Paul Konerko

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Paul Konerko
Paul Konerko on August 10, 2011.jpg
Chicago White Sox – No. 14
First baseman
Born: (1976-03-05) March 5, 1976 (age 38)
Providence, Rhode Island
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
September 8, 1997 for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Career statistics
(through September 13, 2014)
Batting average .279
Hits 2,338
Home runs 439
Runs batted in 1,412
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Paul Henry Konerko (/kəˈnɛərk/; born March 5, 1976) is an American professional baseball first baseman for the Chicago White Sox of Major League Baseball. He previously played with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1997–1998) and Cincinnati Reds (1998). Konerko helped the White Sox win the 2005 World Series, the franchise's first since 1917. Since 2006, he has served as their team captain.

High school career[edit]

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Konerko is of Polish (paternal) and Italian (maternal) descent.[citation needed] At Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, Konerko was named the Arizona Republic/Phoenix Gazette Player of the Year as a senior, after leading his team to a Class 4-A state championship. Konerko hit .558 in 1994, the school season record until Ike Davis, who later became the first baseman for the New York Mets, hit .559 in 2003. Konerko also held the school season record in doubles, with 18, until Davis hit 23 doubles in 2003. He also held the school career record in doubles (44), until Davis passed him with 48 doubles.[1]

Konerko was ranked the #1 catcher in the nation during his senior year in high school.[2]

Career[edit]

Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds[edit]

Konerko was drafted in the first round (13th overall) of the 1994 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. On May 13, 1995 with the San Bernardino Spirit, he drove in the only run of a 21-inning game. It was the longest shutout in California League history.[3] Konerko played for the Triple-A Albuquerque Dukes. He played parts of the 1997 and 1998 seasons with the Dodgers. In a little more than 150 at bats, he hit just 4 home runs.[4]

Konerko was traded, along with lefty pitcher Dennys Reyes, by the Dodgers to the Cincinnati Reds for All Star closer Jeff Shaw.[5] Konerko played 26 games with the Reds.[6]

Chicago White Sox[edit]

1999–2005: Early years, World Series champion[edit]

On November 11, 1998, Konerko was traded by the Reds to the White Sox for Mike Cameron.[7]

In 2000, with a 95–67 record, the White Sox made the playoffs for the first time since 1993. Konerko made his first postseason appearance that year, when the White Sox lost to the Seattle Mariners in the 2000 American League Division Series (ALDS). The Mariners swept the series in 3 games, and in 9 at-bats, Konerko had no hits. He got on base once on a walk.

Konerko (right) and Jermaine Dye (left) present a jersey to then-President George W. Bush as the White Sox are honored at the White House for their victory in the 2005 World Series.

In 2005, the White Sox defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the American League Championship Series (ALCS). After going 0 for 4 in the first game[8] and 1 for 4 in the second game,[9] Konerko hit 3 for 4 with three RBI's in the third game of the ALCS against the Angels.[10] Two of the RBI's came from a home run in the first inning. In Game 4, Konerko was 1 for 4 with three RBI's on another first inning home run,[11] the second in as many nights. In Game 5, Konerko went 1 for 5 with another RBI [12] He was named the ALCS MVP on the strength of a .268 batting average, two home runs and seven RBI's [13] He said, "I think you could split this four ways," referring to his feeling that the MVP should be awarded to the four White Sox starting pitchers who pitched four consecutive complete games in the ALCS.

In Game 2 of the 2005 World Series, Konerko hit the first grand slam in White Sox World Series history[14] to put the White Sox ahead 6–4.[15] It was also the first grand slam in postseason history to give a team the lead when trailing in the seventh inning or later. Those were Konerko's only RBI's of the World Series, but they were critical in giving the White Sox the momentum to complete a four-game sweep of the Houston Astros and they were the most for a White Sox hitter in the series. Konerko caught the final out for every one of the series-clinching games throughout the playoffs.[16]

2006–2014: Team captain[edit]

Following the 2005 World Series victory, Konerko signed a five-year $60 million deal with the White Sox on November 30, 2005 after reportedly turning down more lucrative offers from the Los Angeles Angels and the Baltimore Orioles.[17]

Konerko became the face of the White Sox franchise after the departure of Frank Thomas who was the face of the franchise during the 1990s. Konerko concluded the 2006 season with 35 home runs, helping him rank in the top 10 for total home runs over the past three seasons, after hitting over 40 home runs in 2004 and 2005. In 2010, he was second in the American League for home runs with 39.[18]

First baseman Konerko (left) and Andruw Jones during a spring training game in Arizona, 2008

On September 18, 2008, Konerko became the last opposing player to hit a home run at Yankee Stadium[19] in the 9th inning of a 9–2 White Sox loss.

On Monday, April 13, 2009, Konerko connected back to back with Jermaine Dye for the 300th home run of both players' respective careers off of Detroit Tigers pitcher Zach Miner. This was the first time that this had ever happened in Major League history; where two players had hit a century milestone home run in one game, let alone back to back.[20]

On July 7, 2009, Konerko was 3 for 4 with three home runs including seven RBIs in a 10–6 win against the Cleveland Indians. It was the first time in his big league career that he hit three home runs in a game.[21] He is also the only White Sox player to accomplish that at U.S. Cellular Field.

On July 10, 2010, Konerko was announced to replace Twins first baseman Justin Morneau at the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. This was the fourth All-Star selection of his career.[22] Near the end of the 2010 season, Konerko was hit in the face by Minnesota Twins pitcher Carl Pavano. This resulted in major controversy. White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle returned the favor in the next inning hitting Twins first baseman Michael Cuddyer. Both teams then received a warning from the head umpire and no further incidents occurred. Refusing to leave the game, Konerko hit a solo home run on the first pitch he saw in his next at bat against Pavano. [23]

Konerko finished the 2010 season with 39 home runs, his most since 2005 and the third-highest total of his career.[6] Additionally, he was in fifth place in the year's MVP voting, the highest finish of his career to date.

On December 8, 2010, Konerko re-signed with the Chicago White Sox for 3 years worth $37.5 million.[24]

On June 1, 2011, Konerko hit his 377th career home run in a game against the Boston Red Sox, passing former White Sox player Carlton Fisk on the White Sox all-time home run list. Konerko is now second on the club's home run list currently with 400 as a member of the White Sox, trailing only Frank Thomas' 448.[25]

On June 10, 2011, Konerko hit a home run in a game against the Oakland Athletics, setting the franchise record for consecutive games with an extra base hit at 9 games. [26] On June 20, 2011, Konerko hit his 385th career home run in a game against the Chicago Cubs, passing former White Sox player Harold Baines on the all-time home run list. On June 21, 2011, Konerko continued his hot June when he homered in a game against the Chicago Cubs and his 5th straight game, becoming the 5th player in White Sox history to hit a home run in 5 consecutive games. The other 5 are Greg Luzinski, Ron Kittle, Frank Thomas (twice), Carlos Lee, and most recently A.J. Pierzynski in 2012. [27] Konerko made it onto his fifth All-Star team after winning the Final Vote contest for the American League.

On August 23, 2011, Konerko recorded his 2,000th hit in the top of the 8th inning to tie the game at 4 to 4 against the Angels.

Konerko finished the season with 30 home runs, 105 RBIs, and a .300 batting average, the 5th time in his career that he finished with 30 home runs and 100+ RBIs.

In October 2011, White Sox general manager Kenny Williams admitted that he briefly considered naming Konerko player-manager for Chicago after the departure of manager Ozzie Guillén. However, Williams never discussed the possibility with Konerko. Former White Sox player Robin Ventura was named manager for the upcoming 2012 season.[28] There has not been a player-manager in Major League Baseball since Pete Rose served in the capacity for the Cincinnati Reds in 1986.

In November 2011, Konerko was inducted into the Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame along with Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard.[29]

On April 25, 2012, Konerko hit his 400th career home run, passing Al Kaline and Andrés Galarraga and becoming the 48th player in Major League history to hit 400 home runs. Konerko was named the American League Player of the Week for the week of April 23–29. He hit .435 with 3 HR and 4 RBI. He led the AL in slugging and total bases that week.[30]

Konerko continued his hot hitting into the month of May as he racked up his second American League Player of the Week award of the season for the week of May 23–29. He hit .583 with 3 HR, 10 RBI, and a 14-game hitting streak, including his 400th career home run as a member of the White Sox, becoming only the second player in franchise history to hit 400 home runs, Frank Thomas being the first.[31]

On July 1, 2012, Konerko was elected by his peers, along with teammates Adam Dunn, Jake Peavy and Chris Sale to the 83rd All-Star Game in Kansas City. It was his sixth All-star appearance and his third in three years.

Paul Konerko batting against the Detroit Tigers in 2012

Following the departure of catcher A.J. Pierzynski in December 2012, Konerko is now the only remaining White Sox player from the team's 2005 season.

Konerko's production declined in 2013, hitting .244 with 12 home runs and 54 RBI, his lowest number of both home runs and RBI since joining the White Sox. On December 4, 2013, Konerko re-signed with the White Sox to a one-year, $2.5 million contract.[32]

On April 23, 2014, Konerko doubled off of Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Miller to break Frank Thomas' franchise total bases record with his 3,950th total base.[33]

Personal[edit]

Paul married Jennifer Wells in 2004. They have two sons and a daughter: Nicholas, Owen and Amelia.[34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brad Falduto, Tribune (May 15, 2005). "Chaparral rolls to third straight state title | Arizona sports, Arizona sports teams". eastvalleytribune.com. Retrieved May 13, 2010. 
  2. ^ White Sox | Paul Konerko
  3. ^ The Ballplayers - Paul Konerko | BaseballLibrary.com
  4. ^ Paul Konerko Stats, Video Highlights, Photos, Bio | whitesox.com: Team
  5. ^ "Reds Trade All-Star Shaw To L.A". CBS News. 
  6. ^ a b Paul Konerko Statistics and History. Baseball-Reference.com
  7. ^ Looking back at Cameron for Konerko: Part 1 - whitesox
  8. ^ October 11, 2005 American League Championship Series (ALCS) Game 1, Angels at White Sox - Baseball-Reference.com
  9. ^ October 12, 2005 American League Championship Series (ALCS) Game 2, Angels at White Sox - Baseball-Reference.com
  10. ^ October 14, 2005 American League Championship Series (ALCS) Game 3, White Sox at Angels - Baseball-Reference.com
  11. ^ October 15, 2005 American League Championship Series (ALCS) Game 4, White Sox at Angels - Baseball-Reference.com
  12. ^ October 16, 2005 American League Championship Series (ALCS) Game 5, White Sox at Angels - Baseball-Reference.com
  13. ^ Konerko blasts way to ALCS MVP | MLB.com: News
  14. ^ http://italianamericanbaseball.org/card/konerko_paul.html
  15. ^ White Sox 2005 World Series - Fun Facts, Questions, Answers, Information
  16. ^ MLB: 2005 Chicago White Sox Five Greatest Postseason Performances | Bleacher Report
  17. ^ "Konerko re-signs with White Sox All-Star first baseman inks five-year deal to remain in Chicago". MLB.com. November 30, 2005. Retrieved October 23, 2008. 
  18. ^ Paul Konerko Stats - Chicago White Sox - ESPN
  19. ^ The last homer, the last out at Yankee Stadium - MLB - ESPN
  20. ^ Merkin, Scott (April 13, 2009). Nfext=.jsp&c_id=cws "Back-to-back, Dye, Konerko reach 300". MLB.com. Retrieved August 2, 2009. 
  21. ^ Konerko powers ChiSox with 3 HRs, slam | Yardbarker.com
  22. ^ Paul Konerko to replace Justin Morneau on A.L. All-Star roster | MLB.com: Official Info
  23. ^ Konerko, White Sox show toughness in loss | whitesox.com: News
  24. ^ Merkin, Scott (December 8, 2010). "Konerko, White Sox stay together with new deal". MLB.com. Retrieved December 8, 2010. 
  25. ^ Major League Baseball Stats | whitesox.com: Stats
  26. ^ MLB.com Gameday | MLB.com: Gameday
  27. ^ White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko homered in his fifth straight game on Tuesday | whitesox.com: News
  28. ^ Chicago White Sox unveil Robin Ventura, considered Paul Konerko for manager - ESPN Chicago
  29. ^ White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko inducted to Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame | whitesox.com: News
  30. ^ "Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox named the American League Player of the Week". MLB.com. April 30, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Huge week nets Konerko AL weekly honor". MLB.com. May 29, 2012. 
  32. ^ White Sox and Paul Konerko Agree to Terms on One-Year Contract
  33. ^ Semien's slam sparks White Sox comeback win
  34. ^ "Paul Konerko Stats, Video Highlights, Photos, Bio". 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jason Giambi
American League Player of the Month
June 2002
Succeeded by
Alex Rodriguez