Name: Ray Durham
Years With White Sox: 1995-2002
Selected in the fifth round of the 1990 draft, Ray Durham broke camp with the White Sox in 1995 and made his major league debut on Opening Day, leading off and going 1-4 in the 12-3 loss to the Brewers at County Stadium. Durham stuck in the leadoff spot and finished the year with a .257 average, 7 home runs, and 51 RBI, good enough for a 6th place finish in Rookie of the Year voting.
Durham saw improvement in 1996, raising his average to .275 and his OBP to .350. His home run and RBI totals also jumped, going to 10 and 65 respectively. 1997 was another good year for Durham, as he hit .271 with 11 home runs.
In 1998, Durham earned his first All Star nod and finished the year setting career highs with a .285 average, 19 home runs, 67 RBIs, and 36 stolen bases. Durham improved his average again in 1999, raising it to .296, his career best. It was also his second of seven straight years with an OPS over .800.
Durham nabbed his second All Star selection in 2000. When the season came to an end, Durham had a .280 average with 17 home runs and 75 RBIs and the White Sox were atop the AL Central for the first time. Like the rest of his teammates, Durham struggled during the ALDS, hitting .200 in the three game sweep against the Mariners.
2001 saw Durham’s average drop to .267, his lowest total since his rookie year. He did manage to set a new career high with 20 home runs as the White Sox failed to repeat. Durham was hitting .299 with 9 home runs at the trade deadline in 2002 when, facing free agency, he was shipped to the A’s for Jon Adkins. At the time of the trade, Durham was the club’s all-time leader in leadoff home runs, while placing in the top 10 in franchise history in steals (5th), doubles (7th), extra base hits (7th), and runs (8th).
Durham’s numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:
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