Name: Magglio Ordonez
Years With White Sox: 1997-2004
Signed by the White Sox as an amateur free agent in 1991. Starting in 1992, he worked his way up the ladder, making his major league debut on August 29, 1997, going 2-3 in the interleague victory against the Astros at Comiskey Park. Appearing in 21 games down the stretch, Ordonez hit .319 with 4 home runs and 11 RBIs.
Ordonez made the White Sox roster out of spring training in 1998. He appeared in 145 games, and finished the year with a .282 average, 14 home runs, and 65 RBIs. Those totals were good enough for him to finish in 5th place in AL Rookie of the Year voting, behind winner Ben Grieve and teammate Mike Caruso.
1999 was a breakout year for Ordonez. Earning his first All Star selection, he went 0-1 in the AL’s victory at Fenway Park. He finished the year hitting .301 with 30 home runs, 117 RBIs, and an OPS of .858.
Ordonez’s hot streak continued in to 2000. In his second straight All Star game, he doubled and hit a sacrifice fly in his 2 plate appearances, driving in one run. When the season ended, he had a .315 average with 32 home runs and 126 RBIs. With the White Sox winning their first division title since 1993, Ordonez hit .182 in the ALDS against the Mariners, joining his teammates in not hitting at all during the 3 game sweep. After the season, Ordonez won the Silver Slugger award and finished 12th in MVP voting.
While the White Sox failed to replicate their success in 2001, Ordonez kept up his end of the bargain. He earned his third straight All Star nod, going 2-3 with an RBI and a run scored at Safeco Field. Missing only 2 games, Ordonez ended up hitting .305 with 31 home runs, 113 RBIs, and a .914 OPS.
Ordonez saw his streak of All Star appearances snapped in 2002, mostly due to his .320 average, career high 38 home runs, 135 RBIs, and a .978 OPS. Following the season, he came in 8th place for MVP voting and earned his second Silver Slugger award.
2003 was another excellent year for Ordonez. He was named to his fourth All Star team, going 0-1 in his home stadium of US Cellular Field. He hit .317 with 29 home runs and 99 RBIs, his lowest totals since his rookie year. Even with that, he finished 18th in MVP voting. During the off-season, Ordonez was nearly traded to the Red Sox, contingent on the Red Sox acquiring Alex Rodriguez from the Rangers for outfielder Manny Ramirez. The Red Sox would then send Nomar Garciaparra to the White Sox for Ordonez. When the Rodriguez-for-Ramirez trade fell through, the Ordonez deal was off as well, and he remained with the White Sox.
Ordonez’s 2004 season was on track to match his career norms when, during the May 19 game against the Indians, he collided with second baseman Willie Harris on Omar Vizquel’s popup to right field. Two trips to the disabled list and two surgeries on his left knee later, his season was over after only 52 games. Following the season, he became a free agent and his White Sox career came to an end.
Ordonez’s numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:
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