5 best seasons by a Sox position player

November 30th, 2020

CHICAGO -- Here’s a look at the White Sox top five individual seasons by a position player, along with a number of near misses.

1) , 1994
Let’s be honest: When it comes to Thomas, a Hall of Famer and arguably the top offensive force in franchise history, there are plenty of seasons to choose from. There could be a Top 5 Seasons list had by Thomas with the White Sox on its own. But the 1994 campaign stands as his most overwhelming performance in just 113 games.

The Big Hurt propelled a 67-46 squad with a .353 average, 38 home runs and 101 RBIs. Thomas topped the American League with 106 runs scored, 109 walks, a .487 on-base percentage, a .729 slugging percentage, a 1.217 OPS and a 212 OPS+. Thomas’ OBP, OPS and slugging percentage still stand as single-season franchise records. He won his second consecutive AL Most Valuable Player Award with this top-notch effort.

2) , 1998
The second half of Belle's second and final season on the South Side alone would almost be deserving enough for consideration on this list. The left fielder slashed .387/.451/.816 after the 1998 All Star break, with 31 home runs, 86 RBIs, 38 walks and 34 strikeouts over 76 games.

For the season, Belle had a final line of .328/.399/.655 with 49 home runs, 48 doubles, 152 RBIs, 200 hits and 113 runs scored. His slugging percentage, 1.055 OPS, 172 OPS+ and career-high 399 total bases topped the AL, and those total bases, homers, RBIs, doubles and 99 extra-base hits remain White Sox single-season top marks.

Related

3) Thomas, 1997
There was no division title behind Thomas’ showing in 1997, as there was during another great year for the first baseman in 2000. But his 7.3 WAR in 1997 represented his highest single-season mark. Thomas, who hit .301 in his career despite hitting .262 from 2001-08, won his lone batting title with a .347 average in ‘97. He also knocked 35 homers and 35 doubles to go with 125 RBIs and 110 runs scored while leading the AL in OBP (.456), OPS (1.067) and OPS+ (181).

4) , 1972
Allen only played from 1972-74 with the White Sox. But if not for finishing tied for third by hitting .308, behind Rod Carew (.318) and Lou Piniella (.312), he would have won the AL Triple Crown in his 1972 White Sox debut. Allen captured the '72 AL MVP Award by pushing his team to an 87-67 record and its first total home crowd of more than 1 million fans (1,177,318) since '65.

His 37 home runs, 113 RBIs, .603 slugging percentage and 99 walks led the AL. Allen ranked No. 1 in baseball that season with a .420 OBP, a 1.023 OPS and a career-high 199 OPS+. He even added 19 stolen bases for good measure.

5) , 1920
The last big league season for Jackson was one of his best. He hit .382, which is second all-time in terms of White Sox single-season marks, to go with 12 homers and 121 RBIs. That RBI total was his lone season above 100.

Jackson also produced 42 doubles, 20 triples, 105 runs scored, 218 hits and a 1.033 OPS. He walked 56 times and struck out 14 times over 570 at-bats.

Honorable mention
José Abreu, 2020:
Abreu played in all 60 games of this abbreviated campaign, driving in a Major League best 60 for his second straight year leading the AL in RBIs. The right-handed hitter also sat atop the AL with his 76 hits, .617 slugging percentage, 148 total bases and was tied for the lead with Cleveland’s José Ramirez in extra-base hits. Abreu’s .987 OPS left him fifth in the AL but also was a single-season career-high, as he was voted AL MVP.

Luke Appling, 1936: The highest single-season average in franchise history came from the White Sox shortstop when he hit .388 in 1936. Appling drove in a career-high 128 during the season, never topping 85 for the rest of his Hall-of-Fame career, and his 204 hits and 111 runs scored also were career-bests. He finished second in the AL MVP race to Lou Gehrig.

Thomas, 2000: Yes, it’s another top season for Thomas, who had a slash line of .328/.436/.625 to go with a career-high 43 home runs and 143 RBIs. Thomas also drew 112 walks against 94 strikeouts.

Magglio Ordonez, 2002: Ordonez, who was considered one of the most talented players to suit up for the White Sox, had his best season with the club via a .320 average, 47 doubles, 38 home runs, 135 RBIs and 116 runs scored. The right fielder did not make the All-Star team in ’02, although he did finish 8th in the MVP Award voting, launching 23 home runs after the break.

Jermaine Dye, 2006: Dye hit .315 with career highs in homers (44), RBIs (120), OPS (1.006) and OPS+ (151). He was an All-Star and finished fifth in the AL MVP race.

Abreu, 2014: In his White Sox debut after coming over from Cuba, Abreu hit .317 with an AL-best .581 slugging percentage and 173 OPS+. He knocked out 36 homers, 35 doubles and drove in 107.

Minnie Minoso, 1954: Minoso topped the Majors with 18 triples, while also reaching double digits in doubles, homers and stolen bases. Minoso hit .320 with 119 runs scored and 116 RBIs.

Eddie Collins, 1915: Collins posted a 9.4 WAR with 119 walks, 118 runs scored, 46 stolen bases and 77 RBIs.

Jim Thome, 2006: The Hall of Famer hit 42 homers in his first season with the White Sox to go with 109 RBIs, 107 walks and a 1.014 OPS.

Nellie Fox, 1959: The second baseman and future Hall of Famer became the first MVP in White Sox history, followed by Allen (’72), Thomas (’93-94) and Abreu (2020).

Paul Konerko, 2005: The captain hit 40 home runs to go with 100 RBIs and a .909 OPS during the White Sox World Series championship season.