Building a Champion: Cliff Politte

Part of a series

Cliff Politte was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 54th round of the 1995 Draft. He was able to slip that far because of his slight stature. He's listed at 5'11", but he's closer to 5'9", not exactly the prototypical height for dominant pitcher. One thing Cliff could do, however, was throw hard. He has always had a very good fastball, despite his size.

During his time in the Cardinals system, Cliff was used exclusively as a starter, making his major league debut in 1998. After 8 unimpressive starts, the Cardinals shipped him to Philidelphia. In Philly, Cliff established himself as a nice bullpen arm, posting ERAs of 3.66 and 2.42 in his first two full seasons in the majors.

In 2002, Politte was traded to Toronto for Dan Plesac. After a solid second half, Toronto felt like they could entrust Cliff with the closer's role. Politte struggled with the pressure of the 9th inning, having his worst season since establishing himself as a big leaguer.

The Sox signed Politte before the '04 season. He showed flashes of greatness, but largely was a league average reliever in '04. He missed about a month late in the year with a burst appendix, but returned to throw in the last weekend of the season. This act, more than his pitching, may have accounted for his new contract in '05.

The Sox had an option on Politte in '05, but they chose to sign him to a two year extension instead. -- At the time, I was upset that the Sox wasted some guaranteed money in '06 on a guy who looked like a league average reliever -- Politte went on to be one of the best relievers in baseball in '05. Now, they've got Politte locked up for next season, when he would be due to make more than $2.5M(less than the total value of his contract) on the open market. Just another case of prudent decision making by the White Sox front office.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join South Side Sox

You must be a member of South Side Sox to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at South Side Sox. You should read them.

Join South Side Sox

You must be a member of South Side Sox to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at South Side Sox. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker