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Off HOF ballot, Konerko's status as icon endures

@scottmerkin
January 21, 2020

CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko did not receive the required 5% of support from the ballots cast by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to remain on future ballots for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. So, the White Sox first baseman finishing with 10 votes of the 397

CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko did not receive the required 5% of support from the ballots cast by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to remain on future ballots for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

So, the White Sox first baseman finishing with 10 votes of the 397 cast (2.5%) means his first time on this ballot will be his only time. But that outcome won’t diminish the great career produced by Konerko.

16 players fall off after 1st year on HOF ballot

“I’m just disappointed he didn’t get a chance to stay on the ballot because this guy was a middle-of-the-order guy, he was a leader, he won a World Series,” said Hall of Famer Jim Thome, a teammate of Konerko for parts of four seasons with the White Sox, on MLB Network Tuesday night. “It would have been nice to see him remain on and see where he would have gone from there.

“He had really good numbers. This guy had a really great career. He should be very proud of that.”

2020 Baseball Hall of Fame coverage

Derek Jeter (396 of 397 votes, 99.7%) and Larry Walker (304 of 397, 76.6%) both had their names called on Tuesday and will be inducted in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 26.

Konerko is immortalized on the South Side, with a statue dedicated in his honor on the Guaranteed Rate Field concourse. His No. 14 White Sox jersey has been retired, and he’s arguably one of the most important players, not to mention most productive, in franchise history.

Of his 18 big league seasons, Konerko spent 16 of them on the South Side. That longevity and connection to one team was something Konerko wore proudly while also serving as the team captain, as named by manager Ozzie Guillen in 2006 until he retired after 2014.

He joined Hall of Famer Frank Thomas as the only two players in franchise history to top 400 career home runs with 432 as a member of the White Sox. Konerko ranked in the Top 3 in 11 career categories for the White Sox, including No. 1 with 4,010 total bases and No. 1 with 13 seasons of at least 20 home runs.

And no one associated with the White Sox will ever forget Konerko’s seventh-inning grand slam off of Chad Qualls in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series during the team’s four-game championship sweep of Houston. Konerko had seven homers over 80 postseason plate appearances and finished with 439 home runs, 1,412 RBIs, 2,340 hits and an .841 OPS.

Complete 2020 Hall of Fame election results

Here are other White Sox-connected players and their voting results:

Omar Vizquel, 209 votes, 52.6%

The 11-time Gold Glove winner played for the White Sox in 2010-11.

Manny Ramirez, 112 votes, 28.2%

Ramirez played in only 24 games for the White Sox in 2010. But his home run off of Detroit’s Max Scherzer on Sept. 17 of that season was the 555th and final one of his career.

Andruw Jones, 77 votes, 19.4%

Jones hit 19 homers during his 2010 season in Chicago, including nine by the end of May.

Sammy Sosa, 55 votes, 13.9%

Sosa’s greatest fame came during 13 years on the North Side of town. But he came to the Cubs in a trade from the White Sox, where he hit 28 homers over three seasons.

Adam Dunn, J.J. Putz, Brad Penny, less than 5% (eliminated from future ballots)

Dunn knocked out 106 of his 462 career homers during parts of four seasons with the White Sox. Putz recorded a 2.83 ERA and three saves over 60 games with the White Sox in 2010, while Penny pitched one season for Triple-A Charlotte in 2015.

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