By The Numbers – 24

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 #24.  104 different players have donned #24 while playing in Chicago, 49 for the White Sox and 55 for the Cubs.

Joe Crede earned a September call-up from Double A in 2000, and, wearing #24, made his major league debut on September 12, replacing Herbert Perry and going 0-1 in the Tigers 10-3 victory at Comiskey Park.  Crede appeared in 7 games, making the most of his 14 at bats, and finished with a .357 average.  Crede got another cup of coffee with the big league club in September of 2001, earning a little more playing time, but he was less successful, finishing with a .220 average in 50 at bats over 17 games.  Crede returned to the White Sox for good in July of 2002.  On August 12, he hit his first major league home run off of former teammate James Baldwin and he finished with 12 home runs, 35 RBIs, and a .285 average.  Crede established himself as the starting third baseman in 2003.  He appeared in a career high 151 games and launched 19 home runs with 75 RBIs while posting a .261 average.  He struggled in 2004, seeing his average drop to .239 while hitting 21 home runs with 69 RBIs.

In 2005, Crede started to come in to his own.  While he improved his average to .252 and hit 22 home runs with 62 RBIs, he came alive in the second half, culminating with a game winning, and possible season saving, home run in the 10th inning against the Indians on September 20, which pushed the White Sox to a 3.5 game lead and propelled them into the playoffs.  Crede had a rough series in the ALDS against the Red Sox, getting only 1 hit in 9 at bats, but rebounded in the ALCS and World Series, hitting .368 and .294 respectively, with 2 home runs in each series.  2006 was Joe Crede’s breakout season.  He hit .283 with career highs in home runs, with 30, and RBIs, with 94, winning his first, and only, Silver Slugger award.  A back injury in 2007 limited him to 47 games and only 4 home runs.  He returned with a bang in 2008, hitting a grand slam on opening day against the Twins and parlayed a good first half into his first All Star selection, but the back injury recurred and kept him out for most of the second half of the season, including the playoffs, thus ending his White Sox career.

On the north side of town, Dexter Fowler joined Cubs via trade prior to the 2015 season.  Donning #24, he ended the year with a .250 average, 102 runs scored, 46 RBIs, 17 home runs, and 20 stolen bases as the Cubs made a surprise run for the NL Wild Card.  Fowler helped propel the Cubs to the NLDS, putting up three hits, three runs scored, a home run, and a stolen base in defeating the Pirates.  In nine postseason games, Fowler batted .396 with two home runs and three RBIs, as the Cubs made it to the NLCS against the Mets.

Fowler became a free agent after the season and was unsigned into the start of spring training.  Despite reportedly agreeing to a three-year contract with the Orioles, Fowler arrived in Cubs camp and signed a one year deal.  And what a year it was.  Fowler finished the year with a .276 average, 13 home runs, 48 RBIs, and 84 runs scored as the Cubs won the NL Central.  Fowler’s .333 average with 4 RBI helped the Cubs win the NLCS against the Dodgers, advancing to the World Series for the first time since 1945.  On October 25, 2016, Dexter Fowler became the first African-American to appear and to bat for the Cubs in a World Series game.  Fowler led off Game 7 of the World Series with a home run, becoming the first player in history to do so, and helping the Cubs win 8–7 in 10 innings, giving the team their first championship in 108 years.

2022 Hall Of Fame Ballot – The Newcomers

The BBWAA recently released their ballot for the Hall of Fame class of 2022, with the results of the vote due to be revealed on January 25th with induction returning to its usual July weekend, July 24th to be precise.  With nobody elected in last year’s voting, the new ballot contains 17 holdovers along with 13 newcomers.

Last week, we looked at the returning candidates.  Today, it’s time to look at the newcomers and who may be thankful come January.

Carl Crawford

He was never able to come close to the success he enjoyed as a Ray during the second part of his career.  I would doubt he makes it to a second election.

Prince Fielder

A neck injury ended his career prematurely, which didn’t give him enough of a chance to pile up the numbers that he would have needed for induction.

Ryan Howard

A late start to his career, winning the Rookie of the Year award in his age 25 season, will likely leave the longtime Phillie on the outside looking in.

Tim Lincecum

Lincecum had a 4 year peak that would stack up against anyone, but his career only lasted 10 years and those 6 non-peak years were middling at best and ugly at worst.

Justin Morneau

I mean, he had a nice career and all, with 1600 hits and 247 home runs, but no.

Joe Nathan

He is 8th on the all time saves list, but I don’t think that, or the World Series ring he got for 3 appearances with the 2016 Cubs at the end of his career, will put him over the top.

David Ortiz

OK, now things start to get interesting.  His 541 home runs would normally be a surefire ticket to entry, but there is a slight taint of PED use, right or wrong, to his career.  Will the writers, who have kept Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa, amongst others, out put Ortiz in?  My guess is yes.

Jonathan Papelbon

Yeah, that’s going to be a no.

Jake Peavy

Peavy ended up having a pretty nice career, but nice career’s do not get you to Cooperstown.

A.J. Pierzynski

At first glance, the easy answer is to say no.  But, his 19 year career behind the plate, where his most similar comparison is to Yadier Molina, who most people assume will get in easily once he is eligible, makes you wonder if he will get more support than you would initially think.

Alex Rodriguez

Yet another 10 year referendum on PEDs that we have to look forward to.  If I had to guess, and that is what I am doing here, I’m going to say he never gets in.

Jimmy Rollins

Rollins had a great career, but not enough to be enshrined in Cooperstown.

Mark Teixeira

He’s kind of borderline, but I don’t think he makes it.

Tribe No More

On Friday, the franchise in Cleveland officially changed their name from Indians, which dates back to 1915, to Guardians, inspired by a pair of stone monuments a quarter of a mile away from Progressive Field, ending years of controversy and resistance.  I’ve seen the Indians 58 times over the years, first in 1987 at old Comiskey Park and last at Guaranteed Rate Field this past July.  In between, I saw them at two other ballparks, Games 4 & 5 of the 2016 World Series at Wrigley Field and the final two games of a September series against the White Sox at their home stadium of Progressive Field in 2019.

All-Time Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
Cleveland Indians 31 27 0.534
Chicago Cubs 1 1 0.500
Chicago White Sox 26 30 0.464

The Guardians are scheduled to make their first trip to Chicago in early May for a 3 game series against the White Sox, starting a new chapter of Cleveland baseball history.

2021 Final Batting Leaders

Another baseball season has come to an end, with the White Sox winning their first division title since 2008 and making the post-season in consecutive seasons for the first time in team history, before losing to the Astros in the ALDS and the Cubs shocking their fanbase with the dismantling of the core that led them to 3 straight NLCSs and a world championship in 2016.  Let’s take a look back at the offensive leaders for the 58 games that I attended this season, with lower capacity crowds in the spring to full capacity at the end:

Home Runs

Name Total
Jose Abreu 9
Yasmani Grandal 8
Patrick Wisdom 7
Luis Robert 6
Yoan Moncada 5
Tim Anderson 5

Hits

Name Total
Tim Anderson 55
Jose Abreu 49
Yoan Moncada 49
Luis Robert 29
Andrew Vaughn 26

Runs

Name Total
Tim Anderson 32
Yoan Moncada 27
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By The Numbers – 37

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 #37.  74 different players have donned #37 while playing in Chicago, 27 for the White Sox and 47 for the Cubs.

Selected in the fourth round of the 1985 draft, Bobby Thigpen made his major league debut for the White Sox just over a year later, wearing #58.  He switched to his more familiar #37 the following year, as he moved in to the closer role full time, replacing Bob James, and racked up 16 saves while also putting up a 7-5 record with a 2.73 ERA.  In 1988, he broke the team record for saves, with 34, while leading the league with 59 games finished.  He duplicated the effort in 1989 with another 34 saves, though with a 2-6 record and a 3.76 ERA.

Thigpen’s 1990 season was one for the record books.  He earned his first All Star nod while on his way to setting the major league record with 57 saves, while also leading the league with 77 games and 73 games finished.  On September 30, he earned his 57th save while throwing the final pitch at Comiskey Park.  After the 1990 season, Thigpen joined other major league all stars on a tour of Japan where, unfortunately, he would suffer a back injury that would plague him for the remainder of his career.

In 1991, he still managed to earn 30 saves, but his ERA jumped up to 3.49.  In 1992, he set a career high with a 4.75 ERA while earning only 22 saves, losing his grip on the closer role to both Scott Radinsky and Roberto Hernandez.  His 1993 was even worse, as his ERA jumped to 5.71 and he managed only 1 save in 25 appearances before an August 10 trade to the Phillies for former teammate Jose DeLeon.  He left as the franchise’s all time leader with 201 saves, a position he still holds today.

On the north side of town, pitcher Travis Wood was acquired by the Cubs, along with Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes, in exchange for Sean Marshall.  Wearing #37, Wood was called up to the major league club in early May of 2012, replacing Chris Volstad, who started the season 0–6.  Wood went 6-13 with a 4.27 ERA in his first year as a Cub.  In 2013, Wood became the first Cub since Mordecai Brown to start a season with 9 straight quality starts and, on May 30, he hit his first career grand slam, leading to his first All-Star selection.

Wood struggled in 2014, with a 5.03 ERA in 31 starts, though he did hit his 9th career home run.  After struggling in the rotation to start the 2015 season, Wood was moved to the bullpen, where he fared much better, posting a 2.95 ERA and 4 saves in relief.  Continuing to work out of the bullpen in 2016, Wood posted a 4-0 record with a 2.95 ERA in 77 appearances.  In Game 2 of the NLDS, Wood hit a home run off of Giants’ reliever George Kontos, becoming just the second relief pitcher to homer in a postseason game., after Rosy Ryan in Game 3 of the 1924 World Series.  Wood appeared in 3 games of the 2016 World Series, giving up 2 hits and a run in 1 2/3 innings.  Following the season, he became a free agent.

By The Numbers – 44

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 #44.  57 different players have donned #44 while playing in Chicago, 39 for the White Sox and a mere 18 for the Cubs.

Anthony Rizzo was acquired by the Cubs on January 6, 2012, the first piece of the rebuilding puzzle that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer brought to Chicago after their hiring.  He started the 2012 season in Triple A, but eventually earned the promotion and took over first base,  In 2014, he earned his first All Star nod and his first MVP votes.  In 2015, as the Cubs made a surprising run to the NLCS, Rizzo led the league in games and plate appearances and placed fourth in MVP voting.

In 2016, Rizzo replicated his fourth place MVP finish while also picking up a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award as he helped lead the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years.  On Opening Night in 2017, he walked the Commissioner’s Trophy on to the field (following a long rain delay).  He finished that year with more MVP attention as the Cubs made their third straight NLCS, losing to the Dodgers.  Rizzo added 3 additional Gold Gloves to his collection from 2018 – 2020.  The shine rubbed off of Rizzo a little in June of 2021, as he announced, on the day Chicago opened back up from COVID restrictions, that he had decided not to get vaccinated, leaving the Cubs as one of 8 teams still under restrictions for failing to reach the 85% plateau.  He was then, of course, traded to the Yankees and, just this morning, was placed on the IL with COVID.

On the other side of town, Dan Pasqua donned #44 after being acquired from the Yankees for Richard Dotson following the 1997 season.  His first season with the White Sox ended with a career high 20 home runs despite a disappointing .227 average, but a broken wrist suffered during the first week of the 1989 season limited him to just 73 games and 11 home runs.  Pasqua lost his regular slot in the lineup in 1990, as manager Jeff Torborg decided to start Sammy Sosa every day.  He appeared in 112 games, but had only 325 at bats despite a .274 average.

1991 saw Pasqua appear in a career high 134 games, with a .259 average and 18 home runs, his highest total since 1988.  A hamstring injury reduced Pasqua’s playing time again in 1992 and, with George Bell and Bo Jackson splitting time at DH in 1993, Pasqua again was the odd man out.  Pasqua’s 1994 season was cut short by arthroscopic knee surgery in May, which limited him to just 11 appearances and only 23 at bats, and he decided to retire after the season.

Two Sides Of The Same Town

cws-chiFollowing last week’s trade deadline deals, Ryan Tepera and Craig Kimbrel became the 36th and 37th people I’ve seen play in person for both the Cubs and the White Sox.  With the first round of crosstown kicking off this afternoon at Wrigley, here’s a look at those players, in alphabetical order.

David Aardsma

After posting a decent season with the Cubs in 2006, Aardsma was traded to the White Sox for Neal Cotts.  Aardsma lasted one season with the Sox, where he was unable to duplicate his success from the year before.

Jason Bere

Drafted by the White Sox in the 36th round in 1990, Bere debuted with the big league club in 1993, finishing 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting.  After an All Star selection in 1994, injuries marred the remainder of his tenure on the South Side, which ended in 1998.  He resurfaced with the Cubs in 2001 and had a decent season, but he went 1-10 in 2002 before being let go.

Emilio Bonifacio

Bonifacio spent back-to-back partial seasons in Chicago, first for the Cubs in 2014 after signing as a free agent, where he played decently enough to be flipped at the trade deadline, along with James Russell, to the Braves for a young catching prospect by the name of Victor Caratini.  He returned to Chicago in 2015, signing with the White Sox, where he he did not do well at all, hitting .167 in 47 games before being released in August.

Welington Castillo

Debuting with the Cubs in 2010, Castillo spent time behind the plate for the Cubs until May of 2015, when, having been replaced in the starting lineup by Miguel Montero, he was flipped to the Mariners.  He returned to Chicago in 2018 after signing with the White Sox as a free agent.  On May 24th of that season, he was suspended 80 games for a violation of the PED policy.  The White Sox then cut bait following the 2019 season, shipping him off to the Rangers.

Neal Cotts

Acquired by the White Sox in the Billy Koch trade, he debuted with the team in 2003.  He was a key contributor in the bullpen during the 2005 championship season, and was the only relief pitcher to appear in all 3 rounds of the playoffs that season.  Following the 2006 season, he was traded to the Cubs for David Aardsma, and he spent the next 3 injury filled seasons on the North Side.

Scott Eyre

Joining the White Sox organization in a 1994 trade with the Rangers, he debuted with the big league team in 1997.  He split the next 4 seasons between the rotation and the bullpen, not to mention between Chicago and Charlotte, before being moved to the Blue Jays following the 2000 ALDS loss to the Mariners.  He joined the Cubs as a free agent for the 2006 season and enjoyed 2 seasons of relative success, before falling apart in 2008, when he was traded to the Phillies.

Kosuke Fukudome Continue reading →

End Of An Era

When Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over baseball operations for the Cubs following the 2011 season, they started a rebuild effort that combined high draft picks with savvy trades in an effort to end the longest title drought in US professional sports.  They key to that rebuild, four prospects ranked in the Top 50 by nearly every publication prior to the 2014 season, became known as the Core Four.  Javier Baez, the 9th overall pick in the 2011 draft, Albert Almora, the 6th selection in 2012, Jorge Soler, a Cuban defector who signed a 9 year, $30 million contract in June of 2012, and Kris Bryant, the second overall pick in the 2013 draft were expected to lead the Cubs to the promised land and, in 2016, they did, each contributing to the team’s first World Series title in 108 years.

Bryant and Baez were the only two left heading into the 2021 season.  Both were traded today.

Kris Bryant is heading to the Giants, with OF Alexander Canario and RHP Caleb Killian coming back to the Cubs.  Bryant, the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year and the 2016 NL MVP, has seemingly been on the trading block for years now, ever since the Cubs won his service time grievance.  Ironically, he was the last one out the door, following yesterday’s trade of Anthony Rizzo and this afternoon’s moves with Craig Kimbrel and Javier Baez.

Canario, a top 15 prospect in the Giants’ system, showed flashes as a teenager prior to the pandemic, but has seen his strikeout rate increase as he’s gone up to higher levels of competition.  Killian, likely rated in the top 40 of the Giants system, was an 8th round pick in 2019 and has seem some success this year coming back from the pandemic.

After winning the World Series in 2016, the Cubs, with their young talent, looked to be on the verge of a dynasty.  5 years later, that dynasty is over without ever really starting, having dropped their last 4 consecutive post-season games dating back to the 2017 NLCS.  Now, 10 years after the start of the last rebuild, Jed Hoyer has to start again.

Bryant’s and Baez’s numbers in a Cubs uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:

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End Of The Road

The rebirth of the Cubs, which began with the hiring of Theo Epstein in October of 2011 and culminated with their first World Series title in 108 years, officially came to an end this afternoon, as new GM Jed Hoyer shipped team leader Anthony Rizzo to the Yankees for rookie ball outfielder Kevin Alcantara and High-A righty Alexander Vizcaino.  The Cubs agreed to pay Rizzo’s remaining salary.

Vizcaino, 24, is already on the 40-man roster and ranked as the Yankees 11th best prospect at FanGraphs and 12th at Baseball America.  He is working his way back from a shoulder issue and has posted a combined 9.00 ERA in 6 games across two levels.  Alcantara, 18, is hitting .360 in 8 rookie league games and ranked 7th at FanGraphs and 14th at Baseball America.

Rizzo, who had been drafted by the Red Sox when Epstein and Hoyer were in their front office and was acquired by Hoyer when he became GM of the Padres, was the first big acquisition when the two reunited in Chicago.  He began the 2012 season in Triple A.  Recalled at the end of June, he quickly became a mainstay of the lineup and a crowd favorite, as the Cubs were rebuilding around him.  In 2013, he signed a long term contract extension, which expires at the end of this season.  He cemented his position in Cubs lore by catching the final out of the 2016 World Series, ending the longest championship drought in American professional sports.  However, as the Cubs have struggled to repeat the team success of that season, Rizzo has also struggled in later years, contributing to an offense that has severely regressed since 2016 and was one of the Cubs who refused to get the COVID vaccine, keeping the team below the 85% threshold for this 2021 season.

Rizzo’s numbers in a Cubs uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:

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By The Numbers – 49

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 #49.  60 different players have donned #49 while playing in Chicago, 36 for the White Sox and 24 for the Cubs.

Chris Sale, the 13th overall selection by the White Sox in the 2010 draft, pitched 11 games in the minor leagues before making his major league debut on August 6, less than 2 months after being drafted.  Sale worked out of the bullpen for the remainder of the year, earning 4 saves in 21 appearances. Sale returned to the bullpen in 2011, picking up another 8 saves while posting a 2.79 ERA.  In 2012, Sale moved in to the starting rotation full time, where he racked up 5 straight All Star nods and finished between 3rd and 6th in Cy Young award voting each season.  In 2015, Sale set the White Sox franchise record with 274 strike outs and, in 2016, he tied his career high with 17 victories and threw a career high 226 2/3 innings pitched in between spats with the front office over Drake LaRoche and 1970s throwback jerseys.  That December, the rebuilding of the White Sox began when Sale was traded to the Red Sox for, among others, Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech.

Jake Arrieta 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.  He became a free agent following the 2017 season, but returned in 2021.