The Chicago White Sox : Where Stars Go To Die

It’s hit my Twitter feed like a wave.  My beloved sector of White Sox beat writers have collectively awoken like a sleeping giant.  As a huge basketball fan, I’m not ready.  My Illini are surging and the NBA season inches closer to being interesting.

Last week, it was the ubiquitous collection of dudes standing around a mound.  Harness the excitement.

Today kicks off the first game at Camelback Ranch, so of course I want the deetz.

Farmer and DJ are kinda tiptoeing around the name “Tekotte.” I thought it was TEE-cody. Is that right?

— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) February 23, 2013

I think I’m mostly shocked that anybody would subject themselves to Darrin Jackson before March.  That’s straight masochism, sir.

In all fairness, I’ll be in Glendale in 2 weeks, doing the same shit.  Hilljack and I will be professing our man-crushes for Trayce Thompson, I’ll be heckling Juan Uribe, and @SonOfHilljack will be losing followers, one by one.  I can’t help but feel like this spring lacks a little bit of the usual Kenny Williams induced bravado, though, and for good reason — he’s no longer our GM.  This realization becomes especially accordant when considering we haven’t made any newsworthy splashes this off season.  No big free agent news, no controversial trades.  And no washed up veterans.  The latter provides a serious shift in White Sox culture that dies with the changing of the guard.  We didn’t sign Jason Giambi this offseason.  Nor Ichiro, Eric Chavez or Scott Rolen.  Did we even take a flyer on LaTroy Hawkins?  What the fuck is going on here?

Let’s take a closer look at exactly what I’m talking about.  Where as players on the North Side have historically blossomed when seeking sanctuary with new organizations, Bridgeport is apparently the hottest retirement community for aging superstars since 2000.

Manny Ramirez

162 Game Average :.312/.411/.585 , 39 HR 129 RBI  

2010 White Sox : 24 G, .261/.420/.319, 1 HR 2 RBI

Perhaps the most memorable and most forgettable, all at once.  He wore #99, DH’ed for 24 games, and was roughly as productive as Jayson Nix.  It’s completely plausible to suggest that he was the most dominating right handed hitter in the majors for a portion of time — particularly during his playoff push just two years earlier in L.A.  That said, if this wasn’t such a recent case, there’s no way I remember him ever suiting up for the White Sox.

Ken Griffey Jr.

162 Game Average : .284/.370/.538, 38HR 111 RBI

2008 White Sox : 41 G .260/.347/.405, 3 HR 18 RBI

Junior was perhaps the most popular player of his generation, so when we dealt Danny Richar and Nick Masset to Cincinnati for “The Kid”, it was met with met unanimous approval.  Nevermind the fact that he had aged past general utility, our 90’s video game fantasies of having Griffey on the White Sox had come to fruition, and that alone was worth it.  As it turns out, he provided the single most important defensive play of the season.  The next year we unceremoniously let him walk, and he fell asleep in Seattle’s clubhouse during a game — prompting him to retire.

Jose Canseco

162 Game Average: .266/.353/.515, 40 HR 121 RBI

2001 White Sox : 76 G, .258/.366/.477, 16 HR 49 RBI

Most people won’t remember this, but Canseco was moderately serviceable during his time on the South Side — especially considering we picked him up from an Independent League Team.   Take that for what it’s worth, because his sweat could have been pure anabolic steroids that entire summer.  I’ll forever have a mental picture of him following Paulie around the clubhouse with a syringe, just waiting for the right moment to sink it into his unsuspecting buttocks.  My only regret is he didn’t have the opportunity to share the clubhouse with Ozzie.

Jose a little creepy, but I arm wrestle if he want.  He’s just one man and if it’s just one man, than I’LL be the man.  He wanna fire me? Go ahead. I’d walk him to get Liefer to get to him. But ya, I love Jose, man.

The Alomar Brothers

Apparently their years in Chicago weren’t as notable. Whatever.

Roberto Alomar

162 Game Average :  .300/.371/.443 , 32 SB, 14 HR 77 RBI

White Sox Career : 85 G, .239/.307/.322, 6 SB, 4 HR 25 RBI

Sandy Alomar Jr. 

162 Game Average : .273/.309/.406, 13 HR 69 RBI

White Sox Career : 265 G, .257/.291/.384, 19 HR 94 RBI

I’ll admit, I was initially salty when the Sox felt so obligated to prolong their careers.  Some of my earliest baseball memories were devoted to hating the team that most often occupied the top of the AL Central in the mid to late 90s.  I despised the Indians so much that I was Craig Counsell for Halloween in ’97.  That’s all a distant memory now, and most of my ire is directed toward the elite athletes that call Comerica Home.  I don’t remember much about Sandy, and that’s probably because he couldn’t hit 20 homers over a five year span with the White Sox.  I’m sure he called a great game, though.  Robbie, on the other hand, comprises 1/2 of my all time favorite South Side double play combo.  To say he and Jose Valentin were better up the middle than Alexei and Beckham is probably flat out false, but they played defense with a flair that I will never forget.  And they were both switch hitters!  (Fun Fact:  That 2003 team had 5 switch hitters.  5.  And we almost went after Jason Kubel this winter because we needed a left handed bat…) Absolutely none of his hall of fame career is indebted to his time with the White Sox, but I’ll be honest — I loved the Roberto Alomar era.

Andruw Jones

Andruw Jones striking out.

162 Game Average : .254/.337/.486, 32 HR 95 RBI

2010 White Sox : 107 G, .230/.341/.486, 19 HR 48 RBI

My least favorite player on this list.  Apparently I was the only guy on the planet to realize that Andruw had been mailing it in the previous 2 years before we even signed him.  The man struck out 68 times in 187 at bats with L.A., and that’s not even who we got him from.  I don’t think he ran harder than a light jog the entire 2010 season.  I’m almost positive he didn’t hit a ball to the right side, because I’m equally positive he wasn’t trying to.  I feel like he dropped 10 balls in the outfield — on purpose.  To make matters worse, he did all of this with a gigantic smile on his face.  It was brilliant, really.

A Few Others Worth Noting

Charles Johnson 

Was actually completely solid, and went on to play 5 more years after the Sox.

Omar Vizquel

In 2010, I totally didn’t mind having him come to the plate in a big situation — which says a lot about that season.  Was also genuinely shocked whenever he made an error.

Carl Everett

Remember this crazy asshole?  His nickname is listed as “Jurassic Carl”, which is awesome.  Whenever somebody tries to pay a “clubhouse guy” too much money for said credential, remind them we won a World Series with Everett on our roster.

Kenny Lofton

The ultimate journeyman.  He never batted under .260 with any team except the White Sox.  Then he turned around and hit .335 in 110 games with the Phillies in 2005 along with some other really productive seasons after our trial usage of him.  Why you gotta do us like that Kenny?

Harold Baines

Did you know he got actual at-bats in 2001?! Did you know that 2001 was over a decade ago!!?!?

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