Opening Day Countdown: White Sox season 98 days away
Apr 4, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; A baseball fan catches a ball in his hat during a game between the Chicago White Sox and the Kansas City Royals at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
With the Chicago White Sox being 98 days away from the 2015 season, let’s take a look at something that corresponds with the No. 98. Today, we have chosen the 1998 White Sox.
The 1998 White Sox finished 80-82 overall, nine games out of the top spot of the AL Central, good enough for a second-place finish under Jerry Manuel.
For the ’98 season, the best player offensively for the Good Guys was left fielder Albert Belle, who finished with with a .328 batting average, 49 home runs, 152 RBIs, 200 hits and a .655 slugging percentage.
Those numbers don’t even mention the .399 on-base percentage and 1.055 OPS. Belle even had 48 doubles that season and scored 113 runs, plus we can’t forget his 399 total bases in ’98.
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Belle had a WAR (wins above replacement) of 7.1 and had 706 plate appearances (609 at-bats).
In what was his final season with the White Sox, Belle was eighth in the AL Most Valuable Player award voting. Belle did win a Silver Slugger Award but was not voted or selected to the AL All-Star team.
Belle led the majors in games played, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+, total base and sacrifice flies.
On the mound for the White Sox in ’98, Mike Sirotka was the strikeout leader with 128, but he also had an ERA of 5.06 with a 14-15 record in 33 starts. Sirotka had the best ERA of any of the White Sox starters that season.
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Reliever Bob Howry led the White Sox in ’98 with a 3.15 ERA in 44 games. He was second in saves with nine in 54.1 innings pitched.
The ’98 AL Central title was won by the Cleveland Indians with an 89-73 record. In the entire AL for the ’98 season, only one team had more than 98 wins which was the New York Yankees (114-48). The Yankees were the eventual World Series champions that season, defeating the NL champion San Diego Padres, who won 98 games in the regular season.
Also with the number 98 in the ’98 season, Wil Cordero for the White Sox had a OPS+ of you guessed it … 98.
So with 98 days away from Opening Day against the Kansas City Royals, what do you remember the most from the ’98 season?