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.

#14 – Joe Crede

Name: Joe Crede

Rank: 14

Position: 3B

Years With White Sox: 2000-2008

Joe Crede joined the White Sox organization as their 5th round selection in the 1996 draft.  He earned a September call-up from Double A in 2000, and 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 was sent to Charlotte for the 2001 season, again getting a cup of coffee with the big league club in September.  With the White Sox not heading to the post-season, Crede got a little more playing time, but was less successful than the year before.  He finished with a .220 average in 50 at bats over 17 games.

2002 saw Crede return to Triple A, before being recalled to the White Sox for good in July.  On August 12, he hit his first major league home run off of former teammate James Baldwin.  “He was someone who always got on me for being a rookie in the clubhouse and on the bus last year,” Crede said.  “Singing on the bus and stuff.  Nothing very harmful, but it was a good way to get him back.”  In 53 games, Crede 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 started to come in to his own 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.  Following the season, he was awarded his first, and only, Silver Slugger award.

Crede looked to continue his new found dominance at the hot corner in 2007, but a back injury 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.  A good first half saw him earn 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.   Crede became a free agent at the end of the year and his White Sox career came to an end.

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

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#39 – James Baldwin

Name: James Baldwin

Rank: 39

Position: P

Years With White Sox: 1995-2001

James Baldwin was selected by the White Sox in the 4th round of the 1990 draft.  He made his major league debut on April 30, 1995, getting the start and lasting only 3 2/3 innings in the White Sox 17-11 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.  Sadly, the rest of his year went about as well.  He appeared in only 6 games for the White Sox, starting 4, and finished with an 0-1 record and a 12.89 ERA.  His time in Triple A didn’t go much better, as he posted a 5.85 ERA in 18 starts.

1996 was a drastic improvement for Baldwin, as he took his place in the White Sox rotation.  He started 28 games, going 11-6 with a 4.42 ERA.  He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting, behind Derek Jeter.

Baldwin struggled in 1997, starting 32 games and leading the American League in losses and wild pitches.  Despite the struggles, he set career highs with 200 innings pitched and 140 strike outs.  He ended the year with a 12-15 record and a 5.27 ERA.

1998 was arguably worse for Baldwin.  Despite finishing the year with a winning record, at 13-6, his ERA went up to 5.32 and he threw 41 fewer innings.  Because of the ongoing struggles, he lost his spot in the rotation and made 13 appearances out of the bullpen.

Baldwin was slightly better in 1999.  He lowered his ERA slightly to 5.10 and increased his innings pitched by 40 1/3.  He finished the year with a 12-13 record.

Baldwin seemed to turn a corner in 2000.  He earned his first All Star nod thanks to a 10-1 record with a 3.11 ERA while leading the White Sox to the top of the AL Central.  He struggled in the second half, finishing the year with a career high 14 wins, against only 7 losses, while he lowered his ERA to 4.65.  He started game 3 of the ALDS against the Mariners, giving up only 1 run in 6 innings before giving way to the bullpen as the White Sox were swept out of the playoffs.

In 2001, Baldwin continued at the same pace.  He was sitting at 7-5 with a 4.61 ERA as the trade deadline approached, when, on July 26, he was shipped off to the Dodgers for Jeff Barry, Gary Majewski, and Onan Masaoka.

Baldwin’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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#248 – Dan Wright

dwrightName: Dan Wright

Rank: 248

Position: P

Years With White Sox: 2001-2004

Dan Wright was drafted by the White Sox in the second round of the 1999 draft.  He made his major league debut on July 27, 2001 and moved in to the starting rotation a week later after injuries to David Wells and James Baldwin.  Wright went 5-3, but his ERA was a non-impressive 5.70.

Wright spent the 2002 season entrenched in the starting rotation, again putting up a winning record at 14-12, but again with an ERA over 5.  In 2003, he battled elbow issues in spring training and found himself on the disabled list as the season began, which, sadly, might have been the highpoint of his year.  Wright returned on May 10 and lasted just 4 1/3 innings in a loss against the Mariners.  That began a stretch, which covered parts of both the 2003 and 2004 seasons, where Wright, as a starter, managed to go 0-11 with a 7.11 ERA.

He was sent down to Triple A on May 4, 2004, and that was the end of his White Sox, and major league, career.  On June 1, he underwent Tommy John surgery after posting a 28.69 ERA in 2 stats for the Charlotte Knights.  Six months later, he was released by the White Sox.

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

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