Former White Sox captain Paul Konerko will see his jersey number — 14 — retired near the start of the 2015 season.
The White Sox organization announced that the team will pay tribute to Konerko on May 23 at US Cellular Field on the south side of Chicago. The event will take place prior to a scheduled game against the Minnesota Twins.
“Paul Konerko is one of the greatest players in White Sox history not only for his strength and performance on the field, but also for his heart and leadership off the field,” White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. “Paul was a humble leader whose passion for the game earned the respect and love of the entire clubhouse and fans all over the country. We honor Paul by retiring his number and welcoming him to the ranks of White Sox legends.”
The six-time All-Star first baseman retired at the end of the 2014 season after an 18 year career that included the White Sox’s first World Series victory in nearly a century.
Konerko was the catalyst of the triumphant World Series run in 2005 that broke the team’s 88 year championship drought. Konerko’s two-run homer in Anaheim gave the Sox a lead that they never lost in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. Konerko returned the following game with another home run — this one a three-run homer — helping the Sox to win again. A grand slam in game 2 of the World Series against the Houston Astros topped off Konerko’s remarkable playoff performance.
His career totals were equally impressive.
Konerko leads the White Sox franchise in total bases. He ranks high among White Sox players in nearly every other statistic: 3rd with 2340 career hits, 2nd with 1412 RBIs, and 2nd with 439 home runs, behind only slugger Frank Thomas (aka “The Big Hurt”), who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year.
Image Credit: Baseball Backs, flickr