It's a Friday, so I have no desire to start the final portion of the 2011 White Sox Season Preview just yet, and equally little desire to flip out about Philip Humber's terrible Spring Training start after I tried to have confidence in him, so let's ask a fun question that doesn't pertain to any actual upcoming baseball games.
On Thursday, J.J. completed his retrospective analysis of the Mike Cameron for Paul Konerko trade,
where he concluded that despite the fact that Cameron's defensive
prowess at a premium position (CF) meant he far outstripped Konerko in
career WAR, there's no way you could argue that the trade was a failure
given Paulie's longevity, his contributions to a championship team, his
leadership, and basically everything we love about Konerko.
In trading away a talented center fielder, Ron Schueler acquired the
last player to wear No. 14 for the White Sox organization. Konerko's mug
and number will find itself to left-center field at U.S. Cellular
Field, right between Luis Aparicio (or Ozzie Guillen, perhaps) and Ted
Maybe Cameron would've been on the road to have his number retired.
But there's absolutely no reason to pine for an altering of the past in
the face of the history Konerko has made with the White Sox despite what
the numbers may say.
Well said, as always. But it got me to thinking; what if we lived in
alternate reality where baseball was removed of sentiment (and as a
result, made significantly more boring), and the White Sox Wall of Fame
in left-center field was determined entirely by who had produced the
Of course, Beyond the Box Score went and tabulated the career WAR leaders for the Sox a year ago, and even factoring in his huge 2010, Konerko doesn't break the top 10 for position players.
The Top 10 overall in bWAR
- Frank Thomas - 1B/DH 70.6
- Luke Appling - SS 69.3
- Eddie Collins - 2B 66.0
- Ted Lyons - P 58.8
- Red Faber - P 55.2
- Ed Walsh - P 55.0
- Billy Pierce - P 50.3
- Wilbur Wood - P 44.9
- Eddie Cicotte - P 43.1
- Mark Buehrle - P 42.9
The wall as it stands has Thomas, Appling, Lyons, and Pierce, but also
added Harold Baines, Carlton Fisk, Minnie Minoso, Nellie Fox (who would
be 11th on this list), Luis Aparicio, and the league-wide addition of
Jackie Robinson. I can't imagine anyone is really pushing to get rid of
any of these guys, or opposing the inevitable addition of Konerko, and
Buehrle would probably have to sign with the Cubs, or play 15 seasons
with the Cardinals to stay off the wall at this point.
But those are easy to figure out, and as the the list here and at Beyond
the Box Score indicates, there are other deserving candidates.
Collins, Faber, and Walsh seem to fall victim to the phenomenon that no
can remember anything from before WWII, and it would take a deeply
sarcastic White Sox owner to put Eddie Cicotte on the wall.
Wilbur Wood seems like the obvious choice because he's 8 on the list and
played 12 seasons for the Sox, but he's hampered by accumulating the
lion share of his production during a 4-year peak where he threw 1390.1
innings. Robin Ventura's 38.8 WAR is impressive, but his controversial
departure followed by having the best season of his career elsewhere
makes him unlikely, and Fielder Jones and George Davis are both old to
the point of anonymity.
The team's current approach to prospects doesn't bode well for having a
lot of long-tenured players in the future. Gordon Beckham is a
home-grown talent, and John Danks would be a good bet if he just
maintained current performance levels for another 10 years...and didn't
bolt in free agency, but that's ridiculous speculation at this point.
While I would certainly endorse putting Wood on the wall even if simply
to pay him back for the Herculean workload he lugged in mid-70s,
scrolling through the BatB list reveals one hyper-intriguing candidate:
Joe Jackson with 28.8 WAR.
Reinsdorf and Selig are too good of friends for this to ever to go down
before Shoeless is actually reinstated by baseball, but if another burst
of momentum builds behind proving his innocence, this is something that
could occur in the next ten years. Jackson's performance was
superlative to the point where his career totals are comparable to guys
already on the wall despite being banned at 30, and since this is mostly
a means for a promotional day to fill the stadium during anyway,
Shoeless is the player who would cause the most excitement.
That or just put Jon Garland on the wall....I always liked him.