Sep 23, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman hitter Paul Konerko (14) is honored before the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Paul Konerko became a Chicago White Sox on Nov. 11, 1998 because of an offseason trade, and one that day the entire course of White Sox, and even part of MLB history was changed.
Aug 16, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox designated hitter Paul Konerko (14) hits an RBI single during the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
The trade that went down on Nov. 11, 1998, saw Konerko be traded from the Cincinnati Reds to the White Sox for outfielder Mike Cameron.
Since that trade, Konerko has become one of the most beloved and greatest players in franchise history, spending what is 16 seasons with the White Sox.
Konerko is retiring from the game following the conclusion of Sunday’s season finale against the Kansas City Royals at US Cellular Field, leaving a legacy that will be unmatched for whomever the next Captain of the “Good Guys” will be sometime in the future.
Konerko has played over 2,200 games with the White Sox, but looking at that trade exactly what did the White Sox give up to obtain Konerko?
Cameron played from 1995-98 with the White Sox, including two seasons of over 100 games in ’97 and ’98. With the White Sox, Cameron batted .229 with 23 home runs and 100 RBIs, but once he was traded to the Reds, he only played the ’99 season with that franchise.
Eventually Cameron played for the Seattle Mariners, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers and the Florida Marlins, equaling an 18-year MLB career and a .249 career batting average.
As for Konerko … he stayed, and the White Sox got the best part of the trade.
Cameron was a very solid MLB player, in fact, one of the first MLB games I can remember attending he hit two home runs while playing for the Reds, but that is a story for another day.
Just thinking about how fortune the White Sox were to be able to trade for a player like Konerko is something that just doesn’t happen everyday.
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Cincinnati gave up on Konerko after 26 games played with the franchise, but he has went on to play 2,265 games for the White Sox, and since the ’06 season he “officially” became the Captain of the team.
The White Sox may never get another trade like this ever again, but the trade for Konerko changed the entire history of the franchise.
Without the trade for Konerko, there is no 2005 World Series Game 2 grand slam against the Houston Astros, and without him, there is no World Series championship that season.
Getting a player who turned out to be a career .281 batter in a White Sox uniform, a player who and who has hit 432 home runs with the White Sox, and a player who has become the face of the franchise for many seasons, the White Sox were fortunate.
Was the trade for Konerko the best trade in franchise history?
I believe so.