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.

Kosuke Fukudome Continue reading →

By The Numbers – 45

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 #45. 92 different players have donned #45 while playing in Chicago, but only one of whom notched the final out in a World Series clincher.

Bobby Jenks joined the White Sox organization on December 17, 2004, when he was selected off waivers from the Angels.  After starting the 2005 season in Double A, he was called up to the big league club on July 5 and made his major league debut the following day, ending the season as the closer after Shingo Takatsu proved ineffective and Dustin Hermanson went down with a back injury.  In the ALDS against the Red Sox, he threw 3 scoreless innings and picked up 2 saves in the 3 game sweep.  Thanks to the 4 complete games in the ALCS against the Angels, Jenks was well rested for the World Series.  He appeared in all 4 games against the Astros, throwing 5 innings and earning the save in Games 1 and 4.

With a World Championship under his belt, Jenks became the full time closer in 2006, earning his first All Star nod and becoming the first White Sox pitcher to notch a save in the Mid-Summer Classic.  2007 was a good year for Jenks, as he made his second straight All Star team and tied a major league record by retiring his 41st consecutive batter, becoming the first reliever to achieve the feat.  He continued his dominant ways in 2008, as the White Sox bounced back in to contention, and he threw a scoreless inning and picked up the save in the only White Sox victory in the ALDS against the Rays.

Jenks started to struggle in 2009, as he saw his save total drop to 29, his lowest full-season total to date.  2010 was even worse, as his ERA rose again, to 4.44, and his WHIP was up again as well.  Despite his highest strike out total since 2006, he ended the year with a 1-3 record and only 27 saves.  Following the season, the White Sox declined to tender him a contract for the 2011 season, making him a free agent.

On the north side of town, reliever Tom Gordon donned #45 in 2001 and the first part of 2002, earning 27 saves before being shipped to the Astros for, basically, nothing.

By The Numbers – 46

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 #46. 40 players have donned #52 while playing in Chicago, 34 each for the White Sox and 22 for the Cubs.

Lee Arthur Smith was the 2nd round selection of the Cubs in the 1975 draft.  He made his major league debut on September 1, 1980, becoming a fixture in the Cubs bullpen wearing #46.  He took over the closer role in 1982 and became a force, leading the league in saves in 1983 while earning his first All Star nod and post-season support for both the Cy Young award and MVP.  Following the 1987 season, he was traded to the Red Sox for Al Nipper and Calvin Schiraldi, ending his Cubs career with a 40-51 record and a 2.92 ERA with 180 saves and 342 games finished.  In 2019, he was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee.

On the South side of town, Neal Cotts donned #46 after being acquired by the White Sox, along with Billy Koch and Daylan Holt, from the A’s in exchange for Keith Foulke, Mark Johnson, and Joe Valentine in December of 2002.  He made his major league debut on August 12, 2003, lasting only 2 1/3 innings in a start against the Angels, and made 3 additional starts, finishing the year with an 8.10 ERA in only 13 1/3 innings pitched.  Cotts moved to the bullpen in 2004 and, in 2005, things finally clicked.  He appeared in 69 regular season games and posted a sparkling 1.94 ERA, before facing one batter in the ALDS and becoming the only White Sox reliever to appear in the ALCS, getting the final 2 outs in the Game 1 loss to the Angels.  As the White Sox moved on to their first World Series since 1959, Cotts appeared in all 4 games, winning Game 2 and giving up only 1 hit in an inning and a third.  Cotts reverted back to his previous form in 2006 and, following the season, he was traded across town to the Cubs for fellow relief pitcher David Aardsma.

 

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.