By The Numbers – 52

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 #52.  40 players have donned #52 while playing in Chicago, 20 each for the White Sox and the Cubs.

Acquired at the trade deadline in 2004 from the Yankees, Jose Contreras joined the White Sox rotation for the remainder of the season, pitching inconsistently and finishing with a 5-4 record and a 5.30 ERA in 13 starts.  He got off to a slow start in 2005, entering the All Star break with a 4-3 record, but an improved arm angle allowed Contreras to catch fire in the second half, becoming one of the most dominating pitchers in the league.  He finished the year with a 15-7 record with a 3.61 ERA, as the White Sox won their first AL Central title in 5 years, and earned the nod in Game 1 of the ALDS, the ALCS, and the World Series.

He started 2006 9-0, breaking the team record for consecutive regular season victories previously held by LaMarr Hoyt and Wilson Alvarez.  After the All Star break, Contreras started to come back down to Earth, due in part to the extra workload from the previous post-season.  The rest of his White Sox career was as inconsistent as it began, until his 2009 trade to the Rockies.

On the north side of town, Jim Bullinger wore #52 with pride from 1992-1996.  Drafted as a shortstop in 1986, he was converted to a pitcher full time in 1990.  2 years later, he made his debut with the Cubs in a forgettable appearance against the Giants.  His best season was the strike-shortened 1994, when he went 6-2 with a 3.60 ERA as he split time between the rotation and the bullpen.  He left as a free agent following the 1996 season.

iTunes Top 200 Artists: #41-50

It’s been 4 years since we last counted down the Top 200 artists in my iTunes library.  Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at the artists that have entertained me the most based on number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2021.

We start the final quarter of the list today with the next batch of 10 artists, with ties at 50th, 48th, and 43rd.

#50: Queen
iTunes stats: 176 plays
Previous ranking: #35

A big 15 spot drop for the band from England, due mostly to their dropping off the White Sox victory playlist now more than 10 years removed from their 2005 World Series title.

#48: Boyz II Men
iTunes stats: 177 plays
Previous ranking: #49

The stars of my first concert added 80 new listens from their 9 tunes in my collection, inching them up one spot in the rankings.

#48: Klaus Badelt
iTunes stats: 177 plays
Previous ranking: #30

The composer dropped 18 spots in the rankings due to the White Sox no longer using his theme from Pirates of the Caribbean as part of their pre-game routine.

#47: Snoop Dogg
iTunes stats: 181 plays
Previous ranking: #45

The ganja-smoking gangsta rapper, a somewhat surprising 14-time Grammy nominee, added 71 additional listens, dropping him two spots in the rankings.

#46: John Morris
iTunes stats: 182 plays
Previous ranking: #88

The composer of the score from the best movie ever made, Clue: The Movie.

#45: Purdue “All-American” Marching Band
Continue reading →

By The Numbers – 56

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 #56.  19 different players have donned #56 while playing in Chicago, and, spoiler alert, it has been retired on one side of town.

Mark Buehrle joined the White Sox organization in 1998, drafted in the 38th round.  Despite his lowly draft status, he rose quickly through the system, first coming up during the 2000 season, working out of the bullpen for the eventual division champions.  He moved into the rotation the following season, and stayed there for the next 11 seasons.  During that time, there were numerous memorable appearances, many of which I was privileged to see in person.

  • The 2007 no-hitter against the Rangers
  • The 2009 perfect game against the Rays
  • Winning Game 2 of the 2005 ALCS against the Angels, thanks to AJ’s heads-up baserunning, and starting the streak of 4 straight complete games
  • The 1 hour 36 minute game against the Mariners in 2005
  • The no look, through his legs flip to Paul Konerko on Opening Day 2010 against the Indians
  • And, of course, his performance in the 2005 World Series, starting Game 2, getting a no decision, and coming in to pitch the 14th inning and earning the save in Game 3

In White Sox annals, Buehrle is currently fifth all-time in strikeouts, sixth in games started, and eighth in wins and innings pitched.  Number 56 was retired in his honor in 2017.

Slim pickings for #56 on the north side of town, but centerfielder Brian McRae, who spent parts of 3 seasons with the Cubs, gets the nod.  McRae was acquired from the Royals in April of 1995, following the early season lockout that continued from the strike the year before.  He was sent to the Mets, along with Mel Rojas and Turk Wendell, in August of 1997.

2021 Hall Of Fame Ballot – The Newcomers


baseballhof

The BBWAA recently released their ballot for the Hall of Fame class of 2021, with the results of the vote due to be revealed on January 26th.  Assuming the corona virus is under control by then, induction would take place July 25th.  With Derek Jeter and Larry Walker getting elected in last year’s voting, the new ballot contains 14 holdovers along with 11 newcomers, which may potentially continue 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.

Yesterday, we looked at the returning candidates.  Today, it’s time to look at the newcomers and who may be thankful come January.

Mark Buehrle

While he is one of only three pitchers, along with Cy Young and Sandy Koufax, to have a no-hitter, a perfect game, and win a World Series title with the same organization, I don’t see any way he will make it.  Hopefully he will get enough votes to remain on the ballot for another year.

A.J. Burnett

I don’t see him getting much in the way of support.

Michael Cuddyer

I wonder what it feels like to be placed on the ballot knowing that you won’t earn even a single vote.

Dan Haren

I can see him getting a vote or two, but not enough to stick around.

LaTroy Hawkins

I mean, he had a nice career and all, but no.

Tim Hudson

My initial reaction was no, but he was the first one to make me look up his numbers.  His predictive numbers are actually very similar to Buehrle’s, so I’m going to have to say no here as well.  It’ll be interesting to see how their vote totals match up considering how close their predictive scores are.

Torii Hunter

Probably the most interesting case out of the newcomers.  I can see him sticking around for the entire 10 year run, but I don’t see him getting in.

Aramis Ramirez

While a local favorite, I don’t see him getting a lot of support.

Nick Swisher

F this dude and anyone who votes for him.

Shane Victorino

No.

Barry Zito

The start of his career looked promising, but those later Giant years were brutal.

All Time Playoff Team Records

For the first time since 2008, both the White Sox and the Cubs are in the post-season following this abbreviated 2020 season.  The expanded run to the World Series will start with the White Sox facing A’s in Oakland for a best of 3 series starting tonight, while the Cubs welcome the Marlins to Wrigley starting tomorrow.  Winners will advance to the LDS and enter a playoff bubble, with the AL moving to California and the NL to Texas.

With the AL Wild Card Series set to kick off today, it’s time to take an updated look at the team records for the now 30 playoff contests I have attended. These contests come from the 2018 Wild Card game, the ALDS in 2000, 2005, and 2008, the NLDS in 2003, 2007, 2008, 2015, 2016, and 2017, the NLCS in 2003, 2015, 2016, and 2017, the ALCS in 2005, and, of course, the 2005 and 2016 World Series.  Sadly, I won’t be adding any games to this list this year.  Thanks, corona virus.

Post-Season Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
Florida Marlins 3 0 1.000
Seattle Mariners 2 0 1.000
New York Mets 2 0 1.000
Colorado Rockies 1 0 1.000
Arizona Diamondbacks 1 0 1.000
Chicago White Sox 5 4 0.556
Los Angeles Dodgers 3 3 0.500
Atlanta Braves 1 1 0.500
Cleveland Indians 1 1 0.500
Los Angeles Angels 1 1 0.500
Washington Nationals 1 1 0.500
Tampa Bay Rays 1 1 0.500
Chicago Cubs 9 13 0.409
San Francisco Giants 0 2 0.000
St. Louis Cardinals 0 1 0.000
Boston Red Sox 0 2 0.000
Houston Astros 0 1 0.000

White Sox All Time Leaders – Through 2019

cws_logoWith baseball now officially on its way back after the corona virus, I thought it would be an interesting time to look back at the all time leaders in both offensive and defensive categories for all 30 teams. We finish things off today with the hometown Chicago White Sox.

I’ve seen the White Sox play 592 times at 13 different stadiums in 9 different cities, including every home playoff appearance in 2000, 2005, and 2008 except for Game 1 of the 2005 World Series.

Home Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 93
Jermaine Dye 39
Jose Abreu 36

Hits

Name Total
Paul Konerko 366
Alexei Ramirez 299
A.J. Pierzynski 231

Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 200
Alexei Ramirez 133
A.J. Pierzynski 104

RBI

Name Total
Paul Konerko 235
Alexei Ramirez 138
Jermaine Dye 107

Doubles

Name Total
Paul Konerko 57
Alexei Ramirez 49
A.J. Pierzynski 41

Triples Continue reading →

iTunes Top 200: #1

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

Today, we wrap things up with the two songs that are tied for the top spot, each with 224 plays since my stats began in late 2007.  While on their face, the two songs have nothing in common, they have been linked together on the south side of Chicago for many years.

#1: Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers – Let’s Go-Go-Go White Sox
iTunes stats: 224 plays, most recently on 9/29/2019
Previous ranking: #1

On June 18, 2005, the White Sox were hosting the Dodgers in inter-league play, the first time the two teams had faced each other in Chicago since the 1959 World Series.  The Saturday night tilt celebrated the occasion, with the Go-Go White Sox celebrated prior to the game and both teams wearing 1959 throwbacks.  During the game, the stadium crew dusted off a fight song that hadn’t been heard in nearly 50 years, creating a video montage with the words as part of the night’s festivities.  Down 3-1 in the bottom of the 9th, the White Sox rallied for 4 runs, capped off by A.J. Pierzynski’s two run shot to end the game, and a new tradition at US Cellular Field was born.

The song was written by former White Sox minor leaguer Al Trace and his friend Walter “Li’l Wally” Jagiello during the 1959 season as the White Sox battled for their first pennant since throwing the World Series in 1919.  They brought the song to Tom Fouts, leader of Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers, a popular local band best known for performing on WLS Prairie Farmer Radio and writing and performing advertising jingles.  The song and the team were both a success, as the White Sox did indeed win the pennant, but lost the World Series to the Dodgers in 6 games.

Following that June night, the song became a rallying point for the remainder of the 2005 season.  It received national exposure, as Fox included clips of it in their coverage of the team’s trek through the post-season.  WGN utilized it during their coverage of the World Series victory parade, over clips of highlights of both the 1959 and 2005 teams.  While not as ubiquitous today, the song does still show up on occasion at the ballpark, when the White Sox go on a big rally.

I managed to download an MP3 of the tune at some point, and it has had a place on every White Sox victory playlist I’ve created ever since.  A distinction it shares with our next entry.

#1: AC/DC – Thunderstruck
iTunes stats: 224 plays, most recently on 10/25/2019
Previous ranking: #3

The 12th studio album from AC/DC, The Razor’s Edge, was released in September of 1990, with Thunderstruck released as the first single.  It peaked at #5 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

The White Sox started taking the field to the song during the 2004 season, and it has been used off and on ever since.  Because of that, it has held a place on every version of my victory playlist since.

Astros All Time Leaders – Through 2019

astros-primaryWithbaseball shut down because of the corona virus, I thought it would be an interesting time to look at the all time leaders in both offensive and defensive categories for all 30 teams.  We continue today with the Houston Astros.

The Astros began life in 1962 as the Colt 45’s, joining the National League along with the Mets, and became the Astros 3 years later.  In 2013, they moved to the American League, becoming just the second team to switch leagues.  I’ve seen them play 42 times, including game 2 of the 2005 World Series.

Home Runs

Name Total
Lance Berkman 7
Carlos Lee 4
Morgan Ensberg 3
Mike Lamb 3

Hits

Name Total
Lance Berkman 30
Morgan Ensberg 19
Brad Ausmus 17

Runs

Name Total
Lance Berkman 15
Craig Biggio 11
Chris Burke 11

RBI

Name Total
Lance Berkman 26
Morgan Ensberg 12
Mike Lamb 10

Doubles

Name Total
Lance Berkman 7
Mike Lamb 6
Hunter Pence 5
Chris Carter 5

Triples Continue reading →

iTunes Top 200: #6 – 10

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

We’ve reached the Top 10, and today we will look at the 5 songs ranked from #10 to #6 since my stats began in late 2007.

#10: 2008 White Sox Central Division Champs Montage
iTunes stats: 111 plays, most recently on 3/28/2019
Previous ranking: #9

Dropping a bit since being removed from my White Sox victory play list, this track contains radio highlights, courtesy of The Score, from the 2008 season, culminating in the team’s Division Series loss to the Rays.

#9: Queen – We Are The Champions
iTunes stats: 128 plays, most recently on 8/24/2019
Previous ranking: #7

Reaching #4 on the Billboard charts in the late 70s, the song made it on to my White Sox playlist following their 2005 World Series championship but has fallen off in recent years.

Sox Win#8: Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’
iTunes stats: 132 plays, most recently on 11/13/2019
Previous ranking: #8

The rallying cry for the 2005 White Sox after A.J. Pierzynski and teammates heard it being sung in a bar in Baltimore, it finally dropped off my playlist for the 2015 season.

#7: sox05_montage
iTunes stats: 146 plays, most recently on 11/27/2019
Previous ranking: #6

Radio highlights, courtesy of ESPN 1000, of the 2005 White Sox season, culminating in the team’s first World Series title since 1917.

#6: Gordon Beckham Intro
iTunes stats: 148 plays, most recently on 6/22/2019
Previous ranking: #5

The Outfield’s hit Your Love, featuring Gene Honda introducing the former White Sox third baseman.

Ballpark Tour: White Sox

Opening day was supposed to be less than a week away, so it is time to wrap up our tour of all of the baseball stadiums I’ve been to over the years with the one I’ve been to the most: the homes of the Chicago White Sox.  Between the two stadiums that have been located at the corners of 35th and Shields, I’ve seen at least 542 games, all but one of which have involved the White Sox.  So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at my history with Comiskey Park and Guaranteed Rate Field.

Stadium Name: Comiskey Park

Years in Service: 1910 – 1990

Visits: 12 (that I’m aware of)

Comiskey Park, the so-called Baseball Palace of the World, was the home of the White Sox from 1910 through the 1990 season.  Built on a former city dump at the corner of 35th Street and Shields Avenue, the stadium opened on July 1, 1910, as the White Sox lost to the St. Louis Browns 2-0.  The final game for the old ballyard occurred on September 30, 1990, a 2-1 victory over the Mariners.

Comiskey Park was the host for 4 World Series, including 3 in a row from 1917-1919.  The White Sox won the World Series in 1917 against the New York Giants.  The Cubs, looking for a larger seating capacity, moved their home games in the 1918 series against the Red Sox to Comiskey Park.  The 1919 World Series, of course, was the Black Sox scandal, where the White Sox threw the series against the Reds.  The White Sox returned to the World Series 40 years later in 1959, but fell to the Dodgers.  The final post-season games to be played in Comiskey Park were games 3 and 4 of the 1983 ALCS, which the White Sox lost to the Baltimore Orioles.

Comiskey Park was also the host to 3 All-Star games.  The first All-Star game, in 1933, was held in conjunction with Century of Progress Exposition being held on Chicago’s lakefront.  The event returned to Chicago’s south side in 1950 and the final All-Star game at Comiskey Park was in 1983, the 50th anniversary of the first game.  Comiskey Park was also the frequent home of the Negro League East-West All-Star Game from 1933 to 1960.

Looking back, I’ve been able to piece together evidence of 12 games that I attended at Comiskey Park, either from pictures, stadium giveaways, or specific memories.  I know there are more, but I have not been able to pinpoint exact games as of yet.  The most memorable game I can remember would be the final night game, on September 29, 1990, where, after the game, the lights were symbolically turned off for the final time.

Stadium Name: Comiskey Park II/US Cellular Field/Guaranteed Rate Field

Years in Service: 1991 – Present

Visits: 530

On the evening of June 30, 1988, with the clock literally stopped, the Illinois legislature passed a bill that provided the financing for a new stadium for the White Sox, stopping them from moving to St. Petersburg, Florida.  2 and a half years later, on April 18, 1991, Comiskey Park II opened, the first new major facility built in Chicago since the erection of the Chicago Stadium in 1929.  Sadly, the White Sox were embarrassed by the Tigers, losing 16-0 in the opening of their new park.

Unfortunately for the White Sox, the new Comiskey Park was the last stadium to be built prior to the wave of retro ballparks that started with the opening of Camden Yards the following year.  Because of this, there have been numerous renovations to the park, starting in 2001 with the addition of nearly 2000 seats and the relocation of the bullpens.  More extensive renovations began in 2003 in preparation for that season’s All Star Game and using the money generated from selling the naming rights to US Cellular, and continued through 2007, when the replacement of the blue seats with green seats was completed.  Less extensive renovations have occurred since, replacing the different video boards and creating premium seating areas.

The post-season came to the new Comiskey Park for the first time in 1993, as the White Sox battled the Blue Jays in the ALCS.  The stadium hosted its first World Series games in 2005, the first to be played in the city of Chicago since 1959, as the White Sox went on to sweep the Houston Astros and win their first World Series since 1917.

I attended my first game at the new Comiskey Park on April 20, 1991, the second game in the stadium’s history.  Since then, I’ve been to 529 other games at the stadium, the majority coming from 2005 on, when I became a season ticket holder.  I went to both games of the 2000 ALDS, which the White Sox lost to the Mariners, both games of the 2005 ALDS, which the White Sox won against the Red Sox, both games of the 2005 ALCS, which the White Sox split against the Angels, and game 2 of the 2005 World Series.  I attended game 163 of the 2008 season to break the tie between the White Sox and the Twins. and then the two ALDS games against the Rays, the first time I saw the White Sox actually end a post-season series, either in victory or defeat.

Notable regular season games I’ve seen at what is now known as Guaranteed Rate Field include the September 18, 2001 game against the Yankees as baseball returned following the attacks of 9/11, the April 16, 2005 game where Mark Buehrle defeated the Mariners in 1 hour and 39 minutes, the April 2, 2006 season opener against the Indians when the World Series championship banner was raised, the April 4, 2006 game where the players received their World Series rings, and the September 16, 2007 game where Jim Thome hit his 500th career home run against the Angels.  Not to mention a streak of 19 consecutive home openers.