By The Numbers – 25

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 #25.  87 different players have donned #25 while playing in Chicago, 51 for the White Sox and 36 for the Cubs.

Acquired by the Cubs following the 2003 season for Hee Seop Choi, Derrek Lee, wearing #25, quickly became a mainstay of the Cubs lineup.  He hit .278 with 32 home runs and 98 RBIs in his first year on the north side.  2005 was a career year for Lee, and that was just in the first half.  He led the majors with a .376 average and 72 RBIs while tying for the lead with 27 home runs.  For the full season, he hit 46 home runs and a .335 average, the highest for a Cub since Bill Madlock in 1976 and he notched the first batting title for a Cub since Bill Buckner in 1980.  When it was all said and done, he had won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards and finished third in MVP voting.

A broken wrist limited Lee to 50 games in 2006, but he rebounded in 2007 to hit .317 with 22 home runs as the Cubs won their first NL Central title since 2003.  Lee went 4 for 12 as the Cubs were swept in 3 games by the Diamondbacks.  Another strong season in 2008, with a .291 average, 20 home runs, and 90 RBIs helped push the Cubs back to the post-season.  Lee did all he could, hitting .545 in the NLDS against the Dodgers, but the Cubs were once again swept.  Lee overcame a slow start in 2009 thanks to a 21 game hitting streak and finished with a .306 batting average, 35 home runs and 111 RBIs, which earned him enough votes to finish ninth in MVP voting.

2010 was a strange year for Lee and the Cubs.  On June 9th, he hit his 300th career home run.  Later that month, however, he would get in to a fight in the dugout with Carlos Zambrano, which led to a suspension for Zambrano.  In the last year of his contract and with the team going nowhere fast, Lee was traded to the Braves on August 18th, ending his Cub tenure.

Looking to reload after winning their first World Series championship in 88 years, the White Sox acquired Jim Thome from the Phillies for Aaron Rowand, Gio Gonzalez, and Daniel Haigwood.  Thome, wearing his familiar #25, made an immediate impact, setting a major league record by scoring in each of Chicago’s first 17 games and setting the team record with 10 home runs in April.  By season’s end, Thome had put up a .288 average with 42 home runs, 102 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.014.  One of the few bright spots for the 2007 White Sox came in mid-September, when Thome, on his bobblehead day, launched his 500th career home run, the first player to do so on a walk-off.  For the year, Thome hit .275, with 35 home runs and 96 RBIs.  2008 was a bit of a down year for Thome, as his average and OPS both fell, but he still managed 34 home runs and 90 RBIs.  The most important of each came in the 163rd game of the year, as he hit a solo home run to give the White Sox a 1-0 victory over the Twins and the Central Division title.  With the White Sox going nowhere in 2009, Thome was traded to the Dodgers on August 31 for a warm body.

 

2022 Hall Of Fame Ballot – The Holdovers

Earlier this week, the BBWAA released their ballot for the Hall of Fame class of 2022.  The results of the vote are due to be revealed on January 25th, with induction taking place July 24th.  After nobody was elected in last year’s voting, the new ballot contains 17 holdovers along with 13 newcomers.  With this being the last go-around for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa, all of whom are tainted by PEDs, and Curt Schilling, who is an ass, we may see the logjam caused by the current BBWAA rules, which limit the number of votes on one ballot to 10, and the ongoing refusal by some writers to vote for players tainted by PEDs, leaving too many qualified candidates fighting for limited spots, come to an end.

Let’s take a look at the returning candidates today before moving on to the newcomers.

Bobby Abreu
Years on ballot: 2
2021 Percentage: 8.7

A small 3.2% increase for Abreu, but I wouldn’t be making any travel plans to Cooperstown if I were him.

Barry Bonds
Years on ballot: 9
2021 Percentage: 61.8

I just can’t see the all time home run champion getting the increase he will need in his final shot with the baseball writers.

Mark Buehrle
Years on ballot: 1
2021 Percentage: 11.0

The former White Sox hurler picked up a surprisingly healthy amount of support in his first go-around.  I don’t expect he’ll make it, but I feel better about his chances to stay on the ballot than I did last year.

Roger Clemens
Years on ballot: 9
2021 Percentage: 61.6

Roger Clemens, he of the 354 career victories and 7 Cy Young awards, is likely to join Bonds on the outside looking in after his last run through this particular gauntlet.  Especially since, after many years of getting marginally more support than Bonds, they flipped spots last year.

Todd Helton
Years on ballot: 3
2021 Percentage: 44.9

A big 15.7% increase has Helton moving on the right track, as voters remember that it isn’t his fault he played in Colorado.

Tim Hudson
Years on ballot: 1
2021 Percentage: 5.2

The lowest vote getter to return for another shot, I imagine he’ll get a little more support, but not much.

Torii Hunter
Years on ballot: 1
2021 Percentage: 9.5

Things do not look good for the long time Twin and Angel.

Andruw Jones
Years on ballot: 4
2021 Percentage: 33.9

If voters were to stick to his first 11 seasons, Jones looks like a shoe-in for the Hall.  His last 7 seasons, though, were so bad that it makes it hard to consider him.  Despite a 14.5% increase in votes, those final seasons seem to be holding sway.

Jeff Kent
Years on ballot: 8
2021 Percentage: 32.4

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Against The Rangers All Time Leaders – Through 2021

rangersIn 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 Texas Rangers.

The Rangers began life in 1961, joining the American League as the second incarnation of the Washington Senators after the original franchise moved to Minnesota to become the Twins.  Following the 1971 season, the team moved to Arlington, Texas and became the Rangers.  I’ve seen them play 38 times against 5 different foes, across 2 states and 4 different stadiums.

Home Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 3
Jose Abreu 3
Jermaine Dye 3

Hits

Name Total
Paul Konerko 20
Jose Abreu 14
A.J. Pierzynski 12
Alexei Ramirez 12

Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 8
Jose Abreu 8
Jermaine Dye 8

RBI

Name Total
Paul Konerko 11
Jose Abreu 9
Jermaine Dye 8

Doubles

Name Total
Alex Rios 4
Alexei Ramirez 4
Jose Abreu 3
Scott Podsednik 3
Carlos Quentin 3

Triples Continue reading →

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 →

By The Numbers – 36

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 #36.  83 different players have donned #36 while playing in Chicago, 54 for the White Sox and 29 for the Cubs.

Acquired by the Cubs, along with Bob Dernier and Porfi Altamirano, from the Phillies for Bill Campbell and Mike Diaz near the end of spring training in 1984, Gary “Sarge” Matthews, wearing #36, became a spark plug that helped lead the Cubs to their first ever division title.  Leading the league in walks and OBP, Matthews set a career high with 101 runs scored and finished 5th in MVP voting, behind teammates Ryne Sandberg and Rick Sutcliffe.  He saw a big drop-off in 1985, appearing in only 97 games and hitting a career low .235.  He bounced back a bit in 1986, appearing in 123 games and hitting 21 home runs, his highest total since 1979.  Reduced to a bench player in 1987, Matthews had 42 ABs in 44 games when he was traded to the Mariners on July 11 for a minor league player to be named later.

On the south side of town, Jerry Koosman donned #36 when he joined the White Sox on August 30, 1981 after coming to the White Sox via trade from the Twins.  Koosman appeared in 8 games down the stretch, starting 3, as the White Sox finished 6th in the second half of the crazy strike season.  He returned in 1982, working mostly out of the bullpen but still starting 19 games as the White Sox squandered a quick start to finish in 3rd place.  The veteran lefty spent most of the 1983 season in the starting rotation, but saw his ERA inflate to a career high 4.77.  However, after a shaky start, the White Sox caught fire and Koosman was the starting pitcher on September 17, when the White Sox clinched their first division title.  Koosman made one relief appearance during the ALCS against the Orioles, throwing 1/3 of a disastrous inning in the Game 3 blowout, giving up 1 hit, 2 walks, and 3 runs (2 earned).  He re-upped with the White Sox following the season, but was sent to the Phillies the following spring to complete the trade for Ron Reed.

2021 Predictions Revisited

What a difference six months makes.  Back in March, at the dawn of the 2021 baseball season, I made my annual predictions as to who would win what with little idea if the season would go off as planned.  Now that the regular season has come to an end, it is time revisit those predictions and see what, if anything, I got right.

American League

East: Yankees

Well, that’s one down.  Despite losing two starting pitchers from last year’s staff, the Rays managed to repeat as champs of the AL East.

Central: Twins

I was all set to go with the White Sox here, until a late injury to Eloy Jimenez in spring training left me feeling bad.  The Twins fell off the face of the Earth, while the White Sox overcame injuries all season to cruise to their first division title since 2008.

West: Astros

Hey, here’s one I got right.  The Astros return to the top of the division after a one year break.

Wild Cards: White Sox, Blue Jays

Talk about coming down to the wire.  With a potential 4-way tie for the two Wild Card spots heading in to the final day of the season, the Yankees and the Red Sox both took control of their destinies with victories on Sunday, leaving the Blue Jays and the Mariners on the outside looking in.

AL Champion: Yankees

The Rays do seem to be the class of the league.

Cy Young: Lucas Giolito

That seems very unlikely.  Blue Jays ace Robbie Ray seems like a popular choice.

MVP: Aaron Judge

A fine choice, but who could have seen Shohei Ohtani coming?  The two-way Angels star will run away and hide with this award.

National League

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