Saturday, August 16, 2008

#72 - Carlton Fisk

There has only been one player in the entire history of the White Sox who has worn number 72. Hall of Fame catcher, Carlton Fisk. There will never be another player that will wear this number, because it is retired.

Regardless of automatic inclusion, from the retired number, or the sheer fact that he is the lone player at 72, Fisk would have made it. Carlton brought a certain level of competition to the playing field everyday.

The signing of Fisk, in 1981, was a coup and a huge risk. It was a statement to the baseball world that the new White Sox owners meant business. There would be no more sideshow attractions. Things would get serious.

By the mid-eighties, it looked like signing Carlton would be one of those passing things. A signing that few people would remember. A team that a great player once finished out his career with in his final few seasons. Fisk was injured a great deal at this time. Then, the right workout regimen appeared. Carlton was revitalized and enjoyed a wonderful career until 1993.

He passed Johnny Bench for most home runs by at catcher, at that point, and passed the mark for all-time Major League games caught. He still holds the record for most innings caught in a single game at 25 innings.

Fisk is the rare athlete that is beloved in two different cities. Even though he spent more time with the White Sox and broke more records with the White Sox, Fisk will always be remembered for his only trip to the World Series. The image most people associate with Carlton is his Game 6 1975 World Series home run that he waved fair.

Carlton Fisk's image in Chicago was of a blue collar worker, who was the first to arrive and the last to leave on a workday. It fit perfectly with the vibe of Chicago. He was a proponent of playing the game "right". Carlton has gotten into shouting matches, during games, if he caught a player dogging it on the field.

Carlton was immortalized with a statue in U.S. Cellular Field. After initial bad feelings between Fisk and the White Sox, over his 1993 release, Carlton is back in the White Sox fold as an ambassador.

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