Throwback Thursday – Pitching Leaders Of The 1990s

Our Throwback Thursday feature continues, as we once again point the wayback machine back to the 1990s, finally putting our focus on the defensive leaders of that decade.  As a reminder, I’ve identified 32 games that I attended during this time period, when I would have been ages 15 through 24.

Wins

Name Total
Wilson Alvarez 2
Alex Fernandez 2
28 tied with 1

Losses

Name Total
Tony Castillo 2
Jaime Navarro 2
James Baldwin 2
26 tied with 1

ERA (> 6 IP)

Name Total
Terry Adams 0.00
Wilson Alvarez 0.39
Keith Foulke 1.04
Donn Pall 1.08
Angel Miranda 1.13

Strikeouts

Name Total
Jaime Navarro 17
Jon Lieber 14
Jim Parque 14
Continue reading →

Against The Cubs All Time Leaders – Through 2021

chc_logoIn 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 Chicago Cubs.

I’ve seen the Cubs play 430 times at 9 different stadiums in 7 different cities, including 21 post-season appearances from the 2003 run through the 2018 Wild Card loss to the Rockies.

Home Runs

Name Total
Carlos Lee 15
Paul Konerko 15
Adam Dunn 11

Hits

Name Total
Carlos Lee 59
Paul Konerko 50
Jose Abreu 32

Runs

Name Total
Carlos Lee 59
Paul Konerko 50
Jose Abreu 32

RBI

Name Total
Carlos Lee 39
Paul Konerko 33
Adam Dunn 25

Doubles

Name Total
Carlos Lee 12
Paul Konerko 9
Prince Fielder 9

Triples Continue reading →

Against The A’s All Time Leaders – Through 2021

oakland-athleticsIn 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 Oakland Athletics.

The A’s began life in Philadelphia in 1901, as one of the 8 charter franchises of the American League, before moving to Kansas City in 1955 and, finally, to Oakland in 1968.  I’ve seen them play at least 30 times, including twice in their home stadium.

Home Runs

Name Total
Jose Abreu 3
Mike Cameron 2
25 tied with  1

Hits

Name Total
Tim Anderson 12
Jose Abreu 10
Juan Pierre 8

Runs

Name Total
Jose Abreu 6
Tim Anderson 5
A.J. Pierzynski 5

RBI

Name Total
Jose Abreu 6
Tim Anderson 6
A.J. Pierzynski 4
Tony Clark 4
Melky Cabrera 4
Mike Cameron 4
Brent Lillibridge 4
Adam Dunn 4

Doubles

Name Total
Jose Abreu 3
Dayan Viciedo 3
Tim Anderson 2
Tony Clark 2
Paul Konerko 2
Todd Frazier 2
Carlos Quentin 2

Triples Continue reading →

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.

By The Numbers – 40

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 #40.  55 different players have donned #40 while playing in Chicago, 25 for the White Sox and 30 for the Cubs.

Acquired in mid-June, along with George Frazier and Ron Hassey, from the Indians in exchange for Mel Hall, Joe Carter, Don Schulze, and Darryl Banks, Rick Sutcliffe, wearing #40, quickly became the ace of the Cubs staff, going 16-1 with a 2.69 ERA in leading the Cubs to their first division title and his first Cy Young Award.  He then homered in and won Game 1 of the NLCS, the first post-season game at Wrigley Field since the 1945 World Series, before dropping the deciding Game 5 in San Diego.  A free agent after the season, Sutcliffe signed a long term deal with the Cubs.

A hamstring injury limited him to 20 starts in 1985, while arm injuries in 1986 led him to a 5-14 record with a 4.64 ERA in 28 appearances.  He bounced back in 1987, leading the league with 18 wins in 34 starts for the last place Cubs, finishing second in the Cy Young Award voting.  He went 13-14 in 1988, but did somehow manage a steal of home plate on July 29th in a victory against the Phillies.  A resurgence in 1989 helped lead the Cubs to their second divisional title, and he made one start against the Giants in the NLCS.  Recurring arm injuries caused Sutcliffe to miss most of the 1990 and 1991 seasons, with only 24 appearances between the two years, and the Cubs let him leave as a free agent following the 1991 season.

On the other side of town, Wilson Alvarez was acquired by the White Sox, along with Scott Fletcher and Sammy Sosa, for Harold Baines and Fred Manrique on July 29, 1989, making his White Sox debut on August 11, 1991 by throwing an unlikely no hitter against the Orioles at Memorial Stadium.  He made 8 additional starts for the White Sox down the stretch, finishing the year with a 3-2 record and a respectable 3.51 ERA.  1992 saw Alvarez work mostly out of the bullpen, getting only 9 starts out of his 34 appearances.  He posted a career high 1.674 WHIP, giving up 65 walks in just over 100 innings.  This led to an unfortunate 5.20 ERA, despite a 5-3 record.  In 1993, Alvarez managed to break in to the rotation full time.  Despite leading the league with 122 walks, he finished second in the AL with an ERA of 2.95 and ended up with a 15-8 record as the White Sox won the AL West title for the first time in a decade.  He was the winning pitcher in Game 3 of the ALCS, holding the Blue Jays to a single run while throwing a complete game.

Alvarez improved in 1994, earning his first (and only) All Star nod and cutting his walk total nearly in half, helped by the player strike that ended the season in August, and he finished the year with a 12-8 record and a 3.45 ERA.  When baseball returned in 1995, Alvarez struggled to regain his groove, finishing with a losing record for the first time and an ERA of 4.32.  1996 saw a nice bounce back for Alvarez.  While his ERA was still an elevated 4.22, he tied his career high with 15 wins and set career highs for innings pitched and strikeouts.  He continued to impress in 1997, putting up a 9-8 record with a 3.03 ERA by the end of July, when, with the White Sox a mere 3 games back in the standings, he, along with Danny Darwin and Roberto Hernandez, was sent to the Giants for Brian Manning, Lorenzo Barceló, Mike Caruso, Keith Foulke, Bob Howry, and Ken Vining in what would become known as the White Flag Trade.

By The Numbers – 46

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 #46. 40 players have donned #52 while playing in Chicago, 34 each for the White Sox and 22 for the Cubs.

Lee Arthur Smith was the 2nd round selection of the Cubs in the 1975 draft.  He made his major league debut on September 1, 1980, becoming a fixture in the Cubs bullpen wearing #46.  He took over the closer role in 1982 and became a force, leading the league in saves in 1983 while earning his first All Star nod and post-season support for both the Cy Young award and MVP.  Following the 1987 season, he was traded to the Red Sox for Al Nipper and Calvin Schiraldi, ending his Cubs career with a 40-51 record and a 2.92 ERA with 180 saves and 342 games finished.  In 2019, he was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee.

On the South side of town, Neal Cotts donned #46 after being acquired by the White Sox, along with Billy Koch and Daylan Holt, from the A’s in exchange for Keith Foulke, Mark Johnson, and Joe Valentine in December of 2002.  He made his major league debut on August 12, 2003, lasting only 2 1/3 innings in a start against the Angels, and made 3 additional starts, finishing the year with an 8.10 ERA in only 13 1/3 innings pitched.  Cotts moved to the bullpen in 2004 and, in 2005, things finally clicked.  He appeared in 69 regular season games and posted a sparkling 1.94 ERA, before facing one batter in the ALDS and becoming the only White Sox reliever to appear in the ALCS, getting the final 2 outs in the Game 1 loss to the Angels.  As the White Sox moved on to their first World Series since 1959, Cotts appeared in all 4 games, winning Game 2 and giving up only 1 hit in an inning and a third.  Cotts reverted back to his previous form in 2006 and, following the season, he was traded across town to the Cubs for fellow relief pitcher David Aardsma.

 

Crosstown Pitching Leaders Revisited

cws-chiLast month, the 2019 Crosstown Cup series kicked off at Wrigley Field with the teams splitting the two games.  With round two scheduled to get under way tonight at across town at Guaranteed Rate Field, we look at the pitching leaders from the 71 contests I’ve attended in the annual match-up between the White Sox and the Cubs, starting with:

Wins

Name Total
Carlos Zambrano 4
Mark Buehrle 3
Jon Lieber 3
13 tied with 2

Losses

Name Total
Carlos Zambrano 3
Mark Buehrle 3
Jon Garland 3
Jose Contreras 3
10 tied with 2

ERA (> 9 IP)

Name Total
Matt Thornton 0.00
Glendon Rusch 0.00
Chris Sale 0.56
Kip Wells 1.13
Freddy Garcia 1.20

Strikeouts

Name Total
Carlos Zambrano 46
Continue reading →

#25 – Wilson Alvarez

Name: Wilson Alvarez

Rank: 25

Position: P

Years With White Sox: 1991-1997

Five days after making his major league debut for the Rangers, Wilson Alvarez was acquired by the White Sox, along with Scott Fletcher and Sammy Sosa, for Harold Baines and Fred Manrique on July 29, 1989.  After spending the next 2 calendar years in the minor leagues, Alvarez returned to the big leagues and made his White Sox debut on August 11, 1991, throwing an unlikely no hitter against the Orioles at Memorial Stadium.  With nowhere to go but down from there, he made 8 additional starts for the White Sox down the stretch, finishing the year with a 3-2 record and a respectable 3.51 ERA.

After tossing nearly 300 innings the previous year between winter league, Triple A, and the big leagues, 1992 saw Alvarez work mostly out of the bullpen, getting only 9 starts out of his 34 appearances.  He posted a career high 1.674 WHIP, giving up 65 walks in just over 100 innings.  This led to an unfortunate 5.20 ERA, despite a 5-3 record.

In 1993, Alvarez managed to break in to the rotation full time.  Despite leading the league with 122 walks, he finished second in the AL with an ERA of 2.95 and ended up with a 15-8 record as the White Sox won the AL West title for the first time in a decade.  He was the winning pitcher in Game 3 of the ALCS, holding the Blue Jays to a single run while throwing a complete game.

Alvarez improved in 1994, earning his first (and only) All Star nod and cutting his walk total nearly in half.  Part of that, of course, was due to the player strike that ended the season in August, and he finished the year with a 12-8 record and a 3.45 ERA.  When baseball returned in 1995, Alvarez struggled to regain his groove, finishing with a losing record for the first time and an ERA of 4.32.

1996 saw a nice bounce back for Alvarez.  While his ERA was still an elevated 4.22, he tied his career high with 15 wins and set career highs for innings pitched and strikeouts.  He continued to impress in 1997, putting up a 9-8 record with a 3.03 ERA by the end of July, when, with the White Sox a mere 3 games back in the standings, he, along with Danny Darwin and Roberto Hernandez, was sent to the Giants for Brian Manning, Lorenzo Barceló, Mike Caruso, Keith Foulke, Bob Howry, and Ken Vining in what would become known as the White Flag Trade.

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

Continue reading →

#54 – Keith Foulke

Name: Keith Foulke

Rank: 54

Position: P

Years With White Sox: 1997-2002

Keith Foulke was acquired by the White Sox, along with Brian Manning, Lorenzo Barcelo, Mike Caruso, Bob Howry, and Ken Vining, on July 31, 1997 as part of the White Flag trade that sent Wilson Alvarez, Danny Darwin, and Roberto Hernandez to the Giants.  He appeared in one game for Triple A Nashville before joining the White Sox bullpen for the remainder of the season, putting up a 3.45 ERA in 16 games and earning his first 3 career saves.

1998 saw Foulke serve as the set-up man for closers Matt Karchner and Bill Simas.  He appeared in 54 games, putting up a 3-2 record and a 4.13 ERA.

Foulke returned to the set-up role in 1999 and had an excellent season.  Working over 105 innings spread across 67 games, Foulke was 3-3 with 9 saves, a 2.22 ERA, and a WHIP of 0.883.  His work earned him a tie for 10th place in the Cy Young Award voting.

With Bob Howry struggling as closer in 2000, Foulke stepped in and, saving 34 games, helped the young White Sox win their first division title since 1993.  Appearing in 72 games, he went 3-1 with a 2.97 ERA during the regular season.  Unfortunately, the ALDS did not go as well.  Foulke pitched in 2 of the 3 games against the Mariners, giving up 3 earned runs in 2 and 1/3 innings pitched.

Foulke remained as closer in 2001 and continued to excel.  He lead the AL by finishing 67 games and set a career high with 42 saves while lowering his ERA to 2.33.  Manager Jerry Manuel lost faith in Foulke during 2002 and he finished the year with only 11 saves, one of 3 White Sox pitchers in double digits.  He went 2-4 with an outlandish 2.90 ERA.

On December 3, Foulke, along with Mark Johnson, Joe Valentine, and cash, was traded to the A’s for Billy Koch, Neal Cotts, and Daylan Holt.

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

Continue reading →

#69 – Roberto Hernandez

roberto-hernandezName: Roberto Hernandez

Rank: 69

Position: P

Years With White Sox: 1991-1997

Roberto Hernandez was acquired by the White Sox, along with Mark Doran, via trade with the Angels in exchange for Mark Davis on August 4, 1989.  After falling victim to numbness in his hands caused by blood clots and emergency surgery to transplant veins from his thigh into his forearm, he 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 Vancouver 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.  With Jerry Reinsdorf announcing that “Anyone who thinks we can catch Cleveland is crazy,” Hernandez, along with Wilson Alzarez and Danny Darwin, to the Giants for Brian Manning, Lorenzo Barcelo, Mike Caruso, Keith Foulke, Bob Howry, and Ken Vining.

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

Continue reading →