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 – 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.

End Of The Road?

With only four months remaining on the 10-year, $240 million contract signed following to the 2011 season, the Angels decided to cut ties with Albert Pujols, designating the future Hall of Fame baseball person for assignment yesterday.  “It’s more about opportunity,” GM Perry Minasian said of Pujols, to date, had posted an OPS 80 points below the league average in his age-41 season.  “Albert is not a bench player. We felt like, for him, with respect to him, keeping him on the bench, him not getting any playing time, would not do him any good or the team any good.”

Pujols is reportedly steadfast in his desire to continue playing, but it’s hard to see a good fit for him, especially with no DH in the National League.  Some speculation mentioned the White Sox as a potential landing spot, given the relationship between Pujols and Tony La Russa, but, unless Pujols is suddenly able to play the outfield, you would think the presence of Jose Abreu and Yermin Mercedes would preclude any such reunion.  If I had to guess, I would say this is the end of Pujols’ long and distinguished career.

Thanks to the profitable nature of the Cubs/Cardinals rivalry, I didn’t see Pujols play in person as often as I could have during his prime, but he’s still in the top 5 of games played for non-Chicago players in my history.  His numbers, both for games I attended and overall, were:

Continue reading →

All Time Team Records

In a shocking development, the 2021 baseball season got underway last night without issue or delay.  With hopefully a full 162 game schedule on the docket, it is time once again to look at the all-time team records for games that I have identified as having attended dating back to 1984.  Thanks to some eBaying of pocket schedules from the 80s, I was able to identify one additional game that I attended in 1988, a California Angels victory at Comiskey Park against the White Sox.

The Cubs look to contend in a weak NL Central with one final year of having the core of their World Series Championship team under contract, while the White Sox hope their offseason additions put them over the top and make them true World Series contenders.  The 2021 season should be an interesting one on both sides of town, even more interesting if we are able to see it in person.

All-Time Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
California Angels 2 0 1.000
Arizona Diamondbacks 13 2 0.867
Florida Marlins 15 8 0.652
Colorado Rockies 10 6 0.625
Boston Red Sox 18 13 0.581
Toronto Blue Jays 15 11 0.577
New York Yankees 15 11 0.577
Los Angeles Angels 19 14 0.576
Cleveland Indians 28 24 0.538
Chicago Cubs 219 197 0.526
Philadelphia Phillies 10 9 0.526
Houston Astros 22 20 0.524
Chicago White Sox 306 287 0.516
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All Time Pitching Leaders – Through 2020

After a shortened season, thanks to the corona virus, that let in no fans and a failed negotiation to push back the start of the 2021 season, White Sox pitchers and catchers hold their first spring workout today with the hopes that things will be different this year.  I guess that means it is time for our annual look at the pitching leaders in the now 949 games I’ve attended, and identified, between 1984 and 2020.  No difference from last year, since I didn’t attend any games last year and only added a 1988 tilt between the White Sox and the then California Angels.  So, without further ado, let’s get things started with our first category, the always popular:

Wins

Name Total
Mark Buehrle 31
Gavin Floyd 24
Carlos Zambrano 21
Chris Sale 21
John Danks 19

Losses

Name Total
Mark Buehrle 17
Jose Quintana 17
John Danks 16
Carlos Zambrano 15
Gavin Floyd 15

ERA (>= 35 IP)

Name Total
David Robertson 2.17
DJ Carrasco 2.20
Nate Jones Continue reading →

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

All Time Team Records

What was planned to be the earliest non-international start in Major League Baseball history turned into the latest, thanks to a combination of the corona virus pandemic and pointless bickering between the MLBPA and team owners.  With the 2020 baseball season finally set to get underway today, although with no fans in the stands, it is time once again to look at the all-time team records for games that I have identified as having attended dating back to 1984.  Thanks to some eBaying of pocket schedules from the 80s, I was able to identify one additional game that I attended in 1988, a California Angels victory at Comiskey Park against the White Sox.

The Cubs look to bounce back from last year’s September collapse that kept them out of the postseason for the first time since 2014, while the White Sox hope their offseason additions push them towards contention as their young talent starts to blossom.  With only 60 games to make their mark, the 2020 season should be an interesting one on both sides of town.

All-Time Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
California Angels 2 0 1.000
Arizona Diamondbacks 13 2 0.867
Florida Marlins 15 8 0.652
Colorado Rockies 10 6 0.625
Boston Red Sox 18 13 0.581
Toronto Blue Jays 15 11 0.577
New York Yankees 15 11 0.577
Los Angeles Angels 19 14 0.576
Cleveland Indians 28 24 0.538
Chicago Cubs 219 197 0.526
Philadelphia Phillies 10 9 0.526
Houston Astros 22 20 0.524
Chicago White Sox 306 287 0.516
Continue reading →

Looking Ahead To 2021

For reasons that I don’t entirely understand, Major League Baseball released their tentative 2021 schedule late last week, 3 weeks before the 2020 season begins. The local squads should have common goals in mind for 2021: competing for a title.  Assuming, of course, that the 2020 season goes off as planned and the pandemic winds down enough for 2021 to proceed as planned.  So, for one day, at least, let’s turn our attention to next summer for both teams.

The White Sox open their season against the Angels in (Los Angeles, California, Anaheim), the first time that has happened since 1993.  Which, I guess, is a decent sign if one’s looking for omens towards a division title.  They return home a week later, facing the Royals for the home opener.

The interleague schedule pits the White Sox against the NL Central, with trips to Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee and home series against the Reds, Cardinals, and the Pirates. The rivalry with their north side foes continues with a series at Wrigley at the beginning of August and a follow-up at Guaranteed Rate Field at the end of the month.

The season ends with a 5 game homestand against the Reds and Tigers.

On the north side, the Cubs open their season up at home against the Pirates, which seems to be a familiar Opening Day foe.

The interleague schedule pits the Cubs against the AL Central, with trips to Cleveland, Detroit, and Minnesota and home series against the Indians, Royals, and the Twins.

The Cubs end the year with a 12 of their final 14 games against the NL Central, with 9 of those coming against the Brewers and the Cardinals, who are likely to challenge them for the NL Central crown.

Angels All Time Leaders – Through 2019

laangelsWith baseball 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 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The Angels began life in 1961, joining the American League along with the second incarnation of the Washington Senators.  They’ve changed their location designation multiple times, starting in Los Angeles, changing to California in 1966, moving to Anaheim in 1997 and, awkwardly incorporating both Los Angeles and Anaheim starting in 2005, and finally returning to just Los Angeles in 2016.  I’ve seen them play 36 times, including games 1 and 2 of the 2005 ALCS against the White Sox and Jim Thome’s 500th career home run in 2008.

Home Runs

Name Total
Vladimir Guerrero 5
Chone Figgins 3
Garret Anderson 3
Juan Rivera 3

Hits

Name Total
Maicer Izturis 21
Howie Kendrick 18
Vladimir Guerrero 16

Runs

Name Total
Vladimir Guerrero 10
Maicer Izturis 8
Chone Figgins 8

RBI

Name Total
Garret Anderson 9
Howie Kendrick 9
Shohei Ohtani 9

Doubles

Name Total
Torii Hunter 5
Maicer Izturis 4
Casey Kotchman 4

Triples Continue reading →