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Hey Paulie!

By: Matt Hoeppner

Paul Konerko is very quietly having an MVP caliber season on the South Side. The White Sox captain once again had the biggest hit of the game last night, a three run homer that lifted the Sox to a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

As of today Paulie is hitting .302 with 18 HR and 64 RBI. While it doesn’t compare with what Albert Pujols is doing in St. Louis, those numbers are nothing to sneeze at either.

Watching last nights game got me to thinking about something that passed through my mind earlier this year, “Is Paul Konerko the second player in White Sox history?”

The average Sox fan would answer “no” right off the bat. However if you look at the numbers, and baseball is all about numbers, you will see that the answer may not be what you think it is.

Paul Konerko ranks in the White Sox top ten in games played, runs, hits, total bases, doubles, home runs, RBI, walks, extra base hits, and slugging percentage. Of those categories he ranks 2nd in home runs and extra base hits, 3rd in RBI, and 5th in doubles and total bases and is closing in on the top three in both those categories.

The 162 game averages for Paulie are pretty impressive as well, .279, 31 HR, 101 RBI. I think anyone that averages 30 homers and 100 knocked in per year for 11 years with one team is going to be remembered as one of the all time greats for that team.

The offensive numbers are important but let’s also remember that PK has turned into a pretty good fielder at first base. His career fielding percentage is .995, which is not bad at all. While he certainly isn’t Luis Aparicio in the field, he can pick it out of the dirt with the best of them.

Finally, you have to look past the numbers. During his time with the White Sox, Konerko has been a part of three Division Titles, one American League Pennant, and the only World Series title the city of Chicago has seen in any of our lifetimes. Paulie was the MVP of the ALCS in 2005 and hit a grand slam in game two of the World Series that gave the White Sox the lead late in the game. Think back Sox fans, how many huge home runs or slams has Paulie hit? I bet you can think of some other ones just off the top of your head.

It has not always been smooth sailing during Konerko’s tenure with the White Sox, but he continues to bounce back and has provided Sox fans with many great memories. His numbers back up the fact that he is certainly one of the greatest players in White Sox history. Whether or not he is the second greatest player remains up for debate, but I think it is safe to say that when his time on the South Side is done, the number 14 will be on the wall at US Cellular Field among the other greats in Sox history.


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