White Sox: The Mount Rushmore of Sox first basemen

Phil Watson
Frank Thomas of the Chicago White Sox. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Frank Thomas of the Chicago White Sox. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Mount Rushmore of White Sox first basemen: Paul Konerko

There were other Chicago White Sox first basemen with flashier numbers. But there’s never been another Chicago White Sox first baseman who was so good for so long as Paul Konerko.

Konerko spent 16 years in the black-and-white pinstripes after being acquired from the Cincinnati Reds in November 1998 for outfielder Mike Cameron. Three times, Konerko hit free agency and three times — in November 2005, December 2010 and December 2013 — he opted to stay right where he was.

He was a six-time All-Star, making three of those appearances in his age-34 through age-36 seasons. He only placed in the top five of the MVP voting once, finishing fifth in 2010. The only category he ever led the American League in was when he grounded into 28 double plays in 2003.

But if you wanted steady performance? Paul Konerko was the guy. He hit at least 20 homers in 13 of 14 seasons from 1999-2012. He had six 100-plus RBI seasons and 12 years in which he posted an OPS of .800 or better, including four where he was over .900.

His career-high of 41 homers came in 2004 and his only other 40-homer season came during the World Series championship season of 2005. Konerko finished his White Sox career with 432 home runs and 1,383 RBI, second in franchise history in both categories. Konerko is the franchise’s all-time leader with 4,010 total bases.

He retired Sept. 28, 2014, and has settled in Arizona, where he coaches his son’s youth baseball team along with former White Sox reliever J.J. Putz, who also has a son on the team.

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