MLB…Paul Konerko.

During the 2014 baseball season, most baseball fans got caught up in the hype of the Derek Jeter Farewell Tour. He was given gifts from every team that he visited, and his praises have been sung to the Heavens more than once. He is a first ballot Hall of Famer for sure, and I begrudge him none of the adulation that he received. But I am not here to talk about the former Yankee captain. I am here to talk about another captain…
I want to give a page to now-retired Chicago White Sox captain Paul Konerko. It seems that lost in the Jeter-hype, was the fact that after the 2014 season, Paul Konerko also retired after spending 18 years in the majors, 16 of which were with the White Sox. His other employers were the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds.
I want to say up-front that I in no way believe that Paul Konerko is on par with Derek Jeter, nor should he be. Konerko put up solid career numbers ( .279BA, 2,340 hits, 439 HR’s, 1,412 RBI), but his stat line is certainly not Cooperstown worthy. He was a 6-time All-Star, a World Series champion in 2005, as well as the ALCS MVP in that year. He had a good career. But Paul Konerko was something more than just pretty good numbers. He was an everyman’s ball player. He did his job without the hype. He did his playing with minimal fanfare, and it seemed to me that he was okay with that. He came to the ballpark every day and did his job quietly and with dignity. He was my kind of ballplayer. He was as beloved by the fans in Chicago as Derek Jeter was loved everywhere. There was no farewell tour. He was not presented with rocking chairs and signed guitars in all the other ballparks that he visited. He was not asked to do appearances on late night television talk shows. The final baseball act in the career of Paul Konerko was performed in relative obscurity. I feel bad for him in that regard. I think that he deserved a little more.
Thanks for a great career, Captain Paul Konerko.

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