By The Numbers – 57

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 #57.  30 players have donned #57 while playing in Chicago, 17 for the White Sox and 13 for the Cubs.

Acquired by the Cubs, along with Matt Clement, in the deal that sent Dontrelle Willis, among others, to the Marlins in March of 2002, Antonio Alfonseca became the closer for a miserable 2002 Cubs team, which just so happened to be my first as a season ticket holder.  The 12-fingered Alfonseca went 2-5 with a 4.00 ERA and 19 saves in his first go-around with the team.  In 2003, he lost the closer role and was not particularly effective, going 3-1 with a 5.83 ERA.  He was suspended for 5 games in September after bumping an umpire with his generous stomach.  He was perfect in the post-season, appearing in 4 games total giving up no runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Braves and the Marlins.  He became a free agent following that 2003 season.

#57 has been a mainstay of the back end of the White Sox bullpen for many years, shared amongst such luminaries as Jace Fry, Zach Putnam, Tony Pena, and Boone Logan.

#72 – Ron Karkovice

karkoName: Ron Karkovice

Rank: 72

Position: C

Years With White Sox: 1986-1997

Ron Karkovice joined the White Sox organization as their first round selection in the 1982 draft.  He made his major league debut on August 17, 1986, going 1-4 in the White Sox 7-4 victory over the Brewers at Comiskey Park while catching future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton.  He appeared in 36 additional games, hitting .247, as the White Sox rolled to their worst record since 1980.

Karkovice broke camp with the White Sox in 1987, but was completely overmatched on offense.  He appeared in 39 games, getting only 85 at bats and hitting an anemic .071.  He didn’t do much better in Triple A, putting up a .183 average for Hawaii.

He returned to Triple A for 1988, but got some extended playing time in the big leagues when Carlton Fisk went down with a broken hand.  In 46 games, Karkovice hit .174 and drove in 9 runs.

Karkovice stuck in the big leagues for good starting in 1989.  Getting more regular playing time, he improved his average to a career high .264 while splitting time behind the plate with Fisk.  1990 was more of the same for Karkovice, as he appeared in 68 games and hit .246.

As the White Sox moved across the street to the new Comiskey Park in 1991, Karkovice had a near repeat of his 1990 season, finishing with the same average and nearly the same power numbers.  In 1992, Karkovice finally supplanted Fisk and became the primary backstop.  Appearing in 123 games, he hit .237 but saw his home runs increase to 13.

Karkovice appeared in a career high 128 games for the 1993 White Sox, as the team captured their first division title in a decade.  He went hitless during the ALCS as the White Sox fell to the Blue Jays in 6 games.  1994 saw his offensive numbers continue to fall, as his average dropped to .213, partially due to a sore knee, before the season came to an untimely end due to the strike.

When baseball returned in 1995, Karkovice was back behind the plate for the White Sox.  He appeared in 113 games and saw his average bounce back slightly to .217.  1996 was more of the same for Karkovice, as he appeared in 111 games and hit .220 with 10 home runs, before undergoing knee surgery in September.

Things went south for Karkovice and the White Sox in 1997.  By the middle of May, he had been replaced as the starting catcher by Chad Kreuter.  By the middle of July, he had fallen to third on the depth chart, behind the newly acquired Jorge Fabergas and veteran Tony Pena.  He had requested to be released at the end of May, but was refused by general manager Ron Schueler.  He finished the year with only 51 appearances and an average that had dropped to .181.  He became a free agent at the end of the year, but never played in the major leagues again.

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

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#156 – Tony Pena

Tony_Pena_Sr._(1997_White_Sox)_3Name: Tony Pena

Rank: 156

Position: C

Year With White Sox: 1997

Former All-Star catcher Tony Pena signed with the White Sox as a free agent on January 10, 1997.  Pena served as a backup for starter Jorge Fabergas, appearing in 31 games but batting an anemic .164.  In August, after announcing that this would be his final season, he was traded to the Astros for a minor league pitcher.  “I really appreciate the way they have been treating me,” Pena said.  “They have been treating me with a lot of respect. . . . I thought the White Sox uniform would be the last uniform I was going to wear.”

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

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#202 – Lucas Harrell

HarrellLucas

Name: Lucas Harrell

Rank: 202

Position: P

Years With White Sox: 2010-2011

Lucas Harrell was drafted by the White Sox in the 4th round of the 2004 draft.  He made his major league debut on July 30, 2010 thanks to travel issues that kept newly acquired pitcher Edwin Jackson from getting to Chicago.  Harrell went six innings against the A’s in picking up his first major league victory.

Harrell found his way back to Chicago at the end of August when Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz both went on the disabled list.  Things did not go as smoothly on his second go around, as the White Sox fell out of contention during September while Harrell battled control issues, walking more batters than he struck out.

Harrell came to spring training in 2011 in line to compete for the 5th starter spot, but struggled and found himself back in Triple A.  When Tony Pena went to the DL in late May, Harrell got another shot in the major leagues, which lasted 1 game.  He returned a little more than a week later when Jake Peavy went down with a groin injury.  He pitched twice before being sent down again when Peavy returned.  By early July, Harrell was placed on waivers and was claimed by the Astros.

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

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#244 – Tony Peña

Tony+PenaName: Tony Peña

Rank: 244

Position: P

Years With White Sox: 2009-2011

Tony Peña, the pitcher, joined the White Sox via a July 7, 2009 trade that sent Brandon Allen to the Diamondbacks.  Peña was expected to bolster the bullpen for the remainder of 2009 and then take over Octavio Dotel’s role, who would be a free agent following the season.  Things started out well for Peña, who put up a 3.75 ERA down the stretch for the White Sox, a half run better than he had done for the Diamondbacks.

Things started to fall apart in 2010.  With Dotel gone, Peña was slated to become the main workhorse out of the pen, but control issues limited him to 52 games, including 3 spot starts.  His ERA jumped to 5.10 as he was relegated to long relief and mop up duty.

Unfortunately, 2011 was not any better for Peña.  His ERA jumped up to 6.10 as he made 17 relief appearances over the season’s first two months.  On May 29, he was placed on the disabled list with right elbow tendinitis, which is where he would spend the rest of the season.

He was released by the White Sox following the season, and he would never pitch in the major leagues again.

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

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2011 Opening Day Roster – White Sox

Starting Pitchers

Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Phil Humber

Buehrle, Danks, and Floyd have been stalwarts for 4 seasons now.  Hopefully Jackson can build upon the success he had after coming over in a trade with Arizona last summer.  Humbler fills in for the injured Jake Peavy.

Relief Pitchers

Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain, Chris Sale, Will Ohman, Sergio Santos and Tony Pena

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2010 Final Pitching Leaders

Yesterday we looked at the leaders in games I attended this year on the offensive side of the ball.  Now let’s look at the pitchers.  Midseason leaders can be found here.

Wins
Name total
Gavin Floyd 5
John Danks 3
Jake Peavy 3
Ryan Dempster 3
Carlos Marmol 2
JJ Putz 2
Mark Buehrle 2
Paul Maholm 2

Losses
name total
John Danks 4
Gavin Floyd 3
Tom Gorzelanny 3
Jake Peavy 2
JJ Putz 2
Sergio Santos 2
Freddy Garcia 2
Randy Wells 2
Andrew Cashner 2

ERA (>10 IP)
name total
Jeremy Bonderman 1.32
Matt Thornton 1.35
Dallas Braden 1.80
Paul Maholm 1.93
Scott Linebrink 2.70

Strikeouts
name total
Jake Peavy 42
Gavin Floyd 41
Ryan Dempster 37
John Danks 36
Randy Wells 23

Appearances
name total
Tony Pena 16
Matt Thornton 15
Bobby Jenks 15
Sergio Santos 12
Scott Linebrink 12

Saves
name Total
Bobby Jenks 7
Carlos Marmol 2
Matt Lindstrom 2
Octavio Dotel 2
Mariano Rivera 2

2010 Halfway Point – Pitching

Yesterday we looked at the halfway point leaders in games I’ve attended this year on the offensive side of the ball.  Now let’s look at the pitchers.

 

Wins
Name total
Jake Peavy 3
Ryan Dempster 3
Carlos Marmol 2
J.J. Putz 2
John Danks 2
Mark Buehrle 2
Paul Maholm 2

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