With such a strong focus on current White Sox prospects, we thought it’d be fun to take a look back at statistics and scouting reports of other South Side stars on their journey to the MLB. Our Chris Kamka dug deep into the numbers.
In a baseball discussion, a simple mention of the number 56 is all it takes. You know exactly what is being discussed. Joe DiMaggio's MLB record hitting streak in 1941.
In 1987, Robin Ventura set an NCAA record (since broken) by hitting in 58 straight.
A year later, he was the Golden Spikes Award winner, given to the top collegiate player. And he was drafted 10th overall by the White Sox.
He concluded his NCAA career at Oklahoma State with a .428 batting average, 68 Home Runs, 301 RBI and a .792 slugging percentage in 210 games.
White Sox Director of Scouting and Player Development Al Goldis commented on the team's number one pick:
“Obviously, we were looking for a quality player. It just so happens we got a player to fill a need. He’s the best pure hitter in the draft, and we need hitting.”
Goldis added: “He’s a Boggs-type guy. His hitting fundamentals are excellent.”
He hit .278 with a stellar .403 OBP in a 129-game tour through Birmingham (AA) in 1989, striking out only 51 times compared to 93 walks. He finished the season with the White Sox. He hit only three home runs over his 145 combined games in the minors & majors.
Entering 1990, Ventura was Baseball America’s #15 Prospect (Frank Thomas was ranked 29th). He hit .249/.324/.318 with 5 Home Runs in his first full Major League season.
Robin took it to the next level as the White Sox moved into New Comiskey Park in 1991. He hit .284/.367/.442 and his power arrived with 23 HR and 100 RBI. Ventura took home the first of his six career Gold Gloves at the Hot Corner. He made his first All-Star team the next year. For several years, Robin's sweet left-handed swing was the perfect compliment to the booming bat of Frank Thomas.
Ventura's 10-year run in Chicago concluded in 1998, finishing with 171 HR, 741 RBI, more Walks (668) than Strikeouts (659), and a slash line of .274/.365/.440 before moving on to the Mets for 1999.
Robin returned to Chicago to serve as White Sox manager from 2012-16.