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Abreu notches fourth 30-homer, 100-RBI season

@scottmerkin
September 8, 2019

CHICAGO -- White Sox first baseman José Abreu made franchise history during his team’s 8-7 loss to the Angels Saturday night at Guaranteed Rate Field with his 30th home run of 2019. That long ball total, coupled with his American League-leading 111 RBIs, marks the fourth season in Abreu’s storied

CHICAGO -- White Sox first baseman José Abreu made franchise history during his team’s 8-7 loss to the Angels Saturday night at Guaranteed Rate Field with his 30th home run of 2019.

That long ball total, coupled with his American League-leading 111 RBIs, marks the fourth season in Abreu’s storied career in which he has hit 30-plus homers and delivered 100-plus RBIs.

Box score

But the three-run blast off reliever Luis Garcia in the seventh, which cut the Angels’ lead to one, brought enjoyment to Abreu in another familiar family form.

“What is most important is that my mom is happy tonight,” said Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo, drawing laughs from the media standing around his locker.

“It’s very special,” Abreu continued. “This is the result of the work you put in day in and day out. It’s the result of all the people around you helping you. My family, just having their support. This is basically for them, too. That’s an accomplishment for them, too.

“The organization will always be behind me and supporting me, too. The teammates I’ve been having through this six years. This is special. It’s always special when you are able to accomplish something like that.”

Abreu’s home run had an exit velocity of 105.8 mph, per Statcast, and resulted in his only official at-bat. He hit a sacrifice fly off Angels starter Andrew Heaney in the first, setting a new personal single-season RBI high at 108, and then was hit by pitches in his next two at-bats before the homer raised his career RBI total to 599.

When asked if getting hit in two straight at-bats motivated him more in the seventh, Abreu smiled and said it’s all part of the game.

“I’m in peace with life. I enjoy life,” said Abreu, who added in Spanish that it certainly does hurt to get hit. “If that had to happen for me in order to hit that homer, welcome.”

“Ultimate consistency, you know?” said White Sox bench coach and acting manager Joe McEwing of Abreu. “If he didn’t get hurt last year, he probably would have been 30-100 again. That’s four out of six years now. He’s done an outstanding job. Very thankful he’s on our club.”

Abreu joins Frank Thomas (8), Paul Konerko (5) and Magglio Ordonez (4) as one of four players in franchise history to record at least four seasons of 30 homers and 100 RBIs. He’s honored to be mentioned with such great White Sox players, just as he’s equally thankful to have been helped by future Hall of Famers such as Albert Pujols and David Ortiz, who were spoken about specifically by Abreu postgame, over the course of his six Major League seasons.

There’s also an eye toward Chicago's future when Abreu talks presently. For example, Tim Anderson singled and doubled during the team’s 11th loss in 14 games, placing his average at an AL best .334. Yoán Moncada recorded three hits, moving his season average just below .300 at .298.

Nothing surprises Abreu about the lofty accomplishments from these young talents, even if their 2019 statistics represent a big jump from 2018. And part of their success comes from having a leader and role model such as Abreu.

“I would like to have their age and be part of that young group too,” said Abreu, who picked up career hit No. 1,015 Saturday. “But like I said, we have talent and we are going to be good. That’s something to be excited for.

“Every day he shows up to the ballpark, brings his lunch pail and goes about his business the right way,” McEwing said. “What he means to that clubhouse, our lineup, our club every single day and what he brings, not just on the field, but his preparation, his routine, the way he goes about his business, the way he conversates throughout a game ... it just makes everyone around him better. That’s the definition of a true leader.”

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.