By The Numbers – 23

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 #23, one of the most famous and successful numbers in city history across all sports.  67 different players have donned #23 while playing in Chicago, 35 for the White Sox and 31 for the Cubs, including a familiar face for both sides of town.

Robin Ventura made his major league debut donning #23 in September of 1989, appearing in 16 games down the stretch, hitting only .178 while driving in 7 runs in 45 at bats.  A good spring in 1990 led to Ventura breaking camp with the White Sox, but he struggled both on the field and at the plate, suffering through a horrendous 0-for-41 slump while committing 25 errors over the course of the season.  He finished the year with a .249 average, 5 home runs, and 54 RBIs and placed 7th in Rookie of the Year voting and was named to the Topps All Star Rookie team.

Ventura and the White Sox moved in to the new Comiskey Park in 1991, hoping to improve on the previous year’s growth.  He improved his fielding enough to earn his first Gold Glove award and, at the plate, he set a White Sox team record for RBIs by a third baseman, finishing with an even 100.  He upped his average to .284 and hit 23 home runs.  His work was enough to garner enough MVP votes to finish in 20th place.  1992 was another good year for Ventura.  He earned his first All Star nod, going 2-2 in the AL’s victory at Jack Murphy Stadium.  He finished the year with a .282 average, 16 home runs, and 93 RBIs.  He also snagged his second consecutive Gold Glove award.  Ventura continued his successful ways in 1993, collecting his 500th hit in May and, on August 4, entering the public consciousness with an event that would come to define his entire career.  While batting against the Rangers, Ventura was hit by a pitch thrown by Nolan Ryan and charged the mound.  Ryan, 20 years Ventura’s senior, placed him in a headlock and punched him several times, starting a bench-clearing brawl that was voted the best baseball brawl of all time by SportsCenter.  After the season, he was awarded his third consecutive Gold Glove award.

The strike in 1994 saw Ventura’s streak of 90 RBI seasons and Gold Gloves come to an end.  When baseball stopped in August, Ventura was hitting .282 with 18 home runs and 78 RBIs, while posting a new career high with an .832 OPS.  When play resumed in late April 1995, Ventura struggled out of the gate, committing ten errors in the first ten games.  As the White Sox started to tear down the team that had finished the previous two seasons on top of their division, trade rumors started to follow Ventura, though nothing came to fruition.  On September 4, he became the eighth player in history to hit two grand slams in one game, and the first since Frank Robinson in 1970.  He finished the year setting career highs with a .295 average, an .882 OPS, and 26 home runs while driving in 93 runs.  Ventura had the best year of his career to date in 1996, setting White Sox team records in career home runs by a third baseman, with 142, and grand slams, with 9.  He set new career highs with 34 home runs, 105 RBIs, 2 triples, an OPS of .888, and a .974 fielding percentage at the hot corner.  He hit .287, while earning his fourth Gold Glove award.

1997 turned into a dismal year for both Ventura and the White Sox.  During a spring training game, Ventura caught his foot in the mud while sliding into home plate and suffered a broken and dislocated right ankle.  Expected to miss the entire season, he returned on July 24, collecting the game-winning hit that night, and homered in his first at-bat the next night.  With the White Sox only 3.5 games behind the Indians in the standings, a healthy Ventura might have put them over the top.  A week later, the team threw in the towel in what eventually became to be known as the White Flag Trade, sending 3 pitchers to the Giants for prospects.  “We didn’t realize Aug. 1 was the end of the season,” said an upset Ventura.  He finished the year appearing in 54 games, hitting .262 with 6 home runs and 26 RBIs.  Entering the last year of his contract in 1998, the White Sox made little attempt to sign Ventura to an extension, with owner Jerry Reinsdorf claiming his skills were “deteriorating” after his injury the year before.  With more trade rumors following him throughout the season, he finished the year with a .263 average, 21 home runs, and 91 RBIs while earning his fifth Gold Glove award.  Following the season, he became a free agent, ending his White Sox playing career.

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Against The Padres All Time Leaders – Through 2021

In 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 San Diego Padres.

The Padres began life in 1969, joining the National League along with the Montreal Expos.  I’ve seen them play 21 times (would have been 24 if my trip to San Diego in May of 2020 hadn’t been wiped out by the corona virus) at 5 different ballparks, first in 1985 at Wrigley Field and, most recently, this past June.

Home Runs

Name Total
Corey Patterson 3
Sammy Sosa 3
Patrick Wisdom 3

Hits

Name Total
Alfonso Soriano 10
Moises Alou 9
Corey Patterson 8
Derrek Lee 8
Jose Macias 8
Aramis Ramirez 8

Runs

Name Total
Derrek Lee 6
Moises Alou 5
Corey Patterson 5
Michael Barrett 5
Sammy Sosa 5

RBI

Name Total
Corey Patterson 6
Michael Barrett 6
Aramis Ramirez 6
Alfonso Soriano 6

Doubles

Name Total
Michael Barrett 3
Kosuke Fukudome 3
Aramis Ramirez 2
Alfonso Soriano 2
Jacque Jones 2
Reed Johnson 2
Sergio Alcantara 2

Triples Continue reading →

RIP LaMarr Hoyt

Former White Sox pitcher LaMarr Hoyt passed away yesterday at age 66 following a bout with cancer.  He led the 1983 White Sox to their first division title, going 24-10 and walking a mere 31 batters in 260+ innings pitched while winning the Cy Young Award.  He was traded to the Padres following the 1984 season, bringing back a package that included a young shortstop named Ozzie Guillen.  Less than three years later, and following four drug arrests, he was out of baseball for good.

2021 Final Standings

The 2021 season, at least the portion which would see me attending games, has come to an end after the White Sox lost to the Astros in the ALDS 3-1.  After a year without in-person baseball thanks to the corona virus, I ended up attending the most games I’ve seen since 2009 and my 5th highest total of all time.  I also managed to travel to four different stadiums, bringing my total up to 27.  All told, I managed to see 25 of the 30 teams a year after seeing none.

2021 Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
Tampa Bay Rays 3 0 1.000
New York Yankees 2 0 1.000
Arizona Diamondbacks 1 0 1.000
Washington Nationals 1 0 1.000
Philadelphia Phillies 1 0 1.000
Los Angeles Angels 1 0 1.000
San Francisco Giants 1 0 1.000
Boston Red Sox 1 0 1.000
Seattle Mariners 2 1 0.667
Chicago White Sox 29 20 0.592
Cleveland Indians 3 3 0.500
Kansas City Royals Continue reading →

Two Sides Of The Same Town

cws-chiFollowing last week’s trade deadline deals, Ryan Tepera and Craig Kimbrel became the 36th and 37th people I’ve seen play in person for both the Cubs and the White Sox.  With the first round of crosstown kicking off this afternoon at Wrigley, here’s a look at those players, in alphabetical order.

David Aardsma

After posting a decent season with the Cubs in 2006, Aardsma was traded to the White Sox for Neal Cotts.  Aardsma lasted one season with the Sox, where he was unable to duplicate his success from the year before.

Jason Bere

Drafted by the White Sox in the 36th round in 1990, Bere debuted with the big league club in 1993, finishing 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting.  After an All Star selection in 1994, injuries marred the remainder of his tenure on the South Side, which ended in 1998.  He resurfaced with the Cubs in 2001 and had a decent season, but he went 1-10 in 2002 before being let go.

Emilio Bonifacio

Bonifacio spent back-to-back partial seasons in Chicago, first for the Cubs in 2014 after signing as a free agent, where he played decently enough to be flipped at the trade deadline, along with James Russell, to the Braves for a young catching prospect by the name of Victor Caratini.  He returned to Chicago in 2015, signing with the White Sox, where he he did not do well at all, hitting .167 in 47 games before being released in August.

Welington Castillo

Debuting with the Cubs in 2010, Castillo spent time behind the plate for the Cubs until May of 2015, when, having been replaced in the starting lineup by Miguel Montero, he was flipped to the Mariners.  He returned to Chicago in 2018 after signing with the White Sox as a free agent.  On May 24th of that season, he was suspended 80 games for a violation of the PED policy.  The White Sox then cut bait following the 2019 season, shipping him off to the Rangers.

Neal Cotts

Acquired by the White Sox in the Billy Koch trade, he debuted with the team in 2003.  He was a key contributor in the bullpen during the 2005 championship season, and was the only relief pitcher to appear in all 3 rounds of the playoffs that season.  Following the 2006 season, he was traded to the Cubs for David Aardsma, and he spent the next 3 injury filled seasons on the North Side.

Scott Eyre

Joining the White Sox organization in a 1994 trade with the Rangers, he debuted with the big league team in 1997.  He split the next 4 seasons between the rotation and the bullpen, not to mention between Chicago and Charlotte, before being moved to the Blue Jays following the 2000 ALDS loss to the Mariners.  He joined the Cubs as a free agent for the 2006 season and enjoyed 2 seasons of relative success, before falling apart in 2008, when he was traded to the Phillies.

Kosuke Fukudome Continue reading →

Keeping Our Eyes On Next Year’s Prize

With a little more than 8 weeks remaining in the 2020 season, Major League Baseball released their tentative 2021 schedule yesterday.  For the first time in quite a while, the White Sox will be looking to compete for a title while the Cubs will be “retooling” after trading off all of their stars last week.  Assuming, of course, that the 2022 season goes off as planned and the end of the collective bargaining agreement doesn’t lead to a long work stoppage.  So, for one day, at least, let’s turn our attention to next summer for both teams.

The White Sox open their season at home against the Twins on March 31 for a three game tilt before heading on the road.  Nothing like a potential snowstorm to get the season off to a good start.  They face the Guardians for the first time on April 18 in Cleveland.

The interleague schedule pits the White Sox against the NL West, with trips to San Francisco, Colorado, and San Diego and home series against the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Rockies. The rivalry with their north side foes continues with a 2-game series at Wrigley at the beginning of May and a follow-up at Guaranteed Rate Field Memorial Day weekend.

The season ends with a 6 game road trip to Minnesota and San Diego.

On the north side, the Cubs open their season up on the road in Cincinnati, also on March 31.  They come home the following Monday to open their home slate against the Cardinals.

The interleague schedule pits the Cubs against the AL East, with trips to Baltimore, New York, and Toronto and home series against the Rays, Red Sox, and Orioles.

Of their 28 games in September/October, only 7 are against their NL Central rivals, though, with the Cubs not likely to contend, that shouldn’t make much of a difference.  They end the year with a 6 game homestand, facing the Phillies and the Reds.

End Of The Road

The rebirth of the Cubs, which began with the hiring of Theo Epstein in October of 2011 and culminated with their first World Series title in 108 years, officially came to an end this afternoon, as new GM Jed Hoyer shipped team leader Anthony Rizzo to the Yankees for rookie ball outfielder Kevin Alcantara and High-A righty Alexander Vizcaino.  The Cubs agreed to pay Rizzo’s remaining salary.

Vizcaino, 24, is already on the 40-man roster and ranked as the Yankees 11th best prospect at FanGraphs and 12th at Baseball America.  He is working his way back from a shoulder issue and has posted a combined 9.00 ERA in 6 games across two levels.  Alcantara, 18, is hitting .360 in 8 rookie league games and ranked 7th at FanGraphs and 14th at Baseball America.

Rizzo, who had been drafted by the Red Sox when Epstein and Hoyer were in their front office and was acquired by Hoyer when he became GM of the Padres, was the first big acquisition when the two reunited in Chicago.  He began the 2012 season in Triple A.  Recalled at the end of June, he quickly became a mainstay of the lineup and a crowd favorite, as the Cubs were rebuilding around him.  In 2013, he signed a long term contract extension, which expires at the end of this season.  He cemented his position in Cubs lore by catching the final out of the 2016 World Series, ending the longest championship drought in American professional sports.  However, as the Cubs have struggled to repeat the team success of that season, Rizzo has also struggled in later years, contributing to an offense that has severely regressed since 2016 and was one of the Cubs who refused to get the COVID vaccine, keeping the team below the 85% threshold for this 2021 season.

Rizzo’s numbers in a Cubs uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:

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2021 All Star Break Standings

For the first time in two years, the American League takes on the National League in the Midsummer Classic.  As the baseball world turns its sights to AtlantaColorado for tonight’s All Star Game, it’s time to take a look at the team records for the 32 games I attended in the first half of the baseball season, a pretty healthy amount after the pandemic-related strangeness that was 2020.

2021 Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
Tampa Bay Rays 1 0 1.000
Philadelphia Phillies 1 0 1.000
Washington Nationals 1 0 1.000
Chicago Cubs 4 2 0.667
Seattle Mariners 2 1 0.667
Chicago White Sox 16 10 0.615
Kansas City Royals 3 3 0.500
Cleveland Indians 2 2 0.500
St. Louis Cardinals 1 1 0.500
Detroit Tigers 1 1 0.500
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By The Numbers – 54

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 #54.  30 players have donned #554 while playing in Chicago, 18 for the White Sox and 16 for the Cubs.

I guess if a Hall of Famer wears the same number on both sides of town, he should be the pick, no?  Rich “Goose” Gossage was selected by the White Sox in the 9th round of the 1970 draft.  He made his debut in April of 1972 against the Royals and spent most of the next four seasons in the bullpen for the White Sox, culminating with an All Star appearance and 26 saves in 1975.  So, of course, in 1976, he was moved in to the starting rotation, going 9-17 with a 3.94 ERA in 29 starts, though he did earn his second straight All Star appearance.  Following the season, as Bill Veeck tried to find a way to use free agency to his advantage, Gossage was traded, along with Terry Forster, to the Pirates for Richie Zisk, who was entering his walk year.

After becoming one of the most dominant stoppers of the late 70s and early 80s, Gossage returned to Chicago in 1988, when he was acquired by the Cubs from the Padres in exchange for Mike Brumley and Keith Moreland.  In 46 appearances, he went 4-4 with a 4.33 ERA, earning only 13 saves.  He was released towards the end of spring training in 1989.


Gossage returned to Chicago as a visitor in 1991 and gave up a walk-off grand slam to Robin Ventura in what might just be my favorite regular season home run.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2008.

By The Numbers – 59

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 #59.  15 players have donned #59 while playing in Chicago, 6 for the White Sox and 3 for the Cubs.

Acquired in 1984 from the Mariners for Salome Barojas, Gleaton put up good numbers in Triple A for the White Sox and was eventually called up to the big leagues, appearing in 11 games.  Gleaton again split the 1985 season between Triple A and the White Sox, with more success in Triple A.  He made it in to 31 games for the White Sox, but put up a 5.76 ERA.  He then spent all of 1986 in Triple A before leaving the White Sox organization as a free agent.

On the north side of town, Rodney Myers donned #59 from 1996 through 1999, putting up a 5-2 record with a 4.90 ERA, before being traded to the Padres for Gary Matthews Jr.