Thursday, September 25, 2014


While most attention this week has been focused on the Derek Jeter farewell tour, another class act is saying goodbye to baseball and deserves recognition. After 17 years in the Bigs, White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko is retiring.

Konerko was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994 and made his Major League debut in 1997. But as the Dodgers tend to do with young and promising talent, they traded the slugger away to the Cincinnati Reds for closer Jeff Shaw. Konerko only played 26 games with the Reds before he found a home on the roster of the Chicago White Sox in 1999.

The 6’2” right-hander quickly became a fixture in Chicago’s South Side and racked up team highs for total bases and his 432 home runs as a Sox player puts him second only to Hall of Famer Frank Thomas (448) for the team record.

Konerko also made an impressive six All-Star appearances in the span of his career and was named MVP of the American League Championship series in 2005—the same year he belted a grand slam in Game 2 of the World Series against the Houston Astros. The ChiSox went on to sweep the ‘Stros to end an 88-year championship drought.

Aside from being one of the top first baseman in the league, Konerko—called “Pau-lie” by fans—is beloved by Chicago natives for his humility and loyalty to the community. He took a reported $11 million pay cut to come back and play for the White Sox in his final year.

On Saturday, the White Sox will hold Paul Konerko Day in honor of their first baseman. It’s a fitting tribute to a solid and humble ball player who dedicated his time and resources to the community he loved.  

I just wish he would have been a Dodger.

--Alexis Garcia, BYB's "Eye on MLB" Columnist
Twitter:  @heylexyg

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