Konerko makes Hall of Fame ballot debut

First baseman headlines group of former White Sox on ballot

November 18th, 2019

CHICAGO -- Eight players on the 2020 BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot, released Monday, have a White Sox connection if RHP Brad Penny’s 2015 season with Triple-A Charlotte is factored into the mix.

But none have the deep White Sox connection of , who represents one of 18 new candidates on the ballot.

Konerko, who retired after the 2014 season, played 16 of his 18 seasons in Chicago beginning in 1999. His candidacy is an interesting one, with 439 career home runs, 1,412 RBIs, a 118 OPS+ and a slash line of .279/.354/.486. He also had seven postseason homers and 17 RBIs, with five and 15, respectively, coming during the 2005 club’s 11-1 playoff run to a World Series title.

The grand slam Konerko launched off Houston’s Chad Qualls in the seventh inning of Game 2 of the 2005 Series ranks as one of the greatest home runs in franchise history. Konerko was a six-time All-Star (2002, ’05, ’06, ’10, ’11, ’12), won the ’05 ALCS Most Valuable Player and finished in the top six of AL MVP voting in ’05 and ’10. He also received votes in ‘11.

There are 13 White Sox offensive categories where Konerko ranks in the Top 5 in franchise history, including sitting in first with 4,010 total bases and 13 20-homer seasons, while ranking second to Hall of Famer Frank Thomas with 432 homers, 1,383 RBIs and 846 extra-base hits while with the White Sox. Although he was not blessed with exceptional speed, Konerko carried a .399 average into May 27 of the 2012 season. And his value went well beyond his impressive on-field numbers.

The first baseman was a mentor in the clubhouse and a leader throughout the organization. He shared the Roberto Clemente Award with Jimmy Rollins in 2014, had his No. 14 retired and had a Guaranteed Rate Field statue dedicated in his honor

Candidates must be named on 75 percent of ballots cast by BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years of MLB coverage to gain election. Players may remain on the ballot for up to 10 years provided they receive at least five percent of the vote each year on the ballot. Results will be announced by Hall of Fame president Tim Mead at 5 p.m. CT on Tuesday, Jan. 21 live on MLB Network.

Here are the other candidates with White Sox connections on the 2020 ballot.

The prolific slugger finished his career with 462 homers, 1,317 walks, 2,379 strikeouts, a .364 on-base percentage and a .490 slugging percentage. He played from 2011-14 with the White Sox, before being traded in-season to the A’s. He hit 106 homers with the club and 41 in ’12 to help the White Sox reach their most recent season above .500, with an 88-74 record.

Most of Jones’ prolific success came as a member of the Braves, with whom he won 10 Gold Gloves and hit 368 of his 434 career home runs. But the center fielder hit 19 homers in his 2010 season with the White Sox, including nine through May.

Putz produced a very solid 2010 season with the White Sox, posting a 2.83 ERA over 60 appearances and 54 innings pitched. The right-hander didn’t allow a run from May 14 to July 28, covering 27 games and 27 innings.

Ramirez wasn’t completely healthy during his 88 plate appearances with the White Sox in ’10. He hit just one of his 555 career home runs during that time, which was also his final career homer.

Sosa found almost all of his fame after being traded to the Cubs (with Ken Patterson) for George Bell on March 30, 1992. But Sosa knocked 28 of his 609 career homers over three seasons with the White Sox.

Known as one of the best defensive shortstops in the game, Vizquel played shortstop, second base and third base for the White Sox during the 2010-11 seasons. He was 43 and 44 years old by that point in his career.

Other newcomers on the ballot include Derek Jeter, Cliff Lee, Josh Beckett, Jason Giambi, Rafael Furcal, Bobby Abreu and Alfonso Soriano.