John Supowitz | May 27th, 2020
The White Sox are a long and historic franchise. Their origins go back to when they were known as the Sioux City Cornhuskers of the Western League, a minor league under the parameters of The National Agreement with the National League. Charles Comiskey would purchase the team in 1894, move to St. Paul Minnesota, and would rename them the Saints.
In 1900, Comiskey would move the team again, this time to his hometown neighbor of Armour Square of Chicago, and rename them the White Stockings. One year later, the Western League would break their National Agreement with the National League and start a bring new major league known as the American League with the White Stockings being one of the charter teams.
They would win the first-ever American League championship, it was not referred to as the World Series until 1903. Their first World Series title would come in 1906. The next would be in 1917 that featured players such as Eddie Collins and Shoeless Joe Jackson.
In 1919 the White Sox would go on to lose the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. Substantial bets placed on the Reds lead to speculation that the series was fixed. A criminal investigation later acquitted all the players, but Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned eight players for life in what is known as the “Black Sox Scandal.”
This would lead to a major setback for the franchise as it did not win another pennant until 1959, and a World Series title until 2005.
Although the championship pedigree is not prestigious as other franchises, they still have produced incredible talent in their history. There are 18 people in the Hall Of Fame as a White Stocking/White Sox.
Here are the best players to play in this franchise’s history.
Frank Thomas (1990-2005)
When you think of the Chicago White Sox, one of the first names to come to mind is Frank Thomas. The Big Hurt is not only one of the best hitters in the White Sox history but was one of the best hitters of his era.
Drafted in the first round by the White Sox in 1989, he would make his debut on Agust 2, 1990. Thomas came out the gate as a great player, finishing third in the American League MVP voting in his first full season. Thomas joined Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, and Jimmie Foxx as the only players to hit over .300, with 20+ home runs, and 100+ RBI, runs, and walks in three consecutive seasons.
In his 15 seasons with the team, The Big Hurt won back-to-back MVPs (unanimously in 1993) and five all-star appearances. Thomas is the White Sox all-time leader in home runs, RBI, doubles, extra hits, and offensive WAR. His 521 career home runs are 20th all-time and he was inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 2014.
Paul Konerko (1999-2014)
Frank Thomas was the more well-known player during the 90’s-00’s White Sox teams, but the value Konerko had on that team is hard to ignore. He was drafted in the first round by the Los Angeles Angels in 1994, he only played 55 games for them before being traded to Cincinnati in 1998. The Reds would trade Konerko to Chicago before the 1999 season. Only playing 81 MLB games previously, he would play 142 in the first season with the White Sox, hitting .294 with 24 home runs and 81 RBI.
His leadership and consistent hitting helped bring prominence back to the White Sox. In 2005, the franchise would win its first World Series title in 88 years. In Game 2, Konerko hit a monumental grand slam that helped them sweep the series against the Houston Astros. It was voted the best moment in U.S. Cellular Field’s 25th-anniversary celebration. That postseason he had five home runs and 15 RBI, all White Sox playoff records.
Konerko ended his career as the all-time White Sox leader in total bases while ranking second in home runs and games played, and third in hits and doubles. He made seven all-star appearances and had seven seasons with 30+ home runs. His number 14 was retired by the White Sox in 2015.
Luke Appling (1930-1943, 1945-1950)
Appling is the second-longest tenured player in White Sox history (Ted Lyons 21 seasons) with his entire two-decade career in Chicago. In 1936, he arguably had the best year of his career; hitting .338 with 124 RBI and became the first-ever shortstop to win an American League batting title.
At the time of his retirement, he held the record for most games played and double plays by a shortstop, and the all-time leader in putouts and assists by an American League shortstop.
His legacy with the White Sox still reverberates. Although his career ended 70 years ago, he still owns the White Sox record in games played, plate appearances, and hits. He went to seven all-star games, and his number four was retired by White Sox. He was elected into the Hall Of Fame in 1964
Nellie Fox (1950-1963)
Fox is another long-tenured White Sox player. Spending 14 seasons with the White Sox he made 12 all-star appearances. In 1959, Fox was named the American League Most Valuable Player. In that season he hit .308 with 70 RBI and also won a gold glove. That same season, the White Sox would make it World Series. In Fox’s only World Series appearance, he lead the team with a .375 batting average and three doubles as they would lose to the Dodgers.
Fox was well known for his defensive skills. He became the first awarded American League Gold Glove winner at second base. He would win the award two more times. Fox led American League in putouts by a second baseman from 1952-1961 and was top four in fielding percentage from 1950-1964
He made his mark in White Sox history; he’s the all-time leader in triples, second in at-bats and hits, third in runs scored and fourth in total bases and doubles. Fox’s number two is retired by the franchise and he was elected into the Hall Of Fame in 1997.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images