If there is a category including more than four options being the best, the odds are good that someone has created a “Mount Rushmore” for that category. This is the first of several articles that will choose a Mount Rushmore for the Chicago White Sox at each position.
Pitching has been broken down into starters, middle relievers and closers and there will be categories for utility players and designated hitters.
We’ll start where it all stops … or at least shortstops.
With three Hall of Famers having manned the position, the competition was to see who would be the fourth face on the mountain.
The field was limited to players that (a) played at least half of their games with the White Sox at shortstop and (b) made at least 1,500 plate appearances. There were 14 qualifiers from the 120 seasons of White Sox baseball:
- Tim Anderson (2016-20)
- Luis Aparicio (1956-62, 1968-70)
- Luke Appling (1930-43, 1944-50)
- Chico Carrasquel (1950-55)
- Bill Cissell (1928-32)
- George Davis (1902, 1904-09)
- Bucky Dent (1973-76)
- Ozzie Guillen (1985-97)
- Ron Hansen (1963-67, 1968-69)
- Alexei Ramirez (2008-15)
- Swede Risberg (1917-20)
- Juan Uribe (2004-08)
- Jose Valentin (2000-04)
- Buck Weaver (1912-20)
Mount Rushmore of White Sox shortstops: Luke Appling
Luke Appling didn’t spend his entire career in the Chicago White Sox organization, just most of it.
The 23-year-old Appling had signed with the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association in 1930 after playing one season at Oglethorpe College (now Oglethorpe University) in Atlanta. After hitting .326 in 104 games with the Crackers, the White Sox signed him in August of that year. He got his first taste of big-league competition on Sept. 10, 1930, and never returned to the minors.
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He spent most of the next two decades as a fixture at shortstop for the South Siders. He missed the 1944 season and most of 1945 while in the military and spent his final season as a reserve before the White Sox released him in November 1950 (for all the sentimentality about the good old days, baseball seems to have always been a business).
Appling was a two-time American League batting champion, hitting .388 in 1936 and notching a .328 mark in 1943 in his age-36 season. A seven-time All-Star, Appling never won a Most Valuable Player award. But he finished second each season he won the batting title.
The White Sox were only a serious contender in the American League once during Appling’s long career, getting to within four games of the AL lead in mid-September 1940 before fading with eight losses in their final 12 games. But Chicago never got higher than fourth in the standings.
Appling is the franchise’s all-time leader in Wins Above Replacement among position players (77.1), games played (2,422), at-bats and plate appearances (8,856 and 10,254, respectively), hits (2,749) and despite hitting just 45 career home runs is one of only three White Sox players to drive in more than 1,000 runs for the franchise, joining Frank Thomas and Paul Konerko.
Appling was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1964 and spent seven seasons as a minor-league manager, while also coaching with the Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Athletics.
He was 10-30 as interim manager for the A’s in 1967 and worked in the Atlanta Braves organization as a batting instructor until 1990, according to the Society for American Baseball Research.
He hit .310 in his career with a .798 OPS.
Mount Rushmore of White Sox shortstops: Luis Aparicio
Based in part upon the recommendation of their shortstop at the time, Chico Carrasquel, the Chicago White Sox made the decision to sign a Venezuelan teenager named Luis Aparicio after the Cleveland Indians passed on the 19-year-old because he was deemed too small by general manager Hank Greenberg, according to the Society for American Baseball Research.
After two seasons in the minor leagues, the Indians wound up with Carrasquel as the White Sox traded the All-Star and made room in the lineup for Aparicio. The kid didn’t disappoint, winning Rookie of the Year honors in a landslide in 1956.
He made the first of nine All-Star appearances with Chicago in 1958, the same year he claimed the first of seven Gold Gloves he would win for the franchise. Aparicio was second to teammate Nellie Fox in the 1959 AL MVP voting as the White Sox won their first pennant in 40 years.
In January 1963, Aparicio was dealt to the Baltimore Orioles. He was reacquired in November 1967 and played another three seasons in Chicago before he was swapped to the Boston Red Sox in December 1970.
Aparicio was a speedster early in his career, leading the American League in stolen bases in each of his first nine seasons, the first seven of which were with the White Sox. He also led the league in sacrifice hits twice, as a rookie in 1956 and again in 1960. While Chicago fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1959 World Series, Aparicio hit .308 in six games.
Released by the Red Sox near the end of spring training in 1974, Aparicio was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.
Mount Rushmore of White Sox shortstops: George Davis
Veteran shortstop George Davis had a contentious beginning to his career with the Chicago White Sox, jumping from the New York Giants in what was then the rival National League in 1902.
A legal battle ensued over Davis’ status in 1903, after the leagues had made some sort of peace, and he was limited to just four games with the Giants that season as the courtroom maneuvers played out.
Back with the White Sox in 1904, Davis played the rest of his career there. The White Sox granted the 20-year major-league veteran his wish after the 1909 season, releasing him after he played in just 28 games that season. He was briefly a player-manager for Class A Des Moines in 1910.
With Chicago, Davis was the offensive leader for the 1906 World Series champion squad dubbed the “Hitless Wonders,” according to the Society for American Baseball Research. Davis hit .277 with a .694 OPS and a team-high 80 RBI in 133 games for a club that posted marks of .230 and .588, respectively, in those categories.
In seven seasons with the White Sox, Davis was a .259 hitter with an OPS of .664 and stole 162 bases in 856 games.
Davis died in 1940 and was selected for Hall of Fame induction by the Veterans Committee in 1998. He played three seasons with the Cleveland Spiders (1890-92) and 13 with the Giants (1893-1901, 1903).
Mount Rushmore of White Sox shortstops: Chico Carrasquel
Before Luis Aparicio made the journey from Venezuela to Chicago, he was preceded by another All-Star shortstop, Chico Carrasquel.
But Carrasquel did have one layover on the trip. Signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948, he played his first season in the U.S. with Double-A Fort Worth, where he hit .315. But stuck behind Pee Wee Reese, Carrasquel caught a break in October 1949 when the Chicago White Sox purchased his contract from Brooklyn.
He broke camp with the White Sox as their regular shortstop and finished third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting in 1950, hitting .282 with a .733 OPS.
Carrasquel was an All-Star in 1951 — the first Venezuelan to be so named — and made three more appearances between 1953-55. In 1954, he led the majors with 155 games played and 718 plate appearances, setting a career-high by scoring 106 runs.
In October 1955, Carrasquel was traded to the Cleveland Indians for slugging outfielder Larry Doby and later played for the Kansas City Athletics and Baltimore Orioles.
Released by the Orioles in December 1959, Carrasquel signed with the White Sox a couple of weeks later. While he made the club out of spring training in 1960, he was released in late April having not played. He spent some time with Triple-A Montreal later that season before his career in the U.S. was over.
He played winter ball in Venezuela for another seven years, however, according to the Society for American Baseball Research, and later worked as a scout for the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets and from 1990-96 served as a color man on White Sox Spanish-language radio broadcasts.
In six seasons as a player in Chicago, Carrasquel hit .265 with a .686 OPS in 837 games, hitting 119 doubles and 32 homers. He died in May 2005 in his hometown of Caracas, two years after being inducted with the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 2003.