By The Numbers – 24

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 #24.  104 different players have donned #24 while playing in Chicago, 49 for the White Sox and 55 for the Cubs.

Joe Crede earned a September call-up from Double A in 2000, and, wearing #24, made his major league debut on September 12, replacing Herbert Perry and going 0-1 in the Tigers 10-3 victory at Comiskey Park.  Crede appeared in 7 games, making the most of his 14 at bats, and finished with a .357 average.  Crede got another cup of coffee with the big league club in September of 2001, earning a little more playing time, but he was less successful, finishing with a .220 average in 50 at bats over 17 games.  Crede returned to the White Sox for good in July of 2002.  On August 12, he hit his first major league home run off of former teammate James Baldwin and he finished with 12 home runs, 35 RBIs, and a .285 average.  Crede established himself as the starting third baseman in 2003.  He appeared in a career high 151 games and launched 19 home runs with 75 RBIs while posting a .261 average.  He struggled in 2004, seeing his average drop to .239 while hitting 21 home runs with 69 RBIs.

In 2005, Crede started to come in to his own.  While he improved his average to .252 and hit 22 home runs with 62 RBIs, he came alive in the second half, culminating with a game winning, and possible season saving, home run in the 10th inning against the Indians on September 20, which pushed the White Sox to a 3.5 game lead and propelled them into the playoffs.  Crede had a rough series in the ALDS against the Red Sox, getting only 1 hit in 9 at bats, but rebounded in the ALCS and World Series, hitting .368 and .294 respectively, with 2 home runs in each series.  2006 was Joe Crede’s breakout season.  He hit .283 with career highs in home runs, with 30, and RBIs, with 94, winning his first, and only, Silver Slugger award.  A back injury in 2007 limited him to 47 games and only 4 home runs.  He returned with a bang in 2008, hitting a grand slam on opening day against the Twins and parlayed a good first half into his first All Star selection, but the back injury recurred and kept him out for most of the second half of the season, including the playoffs, thus ending his White Sox career.

On the north side of town, Dexter Fowler joined Cubs via trade prior to the 2015 season.  Donning #24, he ended the year with a .250 average, 102 runs scored, 46 RBIs, 17 home runs, and 20 stolen bases as the Cubs made a surprise run for the NL Wild Card.  Fowler helped propel the Cubs to the NLDS, putting up three hits, three runs scored, a home run, and a stolen base in defeating the Pirates.  In nine postseason games, Fowler batted .396 with two home runs and three RBIs, as the Cubs made it to the NLCS against the Mets.

Fowler became a free agent after the season and was unsigned into the start of spring training.  Despite reportedly agreeing to a three-year contract with the Orioles, Fowler arrived in Cubs camp and signed a one year deal.  And what a year it was.  Fowler finished the year with a .276 average, 13 home runs, 48 RBIs, and 84 runs scored as the Cubs won the NL Central.  Fowler’s .333 average with 4 RBI helped the Cubs win the NLCS against the Dodgers, advancing to the World Series for the first time since 1945.  On October 25, 2016, Dexter Fowler became the first African-American to appear and to bat for the Cubs in a World Series game.  Fowler led off Game 7 of the World Series with a home run, becoming the first player in history to do so, and helping the Cubs win 8–7 in 10 innings, giving the team their first championship in 108 years.

By The Numbers – 27

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 #27.  103 different players have donned #27 while playing in Chicago, 52 for the White Sox and 51 for the Cubs.

Acquired on December 19, 2016 from the Nationals, Lucas Giolito made his White Sox debut the following summer donning #27.  In 7 starts, he put up a sparkling 2.38 ERA while compiling a 3-3 record.  Things went south In 2018, as Giolito was, statistically, the worst starting pitcher in baseball with a 6.13 ERA, leading the league (the bad way) in WHIP and walks per 9 innings.  That offseason, he began rebuilding his game from the ground up, leading to a 2019 All Star appearance en route to a 14-9 record with a 3.41 ERA.  In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, he held the hapless Pirates hitless on August 25th, striking out 13 while facing one batter over the minimum of 27.  He made his post-season debut in Game 1 of the Wild Card series against the A’s, retiring the first 18 batters in order before giving up 2 hits and a walk in the 7th inning, earning the victory in the White Sox only win during the series.  In 2021, Giolito made 31 starts, finishing with a record of 11-9 and a 3.53 ERA.

During his second go-around with the North Siders, Joe Girardi wore #27 for the 2001 and 2002 seasons.  On June 22, 2002, Girardi addressed a sold-out Wrigley Field to announce the day’s game was cancelled following the death of Cardinal pitcher Darryl Kile.  Following that season, he became a free agent and left the team for the second, and final, time.

By The Numbers – 34

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 #35.  82 players have donned #34 on each side of town, including 50 for the White Sox and 32 for the Cubs.

Kerry Wood was the fourth overall selection in the first round of the 1995 draft, making his major league debut for the Cubs less than 3 years later.  Making his fifth major league start in May of 1998, Wood would cement his place in Cubs lore and baseball history, striking out 20 and giving up a single hit against the Astros.  Wood helped the Cubs to the Wild Card, their first post-season appearance since 1989.  An injured elbow, however, cost him the 1999 season and, just maybe, altered the course of his career.  He led the Cubs rotation as they made a surprising run towards the World Series in 2003, coming up a mere 5 outs short.  By 2007, he was moved to the bullpen full time,  After quick detours with the Indians and the Yankees, he returned to the Cubs in 2011 and retired in May of 2012, striking out Dayan Viciedo in his final appearance in a crosstown tilt.

On the south side of town, young phenom Michael Kopech may end up owning the number across both teams.  But for now, we will split the difference between three pitchers, each of whom helped lead the White Sox to a playoff appearance.  Richard Dotson switched to #34 in 1983, just in time to go 22-7 as the White Sox won their first division title.  Acquired in 2004, Freddy Garcia donned the number while winning the clinching game 4 of the 2005 World Series.  His replacement in the rotation, beginning in 2007, was Gavin Floyd, who also wore the number as the White Sox won their latest division title in 2008.

By The Numbers – 39

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 #39.  77 different players have donned #39 while playing in Chicago, 31 for the White Sox and 46 for the Cubs.

First acquired in 1989, Roberto Hernandez, donning #39, made his major league debut on September 2, 1991, getting the start and going 7 innings for the victory in the White Sox win over the Royals.  He appeared in 9 games in the final month of the season, making the only 3 starts of his career, and finished the year with a 7.80 ERA.  In 1992, Hernandez split the year between Triple A and Chicago, eventually supplanting Bobby Thigpen as the team’s primary closer.  He finished the year with 12 saves and a sparkling 1.65 ERA.  Hernandez had another great year in 1993, saving 38 games in 70 appearances with a 2.29 ERA as the White Sox won their final AL West title.  During the ALCS against the Blue Jays, Hernandez threw 4 scoreless innings in 4 appearances, earning 1 save.

In the strike-shortened 1994 season, Hernandez struggled.  His ERA jumped to 4.91 and he saved only 14 games before the season ended on August 12, despite leading the league in games finished.  When baseball returned in 1995, Hernandez bounced back somewhat, once again leading the league in games finished and lowering his ERA by nearly a full run to 3.92.  1996 was a true return to form for Hernandez.  He led the league in games finished for the third straight year and lowered his ERA by 2 full runs to 1.91.  He earned his first All Star selection and, with 38 saves, finished 6th in Cy Young Award voting.  Hernandez was well on his way to another strong season in 1997, with 27 saves and a 2.44 ERA, when he was included in the infamous White Flag trade on July 31, joining Wilson Alzarez and Danny Darwin in going to the Giants for the collection of Brian Manning, Lorenzo Barcelo, Mike Caruso, Keith Foulke, Bob Howry, and Ken Vining.

On the other side of town, Andrew Chafin wore #39 for the 11 months he was a member of the Cubs.  Acquired on August 31, the trade deadline of the shortened 2020 season, Chafin pitched in 4 games over the final month, posting a 3.00 ERA and retired the only batter he faced in the Wild Card series against the Marlins.  In February, Chafin re-upped with the Cubs and became sort of a cult hero.  On June 24, he was part of a combined no-hitter against the Dodgers.  In 43 appearances for the Cubs in 2021, Chafin recorded a 2.06 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 39.1 innings of work before being traded to the A’s on July 27th.

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.

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By The Numbers – 48

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 #48.  65 different players have donned #48 while playing in Chicago, 35 for the White Sox and 30 for the Cubs.

Rick Reuschel was selected by the Cubs in the third round of the 1970 draft.  He joined the big league team in June of 1972, donning #48.  His best season came in 1977, winning 20 games and finishing third in the Cy Young Award voting as the Cubs flirted with a pennant chase before a late season swoon.  He remained with the Cubs until he was traded to the Yankees during the 1981 strike.  He returned to the Cubs in 1983, but wearing a different number.

Acquired for Omar Narvaez, Alex Colome wore #48 during his two seasons on the south side.  He notched 42 saves in 83 games, and picked up an additional save and 2 scoreless innings in 2 appearances during the 2020 Wild Card series against the A’s.

By The Numbers – 51

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 #51.  44 different players have donned #51 while playing in Chicago, 20 for the White Sox and 24 for the Cubs.

Juan Cruz, wearing #51, made his big league debut for the Cubs on August 21, 2001, against the Brewers.  He went 3–1 with a 3.22 ERA in his first 8 starts, and recorded his first two major league hits on October 2.  Cruz went 3–11 with a 3.98 ERA in 45 games in 2002, picking up his first career save.  He got off to a good start in 2003, striking out 6 consecutive Mets on Opening Day, becoming only the second Cubs reliever to achieve the feat.  Things went a bit downhill from there, finishing the year 2–7 with a 6.05 ERA while making 6 starts, despite being sent back down to Iowa in June.  He threw one scoreless inning during the NLDS against the Braves.  That would end up being his final Cub appearance, as he was traded to those same Braves the following March.

Dane Dunning was acquired by the White Sox as part of the return for Adam Eaton in 2016.  He made his major league debut in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, going 2-0 in 7 starts with a 3.97 ERA.  He started Game 3 of the Wild Card series against the A’s, getting pulled after 2/3rds of an inning as the White Sox were eliminated.  That was his final White Sox appearance, as he was traded to the Rangers in exchange for Lance Lynn this past December.

By The Numbers – 55

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 #55.  30 players have donned #55 while playing in Chicago, 13 for the White Sox and 14 for the Cubs.

So maybe this is recency bias kicking in a bit, since he threw a no-hitter last month, but Carlos Rodon gets my nod as the top #55 in Chicago baseball history.  Selected with the #3 pick in the first round of the 2014 draft, Rodon made his debut in 2015 and never quite became that top of the rotation force that you would expect given his pedigree.  Then, the injuries started.  Making only 49 appearances over 4 seasons, Rodon appeared to hit his low point in 2020, when, just back off the IL, manager Rick Renteria brought him out of the bullpen for 2 high leverage situations: a last week of the season game against the Indians while battling for the division title and again in the last Wild Card game against the A’s as the White Sox fought to advance to the next round.  Neither appearance went well and after the season, Rodon was non-tendered.  However, he was brought back on a smaller deal and, on a cold Wednesday night in April, he was perfect for 8 1/3 innings, before hitting a batter and then finishing up the no-hitter.  Maybe, after 6 seasons, he’s finally ready to break through as the ace he was drafted to be?

On the north side, when one thinks of Double Nickels on the back of the uniform, one thinks of Shawn Estes.  Signed as a free agent prior to the 2003 season, Estes went 8-11 with a 5.73 ERA as the Cubs surprised pretty much everyone in winning the Central Division title.  He did not appear in the post-season and left as a free agent after the season.

Bringing In Reinforcements

Four years and 2 days ago, the White Sox jumpstarted their rebuild by trading Adam Eaton to the Nationals for pitchers Lucas Giolito, Dane Dunning and Reynaldo Lopez.  Yesterday, the White Sox tried to put that rebuild over the top by trading Dunning to the Rangers for Lance Lynn and signing Eaton to a one year deal to fill the hole in right field.

Lynn, who will turn 34 before Opening Day, was linked to the White Sox at the trade deadline last year and should join Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel in giving the team veteran leadership on the mound.  He has finished in the top 10 in Cy Young voting each of the last 2 seasons.  He will be a free agent following the 2021 season.  Dunning, meanwhile, made his major league debut last year, starting 7 games as he worked his way back from Tommy John surgery.  He started the decisive game 3 of the AL Wild Card series against the A’s, going only 2/3 of an inning before getting pulled as the White Sox lost in their first post-season appearance since 2008.

Eaton, 32, was a gold glove finalist in right field for the White Sox in 2015, but things went south the following year when he was a vocal critic of the front office following the Drake LaRoche debacle during spring training.  He blew out his knee in 2017 and missed most of that and the 2018 seasons.  In 2019, he was a key part in the Nationals capturing their first World Series title, putting up an OPS of .993 during the series.

Last week, the White Sox introduced their new coaching staff and the mantra coming out of that was World Series or bust.  While giving up 6 years of control for Dunning for a single year of Lynn is a steep price, he at least should push the team in the right direction.  Eaton, however, seems to be a throwback to the days of buying low and hoping for a breakout season.  With better, but more expensive, options still available, this move does not announce to the world that the White Sox are all in.

Playoff Batting Leaders

Game 1 of the AL Wild Card Series is in the books and the White Sox look to close out the A’s this afternoon.  The NL Wild Card Series kicks off this afternoon, with the Cubs doing battle against the Marlins.  With that in mind, it’s time to take an updated look at the offensive leaders from the now 30 post-season games I have attended since 2000.  So, without further ado, we start off with:

Home Runs

Name Total
Kris Bryant 4
Javier Baez 3
Paul Konerko 3
B.J. Upton 3
Dexter Fowler 3
Enrique Hernandez 3

Hits

Name Total
Kris Bryant 11
Javier Baez 11
Dexter Fowler 10
Anthony Rizzo 10
Moises Alou 9
Jason Heyward 9

Runs

Name Total
Dexter Fowler 7
Paul Konerko 6
Daniel Murphy 6
A.J. Pierzynski 5
Kris Bryant 5
Javier Baez 5
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