Other than middle relievers — who may never receive their full due — there is just one position in the Mount Rushmores for the Chicago White Sox that does not have a Hall of Famer. The White Sox have had some very good third basemen in their 120-year history, but none of the guys they’ve deployed at the hot corner have been deemed Cooperstown-worthy.
There were only 11 players who met the qualifying standard — half of their games at third base to go with 1,500 plate appearances as a member of the White Sox. Here are those 11:
- Floyd Baker (1945-51)
- Don Buford (1963-67)
- Joe Crede (2000-08)
- Jimmy Dykes (1933-39)
- Willie Kamm (1923-31)
- Bob Kennedy (1939-42, 1946-48, 1955-56, 1957)
- Harry Lord (1910-14)
- Bill Melton (1968-75)
- Lee Tannehill (1903-12)
- Robin Ventura (1989-98)
- Pete Ward (1963-69)
Let’s start putting faces with the mountainside.
Mount Rushmore of White Sox third basemen: Don Buford
Before Don Buford was a World Series-winning outfielder for the Baltimore Orioles, he was a very solid third baseman for the Chicago White Sox.
Buford was a star in football and baseball at the University of Southern California, but had a sparsity of professional offers in either sport. In November 1959, Buford signed with the White Sox and worked his way slowly through the farm system before making his major-league debut in September 1963.
It was worth the wait, because Buford never went back to the bus leagues. In 1964, he was a regular starter at either second or third base, was primarily at second base in 1965 and spent his final two seasons in Chicago at the hot corner.
He was a plus defender at third, created a lot of offense for a power-deprived team with his speed and was an above average producer for his era.
In 1966, Buford stole 51 bases and led the American League with 17 sacrifice bunts. But in November 1967, his days at third base were numbered when he was part of a six-player trade that sent him to the Baltimore Orioles, with shortstop Luis Aparicio returning to Chicago in the deal.
He was a solid third baseman. But when the incumbent is Brooks Robinson? Yeah, you’re moving to the outfield.
Buford spent five years in Baltimore and was part of the club that won three straight American League pennants from 1969-71 with a World Series crown in 1970.
Released by the Orioles before spring training in 1973, Buford played another four seasons in Japan before retiring.
In parts of five seasons with the White Sox, Buford hit .258 with a .688 OPS in 621 games and 2,527 plate appearances, with 26 home runs, 166 RBI, 310 runs scored and 115 stolen bases. He also had 29 triples.
Post-retirement, Buford served on coaching staffs with the San Francisco Giants (1981-84), the Orioles (1988 and 1994) and Washington Nationals (2005). He was also a minor-league manager in 1992-93, 2003-04 and 2006.