Division Series Batting Leaders

Both Wild Card games are in the books, with the Red Sox and the Dodgers moving on to their respective DSs, and the White Sox look to kick off their series with the Astros later today.  With that in mind, it’s time to take our first look at the offensive leaders from the 16 Division Series games I have attended since 2000.  So, without further ado, we start off with:

Home Runs

Name Total
B.J. Upton 3
Eric Karros 2
Paul Konerko 2
A.J. Pierzynski 2
Manny Ramirez 2
Chipper Jones 2

Hits

Name Total
Mark DeRosa 7
Manny Ramirez 5
A.J. Pierzynski 5
Jason Heyward 5
Javier Baez 5
Moises Alou 5
Derrek Lee 5
Carlos Pena 5

Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 5
Mark DeRosa 4
Manny Ramirez 4
A.J. Pierzynski 4
B.J. Upton 3
Juan Uribe 3
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#1 – Harold Baines

Name: Harold Baines

Rank: 1

Position: RF/DH

Years With White Sox: 1980-1989, 1996-1997, 2000-2001

Harold Baines was the first overall selection in the 1977 draft after White Sox owner Bill Veeck had seen him play little league years before.  He made his major league debut less than 3 years later, on Opening Day 1980, going 0-4 against the Orioles at old Comiskey Park.  He appeared in 141 games and finished the year hitting .255 with 13 home runs and 49 RBIs.

Baines started to break out in 1981, where the long player’s strike led him to only appearing in 82 games.  He boosted his average to .286 and hit 10 home runs with 41 RBIs in only 280 at bats.

With labor problems behind them, a full slate of games was played in 1982, with Baines appearing in all but one of them.  Hitting .271, Baines smacked 25 home runs with 105 RBIs, while setting a career high with 10 stolen bases.  His numbers were good enough to garner 9 votes for AL MVP.

1983 was a banner year on the south side, as the White Sox captured their first ever division title.  Baines was a key contributor, hitting .280 with 20 home runs and 99 RBIs.  During the ALCS against the Orioles, Baines struggled, like most of his teammates, getting only 2 hits in the 4 game series.  At season’s end, he picked up 49 votes to finish 10th in MVP voting.

Baines continued to excel in 1984, though the rest of the team did not.  On May 8, he ended the longest game in major league history (8 hours and 6 minutes over 25 innings on successive evenings) with a walk-off home run against Chuck Porter of the Brewers.  He finished the year with a .304 average, a career high 29 home runs, and 94 RBIs, while leading the league in slugging at .541.  He once again garnered MVP consideration, finishing the vote tied for 13th place.

1985 was another strong season for Baines.  He earned his first All Star selection, singling off former teammate LaMarr Hoyt in his only at bat at the Metrodome.  He finished the year hitting .309 with 22 home runs and a career high 113 RBIs.  He earned 49 votes in placing 9th in MVP voting.

Baines saw his body start to betray him for the first time in 1986.  He appeared in his second straight All Star game, going hitless in his one at bat.  A late August knee injury caused him to miss time, and a late September collision with Neal Heaton in a loss to the Twins reinjured the knee, leading to arthroscopic surgery following the season.  He finished the season hitting .296, just missing his 3rd consecutive .300 season, with 21 home runs and 88 RBIs.

Baines returned for opening day in 1987, getting two hits and knocking in the winning runs on the hard artificial turf of Royals Stadium, but was unable to walk the following day.  A second arthroscopic surgery caused him to miss 23 games before he returned, moving from right field to designated hitter.  He still was named to his 3rd straight All Star team, going hitless in the 2-0 loss by the AL.  Come year end, he had hit .293 with 20 home runs and 93 RBIs.

1988 was a down year for Baines, though he managed to appear in 158 games.  His average dropped to .277, his lowest total since 1982, while hitting only 13 home runs, his lowest total since 1981.  He made only 9 appearances in the outfield while becoming accustomed to being a full time designated hitter.

Baines bounced back in 1989.  He was named the starting DH in the All Star game, going 1-3 with an RBI in the AL’s victory at Angel Stadium.  On July 29, he was traded to the Rangers, along with Fred Manrique, for Wilson Alvarez, Scott Fletcher, and Sammy Sosa.  “It’s an unpopular decision as far as the fans are concerned, but sometimes unpopular means exactly that-unpopular,” GM Larry Himes said at the time.  “It doesn`t mean that it isn`t a good decision.  This is a decision we made as far as direction of the Chicago White Sox for today and for our future.”  Baines was hitting .321 with 13 home runs and 56 RBIs at the time of the trade.  Less than a month later, as the Rangers visited Chicago for the first time on August 20, the White Sox retired Baines’ #3, a somewhat awkward attempt to placate the enraged fanbase.

Baines returned to the White Sox as a free agent in 1996.  Appearing in 143 games, Baines hit .311 with 22 home runs and 95 RBIs.  He returned in 1997 and was putting together another fine season, putting up a .305 average with 12 home runs and 52 RBIs in 93 games when, on July 29 again, he was traded to the Orioles for a player to be named later.

Three years later, once again on July 29, the White Sox re-acquired Baines, along with Charles Johnson, from the Orioles for Miguel Felix, Juan Figueroa, Jason Lakman, and Brook Fordyce.  Appearing in 24 games down the stretch, Baines hit .213 with a single home run and 9 RBIs as the White Sox took the Central Division crown.  Baines went 1-4 in the ALDS as the White Sox were swept by the Mariners.

Baines returned to the White Sox in 2001 at the age of 42, getting extra playing time once Frank Thomas went down with an injury.  In 32 games, he hit .131, failing to homer and driving in only 6.

Baines returned to the White Sox dugout in 2004, when new manager Ozzie Guillen named him bench coach.  He would remain on staff until 2015, when he became an ambassador for the team.  On July 20, 2008, the White Sox unveiled a bronze statue of Baines at U.S. Cellular Field prior to their game against the Royals.  On December 9, 2018, Baines was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2019 via the Today’s Game Era ballot.

Baines’ numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:

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#44 – Sandy Alomar

Name: Sandy Alomar Jr.

Rank: 44

Position: C

Years With White Sox: 2001-2002, 2003-2004, 2006

Sandy Alomar Jr., son of former White Sox second baseman Sandy Alomar, signed with the team as a free agent on December 18, 2000.  Alomar, brought in to replace the departed Charles Johnson, split time behind the plate with Mark Johnson as the White Sox looked to defend their Central Division title from the year before.  Alomar appeared in 70 games, hitting .245 with a team low .634 OPS.

Johnson saw more playing time in 2002, as Alomar moved into more of a backup/mentor role.  Appearing in 51 games, Alomar improved his average to .287 and his OPS jumped to .794.  As the trade deadline approached and the White Sox destined to finish in the middle of the pack, Alomar was traded to the Rockies for a middling prospect who never developed.  Following the season, however, he re-signed with the White Sox as a free agent.

With Johnson traded in the offseason, rookie Miguel Olivo became the starting catcher in 2003, with Alomar back in the backup/mentor role.  Appearing in 75 games and garnering 194 at bats, Alomar hit .268 with an OPS of .689.

Alomar returned in 2004 and was one of 4 catchers to appear in at least 45 games for the White Sox.  He got 146 at bats and hit .240 with an OPS of .606.  Following the season, he left as a free agent.

Near the trade deadline in 2006, as the White Sox looked to bolster their roster to defend their World Series championship, Alomar was re-acquired for a third time, via trade from the Dodgers for a middling prospect.  Alomar appeared in 19 games for the White Sox, hitting .217 in 46 at bats, as the team fell short of the playoffs despite posting 90 wins.  Following the season, Alomar became a free agent, leaving the team for good.

Alomar’s numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:

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#107 – Charles Johnson

cjohnson

Name: Charles Johnson

Rank: 107

Position: C

Year With White Sox: 2000

With the White Sox holding a 9 1/2 game lead in the AL Central just days before the trade deadline in 2000, GM Ron Schueler struck a deal to improve the team for the stretch run and the post-season, picking up Charles Johnson and Harold Baines from the Orioles in exchange for Brook Fordyce and three prospects.  In his first game with the White Sox, Johnson hit a game-winning home run off John Wetteland and guided James Baldwin to his best start in his last 11 outings.

In 44 games over the season’s final two months, Johnson hit .326 with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs.  He also provided a stabilizing effect behind the plate for a pitching staff that fell apart due to injuries as the post-season approached.  As the White Sox battled the Mariners in the ALDS, Johnson was one of the few hitters who showed up, going 3-9 in the 3 game sweep.  After the season, he became a free agent, ending his brief, but successful, White Sox career.

Johnson’s numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:

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#126 – Brook Fordyce

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Name: Brook Fordyce

Rank: 126

Position: C

Years With White Sox: 1999-2000

Brook Fordyce came to the White Sox via trade from the Reds towards the end of spring training in 1999.  The defensively challenged catcher became the team’s starter, and put up the best offensive numbers of his career, finishing with a .297 average, 9 home runs and 49 RBIs.

A broken foot during spring training delayed the start of his 2000 season.  When he returned in mid-May, he wound up splitting the catching duties with Mark Johnson.  He had raised his average to .272, though with only 21 RBIs, when, on July 29th, he, along with a triplet of minor league pitchers, was traded to the Orioles for catcher Charles Johnson and familiar White Sox target Harold Baines.

Fordyce’s numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:

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Playoff Batting Leaders

baseballs3Now that the Cubs have gotten past the Pirates in the Wild Card game and will face off against the Cardinals in the NLDS, it’s time to take our first ever look at the offensive leaders from the 17 post-season games I have attended since 2000.  So, without further ado, we start off with:

Home Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 3
B.J. Upton 3
Moises Alou 2
Miguel Cabrera 2
Chipper Jones 2
Eric Karros 2
A.J. Pierzynski 2
Scott Podsednik 2
Manny Ramirez 2

Hits

Name Total
Moises Alou 9
Juan Uribe 8
Derrek Lee 8
A.J. Pierzynski 7
Mark DeRosa 7

Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 6
A.J. Pierzynski 5
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#168 – Mark Johnson

mjohnson

Name: Mark Johnson

Rank: 168

Position: C

Years With White Sox: 1998-2002

Mark Johnson joined the White Sox organization as their first round pick in the 1994 draft.  4 years later, he made his major league debut on September 14, 1998, going 0-1 as a late inning replacement in the White Sox 17-16 victory over the Tigers.  He managed to get into 6 additional games in September, struggling with an .087 average in 23 at bats.

1999 saw Johnson making the team as the backup catcher.  His average “jumped” to .227, but he had a respectable OBP of .344.  Johnson split time behind the plate in 2000, along with Brook Fordyce.  He was behind the plate on April 23, when a brawl broke out between the White Sox and the Tigers, and managed to avoid suspension.  He was relegated back to backup duty in late July, when Charles Johnson was acquired from the Orioles for the stretch run.

When Sandy Alomar signed on as a free agent for the 2001 season, Johnson saw himself shuttling between Triple A and the major leagues.  He still managed to put together his best season as a pro, setting career highs with a .249 average and 5 home runs.  He also managed to finish 4th in the American League with 10 sacrifice hits.

He was given another opportunity to start in 2002, as he set career highs in games played and in at bats.  Unfortunately, his production fell off again, with his average dropping back down to .209 and his OBP dropping below .300 for the first time in his career.  Following the season, he was packaged, along with Keith Foulke and Joe Valentine, in a deal with the A’s that brought Billy Koch and Neal Cotts to the White Sox.

Johnson’s numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:

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