this point, and one of them was fine. But his ERA is still an unpleasant 10.38, and he's given up five home runs in his 8.2 innings of work.

All told, the youngsters included with the veterans, White Sox starters own a 6.12 ERA after Tuesday night, one of the highest marks in the game.

Those numbers are not acceptable, no matter how in the thick of rebuilding the White Sox remain. Sure, the win-loss record might not be the most important thing in 2019, and Nova and Santana were not the kinds of upgrades to the starting rotation that were set to fuel a dominant staff. But they were brought in, in part, to be innings-eaters that could save a developing bullpen. Regardless of what you, the White Sox fan, thought about James Shields last season, he did eat innings, ending up as one of a baker's dozen major league pitchers to hit the 200-inning mark. If Nova and Santana aren't going to pitch deep into games — Nova's averaging only a little more than five innings per start, and Santana's averaged fewer than five innings in his two outings — their value on this roster comes into question.

Fans would surely be quick to push the button that jettisons Nova and Santana from this rotation, certainly, given the results to this point, but if the front office decides now or months from now to go down such a path, the question becomes: Who is there to fill that spot on the starting staff?

The in-organization depth is not ideal, even if Dylan Cease is one of the highest-rated pitching prospects in baseball. As well as he's started his season at Triple-A Charlotte — a 1.84 ERA and 14 strikeouts in his first 14.2 innings of the 2019 campaign — the White Sox insist that he needs to build up a significant amount of innings there before he makes what is sure to be an excitement-generating major league debut. If Nova and Santana can linger until July or August, then maybe by then Cease will be the no-brainer option as a replacement. Though if they're still taking their every-fifth-day turns at that point, then perhaps they're no longer a problem significant enough to require a replacement. Quite the Catch 22, you see.

Rick Hahn said multiple times during the offseason that Cease is on a similar track to the one Michael Kopech was on last year. Kopech debuted in late August of 2018, so the expectation could be a similar debut date for Cease. Could Cease be up quicker? It's unlikely in the event that the most compelling reason is that the big league rotation needs a boost. Hahn said throughout last season that what's going on at the big league level will have nothing to do with when the organization's top prospects make their jump to the majors. It would figure that Cease is no exception to that rule. Maybe he could beat Kopech's timeline a bit, should he continue to dominate and not go through the midseason struggles Kopech did at Charlotte last season. But it might not be so significant that it could qualify as "soon."

And so the eye turns to the rest of the Charlotte rotation, which is not well stocked with names that anyone would prefer to the veteran track records of Nova and Santana. There are some big numbers down there, too: Jordan Guerrero has a 6.87 ERA, Spencer Adams has a 8.31 ERA, Jordan Stephens has an 8.80 ERA, Donn Roach has a 9.50 ERA.

Of the non-Cease names starting at Charlotte, Dylan Covey would probably be the most logical choice to fill a vacated rotation spot at the big league level. He made the team's Opening Day roster as a bullpen arm before quickly being dispatched back to Charlotte to work on being a starter. White Sox fans have seen the Dylan Covey Show before, of course, and the reviews weren't great. As a major league starter, he has a career 6.26 ERA. He didn't last five innings in a Tuesday-night start in Charlotte but owns a 2.19 ERA after giving up a couple runs in that game.

There's Manny Banuelos, who has been pretty good for the White Sox out of the bullpen this season. He made a spot start in place of the injured Lucas Giolito in Monday night's drubbing of the Orioles, throwing four scoreless innings. He's got a 2.51 ERA on the year and could move from the 'pen to the rotation if need be, but then there'd be a need for a new long man in the relief corps. Carson Fulmer is unlikely to be moved back into a starting role after a shift to the bullpen last season in the minor leagues. He's had mixed results out of the big league bullpen this season, with a 4.76 ERA.

If you're a member of the "get rid of Nova and Santana" camp, it's unlikely you've made it this far without screaming Dallas Keuchel's name at your screen. Keuchel won the AL Cy Young Award in 2015 and was a featured player in the Houston Astros' resurgence from bottom-of-the-standings laughing stock to World Series champions just two years ago. He's also one of the two most noteworthy victims of this winter's glacially paced free-agent market, still jobless as baseball nears the end of the season's opening month.

Keuchel would be an obvious upgrade to this or any starting rotation across the game, and his unsigned status makes him an option in the strictest sense of the definition. But it would seem mighty unlikely that he would be added to the staff of a team not expected to reach the ranks of the contenders until next season at the earliest. I've heard the argument that the White Sox should offer up a two-year deal and bring Keuchel aboard for the remainder of this season and for the next, when Cease and Kopech start the season in what figures to be a much improved rotation. But if someone wanted Keuchel on a two-year deal, they surely could have had him by now, as reports have talked about a lowered asking price and his willingness to join a team for just what's left of the 2019 campaign.

In other words, if you're waiting for Keuchel to come to the South Side, it sounds like you might be waiting for a while.

Gio Gonzalez? He was a name that was bandied about as an offseason option and is once again a free agent after the New York Yankees recently passed on putting him on their 40-man roster. The White Sox have a history with Gonzalez, yes, but if even the banged-up Yankees don't see a place for him, there might be plenty of other teams that feel similarly.

This is all a fancy way of saying that there aren't many attractive options, and so it's far more likely that the White Sox will stick with Nova and Santana for now and hope they can iron out their struggles. Nova, in particular, doesn't figure to be going anywhere, as the team gave up a prospect to get him this winter and owe him a $9,166,667 salary, the second highest on the team.

These starts have not been fun to watch for White Sox fans — and the vets aren't the only ones who have had them, with Rodon, Lopez and Giolito going through their own early season ups and downs, too — but these are the guys the White Sox are set to keep sending out there, hoping for a turnaround. Because the other options just aren't good ones.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins on hitting, catching and a Dylan Cease story you have to hear

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins on hitting, catching and a Dylan Cease story you have to hear

Chuck Garfien and Ryan McGuffey speak with Charlotte Knights catcher Zack Collins about

-His hot start to the season at the plate (5:30)

-How James McCann helped him with his catching during spring training (7:20)

-How he's changed his approach at the plate this season (13:10)

-What he orders at Chick-fil-A (15:40)

-Why he's not thinking or worrying about getting called up to the majors (17:50)

-An incredible story about Dylan Cease (20:30)

-His thoughts on Tim Anderson's bat flip (28:20) and more.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

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White Sox Talk Podcast

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