Here’s a sobering thought.
When White Sox spring training begins in February, Mark Buehrle may very well be the lone survivor from the 2005 World
It’s certainly premature to
carve this scenario in stone, but with Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski and
Freddy Garcia free agents and Bobby Jenks arbitration eligible, the popular lefthander from St.
Charles, Mo. could stand alone.
If you think about it, it’s
appropriate. Some may say Konerko would be the ideal “last man standing.” But
Paulie, as beloved as he is on the South Side with one more year in a Sox
uniform than Buehrle’s 11, lacks one thing–he’s not a home-grown White Sox.
While some Sox fans might be surprised because Paulie is so identified with the silver and black, Konerko grew up in the Dodger organization and played briefly for the Reds before coming to Chicago. Buehrle, on the other hand, was a 38th round pick for the Pale Hose in 1998 and has been with the organization ever since.
So, if Konerko, Pierzynski,
Jenks and Garcia go elsewhere in the next few months, only Buehrle will
represent the greatest year in Sox history on the active roster–and will do it
with a pretty impressive resume. Here are some of his career highlights,
already worthy of consideration for a likeness on the left field wall at the
Game against the Rays
against the Rangers
wins in a Sox uniform, an impressive 38 games over .500
Major-league record 45 consecutive batters retired
All-Star, winning pitcher for AL in 2005
ALDS victory, an ALCS win and a World Series save in 2005
consecutive seasons of 200-plus innings pitched, leading the league twice–also led league twice in games started
Gold Gloves, including this past season
Sox record (8) for Opening Day starts
the game’s best pickoff move
the Sox career leaders in wins, starts, innings pitched, winning percentage,
quality starts (1st) and strikeouts
And the above accomplishments
don’t factor in his leadership
abilities, ultra-competitiveness, team-first attitude, good humor and
Notes of Note: Rumors run rampant this time of year.
One is that the Sox are willing to listen to offers for Gordon Beckham (really?)…Another is that Jermaine Dye, after sitting out the entire 2010 season, wants to
play next season. Reports are that the Rockies, Phillies and Rays are
interested…Yet another is that Sox are exploring the possibility of signing
free agent closer Rafael Soriano,
who was so strong last season for the Rays. Another sign that Jenks may be a
goner…Finally, congratulations to Buehrle for his winning a 2010 Gold Glove and
Ramirez for his first Silver Slugger
award. Truth is, the Missle should have won a Gold Glove as well.
The winning streaks, the losing streaks, the come-from-behind wins, the thrills and the heartbreaks all have led to this–White Sox Game 162.
Despite my outburst on September 18 when I wrote here that I couldn’t wait for this season to end, I’m following the Pale Hose to the end.
While the Sox have long since been eliminated, I want them to finish strong and am relieved that as a result of last night’s 5-2 win over the Red Sox they have clinched second place.
With that win and four games to go, the Good Guys are at 85 victories with an outside shot at 89 if they capture the finale against Boston and sweep the Tribe this weekend. It may not amount to all that much and won’t vault us into the postseason, but it’ll make the entry into the offseason a little easier to take.
Farewell to Freddy?: It’s too early to speculate about Freddy Garcia’s future, but whatever happens he exceeded all expectations this year and a case could be made that he was the club’s most reliable starter. Garcia finished the year at 12-6 with his impressive performance last night and if it weren’t for a few blown saves, he could easily have won at least three or four more. Garcia will always be remembered fondly by Sox fans for his role in the 2005 championship run and his highly-competitive nature.