Saturday, December 15, 2007

#4 - Luke Appling

Call him "Old Aches & Pains" or "Luscious Luke", but you can now call him the best player to ever wear the uniform number 4 in White Sox history. He almost wasn't a White Sox player, he was almost a Cub.

One of the most recognizable Sox players was almost a Cub? It nearly happened. Before Luke came to the White Sox, he was on the minor league Atlanta Crackers. He committed 42 errors in 104 games for the Crackers, so the Cubs, who showed interest, decided to pass.

Luke was initially considered a bad pickup for the Sox. In 1933, when Luke decided to stop trying to be a power hitter, is when his career blossomed into something special. He turned into the leadoff hitter that the Sox are still looking to replace today.

He is a Hall of Famer who played his entire career with the White Sox. He is the only major leaguer to play in both 1930 and 1950. He is an automatic selection here because his number is retired by the White Sox.

The best reason came well after his playing days. On July 19, 1982, Appling played in an old-timers' game at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. Appling, then 75 years old, hit a 250-foot home run off Warren Spahn. Spahn applauded him as he rounded the bases.

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