Sidney Brown is known as the go-to guy for hockey info on Regal Radio, but what you may not know is that he has quite the encyclopedic brain for all sports. In “Sid Ranks Em’ All” you’ll get to read his unique take on the best and worst of sports with specific lists spanning all playing fields.
Here, as part of WARR.com’s salute to Paul Konerko, Sid ranks the top moments in the illustrious career of the beloved White Sox slugger.
With his baseball career coming to its end, Paul Konerko can be comfortable in his place as a Chicago sports legend, having provided moments in a White Sox uniform that will never be forgotten.
As a guy who didn’t pound his chest and/or look for camera exposure at every turn, Paulie displayed a kind of professionalism over his 16 years on the South Side that couldn’t been recognized enough by his teammates as well as the White Sox organization itself, though they will try with today’s proceedings of a “Paul Konerko Day” at U.S. Cellular Field. (Update: Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf also announced the team’s official plans to retire Konerko’s number late Friday)
Drafted in the first round of the MLB amateur draft in 1994 by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Konerko bounced out of L.A. and in and out of Cincinatti until he was acquired by the Sox in 1999 and he would begin seizing an opportunity to play every day at first base for a rebuilding franchise that needed more pop surrounding Frank Thomas.
Below, you can read the results of a difficult round of deliberating, separating the many great moments Konerko provided White Sox fans from the truly defining moments that earned all the esteem he’s cashing in on this weekend as we all say goodbye.
Hopefully these moments will bring back great memories for all White Sox fans and bring alive pride in the team that isn’t quite there looking at the present, but it stands a chance to live on due to the great example set by Paulie.
5) April 13, 2009 — White Sox at Detroit Tigers
Jermaine Dye shared in this great moment with Konerko as the two middle-of-the order mainstays hit back to back milestone homeruns on this day, each going yard for the 300th time in their career. Zach Minor was the unlucky catalyst for this moment and a 10-6 White Sox victory.
4) April 11, 2000 — White Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
An early highlight, Konerko hits just the 32nd home run of his career here, but did so in an unorthodox style — an inside the park homer, utilizing the often weird dimensions of Tropicana Field. Konerko was never known for his speed but on this day he showed his hustle rounding the bases as the ball rattled around the Rays’ can of a stadium, a rare (and some would say needed) example of on-field exercise for Paulie.
The White Sox defeated the Rays that night 13-6 and the season ended with Konerko helping the White Sox clinch the American League Central division title with 95 wins before bowing out in the American League Division Series in a sweep by the Seattle Mariners.
3) July 9, 2002 — MLB All Star Game, Milwaukee, WI
Konerko was named to his first All-Star team this season and provided two hits in this wildly controversial affair, which ended in a 7-7 tie after 11 innings and pushed baseball into a new era where the exhibition game now counts as the deciding factor for which league has home-field advantage in the World Series.
(Click image for Konerko’s thoughts on his first All-Star game)
Leading up to the all-star break during the month of June, Konerko had a hot streak that would clinch his first berth, hitting for a .340 average with 12 homers and 22 RBI. Konerko ended his breakout 2002 season with a.304 average, 27 homers and 104 RBI. Konerko would make the AL All-Star team five more times (2005, 2006, 2010, 2011 and 2012).
2) October 14, 15, 2005 — White Sox at Anaheim Angels (Games 3-4, American League Championship Series)
Konerko was the standard-bearer for the 2005 American League Central division champs and he stood out especially in the ALCS by hitting home runs in each of the two games in Southern California as the Sox defeated the Angels in five games to clinch the franchise’s first berth in the World Series since 1959.
For his stellar play, Konerko was named ALCS MVP having batted for a .286 average with 2 home runs and 7 RBI.
1) October 23, 2005 — Houston Astros at White Sox (Game 2, 2005 World Series)
At home, trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the 7th inning, the bases are loaded and a packed U.S. Cellular Field is trying to help will the Good Guys to a 2-0 lead in this rare World Series game played on Chicago soil, but something big needed to happen, something only PAULIE could deliver…
Konerko’s grand slam helped provide the White Sox a 6-4 lead over the game Astros and the needed runs in a 7-6 thriller that ended when Scott Podsednik concluded the classic game with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th, giving the South Siders a 2-0 series lead and enough momentum to carry them through a four-game sweep and the club’s first World Series title since 1917.
October 27, 2005 — White Sox Championship Parade and Rally
After winning it all, the city of Chicago gave the team from the South Side a celebration of a lifetime with a World Series Championship parade that traveled through various South Side neighborhoods and ended in downtown Chicago. At last, the Sox were the toast of the town.
The best moment of the celebration came when Konerko (a free agent at the time) handed the ball from Game 4 of the Series to White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. Though he’s had way more success with his basketball team, Reinsdorf has made no mistake that baseball is his obsession and to win in that sport meant everything to him. It was easy to see on the old owner’s face how much the moment meant to him, it was likely no different than it was for I and fellow White Sox fans all over, it was moment (topping off a season) to last a lifetime!
Mr. Paul Konerko aka PAULIE — from all White Sox fans we want to make sure you know one thing — THANK YOU FOR THE MEMORIES!
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