By The Numbers – 65

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #65.  8 players have donned #65 while playing in Chicago, 7 for the White Sox and 1 for the Cubs.

Kelly Wunsch donned #65 for his entire White Sox career, starting on Opening Day against the Rangers for the eventual 2000 AL Central champions.  Finishing 5th in AL Rookie of the Year voting, Wunsch appeared in all 3 games of the ALDS against the Mariners, giving up 2 hits and 1 unearned run in one inning pitched.  Injuries marred the rest of his White Sox tenure, with rotator cuff surgery in 2001, continued shoulder soreness in 2002, and a back injury in 2003.  After starting the 2004 season on the disabled list, he ended up spending most of the season in Triple A, appearing in only 3 games for the White Sox, and he became a free agent at year’s end.

Casey Sadler is the only #65 in Cubs history, appearing in 10 games early in the 2020 season with a 5.79 before being claimed by the Mariners off of waivers.

All Time Batting Leaders – Through 2020

Last week, we took our annual look at the all time leaders in pitching stats for the 949 games I’ve attended (and identified) between 1984 and 2020. With the full White Sox roster reporting to camp yesterday despite the ongoing pandemic and full workouts beginning today, it’s time to move over to the other side of the ball and take a look at the offensive stat leaders for those games, starting with our first category:

Home Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 93
Sammy Sosa 42
Aramis Ramirez 41
Derrek Lee 40
Jermaine Dye 40

Hits

Name Total
Paul Konerko 366
Alexei Ramirez 300
Derrek Lee 255
AJ Pierzynski 239
Aramis Ramirez 234

Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 200
Derrek Lee 140
Alexei Ramirez 134
Aramis Ramirez 120
A.J. Pierzynski 106

RBI

Name Total
Paul Konerko 235
Aramis Ramirez 158
Alexei Ramirez 140
Derrek Lee 134
Jermaine Dye 108

Doubles Continue reading →

By The Numbers – 66

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #66.  11 players have donned #66 while playing in Chicago, 9 for the White Sox and 2 for the Cubs.

Gerry Staley spent parts of 6 seasons with the White Sox, from 1956 until a June 1961 trade sent him to the A’s.  Over that time, he wore 4 different numbers, one of which was #66. His best season was 1959, as he led the league with 67 appearances and 15 saves, earning a single MVP vote as the White Sox won the pennant and went to the World Series for the first time in 40 years.

Rafael Dolis wore #66 in his one appearance for the 2011 Cubs, throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings.  He switched to #48 for 2012 and 2013, then disappeared from the major leagues before popping back up in 2020 with the Blue Jays.

By The Numbers – 67

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #67.  9 players have donned #67 while playing in Chicago, 8 for the White Sox and 1 for the Cubs.

Jim Kern joined the White Sox in a August 1982 trade with the Reds, becoming the first player in Chicago baseball history to wear #67.  He did not pitch particularly well for the South Siders down the stretch, putting up a 5.14 ERA in 13 games.  He was expected back in the bullpen in 1983, but he blew out his elbow in the second game of the season and missed the rest of the year.  When he was released towards the end of spring training in 1984, he accused the team of “destroying my arm and then shucking me off like last year’s shotgun shells.”  GM Roland Hemond claimed it was strictly a business decision, as the team saved nearly $300,000 by releasing Kern.

Tsuyoshi Wada, who appeared in 13 games and went 4-4 for the 2014 Cubs, is the only Cub to ever don #67.  He switched to #18 the following year, appeared in only 8 games, and never played in the big leagues again.

Jake 2.0

The Cubs are bringing Jake Arrieta back for the 2021 season, signing the right-hander to a one year, $6 million deal.  Arrieta, who will turn 35 next month, was originally acquired by the Cubs in July of 2013, coming over from the Orioles, along with Pedro Strop, in a trade for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger.  After 7 starts for Iowa, Arrieta joined the rebuilding Cubs and showed vast improvement over the pitcher he was with the Orioles.  He turned into an ace for the Cubs in 2015, winning the NL Cy Young Award, and was a key contributor to their World Series championship in 2016.  He threw two no-hitters for the team, one in 2015 against the Dodgers and the second in 2016 against the Reds.  But, after leaving following the 2017 season for the Phillies, he has not been the same pitcher, suffering injuries each of the past 3 years.

Hopefully Cub fans have realistic expectations for Arrieta in 2021.  If they expect Arrieta to be a leader in the team’s attempts to repeat as division champions, they are likely to be disappointed and that disappointment may tarnish their memories of Arrieta and what he accomplished from 2014-2017.  If they see this as the nostalgia-based move it likely is, and accept the neither Arrieta nor the team will see the same success that they’ve become accustomed to, then it could be a nice distraction to take away from what looks to be a rebuilding (or reloading, at best) year.

The Game Remains The Same… Wait

As baseball looks to start its second pandemic-impacted season, a number of rule changes were announced yesterday as part of the updated health and safety protocols.  These rules cover spring training, the regular season, and the postseason.

Each team is required to submit a list of up to 75 players eligible for spring training by February 12.  For spring training games that occur between February 27 and March 13, the “retiring the side” concept will be relaxed, allowing managers to end an inning prior to three outs following any completed plate appearance, as long as the pitcher has thrown at least 20 pitches.  In addition, substitution rules for all of spring training shall be relaxed, allowing pitchers to be eligible for re-entry.

A 26 player Opening Day roster as well as a list of up to 28 players that will be assigned either to the Class AAA affiliate or Alternate Training Site, must be submitted by noon on Opening Day.  Any player on the Injured List who does not remain with the big league club will be assigned to the Alternate Training Site, but will not count against the 28-player maximum.  Teams will also be permitted to have a five player taxi squad, which includes at least one catcher, on all road trips.

In the regular season, doubleheaders will continue to be comprised of two seven-inning games. The extra-inning rule introduced last season also will continue to be in effect.  Also, each extra-inning will continue to begin with a runner on second base.  All on-field personnel, including players, must wear face coverings over both the mouth and nose at all times in the dugout and bullpen, except for pitchers and catchers warming up in the bullpen.  Players who violate this requirement are subject to discipline by MLB.  Limitations on the number of pitchers on the active roster and the restriction on position players pitching will not be applicable.  The roster size will expand to 28 on September 1.

MLB has the right to relocate teams to neutral sites, spring training sites, or other clubs’ home ballparks, and/or reschedule games during the 2021 season for health/safety reasons, to comply with governmental restrictions, or to complete the schedule.  With the consent of the MLBPA, MLB also has the right to conduct some or all of the postseason at neutral sites or to delay the start of the postseason in order to reschedule regular season games following the planned completion of the season.  MLB shall also have the right to reschedule any game postponed due to COVID-19 as a seven-inning split or straight doubleheader.  The first four doubleheaders scheduled per team due to COVID-19 shall not count against the limitation on split doubleheaders in the CBA.

By The Numbers – 68

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #68.  5 players have donned #71 while playing in Chicago, 6 for the White Sox and 1 for the Cubs.

Jorge Soler was originally signed by the Cubs as an amateur free agent in 2012.  Part of the so-called Core Four, the prospects meant to finally lead the Cubs to post-season glory, Soler made his major league debut on August 27, 2014, going 2 for 4 with a home run and 2 RBIs against the Reds.  He became the primary right fielder in 2015, starting 95 games and putting up a .723 OPS as the Cubs made a surprising run to the NLCS before falling to the Mets.  With Jason Heyward on board in 2016, Soler saw most of his playing time in left field, filling in for the injured Kyle Schwarber.  While he struggled during the regular season, he made the most of his World Series opportunity, hitting .400 against the Indians in his 2 appearances.  After achieving that initial goal of a World Series title, Soler was sent to the Royals for closer Wade Davis.

The pickings are slim on the south side of town for players wearing #68.  Dylan Covey wore it the most, going 6-29 over his 3 seasons with the White Sox after being acquired as a Rule 5 draft choice out of the A’s organization.  He was thankfully let go following the 2019 season.

An Empty Class

All eyes turned towards the small hamlet of Cooperstown, New York last Tuesday, as the votes were tallied and, for the first time since 2013, the 2021 Hall of Fame class was found to have no members.  Curt Schilling led all vote getters with 71.1% of the vote, 3.9% shy of the 75% required for induction.

Three others tallied greater than 50% of the vote, led by Barry Bonds, who saw a slight increase up to 61.8%.  Roger Clemens was right behind him at 61.6% and, with only one more go around each, it seems unlikely that either will make it via the BBWAA.  Scott Rolen saw a big jump, rising to 52.9% and looks like he’s on track to eventually make it.

Omar Vizquel, who was on the upswing and looked to be on a good trajectory, dropped back down under 50% after allegations of spousal abuse popped up last year.

Mark Buehrle scored the highest amongst the newcomers, with 11%.  Torii Hunter and Tim Hudson are the other two newcomers who live to fight another day, surpassing the 5% cutoff.  Of the local contingent, former White Sox outfielder Andruw Jones jumped up to 33.9% while Manny Ramirez finished with the same 28.2% as last year.  Cub outcast Sammy Sosa garnered 17.0%, while his former teammates Aramis Ramirez and LaTroy Hawkins pulled in 1% and 0.5% respectively.  Former White Sox outfielder Nick Swisher got no votes, which seems about right.

Schilling, in an effort to prove that he is the garbage human being that he shows to the world on social media, released a letter after the vote was announced asking to no longer be considered for the Hall.  “I’ll defer to the veterans committee and men whose opinions actually matter and who are in a position to actually judge a player,” he wrote, denigrating the BBWAA and the entire election process.  Personally, I hope they leave him on the ballot and that nobody votes for him.

While there is no class of 2021, there will still be an election ceremony this summer, as the class of 2020, Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons, and Marvin Miller, get their day in the sun, corona virus willing, on Sunday, July 25.

By The Numbers – 70

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #70.  3 players have donned #70 while playing in Chicago, all of whom suited up for the White Sox.

Aaron Bummer was selected by the White Sox in the 19th round of the 2014 draft.  He made his major league debut on July 27, 2017, pitching an inning of relief against the crosstown Cubs.  He wore #70 for his entire first year, before switching to his more familiar #39 in 2018.

 

By The Numbers – 71

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #71.  5 players have donned #71 while playing in Chicago, 3 for the White Sox and 2 for the Cubs.

Wade Davis was acquired by the Cubs prior to the 2017 season to replace Aroldis Chapman and help the Cubs defend their first World Series title in 108 years.  He set a franchise record with 27 consecutive saves.  He tied a LDS record by notching saves in all 3 Cub victories.  Following the season, he left as a free agent.

Jace Fry donned #71 when called up by the White Sox in 2017.  His 10.80 ERA in 11 games was not great.  When he changed his number the following year, his numbers also improved.  I’m sure there was no correlation between the two.