Konerko's career commemorated in book: read an excerpt

Konerko's career commemorated in book: read an excerpt

The following is an excerpt from the new, limited-edition "Paul Konerko: Farewell to a Friend" book, benefiting Chicago White Sox Charities. Order your copy or give as the perfect White Sox holiday gift by visiting www.whitesox.com/pkbooks.

There are too many highlights to total up or comprehend when perusing the more than 2,200 games played by Paul Konerko for the White Sox, or studying the close to 2,300 hits he recorded. The captain stands in the club's top five all-time in 12 offensive categories as his 16 years on the South Side come to a close. And his leadership provided over his time in Chicago can't be measured in numbers.

Even with this daunting task at hand, here's a list of the Top 14 moments from Konerko's White Sox career. Of course, the No. 14 coincides with the back of Konerko's jersey, which actually brings up top moments 15 and 16 to almost certainly come in the not-too-distant future. Those would be the retiring of his number and a statue on the U.S. Cellular Field concourse.


Many of the White Sox franchise records belong to Frank Thomas. When it comes to total bases, though, Konerko holds the top spot on the all-time White Sox list. As of August 12 of this year he sat at 4,077 for his career. That total includes 845 extra-base hits, which is second to Thomas' 906 and almost 300 ahead of anybody else.

13 -- TWO MONTHS OF .400
Reaching a .400 average is one rare occurrence in this game, having not happened since Ted Williams in 1941. Yet, near the end of May in 2012, Konerko hovered around that elusive mark. He finished a stretch of 22 hits in 10 games with a .399 average on May 27. Konerko finished the year at .298 and recorded four seasons overall of hitting .300 or greater.

There were chances for Konerko to leave Chicago. He could have departed after the 2005 World Series championship via free agency and then again after the 2010 season. But Konerko returned on both occasions, further cementing his legacy on the South Side. Konerko was traded twice by the time he was 23, but then stayed 16 years with the White Sox.

When Ozzie Guillen first named Konerko captain going into the 2006 season, he respectfully turned it down. At that time, in January, the strident hockey fan joked how wearing the "C" on his uniform wouldn't mean discussing penalties on the diamond like hockey captains often do on ice. In the end, Konerko accepted the honor but declined the uniform letter.

Having the title put him in a small group with the Yankees' Derek Jeter and the Red Sox's Jason Varitek, but did not change his approach or his functioning as a team leader. "It's a funny thing about it because he doesn't need a title," Guillen said of Konerko. "This guy is so low-key, and he's not going to have to put a 'C' on his uniform. That's the way he is. But with the respect I have for him on the field and off the field, the love I have for him, that's the least thing I can do."

Konerko was blessed with a great deal of innate skills over his two decades of baseball, but good speed was not one of them. Yet, there was Konerko circling the bases for an inside-the-park homer on a drive against Tampa Bay's Esteban Yan. Konerko finished with four hits and four RBI in the contest on April 11, 2000.