Sure, you have to look all the way back to 2012 for the last time the Chicago White Sox had a winning record, and 2008 if you want to check for a postseason appearance. Despite the recent lack of success, the White Sox have had a plethora of legends don the Sox uniform, which got me thinking — who would make the Mount Rushmore of White Sox legends? There are many options, but only four spots available. Before I get to mine, as Ken “The Hawk” Harrelson would say, you at home select yours.
Ed Walsh (1904-1916)
A hall of fame inductee back in 1946, Walsh to this day still holds the best career ERA of 1.82. He also had 40 wins back in 1908, largely due to his devastating spit ball. He played 13 seasons with the White Sox, resulting in a 195-125 record, 250 complete games, and 57 shut outs. He was one of the most durable pitchers during that era, eclipsing 200+ innings seven times. During his 40-win season, he was on the mound for 464 innings, which is hard to even wrap my head around.
Minnie Miñoso (1951-1957, 1961-1962, ’64, ’76, ’80)
I had the pleasure of meeting the “Cuban Comet” when I was 9 years old at Comiskey Park for the meet and greet held for annual ticket holders. Head over to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and do a search for “Mr. White Sox”, and you will come up with “0 results found”. If you look at his career accomplishments, not only will you find it hard to fathom him not being an inductee, you will find it just as difficult to not carve him into the Sox Mt. Rushmore. Minoso was a 7-time All-Star, won 3 Gold Gloves, and finished 4th in MVP voting 4 separate times. He was a difficult out, hitting over .300 nine times, good enough for a career batting average of .298. Aside from the statistics, Minnie was also the first African-American player for the White Sox, hailing from Havana, Cuba.
Avid White Sox fan, and 44th President of the United States had this to say:
Minnie may have been passed over by the Baseball Hall of Fame during his lifetime, but for me and generations of black and Latino young people, Minnie’s quintessentially American story embodies more than a plaque ever could.
Carlton Fisk (1981-1993)
“Pudge” may be remembered for his famous game winning home run for the Boston Red Sox in the 1975 World Series, but for me, he was a main fixture for our White Sox. Fisk joined the White Sox back in 1981, and would go on to hit 214 home runs, and drive in 762 runs. He saved his best career year for 1985, when he hit 37 home runs and collected 107 runs batted in. His 351 home runs as a catcher still stands in the record books today. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000. It could be said that the Fisk was the best free agent signing in the history of the franchise – a deal that would end a long playoff drought and make baseball fun on the south side for many years to come.
Frank Thomas (1990 – 2005)
I was fortunate to watch the majority of his career as a kid. “The Big Hurt” was exactly that. He was large at 6’5 and 275 pounds, and boy did he put a hurt on a baseball. His numbers over his career are staggering even to this day. He came on to the scene in August of 1990, when the White Sox called him up to finish the remainder of the season. He wasted no time, hitting .330, mashing 7 long balls and knocking in 31 runs. From then on, it was a full blown assault on opposing pitchers. Sure, there are the immediate numbers that jump out at you over his career – 521 home runs, 1465 rbi, and a career batting average of .301. What also made him one of the most feared hitters in baseball was his ability to see the ball and be patient. He lead the league in OBP four separate times and is 10th all-time in walks.
Thomas stands out for me among the rest, because I truly was able to see it in person from my parents seats each season. Back-to-back MVP’s in 1993 and 1994, top 10 in MVP voting nine times, five All-Star Game selections, four Silver Slugger Awards, and my favorite White Sox player of all time.
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