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 – 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.

By The Numbers – 58

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 #58.  25 players have donned #58 while playing in Chicago, 20 for the White Sox and 5 for the Cubs.

Catcher Geovany Soto donned #58 during three cups of coffee with the Cubs, in 2005 – 2007.  Earning increased playing time each year, he garnered a single at bat in 05, 25 in 06, and 54 in 07.  He finally broke through in 2008, changing his number to #18 while earning Rookie of the Year honors.  He remained the main backstop for the team until the 2012 season, when he was traded to the Rangers in August.

On the south side of town, Bobby Thigpen wore #58 during his first go-around with the team, going 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA in 20 games for the 1986 White Sox.  He switched to #37 the following year, which he wore for the remainder of his White Sox career, which ended with a 1993 trade to the Phillies.

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
Continue reading →

By The Numbers – 65

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 #65.  8 players have donned #65 while playing in Chicago, 7 for the White Sox and 1 for the Cubs.

Kelly Wunsch donned #65 for his entire White Sox career, starting on Opening Day against the Rangers for the eventual 2000 AL Central champions.  Finishing 5th in AL Rookie of the Year voting, Wunsch appeared in all 3 games of the ALDS against the Mariners, giving up 2 hits and 1 unearned run in one inning pitched.  Injuries marred the rest of his White Sox tenure, with rotator cuff surgery in 2001, continued shoulder soreness in 2002, and a back injury in 2003.  After starting the 2004 season on the disabled list, he ended up spending most of the season in Triple A, appearing in only 3 games for the White Sox, and he became a free agent at year’s end.

Casey Sadler is the only #65 in Cubs history, appearing in 10 games early in the 2020 season with a 5.79 before being claimed by the Mariners off of waivers.

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.

200 Things To Do In Illinois – Crosstown Doubleheader

Illinois celebrated its bicentennial as a state in December of 2018.  To celebrate, the Chicago Tribune published the Bicentennial Bucket List: 200 Things To Do In Illinois, celebrating the best the state has to offer in history, food, architecture, culture, sports, nature, drink, and oddities.  Now that the state is starting to open back up following the corona virus outbreak, I figured this was the second-best time to look through this collection and cover the ones I’ve done/eaten/seen.

We conclude things this week with one of the entries from the Sports category: Crosstown Doubleheader, from Chicago, IL.

Usually, at least once during the baseball season, there’s a Cubs home day game followed buy a Sox home night game – or vice versa.  When these scheduling stars align, hop on the Red Line and hit both games for a crosstown day-night doubleheader.

One of the best things about living in a two-team town is the occasional opportunity to take in two games, one at each park, in the same day.  There have been 7 times I’ve watched both the Cubs and the Sox on the same day at their respective homes: first, in 2003 as the Rockies defeated the Cubs and the Mariners throttled the White Sox, and most recently last season, as the Nationals beat the Cubs and the Rangers shut out the White Sox.

There was an 8th instance, in 2004, where I took in games in both parks on the same day, but it didn’t involve the White Sox.  The afternoon tilt that day at US Cellular Field was between the Expos and the Marlins, relocated to Chicago due to Hurricane Ivan. That night, the Cubs slipped past the Pirates at Wrigley Field.

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 →

Rangers All Time Leaders – Through 2019

rangersWith 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 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 37 times, across 2 states and 4 different stadiums.

Home Runs

Name Total
Hank Blalock 3
Ian Kinsler 3
6 tied with 2

Hits

Name Total
Michael Young 19
Elvis Andrus 17
Ian Kinsler 12
Mark Teixeira 12

Runs

Name Total
Michael Young 12
Elvis Andrus 8
Hank Blalock 6
Gary Matthews Jr. 6

RBI

Name Total
Mark Teixeira 13
Michael Young 11
Hank Blalock 8
Ian Kinsler 8
Elvis Andrus 8

Doubles

Name Total
Michael Young 7
Elvis Andrus 4
4 tied with 3

Triples Continue reading →

It’s Still Been A While

Exactly 8 months since my last baseball game, the longest drought I’ve experienced since 1998 into 1999, I figured it was a good time to take another look at the last time I saw each of the 30 major league teams. For someone with season tickets to two teams, one in each league, you would think that I would cycle through each team every few years or so.  And, for the most part, that does seem to be the case.  I saw 21 of the 30 teams in 2019, going back to 2018, that number jumps to 23.  That’s nearly 77% of the league in the past 2 seasons.

What about those remaining 7 teams?  The Dodgers, Rays, Braves, and Padres last appeared in 2017, while 2016 takes care of the Reds.  I somehow haven’t seen the Diamondbacks since 2014, despite being inside their home ballpark more recently than that.  That leaves the Marlins, who I have somehow not managed to see in person since 2013.  Anyway, here’s a look at each team and the last time I saw them play.

Team Name Date
Miami Marlins 5/26/2013
Arizona Diamondbacks 5/10/2014
Cincinnati Reds 4/11/2016
San Diego Padres 5/13/2017
Atlanta Braves 9/2/2017
Tampa Bay Rays 9/3/2017
Los Angeles Dodgers 10/19/2017
Houston Astros 4/22/2018
Colorado Rockies 10/2/2018
Seattle Mariners 4/6/2019
Pittsburgh Pirates 4/8/2019
Kansas City Royals 4/15/2019
Boston Red Sox 5/5/2019
St. Louis Cardinals 5/5/2019
Continue reading →