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Today in White Sox History: December 27

Farewell to a light in the late-1980s darkness

Arguably, there was no one who rocked the late-1980s curly-C White Sox uniforms better than Iván Calderón.
Ron Vesely/Getty Images


In a case that remains unsolved to this day, White Sox outfielder Iván Calderón was murdered in a bar in his hometown of Loiza, Puerto Rico, dead at age 41.

Calderón was the best straight-up deal made during Ken Harrelson’s yearlong GM tenure, snatched from Seattle for Scott Bradley in midseason 1986. By 1987, the man whose flashy necklaces belied a gritty work ethic had established himself as Chicago’s regular right fielder with a 4.2 WAR year punctuated with 28 homers and 83 RBIs — all numbers that would stand as his career bests.

Iván the Terrible never again approached that production, but contributed 2.6 WAR to the surprise 1990 division contenders, which in turn allowed GM Ron Scheuler to sell high that offseason, swapping Calderón and pitcher Barry Jones to Montreal for Tim Raines, a huge step forward into a contention window for the South Siders.

Calderón was superb for the Expos in 1991, nearly matching Raines’ output in Chicago, with 3.3 WAR. However, his career descended rapidly from there, and after a brief reunion with the White Sox in 1993, Calderón was out of the majors for good.

For his career, Calderón hit .272 with 104 home runs, 97 stolen bases, 12.0 WAR, a .775 OPS and 113 OPS+.

Sadly, just a decade after his career ended, Calderon was shot at least seven times in the back at the El Trompo bar after Christmas. He left behind his wife, Elsabeth, and seven children.