White Sox: The Mount Rushmore of utility players

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White Sox

Ivan Calderon of the Chicago White Sox. (Photo by: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

So far we’ve put 44 players’ faces on the side of a Mount Rushmore for their position with the Chicago White Sox. The series wraps up with the four best players who may not have had just one position, but were contributors from various spots.

We salute the utility men. Most of the players on the list below were regulars at one spot or another, but we were looking to combine some longevity with the franchise with versatility.

There were 25 players who met the qualifying standard for consideration, which were slightly different from the other positions. A player needed to have 1,500 plate appearances with the White Sox while also logging at least 50 games at a minimum of three different positions.

Here are the qualifiers and their positions:

  • Alan Bannister, SS-LF-2B (1976-80)
  • Bill Barrett, RF-LF-SS-2B (1923-29)
  • Ken Berry, CF-LF-RF (1962-70)
  • Ping Bodie, CF-LF-RF (1911-14)
  • Ivan Calderon, RF-LF-DH (1986-90, 1993)
  • Jimmy Callahan, LF-3B-P (1901-05, 1911-13)
  • Shano Collins, RF-1B-CF-LF (1910-20)
  • Jimmy Dykes, 3B-2B-1B (1933-39)
  • Scott Fletcher, 2B-SS-3B (1983-85, 1989-91)
  • Leury Garcia, CF-RF-LF (2013-20)
  • Jerry Hairston, LF-DH-RF (1973-77, 1981-89)
  • Ralph Hodgin, LF-3B-RF (1943-44, 1946-48)
  • Bob Kennedy, 3B-LF-RF (1939-42, 1946-48, 1955-56, 1957)
  • Ron Kittle, LF-1B-DH (1982-86, 1989-90, 1991)
  • Steve Lyons, 3B-1B-2B (1986-90)
  • Carlos May, LF-1B-DH (1968-76)
  • Tommy McCraw, 1B-LF-RF-CF (1963-70)
  • Alex Metzler, CF-LF-RF (1927-30)
  • Cass Michaels, 3B-SS-2B (1943-50, 1954)
  • Jorge Orta, 2B-DH-LF (1972-79)
  • Dan Pasqua, LF-RF-1B (1988-94)
  • Dave Philley, CF-RF-LF-1B (1941, 1946-51, 1956-57)
  • Jim Rivera, CF-RF-LF (1952-61)
  • Al Smith, LF-RF-3B (1958-62)
  • Juan Uribe, SS-2B-3B (2004-08)

Mount Rushmore of White Sox utility players: Ivan Calderon

Ivan Calderon played at least 50 games at both corner outfield spots as well as the designated hitter during parts of six seasons with the Chicago White Sox. He also played some first base along the way.

The White Sox got Calderon as the player to be named later in a June 1986 deal that sent Scott Bradley to the Seattle Mariners. Calderon came to Chicago four days later on July 1, 1986.

He played more for the Sox Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo than he did with the big club, but in 1987 emerged as a regular in right field, hitting .293 with a career-best 28 home runs.

In December 1990, the White Sox traded Calderon to the Montreal Expos what would be a five-player trade, with future Hall of Famer Tim Raines the big piece coming back.

In August 1993, Calderon, released two weeks earlier by the Boston Red Sox, returned to the White Sox and played nine games at DH over the final month as Chicago won the AL West. He was left off the postseason roster and became a free agent at season’s end.

Calderon retired to Puerto Rico, where he got involved in cock fighting and worked as an informal bondsman. It was the latter pastime that likely contributed to his murder in December 2003 near his home. The case has never been solved, but it was initially believed Calderon had been killed by a man to whom he loaned money for bail. He was just 41 years old at the time.

With the White Sox, Calderon hit .273 with a .783 OPS in 554 games and 2,313 plate appearances, with 134 doubles, 70 home runs and 284 RBI. He scored 305 runs and stole 53 bases.

In 1990, Calderon became just the second player in MLB history to pull off an odd statistical combination, recording at least 30 stolen bases while grounding into at least 25 double plays. It’s been done just one more time since, by Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds in 2007.

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