With Jose Abreu heading to the Houston Astros this off-season, he isn’t the first White Sox fan favorite to move on to another team before his career was done. Whether it be a trade or signing as a free agent with another team, here are six “Sox on the move” that have hit White Sox fans hard over the years.
Before he was the manager of the White Sox, Ventura manned the hot corner up until the winter of 1998. In December of that year, he signed a four-year deal with the New York Mets. At the end of 2001, he was traded to the Yankees, and then in 2003, he was traded to his final team – the Los Angeles Dodgers. Retiring in 2004, he will be remembered for being a constant at third base, his timely grand slams, and fighting Nolan Ryan.
Kittle is a rare case of the fan favorite who would eventually come home, even after heading elsewhere. With his massive roof shots, Ron Kittle had a reputation for being able to punish pitches – something he would do many times on the South Side. Kittle would start his major league career on the White Sox after being signed at the age of 19 by the Dodgers. After four and a half seasons with the White Sox and a Rookie of the Year win in 1983, Kittle would be traded to the Yankees in 1986 and would post an .803 OPS with the club across two seasons. He was released by the Yankees in 1987, going on to sign with the then-Indians in 1988. Kittle would find his way back to the Sox in 1989 via free agency, only to be traded again in 1990 to Baltimore. His final return to the White Sox would be in 1991, before retiring at the end of the year.
“Black” Jack McDowell was a fierce competitor, endearing himself to Sox fans with his no-nonsense pitching and willingness to not back down to any hitter. After starting his career with the White Sox and posting a Cy Young win, in 1994, McDowell was traded to the Yankees, and after pitching there for a year and half, he would go on to sign a deal with the then-Indians in 1996. McDowell would find himself on one more new team – the Angels – in 1998, before eventually retiring in 1999. In 1998 would find himself as part of the Angels staff, retiring in 1999. He ended his White Sox career with a 3.50 ERA over 1,343.2 innings.
Starting off the White Sox’ currently great run of first basemen – from Frank Thomas to Paul Konerko to Jose Abreu – The Big Hurt was the best of them. Arguably the greatest player in White Sox history, he would leave the Sox after the World Series year of 2005 due to injuries really holding him back throughout that World Series run. He would go on to sign with Oakland in 2006, Toronto in 2007, and then Oakland once again in 2008 after being released earlier that year by the Blue Jays. He would end his career at the age of 40, though impressively, in his final 55 games, still put together a .751 OPS. While he didn’t technically come back to the White Sox as an on-the-field player, he did sign a one-day contract with the White Sox in February of 2010 so he could officially retire on the South Side. Chicago would eventually be the place where his number was retired and a statue erected. And, of course, who could forget the Hall of Fame ceremony in 2014?
“Maggs” was the definition of a fan favorite, as fans would chant his name with every at-bat taken at U.S Cellular Field. Ordonez would hit .307/.364/.525 across eight seasons with the White Sox, finishing as high as eighth in MVP voting in 2002. However, his disagreements with Ozzie Guillen would lead the White Sox to grant him his free agency before the 2005 season, where he would go on to play with Detroit for the remainder of his career before retiring in 2011.
With his no-hitter, perfect game, and his big role in the World Series run, Mark Buehrle was always giving White Sox fans something to cheer about. In fact, if you ask a lot of White Sox fans, he will likely make their “White Sox Mount Rushmore” list. After an incredible 12-year run with the White Sox, the club essentially chose John Danks over Buehrle at the time – to the dismay of many fans – and in 2012, Buehrle would follow Ozzie Guillen down to Miami, signing a four-year deal that would be the final contract of his career. However, we all know how the Guillen tenure in Miami ended, and after the Marlins cleaned house in 2013, Buehrle found himself throwing the final three years of his career north of the border in Toronto.
Paul Konerko is our seventh member of this list – though, his inclusion is because of the heartbreak over the fan favorite moving on to retirement, rather than to another team. Coming over from the Reds in 1998, The Captain would take over for Frank Thomas at first base after Thomas was relegated to DH later in his White Sox career. Paulie would be an integral part of leading the Sox to a World Series title in 2005, and despite multiple chances for him to go elsewhere, he would finish his career with the Sox in 2014. For this, fans will always fondly remember The Captain.
Ray Durham, Carlos Lee, Luis Aparicio, Goose Gossage, Tom Seaver, A.J. Pierzynski, Carlton Fisk
Do you agree with this list? Who were some other White Sox players whose departures from the team hit you hard as a fan? Let us know in the comments below!
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