Future Hall of Fame outfielder, and stretch-run addition to the 2008 White Sox playoff push Ken Griffey Jr. was born in Donora, Pa. His father, Ken Griffey, had just completed his first year of rookie ball in the Cincinnati Reds organization.
Junior would become one of the greatest center fielders in baseball history (sixth all-time by JAWS measure) but was at the end of his career when acquired by Ken Williams to fill Chicago’s hole in center. His average play (0.4 WAR over 41 games) was nonetheless an upgrade on incumbents Brian Anderson and Nick Swisher. But Griffey went just 2-for-10, with five strikeouts, in the ALDS loss to Tampa Bay.
Luis Aparicio won his ninth and final Gold Glove award at shortstop. In his full career, Aparicio won Gold Gloves in half (nine of 18) the seasons he played; in the decades of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s; and in seven of his 10 White Sox seasons.
Also that year, outfielder Tommie Agee won a Gold Glove with the Mets. Coupled with his 1966 award with the White Sox, Agee became the first player to win Gold Gloves in both leagues.
The White Sox announced to the baseball world that they were ready to move on to the next phase of their rebuild by signing All-Star free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year deal worth $73 million — the largest in franchise history.
Grandal was a rare catcher who combined both offensive power and excellent defensive skills, especially in framing pitches. Part of the reason the White Sox were so aggressive, in signing him before the Winter Meetings, was because of how he’d benefit the young White Sox pitching staff.
In the 2021 season Grandal, despite injuries to both knees, slugged 23 home runs, drove in 62 runs and walked 82 times in 93 games. He also tied the team record with eight RBIs in a single game, against the Cubs on August 27. But his final two years would be very poor, almost offsetting his 2021 stardom with -2.1 WAR over 217 games.