Aug 30, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) during the first inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago White Sox left-handed starting pitcher Chris Sale went back to college on Saturday night, with Florida Gulf Coast University retiring his collegiate jersey.
Sale, who wore No. 41 while at FGCU, had a career 2.41 ERA at FGCU with a 20-4 record in his 52 appearances with the Eagles.
Wearing No. 49 with the White Sox, Sale has been underrated his entire baseball career. In addition to being overlooked by the major national media in MLB circles, when he was being recruited for college baseball, his lone Division I offer was from Florida Gulf Coast University.
In a release by FGCU, Ken Kavanagh, the Director of Athletics at FGCU, said the following on Sale:
"“We are indeed blessed to have Chris as such a tremendous daily ambassador. Not only for our Baseball program and FGCU Athletics in general, but for the entire University as a whole, as he epitomizes the pride and spirit of the Eagles.”"
As a freshman with the Eagles, Sale had a 3.47 ERA in 21 appearances, while striking out 46 batters.
Before the event on Saturday, Sale said of the jersey retirement:
"“What an honor. It’s very humbling. It’s something that I take with a lot of appreciation. I appreciate the fact that FGCU is doing this for me. It’s really awesome.”"
Since leaving FGCU, Sale has went on to become the ace of the White Sox rotation after he was selected as the 13th overall pick in the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft. He made his MLB debut on Aug. 6, 2010 at 21 years old.
In his debut against the Baltimore Orioles (at Camden Yards), Sale allowed one hit and walked one against the two batters he faced in the 2-1 White Sox loss. Sale had just seven pitches in that debut, allowing no runs and recording no outs.
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Sale has gone on to make three MLB All-Star game appearances (2012-14) since that debut, finishing third in the AL Cy Young voting in ’14, trailing only Cleveland’s Corey Kluber and Seattle’s Felix Hernandez.
The left-handed ace of the White Sox has a career MLB ERA of 2.76 with 737 strikeouts in 674.2 innings pitched.
This past season, Sale was 12-4 with a 2.17 ERA with 208 strikeouts in 174.0 innings.