Finding a leadoff man is difficult. It's not a position, but it is a spot in the lineup that requires a certain set of skills. The ability to get on base and run are the two most important skills of a leadoff man. The 2009 Chicago White Sox have had an interesting group of guys try their hand at lead off.
Origins: Before he was the man behind preserving a perfect game, Wise was the Opening Day leadoff hitter for the White Sox. That experiment lasted two games. Coming in to the season Wise was a 31 year old journeyman outfielder who played pretty well late last year for the White Sox. He didn't exactly earn the lead off position, but as you will see, there weren't that many other options.
Stats: .193 BA .235 OBP .312 SLUG 40 OPS+
Currently: Defensive replacement for White Sox.
Origins: Getz won the starting 2nd baseman job out of Spring Training. He profiled as a light hitting 2nd baseman with a good eye. He primarily hit lead off for Chicago during April & May, but eventually was replaced by Scott Podsednik.
Stats: .266 BA .323 OBP .369 SLUG 79 OPS+
Currently:He lost his spot on top of the lineup, but has continued starting at 2nd as a Rookie.
Origins: Lillibridge joined the White Sox as part of the Javier Vazquez trade to Atlanta. He is a former top prospect that hasn't panned out due to his lack of hitting ability.
Stats: .162 BA .260 OBP .191 SLUG 20 OPS+
Currently: He was just called up to Chicago after Alexei Ramirez was hurt and the Peavy trade opened up a Roster spot. I don't believe he left the airport, since he was sent right back down before appearing in a game.
Origins: Jerry Owens was a former football player who has one skill: speed. The problem is you can't steal first base and he wasn't able to find other ways to get to first. He only lead off once.
Stats: .083 BA .267 OBP .083 SLUG -3 OPS+
Currently: He was out of Options so after being sent down, he was claimed by the Mariners. He is currently stealing bases in AAA.
Origins: Anderson is a former top prospect who has never lived up to his potential. He wasn't able to win the job in Spring Training over Dewayne Wise and wasn't able to produce after Wise lost the job in the regular season. He only hit lead off once, the game after the Owens attempt.
Stats: .238 BA .322 OBP .319 SLUG 67 OPS+
Currently: He is playing in the Boston Red Sox Organization on their AAA affiliate. He asked to be traded after he was sent down, so the White Sox traded him for Mark Kotsay.
Origins: The White Sox signed Nix in the Offseason. He was previously a former first round draft pick for Colorado. He's only lead off 5 times, in various spot starts during the season. He was in a competition with Getz for 2nd during Spring Training, but now he is a super-sub.
Stats: .225 BA .294 OBP .442 SLUG 87 OPS+
Currently: He is playing in the Infield during off days for the starters and has been a nice bench player. He has brought a solid glove and some good pop to the White Sox.
Origins: A former World Series hero for the White Sox, Podsednik wasn't with an organization when the Season started. After trying out the above, Chicago signed him and he eventually became their leadoff man.
Stats: .298 BA .354 OBP .387 SLUG 92 OPS+
Currently: He continues to be productive in the leadoff spot for Chicago. He can still get infield hits, but he is a liability in the field.
Origins: Former solid regular for the Oakland As, Kotsay bounced around to Atlanta and Boston. He started the season as a reserve for Boston but was demoted. He was acquired by Chicago for Brian Anderson.
Stats: .221 BA .253 OBP .279 SLUG 36 OPS+
Currently: He was just acquired but has started leadoff one time already. He'll likely be a bat off the bench and even though he doesn't have a hit for the White Sox yet, he has been making good contact.
That is quite a group of players listed above. If you gave me that list before the season started, I would have assumed Chicago was at the bottom of the AL Central. Podsednik's 92 OPS+ isn't amazing, but it is a lot better than any of the above could provide. It's also surprising of all the players listed above, it was a washed out veteran off the street that would be the most productive. If Chicago makes the playoffs this year, Podsednik might be more of a hero then he was in 2005.