Classic White Sox card: Pudge in '91

December 8th, 2021

As part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Topps baseball cards, we've asked fans (as well as our staff) to submit their all-time favorite baseball cards, and we've broken them down by team. We'll be revealing submissions regularly throughout the season, ranging from the famous to the weird, and everything in between.

Carlton Fisk, 1991 Topps

Fisk’s ‘91 Topps card features a memorable snapshot of the White Sox catcher preparing to receive a throw at the plate while Tigers slugger Cecil Fielder races home, his Detroit teammate encouraging him to slide.

When it came to ‘90s players, "Big Daddy" was one of the last people you’d want to see if you were a catcher blocking the plate. Fisk, though, was a large man himself, and you know “Pudge” wasn’t going to back down. (Just ask Lou Piniella.)

It was submitted by’s own Jordan Bastian.

“I liked it for a few reasons,” Bastian wrote. “One, I was just a big Fisk fan during his White Sox days. But beyond that, it was a horizontal card, which 9-year-old me thought was cool. ... Imagining Fielder and Fisk possibly colliding in that moment captured my imagination. What a clash that would have been.”

The card was also mentioned in our survey by Carlos D. of Montclair, Calif., who wrote:

"I like this photo, because you get two legends in one picture. And besides, when do you ever see Cecil Fielder run so fast?” -- Thomas Harrigan

Iconic White Sox rookie card: Minnie Miñoso, 1952 Topps

Miñoso's rookie card is a great choice for a White Sox classic.

He's still Orestes Miñoso on his '52 Topps card, but you can call him Minnie, or the Cuban Comet, or Mr. White Sox. Miñoso became a fan favorite in Chicago over a 17-year career that spanned five different decades, beginning in 1949 and ending in 1980, when he played his last game for the White Sox at age 54. He received a well-deserved election to the Hall of Fame in the Golden Era Committee balloting on Dec. 5, 2021.

Royal Mayer of Glen Ellyn, Ill., sent in this card, writing: "One of the first and greatest Cuban players for a team that has a long history of bringing Cuban players to MLB. Love the old-school logo."

Frank Thomas, 1993 Topps

Did Thomas have the strength and coordination to hit with three bats at once? It would have been fun to watch the Big Hurt try. He was pretty great with one, slashing .301/.419/.555 with 521 homers in his career.

The ‘93 season saw Thomas win the first of his back-to-back American League MVP Awards. His Topps card from that year was the first a young Tom Schultz ever received.

"I was 6 years old and got it from my grandparents,” wrote Schultz, who is from Chicago. “They were a huge influence on me becoming a lifelong, diehard White Sox fan, Frank Thomas fan and overall baseball fanatic. It also was the start of my large baseball card collection.”

The card was also submitted by Dan Melar of Edwardsville, Ill., who had a tough time trying to emulate Thomas’ three-bat pose.

“Thomas was one of my favorite players growing up and this was the first card of his that I ever owned. I really liked his genuine smile and my attempts to carry 3 bats at once didn't go as effortlessly as he makes it look.” -- Thomas Harrigan

Dick Allen -- 1975 Topps

Allen may very well be the best player in baseball history who is not in the Hall of Fame (outside of Pete Rose and alleged performance-enhancing drugs users). Over his 15-year Major League career, he smashed 351 home runs and had a career OPS of .912. He was the 1964 National League Rookie of the Year, the 1972 American League MVP and a seven-time All-Star.

And could he ever rock the batting helmet at first base. This card is a great reminder that John Olerud wasn’t the first or only guy to do that.

Jeff R. summed it up nicely in his survey response:

“Come on, Dick Allen in a White Sox Uniform? His favorite years and ours too.”

And these were during the White Sox red-uniform phase! Just beautiful all the way around. -- Manny Randhawa

Paul Konerko, 2004 Topps Sporting News All-Stars

Konerko became a modern White Sox icon by slugging 432 home runs in his 16 seasons on the South Side and leading the White Sox to the 2005 World Series title, with five more homers on that championship run.

This card captures him right before that World Series season. Konerko was an All-Star for the first time in 2002, and he had his first of back-to-back 40-home-run seasons in '04, the year the card was made.

He would be an All-Star five more times with Chicago after this Sporting News All-Stars card was printed. As for the card itself, all the bold colors make it look great -- the red Sporting News lettering, the gold for Konerko's name and the black-and-white White Sox uniform.

Fan Ryan Pickell of Elmhurst, Ill., who sent in this card, writes: "This is one of my favorite cards because Konerko has been my favorite player for a few years now, and some of my favorite memories were sitting in the seats at a White Sox game."

Best White Sox facial hair card: Harold Baines, 2003 Topps Archives

Would there have been any qualms if the Hall of Fame used this picture for Baines’ plaque? The one the Hall used was fine, but this look deserves to hang in Cooperstown for all of eternity.

This autographed card is actually from an ‘03 Topps Archives set, but the card design mimics the company’s 1981 set, which contained Baines’ rookie card, and the photo is from that era as well.

Baines rockets a few different looks during his 22-year career, but the afro/mutton chop/mustache combo is one we wish he would have stuck with longer. -- Thomas Harrigan

Michael Jordan, 1994 Upper Deck

Few cards are as unique as the small batch of baseball cards printed of Jordan, who is considered by many the greatest basketball player of all time. In 1994, Jordan retired from the NBA and took a shot at playing professional baseball, a dream that his father had for him when he was a boy.

This '94 Upper Deck “Star Rookies” card features Jordan chasing a fly ball during Spring Training with the White Sox. Though MJ’s baseball career was brief and he was a below-average hitter, it was certainly fascinating to watch the legendary hoops star try his hand at baseball.

Jordan had his moments, particularly on the basepaths, where he stole 30 bases in 127 games for Double-A Birmingham. Soon after his foray into baseball, he would return to the NBA and promptly lead the Chicago Bulls to three more championships. Still, his brief entry into baseball will always be remembered for the intrigue it sparked in the sports world.

“You can’t go wrong with an MJ card in any sport, and being a White Sox fan for life, this card is always cool to see,” wrote William K. of Chicago, who submitted this card. “I think I can speak for almost all White Sox fans when saying that this might be the weirdest card in team history!” -- Manny Randhawa

Carlton Fisk, 1988 Topps

Jeff Reher of Chicago suburb Elmhurst, who submitted this card, sums it up simply: "Carlton Fisk with Old Comiskey in the background -- does it get any better?"

Exactly. Fisk, by this time a veteran entering his age-40 season with the White Sox, is captured in the follow-through of his swing, his mouth open as he watches the ball fly. The blurred, multicolored hues of Comiskey Park make up the background of the image.

The card features that classic Topps style, with White Sox printed in lime green across the top, a white Topps logo in the bottom left and Fisk's name within a pink ribbon wrapped diagonally around the bottom-right corner of the card.

Fisk was already a three-time All-Star with the White Sox by 1988. He'd placed third in the 1983 AL MVP voting and won a Silver Slugger Award at catcher in '85, when he crushed a career-high 37 home runs and drove in a career-high 107 runs. And he still had six seasons and one more All-Star year remaining in his Hall of Fame career.

Marc Hill, 1983 Topps

Topps went with a simple, clean design for its '83 set, especially when compared to the bold style the company would roll out one year later. The '83 set is known for including the rookie cards of future Hall of Famers Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn and Ryne Sandberg. It also included a little-known catcher named Marc Hill, whose card shows him sporting a bright-red windbreaker and preparing to take a cut in an empty stadium on a sunny day.

Hill played 14 seasons in the Majors for four different teams, spending his final six years with the White Sox. He hit .223 with 34 homers in 737 games and never appeared in the postseason, so he didn’t exactly leave a lasting legacy.

But Michael Kniss of Lovettsville, Va., says Hill’s 1983 Topps card is his favorite, “... not for any special affinity toward the journeyman catcher, but because his 1983 Topps likeness was a dead ringer for my dad, and for much of my early childhood I was convinced that my dad had a secret identity as an ex-Sox catcher! I grew up in Chicago as a diehard Sox fan and baseball card collector [and remain so to this day], and fell in love with baseball and those mid-80s teams at the same time.

“The 1983 Topps set had a special place in my heart already because I was born in 1983 and its design was, and is, iconic [there's gotta be universal agreement on that!]. Add to that, Hill's true '80s beard and moustache made him a doppelganger for my dad [who still rocks the beard and moustache, though it's a good bit grayer now]. I can still remember holding my finger over the name and showing my friends the card, saying, ‘Look! My dad played for the White Sox!’ I'm sure part of me knew better, given Marc Hill's name was on the card, but still, who wouldn't want to believe their dad was an undercover big leaguer?!” -- Thomas Harrigan

Iconic White Sox card: Frank Thomas, 1990 Topps

As a top amateur player, Thomas was included in several card sets before being selected by the White Sox with the seventh overall pick in the 1989 MLB Draft. But 1990 is the first time major baseball card companies featured the future Hall of Famer.

The Topps version was submitted by Pat Flanagan and Shawn Quigley.

The “Big Hurt” was known more for his bat than his glove and actually played more than half of his career games as a designated hitter, but his first Topps card depicts him playing defense for Auburn University, his alma mater.

Thomas would go on to make his MLB debut in 1990, playing 60 games for the White Sox and hitting .330/.454/.529 with seven homers. He won back-to-back American League MVP Awards in 1993-94 and ended up spending 16 seasons with the White Sox, hitting 448 of his 521 career homers as a member of the club. Thomas’ lifetime 156 OPS+ is a top-20 mark in Major League history. -- Thomas Harrigan

Frank Thomas, 1990 Leaf

Thanks to Chicago’s Andy Zilla for this submission, one of the most iconic cards from a time when sports card collecting peaked in popularity.

“This and the ‘89 [Upper Deck Ken] Griffey [Jr.] were the holy grail when I was growing up,” Zilla wrote. “There were only three kinds of collectors: Bo Jackson guys, Griffey guys and Thomas guys!!”

Leaf’s 1990 set is one of the first to include a card featuring Thomas in a White Sox uniform. His Topps rookie card, also released in 1990, showed the future Hall of Famer playing for Auburn University. -- Thomas Harrigan

Paul Konerko, 2014 Topps memorabilia insert

Baseball cards with pieces of a game-worn jersey are a common sight these days, but that doesn't make it any less special when you pull one of these inserts out of a pack. That's especially the case when it's a Paul Konerko insert and you're a White Sox fan like the anonymous person from Frankfort, Ill. who submitted this card in our survey.

Konerko is one of the all-time greats on the South Side -- this card is from the final season of an 18-year MLB career that included 16 seasons with the White Sox. He launched 439 homers and posted a career OPS of .841. Forty of those homers came in 2005, when he helped Chicago win its first World Series title in 88 years. -- Manny Randhawa

Mark Buehrle, 2010 Allen & Ginter -- Highlight Sketches

Topps' Allen & Ginter cards always look pretty, and this one of Buehrle stylizes the final out of his perfect game for the White Sox in 2009.

On the card, Buehrle is enveloped by catcher Ramon Castro and first baseman Josh Fields after finishing off his perfecto against the Rays in Chicago, one of the highlights of the lefty's stellar White Sox career.

Carlton Fisk, 1982 Topps

Fisk might be the king of the baseball-card action shot, at least among catchers. Just check out his cards from the 1974, 1977, 1984 and 1991 Topps sets.

This card from the 1982 Topps set is arguably the best of all, as it shows Fisk mid-dive while chasing a pop-up near home plate. With his mask tossed aside, you get a great shot of Fisk’s determined face as he lunges for the ball.

It was submitted by Kevin Benjamin of Plant City, Fla., who wrote:

“I was visiting my dad in Minnesota and used the money I cut lawns with to buy baseball cards. This was the first card from the first pack I bought that summer. I'm not a White Sox fan but loved Fisk as a catcher. This is a great rendition of his hustle! Just an amazing card, I think!” -- Thomas Harrigan

Nellie Fox, 1960 Topps

Fox was one of the greatest players to ever suit up for the White Sox -- the Hall of Fame second baseman was a three-time Gold Glove Award winner, the 1959 AL MVP and an All-Star in 12 of his 19 seasons. 

The year Fox was named league MVP was also the year Jim C. of Atkinson, Ill., fell in love with the White Sox.

“When I asked my dad which team was his favorite, he doomed me for all time by saying the White Sox,” Jim wrote in response to our survey. “We'd watch games together, and while he was a Sherm Lollar/Early Wynn combination, I liked the little guys playing up the middle, especially Nellie. 

“Try as I might, I could never find this card buying the five-cent packs of Topps. We had a little candy store across the street from the school and a friend found the card in his pack back in his desk! He agreed to trade it to me for the three boxes of Indian Brand pumpkin seeds he'd seen me buy. So, in the middle of a phonics lesson, he dropped the card on the floor of the classroom for me to walk by and pick up. So I did…on my way to sharpen my pencil!”

What a fun story behind this card. -- Manny Randhawa

'90s throwback: Frank Thomas, 1992 Fleer

My goodness, look at those bats. And the ticking time bomb with sticks of dynamite embedded in the middle stick of lumber! What a card.

There couldn't be a more appropriate image for the Big Hurt than him holding those three bats at once, ready to explode a baseball. Or a more '90s card.

Hoyt Wilhelm, 1967 Topps

This one was submitted by David Kaiser of Ripon, Wisc., who was surprised and impressed as a young fan to learn about Wilhelm’s longevity.

“I was 9 and was astonished to read the back of the card,” Kaiser wrote. “[Wilhelm was] 15 years in and I became obsessed with finding veteran cards [such as] Wilhelm, Hank Agurrie, Lindy McDaniel -- relievers with long careers. Many years later I understand why players try to keep playing. It’s never about the money, but rather about the game itself and the players they bond with. It's magic.”

The 1967 season was Wilhelm’s 16th in the Majors. Amazingly, he still had another five years left after that. Wilhelm pitched until he was 49 years old and became the first knuckleballer to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985. -- Thomas Harrigan

Ken Griffey Jr., 2008 Upper Deck Timeline

Griffey is one of the greatest sluggers in the game’s history, and one of the most exciting players to ever take the field with his inimitable defensive wizardry in center field. He was a star from the very beginning with the Mariners, and then took his stardom to his hometown of Cincinnati.

But many forget he played 41 games for the White Sox in 2008, before returning to Seattle for the final two seasons of his storied career. Exactly three of Junior’s 630 career home runs came in a White Sox uniform. -- Manny Randhawa

Red Faber, 1933 Goudey

Faber pitched his entire 20-year Hall of Fame career with the White Sox. This amazing old Goudey card comes from his final season.

Tom Shillinglaw of Santa Fe, who sent in the card, found an interesting connection to the great pitcher.

"Red Faber was from the small eastern Iowa town Cascade, a few miles north from where I went to college," he explains. "In the spring of 1976, while driving through Cascade, my wife and I stopped. I went into the downtown cafe, looked for a table with older men, walked up to them and asked about Faber.

"A couple of them who had lived in Cascade all their lives remembered him quite well. They pointed out the apartment building across the street where Faber and his family had lived, and one of them had Faber's address in Chicago (which he gave to me). When we got home I wrote to Faber at that address, asking for his autograph, which he kindly sent me on his Hall of Fame induction plaque postcard. Several years ago, we again went through Cascade, and they now have a small museum dedicated to Faber."

Joe Stanka, Japanese baseball card (unknown year)

This one is really cool. Timothy M. of Boca Raton, Fla., submitted this card, which has a remarkable story behind it.

“Sometimes, Major League Baseball is about the player who only came up for the proverbial ‘cup of coffee,’” Timothy wrote. “I was only eight years old in 1959 when my beloved White Sox won their only American League pennant in a span of 85 years stretching from 1920 to 2004. Even as an eight-year-old, I was aware and in awe of Nellie Fox, Luis Aparicio, Early Wynn, Al Smith and ‘Jungle Jim’ Rivera. But I had never heard of a ’59 Sox player named Joe Stanka until nearly 40 years later.

“As the 40th anniversary of the ’59 Sox approached, I decided to try and collect a full set of contemporary cards of all the players who contributed to winning the pennant for my boyhood team. I was surprised to learn that there were 40 such players, but finding a ’59 card for most of them was easy. I soon had cards for all of the ’59 White Sox players but two: Jim McAnany, who I remembered as an outfield sub, and Joe Stanka. I knew nothing about Stanka. Not only did Stanka appear in only two games for the Sox, but those two games turned out to be the totality of his Major League career. I continued my research for a Stanka card, but could find nothing, the information available on the internet being much less in those days.

“Finally, in 2003, I came across a new book called ‘Cup of Coffee’ by Rob Trucks. There was a chapter telling the story of Stanka. I learned that Stanka, having finally reached the Majors in 1959 at the age of 28, was not enamored with the idea of returning to the Minor Leagues. So with free agency not yet a reality, he took the only route open to players at that time and became one of the first Triple-A players to sign to play in Japan, where he pitched for seven seasons. I now had a lead and widened my search. Then I found it -- a Japanese baseball card of Stanka, pitching for the Nankai Hawks (now the Fukuoka Hawks).”

Sometimes the search for a baseball card can take you down a rabbit hole. And what a delightful trip that can be. -- Manny Randhawa