My All-Time Favorite White Sox (1954-2013)

My All-Time Favorite White Sox (1954-2013)
Big Klu: Ted Kluszewski

I was listening to the MLB Radio Network on Sirius/XM today and the hosts of the afternoon show, Casey Stern and former major league general manager Jim Bowden, came up with an interesting concept. Both of them selected their 30 favorite players that they actually saw play. Not necessarily the best players, but their favorites.

After listening to their choices, I became inspired to list my all-time favorite White Sox since I started following the Pale Hose in 1954. As you see, some are stars and some are average players. Some you may not even remember.  But here are my personal favorites, listed alphabetically because it was much too hard to rank them.

Dick Allen -- The 1972 A.L. MVP, his tenure with the Sox was short--but oh, so sweet.

Luis Aparicio -- Little Looie was so much fun to watch and put the "Go" in the Go-Go Sox.

Harold Baines -- The quiet stalwart, who had his number retired during his career.

Mark Buehrle -- A great teammate. And don't be surprised if he's honored with a statue on the outfield concourse when his outstanding career is over.

Don Buford -- He looked like a running back, which he was at USC, and I loved his game of power, consistency and speed.

Jermaine Dye -- All athletes can take a lesson from him. The 2005 World Series MVP was humble and at his best when we needed him most.

Sammy Esposito -- A utility infielder with the '59 pennant winners, he was a graduate basketball assistant at my high school during the offseason. As a youngster, I once had a memorable encounter with Esposito, who later became the head baseball coach at North Carolina State. He treated me like he had known me all his life. I'll never forget it.

Nellie Fox -- The Hall of Famer was a joy to root for--Charlie Hustle before Pete Rose made it popular. How much did I like Nellie? I was in Cooperstown in 1997 when he was inducted posthumously into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Ozzie Guillen -- Oz has to be on this list. He was an exciting Sox staple for years and the manager of the '05 World Champs. He will always be one of us.

Bobby Jenks -- True, he wore out his welcome at the end, but in his hey-day I loved when he arrived on the mound.

Grover "Deacon" Jones -- Deacon spent minimal time in the majors, but was an outstanding minor league hitter. He was a student of hitting and was a coach after his playing career. I spent some time with him and found him to be inspirational by motivating others with his three C's: Confidence, Coolness and Concentration.

Ron Kittle -- A no-brainer. Long after I graduated, he was the first (and only) to reach the major leagues from our high school--William Wirt in Gary, Indiana. Go Troopers!

Ted Kluszewski -- He spent very little time in a Sox uniform after a terrific career with the Reds, but he was instrumental in carrying the Sox over the finish line to win the A.L. pennant in 1959--and he hit three homers in the World Series. Plus, you had to love the sleeveless look that accomodated his bulging biceps.

Paul Konerko -- The captain of the 2005 World Champs and a true leader. Every team would be lucky to have Konerko as one of the faces of their franchise.

Chet Lemon -- An exciting player with multiple skills, he reached All-Star status with the Sox before thriving with the Tigers. He was just fun to watch.

Carlos May -- A promising career was dashed when he blew off his thumb when on duty with the Marine Reserves, but he still had a fine 10-year tenure in the majors. I had an affiinity toward him in that we were virtually the same age (I'm two days older) and I love the fact that he's the only professional athlete to have his birthdate on the back of his uniform (May 17).

Minnie Minoso -- One of the most exciting players of all-time, Minnie should be in the Hall of Fame. A young boy had to love a ballplayer that played with his kind of flair and unbridled enthusiam.

Magglio Ordonez -- Loved having him in a Sox uniform--especially in the clutch. It was hard watching him in a Tigers uni.

Pablo Ozuna -- The super-sub on the 2005 World Champs, I still get excited when I think about him running the bases and doing the little things to win games.

Herbert Perry -- Remember him? He was the quintessential unsung hero on the 2000 division champs. It seemed like every one of his hits came in the clutch.

Gary Peters -- He was the ace of the Sox staff in his hey-day in the 60s. And one heck of a hitter. The Sox wouldn't have needed a DH on the days he pitched.

Billy Pierce -- Another Sox star that should be in the Hall of Fame. He was truly one of the most dominant pitchers in the '50s and '60s. And a great guy to boot.

Jim Rivera -- "Jungle Jim" was a classic from his nickname to his hustling style of play.

Floyd Robinson -- He was under the radar, but a terrific hitter in the days when the Sox thirsted for offense. He finished his 10-year career with a .284 for the Sox and three other teams.

Frank Thomas -- At the time The Big Hurt reached the majors I told friends that we've been waiting our whole lives for a hitter like this. The greatest offensive player in the team's history, he's a surefire Hall of Famer.

Robin Ventura -- How can you not like Robin? As a player and manager, he's the consummate professional.

Pete Ward -- Suffice it to say, my lucky number is 8 because Pete wore that number with the Sox. I simply was drawn to him. It's no telling how good he could have been had he not suffered an injury in a car accident.

Walt "No Neck" Williams -- I loved his neckless persona, his hustle and how he hit the baseball.

Dewayne Wise -- I'm so impressed by his persistence to stick around and contribute on the major league level.

Richie Zisk -- He was in a Sox uniform for only year, but he was the poster boy for the 1977 Southside Hitmen with 30 homers, 101 RBIs and a .290 batting average.

 

 

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  • Jungle Jim? Remember him?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    You know, I'm with you. On second thought, Jungle Jim should certainly be included. I loved him. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • In reply to Art Berke:

    Ditto.

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    In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Gimme..
    Rich McKinney (greatest clutch hitter ever)...
    Oscar Gamble (great afro...whatta year)...
    Lamar Johnson (loved watching him hit)...
    Ken Berry (amazing catches over the wall)...
    Tommy John (posed for a photo when I asked him to)...
    Alan Bannister (great No. 2 hitter)...
    Wilbur Wood (started every single game when I was a kid)...
    Harry Caray (electrified the ballpark)...
    Jimmy Piersall (never a dull moment)...
    Nyls Nyman (hit .629 one year in about four at bats...electrified September)...

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    An honorary addition to this list should be former fire commissioner Robert Quinn who ordered a celebratory five-minute sounding of Chicago's air-raid sirens after the White Sox won the pennant in 1959. I remember thinking at the time, "Darn! The Sox finally win the pennant and the world is going to end before the World Series! Just our luck."

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    In reply to soxhands:

    Ha..now that's funny! It was right around all those air-raid drills in school, too.

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    What about Jim Landis, a great defensive center fielder? And you left off Al Lopez, a Hall of Fame manager? Wake up!

  • In reply to Bill Bojanowski:

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for writing.

    Jim Landis was a terrific centerfielder as was Ken Berry. Al Lopez was a Hall of Fame manager. You'll get no argument with me on that.

    But I think you're missing the point. I didn't rank the best White Sox, I ranked my 30 favorites. And all Sox fans are going to have their own list as I'm sure you have yours.

    All the best,

    Art

  • Good list, glad Wise is on the list. I would have included "Dr" Hoyt Wilhelm, when he was on it was like Gale Sayers scoring 6 touchdowns, almost unhittable and uncatchable. I agree with having Jungle Jim on too.

  • You have to like Geoff Blum just because of the game winning hr in extra innings that broke the Astros back in game 3. half a season and gone!

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    We can't forget Chuck Tanner who led-off Bill Melton. We finally had a a 30-homer guy. And Harry and Jimmy, without any doubt, the best broadcasting team ever.

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    In reply to Steve Schneiderman:

    when did Melton lead off?

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    I also want to add Lamarr Hoyt, who would have won Game 5 in 1983

  • You left out Bobby Thigpen? Doesn't he still have most saves in one season record and more than Jenks all time? Sherm Lollar could easily be on the list too over a few others. Also
    Joel Horlen
    Bill Skowron
    Hoyt Wilhelm

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    I will have to agree with Big Klu (Ted Kluszewski) not only was an awesome addition to the Sox in 1959, but he was my great uncle! He originally was a football player and hence the huge biceps! I don't understand why he never made it to the hall of fame~he still hasn't had his records beat to my knowledge. Darryl Strawberry tied him and one other had one less run/hit. How do I go about trying to get him into the hall of fame? Anyone know?

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