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.

By The Numbers – 28

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 #28.  86 different players have donned #28 while playing in Chicago, 46 for the White Sox and 40 for the Cubs.

Acquired by the Cubs prior to the 1989 season, Mitch Williams, wearing #28, quickly became a beloved cult figure on the north side.  He made an immediate impression, giving up 3 hits to load the bases in the ninth inning on Opening Day before striking out the next three batters, starting with future Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, to close out a one-run victory.  That kickstarted an amazing season for Williams, and the Cubs, as they made a surprise run towards an NL East title.  On April 28th, Williams became the only pitcher in major league history to earn a save without throwing a pitch, entering the game with two outs and picking off runner Carmelo Martinez to end the game.  Williams made the All Star team for the only time in his career and hit his lone career home run, en route to a 4-4 record with 36 saves.  He appeared in two games of the NLCS against the Giants, giving up the game-winning hit to Will Clark in Game 5.

1990 was not quite as good for Williams.  His record dropped to 1-8 while his ERA rose to 3.93.  He earned only 16 saves, a drop of 20 from the previous season, as a knee injury bothered him throughout the year.  The next spring, with the Cubs having acquired Dave Smith to replace him as closer, Williams was traded to the Phillies just prior to Opening Day.

On the other side of town, Joey Cora switched to #28 after the 1991 season, his first with the White Sox.  Cora spent the 1992 season on the bench following the acquisition of Steve Sax, starting only 21 games at second base.  With Sax faltering, Cora became the everyday second baseman in 1993.  He set a career high with 153 games played and hit .268 with a career high 20 stolen bases as the White Sox won their final AL West crown.  Cora struggled in the ALCS, hitting an anemic .136 as the White Sox fell in 6 games to the Blue Jays.

Cora continued to improve in 1994, raising his average again to .276 and had 2 home runs and 30 RBIs when the season came to a premature end due to the player’s strike.  When baseball resumed in 1995, Cora became a free agent and his White Sox playing career came to an end.  He rejoined the organization and once again wore #28 as third base coach for the 2004 season, when Ozzie Guillen was hired as manager.  He moved to became the bench coach after the 2006 season, where he would remain until the end of the 2011 season, when he was fired with 2 games left in the season as part of Guillen’s exit from the team.

By The Numbers – 29

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 #29.  85 different players have donned #30 while playing in Chicago, 35 for the White Sox and 50 for the Cubs.

Jack McDowell, selected as the fifth overall pick in the 1987 draft, switched to #29 when, after spending the entire 1989 season in Triple A, he returned to the majors for good in 1990, helping to lead a surprising White Sox team to a 94-68 record and a season long battle with the A’s for the AL West crown.  McDowell finished with a 14-9 record and a 3.82 ERA and nearly doubled his strikeout total from 1988 in only about 50 more innings.  Expectations were high as the White Sox moved into their new stadium in 1991 and McDowell was up to the challenger, earning his first All Star game selection on his way to a 17-10 record and a 3.41 ERA, good enough for a 9th place finish in Cy Young Award voting.

1992 was even better for McDowell.  He earned his second straight All Star Game nod, pitching a scoreless second inning and retiring Fred McGriff, Terry Pendleton, and Andy Van Slyke in order.  He ended up with a 20-10 record and a 3.18 ERA, good enough for a 2nd place finish in Cy Young Award voting, behind Dennis Eckersley, and 19th place in MVP voting.  Everything came together for the White Sox and McDowell in 1993.  As the team ran off to their first division title in a decade, McDowell led the league with 22 victories and 4 shutouts, ending at 22-10 with a 3.37 ERA.  He nabbed his 3rd straight All Star selection, earning the victory while throwing a scoreless 5th inning, and finally claimed his first Cy Young Award.  He also finished 9th in MVP voting, behind teammate Frank Thomas.  McDowell made 2 starts during the ALCS against the Blue Jays, losing both and giving up 10 runs total in 9 innings pitched.

The 1994 season again had high expectations for the White Sox and McDowell.  Unfortunately, those expectations would be squashed, not on the field, where the White Sox held first place in the newly formed AL Central division, but in the boardrooms, where the end of the 1994 season and the post season were cancelled due to a work stoppage.  In just 25 starts, his fewest since 1987, McDowell went 10-9 with a 3.73 ERA.  In December, with the 1995 season in doubt, McDowell was traded to the Yankees, for Keith Heberling and a player to be named later who turned out to be Lyle Mouton.

On the north side of town, the Cubs were surprise contenders in the 2001 season.  Looking to improve their chances of making the post-season, they acquired Fred McGriff from the Devil Rays.  Wearing #29, the Crime Dog held up his part of the bargain down the stretch, putting up a .942 OPS with 12 home runs in 49 games with the Cubs.  Unfortunately, the pitching did not hold up as the Cubs went 23-28 in August and September, finishing five games behind the Astros and Cardinals.  At age 38, McGriff returned to the Cubs in 2002, posting a .858 OPS and 125 OPS+ to go along with 30 homers and 103 runs batted in.  The rest of the Cubs, however, were butt, going through thee managers and finishing with a 67-95 record.  McGriff became a free agent following the season.

Against The Angels All Time Leaders – Through 2021

laangelsIn the past, we’ve looked at the all time leaders in both offensive and defensive categories for all 30 teams.  This offseason, we will take our first ever look at those leaders against all 30 clubs. We continue today with the Los Angeles Angels.

The Angels began life in 1961, joining the American League along with the second incarnation of the Washington Senators.  They’ve changed their location designation multiple times, starting in Los Angeles, changing to California in 1966, moving to Anaheim in 1997 and, awkwardly incorporating both Los Angeles and Anaheim starting in 2005, and finally returning to just Los Angeles in 2016.  I’ve seen them play 38 times, including games 1 and 2 of the 2005 ALCS against the White Sox and Jim Thome’s 500th career home run in 2008.

Home Runs

Name Total
Carlos Quentin 6
Paul Konerko 6
Jim Thome 4

Hits

Name Total
Paul Konerko 22
A.J. Pierzynski 17
Alexei Ramirez 17

Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 14
Alexei Ramirez 8
Carlos Quentin 8

RBI

Name Total
A.J. Pierzynski 10
Paul Konerko 9
Alexei Ramirez 8
Carlos Quentin 8
Juan Uribe 8

Doubles

Name Total
Paul Konerko 4
Juan Uribe 4
Joe Crede 3
Scott Podsednik 3
Javier Baez 3

Triples Continue reading →

By The Numbers – 33

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 #33.  60 different players have donned #33 while playing in Chicago, 22 for the White Sox and 48 for the Cubs, including a World Series champion.

Aaron Rowand joined the White Sox organization in 1998, selected in the first round of the draft.  He earned his first call up to the show on June 15, 2001 and made his major league debut the following day.  He took over as the starting center fielder in 2002 following the mid-season trade of Kenny Lofton.  Rowand switched to #33 in 2003, but earned a return trip to Triple A in 2003 after hitting .133 in his first 60 games.  After a little more than a month, he returned to the big leagues, hitting .387 the rest of the way and ending the season with a .287 average.

2004 was a breakout year for Rowand, becoming a  full time starter for the first time and setting career highs with a .310 average and .905 OPS.  The good times continued in 2005, as he hit .270 with 13 home runs and, defensively, committed only 3 errors in 394 chances.  Rowand went 4 for 10 against the Red Sox in the ALDS, driving in 2 runs and scoring 3 more in the 3 game sweep.  In the ALCS against the Angels, Rowand managed only 3 hits in the 5 game series, all doubles.  He bounced back in the World Series, going 5-17 against the Astros as the White Sox won their first title in 88 years.  Less than a month after the final out of the World Series, Rowand, among others, was traded to the Phillies for Jim Thome.

On the north side of town, a rookie donned #33 when he made his major league debut on July 30th, 1983.  Joe Carter would appear in 23 games for the Cubs that season, hitting .176 without a home run.  He made his biggest mark for the Cubs the following June, when he was packaged, along with Mel Hall, Don Schulze, and Darryl Banks, in a trade with the Indians which netted Ron Hassey, George Frazier and, of course, Rick Sutcliffe.

2021 Final Pitching Leaders

Yesterday, we looked at the leaders in the 58 games I attended this year on the offensive side of the ball.  With both League Championship Series in full swing today, it’s time to wrap up our look back at the 2021 season with the pitching leaders, starting with everyone’s favorite pitching statistic:

Wins

Name Total
Lance Lynn 4
Michael Kopech 3
Dylan Cease 3
Dallas Keuchel 3
Reynaldo Lopez 3
Lucas Giolito 3

Losses

Name Total
Carlos Rodon 4
Lance Lynn 3
Lucas Giolito 3
Dylan Cease 2
Reynaldo Lopez 2
Liam Hendriks 2
Jorge Alcala 2
Adbert Alzolay 2

ERA (> 6 IP)

Name Total
Ryan Burr 1.08
Matt Foster 1.23
Alec Mills 1.35
Lance McCullers 1.63
Mike Minor 1.63

Strikeouts

Name Total
Lance Lynn 76
Dylan Cease 75
Carlos Rodon 56
Continue reading →

By The Numbers – 36

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 #36.  83 different players have donned #36 while playing in Chicago, 54 for the White Sox and 29 for the Cubs.

Acquired by the Cubs, along with Bob Dernier and Porfi Altamirano, from the Phillies for Bill Campbell and Mike Diaz near the end of spring training in 1984, Gary “Sarge” Matthews, wearing #36, became a spark plug that helped lead the Cubs to their first ever division title.  Leading the league in walks and OBP, Matthews set a career high with 101 runs scored and finished 5th in MVP voting, behind teammates Ryne Sandberg and Rick Sutcliffe.  He saw a big drop-off in 1985, appearing in only 97 games and hitting a career low .235.  He bounced back a bit in 1986, appearing in 123 games and hitting 21 home runs, his highest total since 1979.  Reduced to a bench player in 1987, Matthews had 42 ABs in 44 games when he was traded to the Mariners on July 11 for a minor league player to be named later.

On the south side of town, Jerry Koosman donned #36 when he joined the White Sox on August 30, 1981 after coming to the White Sox via trade from the Twins.  Koosman appeared in 8 games down the stretch, starting 3, as the White Sox finished 6th in the second half of the crazy strike season.  He returned in 1982, working mostly out of the bullpen but still starting 19 games as the White Sox squandered a quick start to finish in 3rd place.  The veteran lefty spent most of the 1983 season in the starting rotation, but saw his ERA inflate to a career high 4.77.  However, after a shaky start, the White Sox caught fire and Koosman was the starting pitcher on September 17, when the White Sox clinched their first division title.  Koosman made one relief appearance during the ALCS against the Orioles, throwing 1/3 of a disastrous inning in the Game 3 blowout, giving up 1 hit, 2 walks, and 3 runs (2 earned).  He re-upped with the White Sox following the season, but was sent to the Phillies the following spring to complete the trade for Ron Reed.

By The Numbers – 38

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 #38.  89 different players have donned #38 while playing in Chicago, 45 for the White Sox and 44 for the Cubs.

From the time he made his debut in 2001 through the January 2012 trade that ended his Cubs career, Carlos Zambrano took the field with #38 on his back.  When he was on his game, which he was for much of his early career on the Northside, he was one of the best in the game, helping the Cubs to division titles in 2003, 2007, and 2008.  Towards the end, though, he was known more for the troubles he has caused, whether it was fighting with Michael Barrett, Derrek Lee, or a Gatorade machine before finally walking out on the team after a horrid start against the Braves in the August of 2011, where he was ejected, claimed he was retiring, and then was suspended for the remainder of the season.  In January, he was traded to the Marlins.

On the south side of town, Pablo Ozuna donned #38 during his 3+ years with the White Sox.  Signing as a free agent in January of 2005, Ozuna saw the most playing time of his career to that point, including scoring the winning run in Game 2 of the ALCS, pinch running for A.J. Pierzynski after the infamous dropped third strike call in the 9th inning, and kicking off he 8 game winning streak to close out the franchise’s first World Series title in 88 years.

Ozuna returned to the White Sox in 2006 and, on May 3, he hit his first career home run.  A broken leg suffered in late May of 2007 limited Ozuna to 27 games.  He returned from the injury in 2008 and was performing well, hitting .281 in 32 games, but was designated for assignment after a roster crunch in July.

By The Numbers – 39

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 #39.  77 different players have donned #39 while playing in Chicago, 31 for the White Sox and 46 for the Cubs.

First acquired in 1989, Roberto Hernandez, donning #39, made his major league debut on September 2, 1991, getting the start and going 7 innings for the victory in the White Sox win over the Royals.  He appeared in 9 games in the final month of the season, making the only 3 starts of his career, and finished the year with a 7.80 ERA.  In 1992, Hernandez split the year between Triple A and Chicago, eventually supplanting Bobby Thigpen as the team’s primary closer.  He finished the year with 12 saves and a sparkling 1.65 ERA.  Hernandez had another great year in 1993, saving 38 games in 70 appearances with a 2.29 ERA as the White Sox won their final AL West title.  During the ALCS against the Blue Jays, Hernandez threw 4 scoreless innings in 4 appearances, earning 1 save.

In the strike-shortened 1994 season, Hernandez struggled.  His ERA jumped to 4.91 and he saved only 14 games before the season ended on August 12, despite leading the league in games finished.  When baseball returned in 1995, Hernandez bounced back somewhat, once again leading the league in games finished and lowering his ERA by nearly a full run to 3.92.  1996 was a true return to form for Hernandez.  He led the league in games finished for the third straight year and lowered his ERA by 2 full runs to 1.91.  He earned his first All Star selection and, with 38 saves, finished 6th in Cy Young Award voting.  Hernandez was well on his way to another strong season in 1997, with 27 saves and a 2.44 ERA, when he was included in the infamous White Flag trade on July 31, joining Wilson Alzarez and Danny Darwin in going to the Giants for the collection of Brian Manning, Lorenzo Barcelo, Mike Caruso, Keith Foulke, Bob Howry, and Ken Vining.

On the other side of town, Andrew Chafin wore #39 for the 11 months he was a member of the Cubs.  Acquired on August 31, the trade deadline of the shortened 2020 season, Chafin pitched in 4 games over the final month, posting a 3.00 ERA and retired the only batter he faced in the Wild Card series against the Marlins.  In February, Chafin re-upped with the Cubs and became sort of a cult hero.  On June 24, he was part of a combined no-hitter against the Dodgers.  In 43 appearances for the Cubs in 2021, Chafin recorded a 2.06 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 39.1 innings of work before being traded to the A’s on July 27th.

Return To The Playoffs!

On Tuesday, with the White Sox magic number sitting at 17, the team sent out post-season invoices to their season ticket holders for the first time since 2012.  For the low, low price of $1640, I will receive 2 tickets to a potential Wild Card game (which, if that is needed, something is wrong with this world), 3 potential Division Series games, 1 Championship Series game, and 1 World Series game, along with parking for all games.  My seats are actually better than my normal seats, one section over in the same row and seats better aligned to my needs.

I assume only electronic tickets will be issued.  I would hope commemorative tickets will be sent out should a good run occur late in to October.