It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the overwhelming majority of the top home run hitters in the history of the Chicago White Sox have come recently.
The Chicago White Sox played 80-plus seasons in one of baseball’s least friendly venues for home runs, toiling at Comiskey Park for their home games from 1910-90.
Prior to that the White Sox had played at wooden South Side Park for the franchise’s first nine-plus seasons (1901-10), moving into what was then called White Sox Park on July 1, 1910.
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While the White Sox moved out of Old Comiskey Park (known as White Sox Park from 1910-12 before being renamed for team owner Charlie Comiskey before it was returned to its original name from 1962-75). Bill Veeck brought back the Comiskey Park name when he purchased the club in 1976.
The 1976 season was also the year the artificial turf which had been installed in the infield in 1969, was removed and the field returned to being entirely grass (the outfield remained grass throughout the stadium’s tenure).
The second iteration of Comiskey Park opened for the 1991 season and was renamed U.S. Cellular Field in 2003. The naming rights changed hands in October 2016 and the new moniker, Guaranteed Rate Field, took effect for the 2017 season.
While the newer digs were more home-run friendly, the White Sox haven’t had a player lead the American League in home runs in nearly 50 years, with Dick Allen the last to do so in 1974.
It was the third time in four seasons a member of the White Sox topped the AL in long balls, after Bill Melton became the first player in franchise history to do so in 1971 and Allen repeated the following season.
Two other players led the AL in homers after beginning the season in Chicago but finishing elsewhere. The first, Braggo Roth, hit three homers in 70 games with the White Sox in 1915 before he was traded to the Cleveland Indians in August and hit four in 39 games with Cleveland to lead the circuit with seven (this was, after all, the dead ball era).
The second player to do so, Gus Zernial in 1951, played in just four games with the Sox before being dealt to the Philadelphia Athletics in a three-team trade and hit all 33 of his homers that season after going to the A’s.
The team’s single-season record-holder is not included among the top 15 career home run leaders. Albert Belle set the White Sox franchise mark with 49 home runs in 1998, breaking the mark set by Frank Thomas of 41 home runs in 1993.
Of the top 15 home run hitters in team history, all but one of them played for the franchise in 1968 or later. Let’s jump into the list.
White Sox all-time home run hitters – No. 15: Joe Crede
125 home runs from 2000-08
Crede was a Silver Slugger winner in 2006 for the White Sox and was named an All-Star in 2008 after slashing .252/.323/.463 with 16 home runs and 49 RBI in 86 games in the first half of the season before he was limited to just 11 games after the All-Star break before he was shut down due to back surgery.
Crede’s hit a career-high 30 dingers in 2006, also slashing a career-best .283/.323/.506. Crede hit 22 homers for the World Series champion White Sox squad in 2005, adding two more long balls in the ALCS victory over the Los Angeles Angels and hit a pair in the four-game sweep of the Houston Astros in the World Series.
Crede was a fifth-round pick by the White Sox from Fatima High School in Westphalia, Mo., in 1996 and signed with the organization on June 5, 1996. He made his big league debut a little more than four years later, on Sept. 12, 2000.
His first career home run came on Aug. 11, 2002, a solo shot off former White Sox right-hander James Baldwin of the Seattle Mariners in the bottom of the second inning of what was a 6-5 victory for the Sox. The first of his eight games with two homers for Chicago came a little more than two weeks later, on Aug. 27, 2002, against the Toronto Blue Jays.
White Sox all-time home run hitters – No. 14: Jim Thome
134 home runs from 2006-09
Jim Thome came to the Chicago White Sox late in his 22-year career, acquired in a November 2005 trade from the Philadelphia Phillies for outfielder Aaron Rowand, minor-leaguer Daniel Haigwood and a player to be named later that turned out to be left-hander Gio Gonzalez.
Thome remained with the Sox until Aug. 31, 2009, when he was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor-leaguer Justin Fuller.
He was an All-Star in his first season with Chicago, belting 42 homers on a slash line of .288/.416/.598, but his production began to wane in 2007, when he slid to 35 bombs with a .275/.410/.563 slash line.
In 2008, he hit 34 homers but slashed just .245/.362/.503 and before he was traded in 2009, in his age-38 season, he hit 23 homers in 107 games on a slash of .249/.372/.493.
Thome played in one postseason series with Chicago, but was just 2-for-16 with no home runs and a walk in their loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS.
Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018, Thome enters the 2020 season eighth on the all-time list with 612 career home runs.
White Sox all-time home run hitters – No. 13: Minnie Minoso
135 home runs from 1951-57, 1960-61, 1964, 1976, 1980
Minnie Minoso was signed by the Cleveland Indians before the 1948 season. While Minoso was from pre-revolutionary Cuba, he had played parts of three seasons with the New York Cubans in the Negro National League.
He came to the Chicago White Sox in an April 30, 1951, three-team trade, with Minoso going to Chicago, Dave Philley and Gus Zernial traded by the White Sox to the Philadelphia Athletics, who swapped Paul Lehner to Chicago.
His first homer for the White Sox came in his debut for the club on May 1, 1951, a two-run shot in the first inning off New York Yankees right-hander Vic Raschi.
Minoso played third base and all three outfield positions in his first season with the White Sox and wound up making three consecutive All-Star appearances between 1952 and 1954, leading the league in stolen bases in both 1952 and 1953 and in triples in 1954 and 1956. Minoso was fourth in the American League MVP voting in 1953, 1954 and 1960.
After a fourth All-Star nod in 1957, Minoso was traded back to the Indians in December 1957 along with Fred Hatfield, with Early Wynn and Al Smith coming to the Sox. He was involved in a third trade between Cleveland and the White Sox in December 1959, a seven-player deal that brought Minoso back to the White Sox along with Dick Brown, Don Ferrarese and Jake Striker.
Minoso earned his fifth All-Star selection as a member of the White Sox in 1960, but after the 1961 season was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. He signed with Chicago as a free agent in April 1964 before he was released in July of that year. His last homer came off Kansas City Athletics left-hander Ted Bowsfield in the seventh inning of the nightcap of a May 6, 1964, doubleheader.
Minoso’s high for homers as a member of the White Sox was 21 in 1956 and he also hit 20 in 1960, when he led the AL with 184 hits. Minoso would later coach with the White Sox from 1976-78, making a late-season appearance as a player at age 50 and did so again at age 54 in 1980.
His 1976 cameo resulted in him becoming the third-oldest player to get a hit in a major league game. Minoso died March 1, 2015, at the age of 89.
White Sox all-time home run hitters – No. 12: Jose Valentin
136 home runs from 2000-04
Jose Valentin enjoyed the best power years of his 16-year big-league career in the five seasons he spent with the Chicago White Sox. After never hitting more than 24 in a season prior to joining the White Sox, Valentin had at least 25 in all five years he was in Chicago, including a career-high 30 in 2004.
Acquired in a January 2000 trade along with Cal Eldred from the Milwaukee Brewers for Jaime Navarro and John Snyder, Valentin re-upped with the White Sox as a free agent after the 2000 season before departing to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers in December 2004.
Valentin hit 25 homers in 2000 with a .273/.343/.491 slash line, but those slash line figures fell each year he was with the club, even as he followed with 28 home runs in 2001, 25 in 2002, 28 in 2003 and 30 in 2004.
He was a shortstop for the 2000 club that won the AL Central title and was 3-for-10 without a homer as the Sox were swept by the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS. He was Chicago’s regular third baseman in 2001-02 before returning to shortstop for his final two season with the team.
White Sox all-time home run hitters – No. 11: Ron Kittle
140 home runs from 1982-86, 1989-90, 1991
Ron Kittle played three tours with the Chicago White Sox after signing with the club as a minor-league free agent in September 1978. Kittle made his major league debut for the White Sox on Sept. 2, 1982, and connected for his first home run a month later, hitting a two-run shot off Frank Viola of the Minnesota Twins in the top of the first inning on Oct. 2, 1982.
That set the stage for a huge 1983 season, during which Kittle hit 35 home runs and was named both an All-Star and American League Rookie of the Year. But he would never return to those heights during the remainder of his 10 major-league seasons, parts of eight he spent with Chicago.
He hit 32 homers in 1974, but slashed just .215/.295/.453, and followed with 26 in 1985 and 17 in 1986 before he was sent to the New York Yankees in a July 1986 trade as part of a six-player deal.
He returned to the Sox as a free agent in November 1988, hitting 11 homers as a part-time first baseman/designated hitter and clubbing 16 in 1990 before he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in July 1990. He came back to the White Sox a final time as a free agent in June 1991, but was released in August of that year.
His last home run came two days before his release, when he hit a two-run shot in the top of the ninth inning off Detroit Tigers closer Mike Henneman at Tiger Stadium in an 11-9 loss in the first game of an Aug. 13, 1991, doubleheader.
White Sox all-time home run hitters – No. 10: Carlos Lee
152 home runs from 1999-2004
Carlos Lee signed with the Chicago White Sox in February 1994 as an international free agent from Panama and the 18-year-old began his journey through the farm system at the Florida spring training complex in the Gulf Coast League.
He made his major-league debut on May 7, 1999, with the White Sox, and homered in his first at-bat off Oakland Athletics knuckleballer Tom Candiotti in a 7-1 win at new Comiskey Park. Lee hit 16 home runs as a rookie, then had 24 in each of the next two seasons before hitting 26 in 2002.
In 2003 and 2004, Lee hit 31 homers each season before he was traded in December 2004 to the Milwaukee Brewers for three players, including Scott Podsednik, who was an All-Star left fielder for Chicago’s World Series championship club in 2005.
Lee hit two homers in his final game for the White Sox, a two-run blast off Jason Johnson of the Detroit Tigers in the third inning and a grand slam off John Ennis in the ninth inning at Tiger Stadium in an 11-2 victory on Sept. 29, 2004.
In the 2000 playoffs, Lee was just 1-for-11 in a three-game ALDS sweep at the hands of the Seattle Mariners, with his lone hit a double in Game 1 at new Comiskey Park.
White Sox all-time home run hitters – No. 9: Bill Melton
154 home runs from 1968-75
Bill Melton signed with the Chicago White Sox as an amateur free agent in 1964 after playing at Citrus College in southern California and made his debut for Chicago on May 4, 1968. The first of his 154 home runs with the club came in the top of the ninth inning off left-hander Fritz Peterson of the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 11, 1968, in a 7-2 loss.
In 1970, Melton became the first player in White Sox history to top the 30 home run plateau, clubbing 33, and followed that up with another 33-homer season in 1971, this time becoming Chicago’s first American League home run leader and earning his lone career All-Star berth.
Melton remained with the White Sox through the 1975 season, but never again reached those heights as a slugger, hitting seven in an injury-shortened 1972 campaign and following with 20, 21 and 15 respectively over his final three seasons.
In December 1975, Melton was traded to the California Angels in a four-player deal and was out of baseball after becoming a free agent in October 1977.
White Sox all-time home run hitters – No. 8: Jermaine Dye
164 home runs from 2005-09
Jermaine Dye held down the right field job for the Chicago White Sox over the final five seasons of his career, signing with the team as a free agent in December 2004 and immediately helping the team to a World Series title in 2005.
Dye hit 31 homers in the championship season before clouting a career-high 44 and earning his second career All-Star appearance in 2006, also driving in a career-high 120 runs and finishing fifth in the MVP voting.
Dye had 28 homers in 2007, hit 34 in 2008 and had 27 in 2009, but had no takers after his contract expired in November 2009 at the age of 35.
He kicked off the scoring in Game 1 of the World Series against the Houston Astros in 2005, taking a Roger Clemens delivery the opposite way to right field for a two-out solo blast. He hit his only other postseason homer for the White Sox in Game 4 of the 2008 ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays, connecting for a solo shot off Andy Sonnanstine to chase him with two outs in the sixth.
White Sox all-time home run hitters – No. 7: Robin Ventura
171 home runs from 1989-1998
Robin Ventura grew into a slugger with the Chicago White Sox, eventually finishing with 171 home runs over his 10 seasons with the team after hitting just five in his first full season and change.
Ventura was the 10th overall pick by Chicago out of Oklahoma State in 1988 and signed with the White Sox in October of that year. It did not take him long to reach the show, debuting for Chicago on Sept. 12, 1989. His first career home run came off Roger Clemens in a 7-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Comiskey Park on April 18, 1990.
Ventura went on to be named an All-Star in 1992 and was a five-time Gold Glove winner at third base for the White Sox, as well, hitting a career-high 34 home runs in 1996, while topping the 20-home run mark four times (1991, 1993, 1995 and 1998).
Ventura recovered from a horrific ankle injury in 1997 with a strong 1998 season before signing with the New York Mets in December 1998. His last homer with the Sox came off Kansas City Royals right-hander Tim Belcher on Sept, 27, 1998, at Kaufman Stadium.
Ventura had one postseason homer with the White Sox, taking Duane Ward out for a two-run shot in the top of the ninth inning of a 5-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 5 of the 1993 ALCS. He later managed the White Sox to a 375-435 record from 2012-16.
White Sox all-time home run hitters – No. 6: Jose Abreu
179 home runs since 2014
It didn’t take long for Jose Abreu to start clubbing the baseball for the Chicago White Sox after he signed with the club as an international free agent in October 2013 and he’s seldom stopped hitting long balls since.
It took him eight games into his rookie season before he hit a pair of homers against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on April 8, 2014. He had a three-run shot off Chad Bettis in the seventh inning and belted a two-run job off Wilton Lopez an inning later in Chicago’s 15-3 win.
He finished his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2014 with 36 home runs, a franchise record for a first-year player, which shouldn’t have come as too big a surprise after the big first baseman hit 178 homers in just 640 games over 10 seasons in the Cuban National Series. Abreu was also fourth in the MVP voting in 2014.
Abreu is a three-time All-Star and a two-time Silver Slugger recipient who has topped the 30-home run mark four times (2014-15, 2017, 2019) and led the American League with 123 RBI last season as well. He re-signed with the White Sox for three years and $50 million last November.
White Sox all-time home run hitters – No. 5: Magglio Ordonez
187 home runs from 1997-2004
Magglio Ordonez was just 17 years old when he signed with the Chicago White Sox as an international free agent in May 1991, but the Venezuelan outfielder worked his way up the organization until making his major league debut on Aug. 29, 1997, and cracking his first career homer the following day off Houston Astros’ right-hander Jose Lima.
Ordonez broke out in 1999, earning the first of four All-Star appearances while he was with Chicago and hitting 30 homers and driving in 117 runs. It was the first of four consecutive seasons with at least 30 homers and 110 RBI for Ordonez, who hit a career-high 38 long balls in 2002.
A two-time Silver Slugger winner while with the White Sox, Ordonez’s career in Chicago came to an end in July 2004 when he sustained a serious knee injury. The White Sox did not re-sign Ordonez when his contract expired that October and he signed with the Detroit Tigers in February 2005.
His last homer with the Sox came on July 15, 2004, off Rich Harden of the Oakland Athletics. Ordonez did not have a postseason homer for Chicago, going 2-for-11 with a triple as the White Sox were swept by the Seattle Mariners in the 2000 ALDS.
White Sox all-time home run hitters – No. 4: Carlton Fisk
214 home runs from 1981-93
When Carlton Fisk was granted his free agency from the Boston Red Sox in February 1981 and signed with the Chicago White Sox a little more than a month later, few thought the 33-year-old with 11 seasons already under his belt would wind up playing longer for the White Sox than he did with the Red Sox.
But Fisk hung around for 13 years in Chicago, until he was released in June 1993 at the age of 45. At the time, Fisk was the franchise’s all-time home run leader, but has since been lapped by three other players.
Fisk never hit more than 26 homers in a season with Boston (1973 and 1977), but clubbed 26 in 1983 before belting a career-best 37 in 1985, one of his four All-Star seasons with the White Sox. He was also a three-time Silver Slugger for Chicago and was third in the MVP voting in 1983, helping the White Sox to their first postseason since the Go-Go Sox won the AL pennant in 1959.
In their four-game loss to the Baltimore Orioles in the 1983 ALCS, Fisk was 3-for-17 with a double. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.
White Sox all-time home run hitters – No. 3: Harold Baines
221 home runs from 1980-89, 1996-97, 2000-01
The first pick in the 1977 June Amateur Draft by the Chicago White Sox, Harold Baines finally reached Cooperstown last year when he was selected for induction into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee.
Baines served three tours with the White Sox, first making his debut on April 10, 1980, and hitting his first home run nine days later on April 19, 1980, against Hall of Famer Jim Palmer of the Baltimore Orioles at old Memorial Stadium. His homer tied the game and came immediately after Jim Morrison had gone yard in a game the White Sox would eventually win 5-4 in 12 innings.
In parts of 14 seasons with Chicago, Baines hit 221 home runs, with a high mark of 29 in 1984 and seven seasons with at least 20. He was a four-time All-Star before he was traded to the Texas Rangers in July 1989 before he returned to the White Sox as a free agent in December 1995.
He was dealt away a second time in July 1997, this time to the Orioles, and was re-acquired by the White Sox from Baltimore in July 2000 along with catcher Charles Johnson for their stretch run.
Baines played in the postseason twice with Chicago, 17 years apart, going 2-for-16 in a four-game loss to the Orioles in the 1983 ALCS and notching one hit in four at-bats against the Seattle Mariners in the 2000 ALDS. His last homer with the White Sox came more than 20 years after the first, a three-run blast off Jason Johnson of the Orioles on Aug. 15, 2000.
White Sox all-time home run hitters – No. 2: Paul Konerko
432 home runs from 1999-2014
By the time he left the Chicago White Sox at the end of the 2014 season, the veteran had become just the second player in franchise history to hit at least 400 home runs in a White Sox uniform.
He’s one of only seven players in team history to hit at least 40 homers in a season and, along with Frank Thomas, is the only player to top the 40-homer plateau more than once.
Konerko hit a career-high 41 homers in 2004 and followed that up with 40 more in the 2005 World Series championship season. He had five other seasons with at least 30 dingers, was a six-time All-Star and was fifth in the MVP voting in 2010 after a .312/.393/.584 season that included 39 homers and 111 RBI.
He played in three postseasons with Chicago — 2000, 2005 and 2008 — and hit a franchise postseason record seven homers, with five of those coming in 53 plate appearances in the 2005 playoffs. That included a seventh-inning grand slam in Game 2 of the World Series off Chad Qualls that gave the Sox a 6-4 lead.
White Sox all-time home run hitters – No. 1: Frank Thomas
448 home runs from 1990-2005
Frank Thomas played the first 16 of his 19 big-league seasons with the Chicago White Sox, earning back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards in 1993 and 1994 while being named to five All-Star appearances and winning four Silver Slugger awards.
Thomas was runner-up for the MVP award in 2000, when he had a career-high 143 RBI, and finished third in the voting in both 1991 and 1997.
He debuted on Aug. 2, 1990, a little more than a year after the White Sox made Thomas the seventh overall pick in the June Amateur Draft. More well-known at the time for being Bo Jackson‘s fullback at Auburn, Thomas quickly made himself known as a force on the diamond.
His first career home run came on Aug. 28, 1990, at the Metrodome in Minneapolis off Minnesota Twins lefty Gary Wayne. But the floodgates unleashed for Thomas in his first full season, with 32 homers in 1991. He topped the 40-homer mark five times (1993, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2003), while winning the American League batting title with a .347 mark in 1997.
He also led the AL in OPS four times and in OPS+ in three different seasons.
Thomas was just 6-for-26 in two postseason appearances with Chicago, the 1993 ALCS loss to the Toronto Blue Jays and a 2000 ALDS loss to the Seattle Mariners. He missed the 2005 postseason run to the World Series title with a shoulder injury.
The White Sox let Thomas walk after the 2005 season, not making an offer to the free agent, who had 39 homers in 2006 with the Oakland Athletics and clouted 26 with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2007.
He was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2014.