Monday, July 20, 2015

WSC Birth Years: David Robertson

Card #181 - David Robertson

Born: April 9, 1985

David was drafted by the New York Yankees in the seventeenth round of the 2006 amateur draft. He made his MLB debut with the Bronx Bombers on June 29, 2008 against the Mets. While settling into the relief core, Robertson was selected to the 2011 All-Star Game and faced the minimum in the bottom of the second, giving up one hit and getting one strikeout. David then moved up in responsibility to become Mariano Rivera's eighth inning setup specialist. When Rivera retired Robertson took over the closer role.

On December 10, 2014, David signed a four year deal with the White Sox and took over the closer role in the bullpen. Through the 2015 All-Star break, Robertson had nineteen saves and a 2.45 ERA under his belt.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hours Left To Vote For The White Sox Cards Hall Of Fame

If you are the type of person that waits until the last minute, today is your lucky day! Voting for the White Sox Cards Hall of Fame ends tonight at 11:59 PM CST.

75% of the vote gets a player in and we have had quite the interesting battle this year. Everyone has gotten at least two votes, but it's mostly been a battle between Hoyt Wilhelm and Robin Ventura for top spot.

As of this post, Wilhelm has gotten 67% of the vote, but he has been over 75% for the majority of the time. Robin Ventura is right behind him with 65% of the vote, but he too has spent some time over 75%. Al Lopez, while only having 55% of the vote, is still only a few votes behind.

There are also a few players that are in danger of being dropped from the ballot, if they dip below 5%. It a balance between seeing deserving players getting another shot or going away to give others a chance. That's always a tough call to make with your vote.

Only 43 people have voted so far, so a few well placed votes can really make the difference!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

WSC Birth Years: Melky Cabrera

Card #180 - Melky Cabrera

Born: August 11, 1984

Melky signed as an amateur free agent in 2001 with the New York Yankees and made his MLB debut with them on July 7, 2005. Cabrera only saw action in six games during his first season, but saw regular playing time in every season since then. He spent 2005 through 2009 with the Yankees, then was traded to the Atlanta Braves for the 2010 season. The Braves released Melky after the 2010 season, over concerns of his ballooning weight. Cabrera signed with the Kansas City Royals for the 2011 season. He was then traded to the San Francisco Giants for the 2012 campaign, where he became an All-Star, but was subjected to a fifty game suspension. Melky signed as a free agent with the Toronto Blue Jays for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

Cabrera signed with the White Sox on December 16, 2015 and was part of an off-season splash made by the Pale Hose with the signings of well known commodities to upgrade their lackluster areas. Melky has heated up since mid-June and could lead to a resurgence of the White Sox as a playoff contender in an up for grabs American League Central.

Friday, June 26, 2015

2015 Stadium Club

After some misguided starts in the past decade, it looks like Stadium Club might finally be back on track. Here's the thing... the sets almost always look fantastic, but little things like set identity confusion and sky high price points made the last few sets not sell well. Thankfully, there are no gimmicks like short-printing and serial numbering every third card and the price is more reasonable this year.

Are there parallels? There sure are. Inserts? You betcha! Sadly, this has been the norm for quite some time now and I do not see it going away. Some people chase parallels like chasing the dragon. It's fun and exhilarating, but you will never catch the dragon and you will never chase them all down. There are choices in life and I choose sanity.

Luckily, there is more to this set than just rainbows of color to collect and trashy gimmicks. There is the photography to marvel at. There is the player selection to awe at. There is the simplicity of design to ponder. There is a Hall of Fame cameo on a Hall of Famer card. This is truly a grand spectacle of modest proportions.

The White Sox have nine cards in the set.

69 - Chris Sale
112 - Paul Konerko
121 - Luis Aparicio
129 - Adam Eaton
152 - Jose Abreu
164 - Carlton Fisk (with Tom Seaver cameo!)
180 - Adam LaRoche
229 - Dayan Viciedo
256 - David Robertson

The only puzzling part of this is the inclusion of Dayan Viciedo. He is with his second club since leaving the White Sox. Melky Cabrera or Jeff Samardzija weren't better options here? Despite that little speed bump, this is a set that is a must have. There is a healthy mix of current and classic players and no crazy gimmicks designed to set it apart from other releases. This set stands on its own merits.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

WSC Birth Years: Dan Jennings

Card #179 - Dan Jennings

Born: April 17, 1987

Dan made his MLB debut with the Miami Marlins on April 30, 2012, after being selected in the ninth round of the 2009 amateur draft. Jennings crafted a reputation as a solid middle reliever with the Marlins. On August 7, 2014, while pitching for Miami in relief, Dan was struck by a line drive in the head in Pittsburgh, suffering a concussion, but returning to the mound less than a month later.

Jennings was traded to the White Sox on December 11, 2014, in exchange for Brazilian pitching sensation Andre Rienzo. Dan has had his share of success with Chicago, but he has also been plagued by a few bad outings, including a horrific 40.50 ERA in his ChiSox debut.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

WSC Birth Years: Micah Johnson

Card #178 - Micah Johnson

Born: December 18, 1990

Micah was drafted by the White Sox in the ninth round of the 2012 amateur draft. Johnson has steadily climbed the ranks in the minor leagues until he broke camp with Chicago in 2015.

Making his MLB debut on April 6, 2015, Opening Day, Micah went one for three. Johnson appeared in twenty-seven games before being sent down to AAA in mid-May. During that time, Micah batted .270 and stole three bases. Johnson's downfall was his defense. In the last seven games before being sent down, Micah committed three errors. A little more seasoning in the minors may build on this taste of the majors.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sunday, June 7, 2015

WSC Birth Years: Matt Albers

Card #177 - Matt Albers

Born: January 20, 1983

Matt graduated from a high school near Houston, Texas in 2001. The Astros took him in the 23rd round of the 2001 draft. Albers made his way through the Houston farm system until he made his MLB debut with the Astros on July 25, 2006. He switched back and forth between the bullpen and the starting rotation for his two years with the Astros and his first year with the Orioles in 2008. Matt spent three seasons with Baltimore, before spending time with the Red Sox, the Diamondbacks, the Indians and the Astros for a second time.

Albers signed a minor league contract with the White Sox on February 13, 2015. He features a sinkerball thrown in the mid-90s and offsets that with a hard slider and a curveball. Matt appeared in four games with the Pale Hose before suffering a broken finger in a brawl with the Kansas City Royals on April 22, 2015.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

2015 Diamond Kings

Diamond Kings really class the place up. They are usually more artful than the average card. Mostly on since 1982, Diamond Kings have separated Donruss from the competitors. Even the worst Donruss releases benefited greatly from the inclusion of Diamond Kings.

It is nice to see Panini revive this storied franchise. The only mark against this release is the same reason that killed Donruss in the first place, all the parallels. There are less parallels than in the mid-aughts, but they are there nonetheless and it is a little sad to see.

The most exciting thing about this release is the varied checklist. There is a healthy mix of current and former players, including a couple Black Sox, an under-appreciated player from the twenties, a few standby Hall of Fame options, and a rookie who is two teams removed from his MLB debut with the White Sox just nine months ago.

The White Sox have nine cards in the set.

8 - Alexei Ramirez
29 - Chris Sale
73 - Joe Jackson
77 - Jose Abreu
89 - Lefty Williams
93 - Luke Appling
108 - Nellie Fox
143 - Willie Kamm
151 - Andy Wilkins

This is a welcome addition to any White Sox collection. The mix of players is fantastic and comes with surprises. This is definitely not your cookie cutter release.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Draft Years: 1967

 With the thirteenth pick in the 1967 amateur draft, the Chicago White Sox chose third baseman Bill Haynes, out of Headland High School in East Point, Georgia. Bill had an eight year career between the White Sox and the Kansas City Royals. Despite a .303 career batting average, Haynes never made it past AAA ball. He only spent two seasons in the White Sox farm system before moving to the Royals farm system.

Vida Blue, Dave Kingman and Jerry Reuss all were drafted after Bill Haynes and before the second pick for the Sox at number thirty-three, a shortstop names Stuart Singleton, who also never made it to the majors. At this point, the White Sox had two opportunities to choose my pick and failed to get the job done, instead wasting their picks on minor league filler.

The better choice would have been the thirty-ninth pick...

Don Baylor.

Don enjoyed a nineteen year career, appeared in an All-Star game, won an MVP and won three Silver Sluggers. This is the first pick that the White Sox truly wasted. Out of fifty picks in the entire 1967 draft, the White Sox picked three that barely made it to the majors. Chris Ward, Dennis O'Toole and Jim Norris. Basically the White Sox batted .060 for the '67 draft and all three "hits" were bunts that fooled the third baseman by straddling the line and never going foul. Don Baylor would have been a much more solid hit.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

WSC Birth Years: Emilio Bonifacio

Card #176 - Emilio Bonifacio

Born: April 23, 1985

Emilio originally signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001, making his MLB debut for them on September 2, 2007. Since his debut with the D'backs, Bonifacio has appeared in games for the Nationals, the Marlins, the Blue Jays, the Royals, the Cubs and the Braves before signing with the White Sox for the 2015 season.

Emilio signed on as a super-sub and he has really lived up to that billing. In the first two months of the 2015 season, Bonifacio has played at second base, third base and center field, as well as pinch hit and pinch run.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Meet The 2015 Candidates

It's time to vote again for the WSC Hall of Fame.

Some names may look familiar, others may not. The voting encompasses the White Sox from 1894 through five seasons ago. I try to keep a healthy mix of players from all throughout White Sox history. Here's a little about each candidate.

Oscar Gamble (1977, 1985)
Oscar was originally part of the '77 South Side Hitmen, endearing himself to the south side faithful with his outlandish hair, unusual batting stance and machismo. He hit .297 with 31 homers for the 1977 team. He returned to the Sox in 1985 for a good chunk of the season to wrap up his MLB career.

Jerry Hairston (1973-1977, 1981-1989)
Jerry specialized in pinch hitting, which is why he spent parts of 14 seasons with the Pale Hose. Hairston pinch hit in his last game and fittingly singled.

Dummy Hoy (1900-1901)
William joined the Sox in 1900, during the last season as a minor league team. He was with the team when the Sox became a major league team in 1901. The 39 year old Hoy led off  and played center in 1901 becoming the first MLB batter for the ChiSox. He led the league in walks and hit-by-pitches, while helping the Sox to their first MLB AL pennant.

Frank Isbell (1896-1909)
Frank played first, second and outfield. He led the AL in stolen bases in 1901 with 52. Isbell was a pennant winner in 1901 and a World Champion in 1906. He was first in first base assists in 1901 and 1902. He was first in fielding range at first base in 1909. Frank is linked all the way back to the St. Paul Apostles team in 1896, two years removed from the beginning of the club in Sioux City, Iowa.

Fielder Jones (1901-1908)
Fielder led the league in sacrifice hits in 1904. He was first in fielding percentage in the outfield in 1903 and 1906. Jones also managed the team from 1904 until 1908. He was a pennant winner in 1901 and a World Champion in 1906.

Ron Karkovice (1986-1997)
Ron was the steady backup for Carlton Fisk until he finally became the first string catcher. He was first in caught stealing percentage in 1989, 1990 and 1993. He won the AL West pennant in 1993 and the AL Central pennant in 1994.

Al Lopez (1957-1965, 1968, 1968-1969)
Al managed the Sox to the pennant in 1959 to go along with five second place finishes during his tenure.

Jorge Orta (1972-1979)
Jorge was an All-Star for the Sox in 1975. He was the AL Player of the Week three times and finished second in AL batting average in 1974.

Gary Peters (1959-1969)
Gary was AL Rookie of the Year in 1963. He was an All-Star in 1964 and 1967. He was first in ERA in 1963 and 1966 and second in ERA in 1967. Peters won 20 games for the Sox in 1964.

Bobby Thigpen (1986-1993)
Bobby established a then MLB record 57 saves in a season in 1990. He was an All-Star in 1990. Thigpen was first in finished games in 1988 and 1990. He was first in games pitched in 1990. Bobby was AL Pitcher of the Month for May 1990 and won the AL Rolaids Relief award in 1990.

Robin Ventura (1989-1998)
Robin won five Gold Gloves at third base. He was an All-Star for the Sox in 1992. He was first in Intentional Walks in 1998. Ventura was Player of the Month in July 1991. He was known for solidifying the defense at third base, which was a sore spot for many years before Robin took over.

Buck Weaver (1912-1920)
Buck was a World Champion in 1917 and an AL pennant winner in 1919. He was first in sacrifice hits in 1915 and 1916. Weaver batted .333 in the 1917 World Series and .324 in the 1919 World Series. He was the only third baseman that Ty Cobb would not bunt against.

Hoyt Wilhelm (1963-1968)
Hoyt had an ERA of 1.92 over the six seasons he spent with the White Sox. He racked up 41 wins and 99 saves during his tenure with the Pale Hose, mostly in relief appearances, all while perplexing hitters with his knuckleball.

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