Last week, I challenged you guys to rank the 20 greatest White Sox players in franchise history. I then took your rankings and gave them points in an MVP style voting fashion (1st= 20 pts, 20th= 1 pt). Without further ado, I present to you the 20th-11th greatest White Sox as ranked by you guys.
20. Ed Cicotte - 240 points
Years with Sox: 1912-1920
Sox Stats: 156-101, 2.25 ERA, 2,322.1 IP
Cicotte joined the White Sox as a 28 year old after 5 mediocre seasons as a member of the Red Sox. Once he came to Chicago though, everything clicked for the knuckleballer. He led the league with 28 wins, 346.2 innings pitched and a 1.53 ERA for the 1917 World Champion White Sox. In 1919, he led the league again with 29 victories and 306.2 IP for the eventual World Series losers. He followed that season with a 21-10 record in 1920. That would be the last season Cicotte would toe the rubber as he was one of the 8 men suspended for life in the Black Sox scandal. Eddie currently ranks 4th in team history in ERA and 8th in wins. Earlier this offseason, Jim wrote a great report on Cicotte.
19. Jack McDowell- 315 points
Years with Sox: 1987-1994
Sox Stats: 91-58, 3.50 ERA, 1,343.2 IP, 1993 Cy Young
Three time All Star Black Jack McDowell came to the White Sox in the first round of the 1987 draft. He debuted with the big club later that year, going 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA over 4 starts. After a disappointing 1988 season, McDowell spent the entire '89 campaign in the minors. McDowell returned to the Majors in 1990 and went on a great 5 year run for the White Sox. He was 14-9 for the surprising 1990 club. He started, and won, the final game ever in Comiskey Park in a 2-1 win over the Mariners. He also started the first game at New Comiskey Park in 1991. In '91 he had another fine season going 17-10. In 1992, he won 20 games for the first time. In 1993, he won the Cy Young award after going 22-10 with a 3.37 ERA for the American League West champions. In 1994, McDowell was 10-9 when the strike wiped out the season. Between 1990 and 1994, McDowell led all American League pitchers in wins with 83. In December of 1994, the Sox sent McDowell to the Yankees in exchange for OF Lyle Mouton. It was a quiet end to a great White Sox career. Jack's .611 winning percentage ranks 7th in White Sox history.
18. Wilbur Wood- 435 points
Years with Sox: 1967-1978
Sox Stats: 163-148, 3.18 ERA, 2,524.1 IP, 57 Saves
Wilbur was acquired form the Pittsburgh Pirates after the 1966 season in exchange for Juan Pizaro. Wood had bounced back and forth from the Majors and the Minors as a member of the Red Sox and Pirates, but once he got to Chicago, he became a mainstay. Wood was tutored by Hall of Fame knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm upon his arrival. The first four years in Chicago, he mostly came out of the bullpen and he did so quite often. Wood led the league in appearances from '68-'70, throwing well over 100 innings in each season. Wood was converted into a starter in 1971. He took to the change nicely as he won 20 games for four seasons in a row, including leading the league with 24 in '72 and '73. Wood was the definition of a horse as he piled up unbelievable starts and innings totals. In '72 he went a remarkable 376.2 innings over 49 starts! In '73 he started 48 games and totaled 359.1 innings. It was more of the same in '74 and '75 as Wood led the league in starts. Unfortunately in 1976, Ron LeFlore lined Wood in the kneecap, which ended his season. Wood came back for two more disappointing seasons and ended his career after going 10-10 in 1978 with a 5.20 ERA. Wood currently ranks 5th in White Sox wins and 7th in White Sox saves.
17. Red Faber - 467 points
Years with Sox: 1914-1933
Sox Stats: 254-213, 3.15 ERA
Faber threw 20 seasons on the South Side and ranks 2nd in all time White Sox victories with 254. Faber, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1964, learned the spitball in 1911 while in the Minor Leagues. In his 2nd year in the Majors, Faber went 24-14 with a 2.55 ERA. In 1917, Faber went 16-13 with a 1.92 ERA. In the World Series, Faber won 3 games against the Giants giving the White Sox their first championship in 11 seasons. He won game 2, lost game 4, won game 5 in relief and then threw a complete game victory in game 6 to secure the title. Faber was injured at the end of the 1919 season, and Ray Schalk said the Black Sox scandal would have never been successful if Faber was healthy. He was the league leader in ERA in 1921 and 1922, while throwing a remarkable 63 complete games during that time. In 1921, he won 25 of the clubs 61 victories as the organization struggled mightily due to the Black Sox scandal. In 1924, the 35 year old had elbow surgery, but came back and threw relatively well for another 10 years before calling it quits in 1933 at 44 years old. Here is a nice biography on Urban "Red" Faber.
16. Robin Ventura- 675 points
Years with Sox: 1989-1998
Sox Stats: .274/.365/.440, 171 HR, 741 RBI, 5 Gold Gloves
Robin Ventura came to the Sox in the first round of the 1988 draft. A year later, he was making his debut in the big leagues. Ventura struggled with the bat his first year, but when the Sox moved across the street in 1991, Ventura found his stroke. He went from hitting 5 homers and 54 RBI's in 1990 to hitting 23 homers and 100 RBIs in 1991. He became 1/2 of one of the greatest duos in franchise history with Frank Thomas. Ventura's best offensive season came in 1996 when he hit .287/.368/.520 with 34 dingers and 104 knocked in. Ventura wasn't just a big bat though. He was also one of the best defensive third basemen of the era as he collected 5 gold gloves during his tenure on the South Side. He suffered one of the most gruesome injuries I've seen on a baseball field during spring training in 1997 when he broke and dislocated his ankle sliding into home but returned to the field for 54 games that season. Ventura left the Sox after the 1998 season for the New York Mets and went on to play for five more seasons before calling it a career after the 2004 season. I will always remember Ventura for his timely hitting and his charging bare handed throws that always ended up right on the money. Robin currently ranks 6th in homers and 8th in RBI's on the White Sox leader board.
15. Dick Allen- 694 points
Years with Sox: 1972-1974
Sox Stats: .307/.398/.589, 85 HR, 242 RBI, 1972 MVP
The controversial Allen was traded to the White Sox from the Dodgers in December of 1971 in exchange for Tommy John and Steve Huntz. The White Sox were just starting to rebound from one of the worst stretches in franchise history (1968-1970) as the Sox were playing home games in Milwaukee and rumors were abound that the team wouldn't last in Chicago. In stepped Allen who brought the Sox back to the forefront in 1972 when he led the league in homers, RBI, walks, OBP and slugging. Allen finished with a .308 batting average, falling .010 points short of a triple crown as the Sox finished in 2nd in the AL West. In 1973, Allen's season was cut short when he broke his leg in June. He returned in 1974 and led the league in homers and slugging percentage again before leaving the club with 2 weeks left in the season due to a beef with Ron Santo. He was an All Star in each of his three seasons with the White Sox. Although he only played in 348 games for the Sox, Allen made his mark on the city and with the fan base. So much so that earlier this week the Sox announced they will have Dick Allen day on June 24th, 40 years after his magical season of 1972.
14. Ted Lyons- 816 points
Years with Sox: 1923-1946
Sox Stats: 260-230, 3.67 ERA, 4161 IP
Lyons is the White Sox leader in career victories with 260. He signed with the White Sox right after he graduated college and never pitched a day in the minor leagues. In 1925, Lyons was turned into a full time starter and led the league in wins (21) and shutouts (5). It would begin a string of 6 seasons where Lyons was one of the best in the game. He won at least 20 games 3 times in that span and almost always completed what he started. In his 484 career starts, Lyons completed 356 of them. That is good for 24th all time (though most of the guys above him started their careers in the 1800s). Lyons hurt his shoulder in 1931 and manager Jimmy Dykes started throwing him on 6 days rest. He would usually pitch on Sundays. Lyons, at 41 years of age, signed up for the Military in 1942. When he returned for the 1946 season, Lyons completed all 5 games he started. His career ended when he accepted the role as Manager when Jimmy Dykes resigned in May of 1946. Lyons completed the last 28 games (dating back to 1941, including all 20 starts in 1942) that he started. Lyons was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1954 and got his number 16 retired in 1987. Here is a full biography on Lyons, which includes comments from Ted Williams.
13. Harold Baines- 923 points
Years with Sox: 1980-1989, 1996-1997, 2000-2001
Sox Stats: .288/.346/.463, 221 HR, 981 RBI
Baines got spotted by White Sox owner Bill Veeck as a 12 year old little leaguer and the club chose him with the first pick in the draft in 1977. Harold was in the Majors as a 21 year old in 1980 and came into his own in 1982 when he hit 25 homers and knocked in 105 runs. He hit at least 20 homers and knocked in at least 88 for the next 5 years after that. In 1983, Baines hit a sac fly in the bottom of the 9th to clinch the pennant and to send the Sox to the playoffs for the first time since 1959. In '84, Baines hit 29 homers and his .541 slugging percentage led the league. It was a sad day when the Sox traded Baines to the Rangers in 1989, but after stints in Oakland and Baltimore Baines was back on the South Side in 1996. The only things that changed was the ball park and the uniforms as Baines still hit 22 dingers with 95 RBI's. He was having another solid season in 1997 when he was traded back to the Orioles in one of the White Flag moves. Harold came back to the Sox in 2000 for the AL Central champs and ended his career in 2001 at 42 years old. Harold is 3rd all time in White Sox home runs, 4th in RBI's, 6th in hits and his 1,628 career RBI's are the most for anyone not in the Hall of Fame who is eligible. Here is a cool video from the 1983 Sox. Baines game winning sac fly is at 2:35. Baines' number was retired a month after he was traded to Texas in 1989. He is only the third player to have his jersey retired while still active (Phil Niekro and Frank Robinson).
12. Eddie Collins- 968 points
Years with Sox: 1915-1926
Sox Stats: .331/.426/.424 2,007 Hits, 804 RBI, 368 SBs
Collins was already one of the games great players when he was sold to the White Sox for $50,000 after the 1914 season. Things didn't change when he moved on to the South Side. Collins hit .332/.460/.436 in 1915 and led the league with 119 walks. In 1917, Collins hit .409/.458/.405 during the World Series as the White Sox beat the Giants for the championship. Collins left the sox early in 1918 for the Navy, but was discharged in time for spring training. In 1919, Collins hit .319/.400/.405 and led the league with 33 stolen bases. Collins reportedly didn't get along with many of his teammates due to the fact he made much more money than any of them and was viewed as Charles Comiskey's favorite. In his sabr bio, Collins had this to say about the 1919 ballclub:
"[The club] was torn by discord and hatred during much of the '19 season," Collins later said. "From the moment I arrived at training camp from service, I could see that something was amiss. We may have had our troubles in other years, but in 1919 we were a club that pulled apart rather than together. There were frequent arguments and open hostility. All the things you think--and are taught to believe--are vital to the success of any athletic organization were missing from it, and yet it was the greatest collection of players ever assembled, I would say."
Collins had his best year in 1920 with a slash line of .372/.438/.493 with 38 doubles and 13 triples. After the Black Sox were suspended and the White Sox team crumbled, Collins was still a bright spot. He never hit lower than .324 and eventually took over the duties of player manager in 1924. He held that role through 1926 when he was let go. Collins would go back to the A's as a player coach for 4 seasons before calling it a career in 1930 at the age of 43. Collins ranks 2nd all time in batting average, 2nd in OBP, 4th in runs, 4th in hits, 6th in RBIs and is the franchises all time leader in stolen bases. Collins was voted one of the 13 charter members of the Hall of Fame in 1939.
11. Carlton Fisk- 975 points
Years with Sox: 1981-1993
Sox Stats: .257/.329/.438, 214 HRs, 762 RBIs
The Commander was a 7 time all star for Boston before he decided to change his Sox prior to the 1981 season. New owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn were looking to make a splash and did just that with the acquisitions of Fisk and Greg Luzinski and it didn't take long for Pudge to do just that. His first game as a White Sox came in Boston against his old club. In the 8th inning with the White Sox trailling 2-0, Fisk hit a 3 run homer to take the lead. In 1983, Fisk finished 3rd in the MVP balloting as he hit .289/.355/.518 all while leading a superb pitching staff of LaMarr Hoyt, Richard Dotson, Britt Burns and Floyd Bannister to a division title. Pudge had a huge year in 1985 with a career high 37 homers and 107 RBIs at the age of 37. Fisk dropped off a bit in 1986, but came back strong from 1987-1991. In '91, Fisk made the All Star team as a 43 year old. He hit 18 homers and knocked in 74 that year. He hung around until midway through the 1993 season, when he was given his release after setting the all time record for games caught. Though he entered the Hall of Fame wearing a Red Sox hat, Fisk ended up playing more years and games with Chicago than he did in Boston. Fisk is 4th in franchise history in HRs, 7th in RBIs and 7th in extra base hits. He was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.
Stay tuned for numbers 10-1.