Right on Q: The White Sox' Cup of Coffee Team

Jonathan Daniel

Fielding a team of South Side short-timers

Kevin Youkilis used to be on the White Sox.  For several weeks in the summer of 2012, it looked like the beginning of a beautiful relationship between Chicago and Youk (or "yolk," as Gordon Beckham said on Twitter).

But the fling was short lived.  Youkilis signed on with the Yankees in 2013.

Kevin Youkilis wasn't the only player to have a cup of coffee with the 2012 White Sox.

A discussion with a co-worker led to the creation of the White Sox Cup of Coffee Team.

Here are the rules:

  1. Has to be a fairly recent player (from the 1980's onward).
  2. The player's White Sox tenure was one season or less.
  3. The player had to make his name with some other team. He cannot be a product of the White Sox system.
  4. Cannot be a relief pitcher. Cups of coffee are part of the relief pitcher life.

Now that the rules have been established, here are my choices for the White Sox Cup of Coffee Team.

Pitchers

Francisco Liriano. The Sox went within the division to pluck Lirano out of the Twins just before the 2012 trade deadline.  Liriano went to the Sox, Eduardo Escobar and Pedro Hernandez went to the Twin Cities.  Liriano's White Sox tenure was less-than-impressive.  He never got past the 6th inning.  By September, he was demoted to the bullpen.  Signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and helped the Bucs reach the postseason for the first time since 1992.

Steve Carlton. The 41-year old four time Cy Young Award winner signed a free agent contract with the White Sox in August of 1986, shortly after he was released by the Giants.  Carlton signed a contract with the Indians in 1987.  Later that year, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins,

First Base

John Kruk. This was a tough one. Thanks to Frank Thomas and Paul Konerko, the White Sox have been stable at first base since 1990.  So, I had to reach all the way back to July 16, 1995, when Kruk played first base for the first - and only - time in a White Sox uniform. A cheap free agent pickup in the strike-shortened season of 1995, his White Sox tenure didn't look all that bad on paper. On July 5, 1995 he had an OPS of .953. On July 30, 1995, Kruk hit a single in a game against Baltimore, took himself out of the game, and retired from baseball.

Second Base

Orlando Hudson. Kenny Williams always gets his man, and on May 19, 2012, he finally got Orlando Hudson. Brent Morel was hurt. The O-Dog was DFA'd by the Padres. It was a natural fit.  At first, Hudson was digging his new surroundings on the south side. On June 7, he hit a walkoff single to beat the Blue Jays. He started his White Sox tenure at third base, but he was moved to second base with the arrival of Youkilis.  My Dad met him at a White Sox Charities function that year and he says Hudson was very nice.

Shortstop

Orlando Cabrera. Traded to Chicago in 2007 as part of the deal that sent Jon Garland to Anaheim. Originally in the two-hole, Ozzie Guillen shifted him to leadoff in early May. The lineup tinkering worked, as the White Sox went on a month-long tear that found them in first place by mid-June. Signed a free agent deal with the Oakland A's in 2009, but was traded to the eventual AL Central Champion Twins on July 31, 2009.

Third Base

Kevin Youkilis. The emergence of Will Middlebrooks in the Red Sox lineup made Kevin Youkilis expendable in Boston. On June 24, 2012, Youk was traded to the White Sox for Brent Lillibridge and Zach Stewart. For three weeks, Youk looked like he had solved the problem at the hot corner.  Like his White Sox teammates, Youkilis ran out out of gas at the end of 2012.

Left Field

George Foster. Like Steve Carlton, Foster was part of Hawk Harrelson's Living Baseball Museum in 1986.  Foster won the NL MVP as a member of the Reds in 1977.  In 1982, he signed a five year, $10 million deal with the New York Mets.   The Mets were expected to make the World Series in 1986.  During Spring Training, with the "Super Bowl Shuffle" still riding the Top 40 Charts, Foster decided to cash in on their eventual triumph.  The result?  A little ditty called "Get Mets-merized."

The Mets wanted nothing to do with Foster's single, forbidding sales in or around Shea Stadium.  It was the start of a year-long feud between Foster and the Mets.  He was released shortly after Foster refused to take part in a bench clearing brawl against Cincinnati.  He played 15 games for the White Sox before retiring.

Center Field

Ken Griffey Jr. Another case of Kenny Williams getting his man.  Junior Griffey arrived in Chicago on July 31, 2008 in exchange for Nick Masset and Danny Richar.  Despite the fact that he was 40 and injury-prone (he was General Soreness, after all), Ozzie Guillen decided to put him in center field.  Griffey had an OPS of .751 in 41 games with the White Sox.  His big White Sox moment came in the Blackout Game, where he threw a laser beam that allowed AJ Pierzynski to tag Michael Cuddyer and preserve the shutout.

Right Field

Danny Tartabull. The only White Sox player to ever have been featured as a guest star on "Seinfeld," Tartabull was traded to the White Sox from the Oakland A's in January of 1996.  He put up a very respectable slash line of .254/.340/.487 with 27 home runs.

Catcher

Sandy Alomar. The list of White Sox catchers between Carlton Fisk/Ron Karkovice and AJ Pierzynski reads like George Steinbrenner's list of Yankee Managers:

In this case, "Billy Martin" is Sandy Alomar.  He had four cups of coffee with the White Sox:  2001, 2002, 2004, and 2006.  I'm still surprised he wasn't named White Sox manager after Ozzie Guillen's departure in 2011.

Designated Hitter

Jose Canseco. When Frank Thomas' 2001 season ended on April 27, the White Sox had to find someone to DH.  That someone was playing for the Newark Bears. Jose Canseco had an OPS of .843 in 76 games with the White Sox.  Because of his short tenure, Canseco's White Sox jersey has become the must-have item for any White Sox fanatic.

Like Picks to Click, the Cup of Coffee Team is not set in stone.

"And you at home select yours...."

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