It was a wonderful new experience for the 26-year-old on multiple levels. Promoted to the major leagues in June, it was his first home run in the show. It was also his very first walk-off homer anywhere, of any kind, ever. And the best part is that the solo blast vaulted the White Sox to a 4-3 victory over the A's which kept them a full game ahead of the Tigers in the A.L. Central.
That was the kind of night Jordan Danks had. How was yours?
The dream of every youngster playing baseball is to step up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning of a tie game and hit the game-winning homer. And after the game, Danks talked about his heroics just like a Little Leaguer. He called it "unbelievable," commented on how he has visualized the same scenario many times and how it was going to be a memory to last a lifetime.
I don't think it's inaccurate to say that the Sox were hoping to have gotten Jordan to the majors a bit sooner. In parts of four seasons prior to 2012 in Class A, AA and AAA, Danks averaged .258 with a high of 14 homers and 65 RBIs (with Charlotte last year). Before being called on June 7, Danks smashed eight homers, 15 doubles, drove in 28 runs and sported a batting average of .302 and an OPS of .934 in 57 games. His big bugaboo has been the strikeout total. The past two seasons (2010 and 2011) with the Knights, he struck out 151 and 155 times and prior to reaching Chicago this summer, he K'd on 59 occasions.
Since joining the Sox, the major league version of Jordan Danks has been a valuable player off of the bench, even convincing the Sox by his play on the field that he could be a more valuable piece than offseason signing Kosuke Fukudome, who was released shortly after the Texan's arrival. Jordan has been primarily a pinch runner and defensive replacement (where he excels), but has had a respectable 13 hits in 49 at at bats for a .265 mark. The strikeout total is at 12.
Danks will have more opportunity in the next week to prove what he can do on the big league level with Paul Konerko on the seven-day DL with a mild concussion. Based on what he did last night, it's a good bet he will be seeing some regular playing time while Paulie is recovering.
Whatever the future holds for John's younger brother, he'll always have the memory of "walking off" into the night on the South Side of Chicago.
Sox Note of Note: Since yesterday's post, the A's changed their pitching rotation for today and tomorrow to give Tommy Milone and Sox fan Jarrod Parker some additional rest. Tonight, in Milone's place, will be Travis Blackley (3-3, 3.62 in his 10 starts). Word has it that on Sunday afternoon former Sox Bartolo Colon (9-8, 3.37) will get the nod.