Monday, September 8, 2014

The end is nigh

In the comments section of my post this past Friday, Marcus from the great Padres blog All The Way To The Backstop typed out this statement:

I, like a lot of other Sox fans, have been dreading the end of September. Not seeing 14 on the field come 2015 will be odd. I have had the benefit, along with a couple other bloggers off the top of my head, of seeing Konerko mature on the south side, and become an amazingly under rated player. Many of the rest of you have not seen the yearly greatness of Paul Konerko.

We have all seen the grandiose going away events over the past few years for Chipper, Rivera,  Ripken and this year's Jeter fest. I love the understated way that Paul is leaving the game. No huge events at every ballpark he has visited. To my knowledge, only the Indians, Yankees and Twinkies have done anything to honor Paul in his last visit to Minnesota. But that's Paulie. He shows up, does his job, and then comes back the following day.

If you look at the all time batting leaders for the White Sox, Konerko is pretty consistent in his position.

Games - 1) L. Appling 2422 2) P. Konerko 2261
At Bat - 1) L. Appling 8856 2) N. Fox 8486 3) P. Konerko 8147
Runs - 1) F. Thomas 1327 2) L. Appling 1319 2) N. Fox 1187 4) P. Konerko 1141
Hits - 1) L. Appling 2749 2) N. Fox 2470 3) P. Konerko 2290
Doubles - 1) F. Thomas 447 2) L. Appling 440 3) P. Konerko 406
Triples - yeah - Paulie has no speed. Moving on....
Home Runs - 1) F. Thomas 448 2) P. Konekro 432
RBI - 1) F. Thomas 1465 2) P. Konerko 1383
Walks - 1) F. Thomas 1466 2) L. Appling 1302 3) E. Collins 965 4) P. Konerko  904
Strike Outs - 1) P. Konerko 1340 2) F. Thomas 1165
AVG - Konerko is 29th at .281
OBP - Konerko is 30th with .357
Slugging - Konerko is 7th with .492
OBP - Konerko is 9th at .849

For some of the stats he rates low, consider that the 28 players ahead of him for batting average, 20 played 6 seasons or less with the Sox. In OBP, that number is 18 players. For slugging percentage, only the Big Hurt and Magglio Ordonez have over 1000 games played with the Sox in the player above him. The other White Sox have games played totals of 529, 724, 529 & 648. And for OBP, those same six players from slugging (Thomas, Thome, Ordonez, Dye, Bonura & Shoeless Joe) are above him, and add in Minnie Minoso and Eddie Collins.

Will Paul make it to Cooperstown? I think there are valid arguments with his career numbers. Probably not though, mostly because the whole voting procedure is a damn joke. But also because, as great as his lines are, and as high caliber his career has been, you have to be a tip of the tongue superstar nowadays to even be considered. Konerko never sought out a high profile career, and he was a member of some mediocre teams we fielded, except for 2005.

And while I brought up 2005, the greatness of Konerko can be summed up from the end of game 4 of the World Series. Many know the total debacle of the series clinching ball from 2004. The douchebag move of Mientkiewicz and what it finally took to put the ball somewhere is belonged, though the Hall Of Fame isn't where it belongs.

Flash forward one year. The drought for the Pale Hose to hoist the championship trophy was longer than that of the BoSox (87 compared to 85). And when the final out was recorded, the speculation started on the baseball. Konerko was always cool about it, telling people he was not sure where it was. But he always had a plan for it.

Class act. So going back to Marcus' original statement: I never thought of the fact that 2014 will probably be the last cards produced of Konerko, but he's probably right. Barring an appearance ten years or so in Gypsy Queen or Archives, Konerko just won't be the go-to White Sox guy Topps will put into their products featuring older players. It's Frank Thomas. Rarely you see Nellie Fox or Luis Aparico, but that was usually Upper Deck. Other retired White Sox that have appeared in sets were Billy Pierce, Minnie Minoso. Luke Appling and Shoeless Joe Jackson. Those have always been high end products, though. And when you think about the unnoticed career of Konerko, it's probably a safe bet that his card released in this year's Allen and Ginter will be the last we see of him on cardboard.

And it was short printed. That's a crime.

Konerko is not a player collection of mine (yet), but pay a visit to Jeff at My Sports Obsession and visit his.


  1. Way to bring that up, I hadn't thought of his lack of cardboard in the coming years. Like Monday's aren't depressing enough. On player collecting him, it helps that he doesn't get much love outside of Chicago if you don't like to pay much for cards so I always liked that he didn't. Of course, like you said, that will be the reason he doesn't have too many cards from here on out. That sucks.

  2. I still remember having him on my farm team for my fantasy league when he nearly hit 40 bombs in AAA for a Dodgers farm club. So glad he played for the Sox and not on the West Coast. Class act for sure. He will be missed.

  3. Ever since Mariano retired last year... it seems like every other day I hear about one of the greats retiring. Konerko will be missed.

  4. Maybe Jeter can give some of his gifts with Konerko. He didn't seem to thrilled about the surf board he received.

  5. Paulie is the man! I remember in '05, me and my brother had matching St. Patrick's Day Sox shirts - mine was good old #14, and he had Jermaine Dye (forget what number he was). Turned out that Konerko was the ALCS MVP, and Dye was the MVP of the World Series. That '05 team was awesome. I'd been away from baseball for a few years, and it got me back interested in it again. Wish I'd made it to a Rangers/Astros game this year when they played the Sox. I'll havta wear my #14 jersey on the last day of the season. Great post. Will need to track down that A&G card.