Luke Appling, Shortstop/Third Baseman – (1930-1950)
This White Sox legend is possibly the greatest shortstop to ever play for the franchise. Luke Appling was a consistent hitter throughout his 20 seasons with the Sox achieving more extra-base hits (587) than strikeouts (528) by the end of his career.
Appling made his name known in 1936 when he received his first ever All-Star Game selection and was batting .388 which is still the top single-season record for any shortstop playing in the modern-era. That year he also drove in 128 runs while hitting only six long balls.
He was also said to have one of the best eyes at the plate drawing an average of 87 walks a season and only 35 strikeouts. This of course led him to a career OPS of .399 and the fourth all-time slot for the Sox. Appling gave the White Sox a tremendous amount of value during his 20 years of service with a team leading 74.5 WAR.
After serving one year in the military (1944) Appling came back to the game for five more years ultimately ending his career in 1950.
He ended up with a career stat line worth a trip to the Hall of Fame. Appling accomplished a .310 batting average over his career while earning himself two batting titles, seven All-Star Game selections and 2,749 hits.
In 1969 Appling was named the Sox’s greatest player ever by fans and continues to hold that title today. So does he deserve the honorary Thomas Jefferson of the White Sox? I think so.
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