The All-Chicago Team: 1960-2011

717540.png

The All-Chicago Team: 1960-2011

By Tony Andracki and JJ Stankevitz
CSNChicago.com

This spring, we at Cubs Talk and White Sox Talk have decided to unify Chicago's two baseball teams into one in an effort to pick out the best players to grace each side of the city over the last 50 years. Each Wednesday during spring training, we'll roll out a different All-Chicago team, with today's version being the best Cubs and White Sox players from 1960-1969. Be sure to check out our 1960-69, 1970-1979, 1980-1989, 1990-1999 and 2000-2011 teams if you haven't already.
JJ: We cannot emphasize enough that this list only takes into account stuff that happened after 1960. We had to make that a hard cutoff date so we couldn't fudge anything -- and because of it, Mr. Cub got left out of the starting lineup. From 1960-1971, Ernie Banks hit .260.315.464 (a 111 OPS) with 284 home runs. From 1988-2000, Mark Grace hit .308.386.445 (a 122 OPS) with 148 home runs while winning four Gold Gloves. For comparison, Paul Konerko has hit 389 home runs since joining the White Sox in 1999 with a 123 OPS. While the main debate will be over leaving Banks off, the most vigorous one should be about Grace vs. Konerko.

Tony: I agree. It's tough to discount anything Banks did while in a Cubs uniform but it's not hard to see why Grace is the option here over the man affectionately known as "Mr. Cub." Konerko is one heck of a player and a fantastic leader so it's hard to leave him off as the starting first baseman, but Grace's defense takes the cake here.

JJ: There were plenty of easy position player calls here: Pudge, Sandberg, Santo, Williams, Sosa and Thomas. There could've been an argument made for Ozzie Guillen over Luis Aparicio based on longevity, but Aparicio was the superior hitter and defender even though he only played six years with the Sox after 1960. Center field was the toughest call -- we went with Chet Lemon, although as you'll see below, there's plenty of debate over that pick.

Tony: My idea to help quell some of the CF debate was to put Sammy Sosa in center, pushing Andre Dawson to right. Sosa played 158 games in center in a Cubs uniform, but as JJ pointed out, he wasn't very good there and that's not much of a sample size. When people think of Sosa, they think of him in right field. It would have been a loophole to place him in center, and would have created a whole other debate.

JJ: When I first suggested Carlos Zambrano for the rotation, Tony was a little apprehensive -- which I'm guessing is pretty indicative of Cubs fans given the starter's ugly departure from Chicago. But in his prime from 2003-2008, Zambrano had a 3.39 ERA and finished in the top five in Cy Young voting more times than Rick Sutcliffe (of course, Sutcliffe won the award, which is worth noting). Nasty breakup or not, Zambrano deserves a spot on this roster.

Tony: Yeah, I initially balked at the idea of Zambrano on any list besides the All-2000 roster. But JJ and I discussed it and I wound up conceding. This whole feature has been about the numbers and statistics and not about sentimental value. By numbers, Zambrano is a no-brainer. His longevity is a huge reason why. By sentimental value...well, he left a bad taste in Cubs fans mouth. I still cringe at seeing his name on this list, but I don't want to take away anything he did on the mound in a Cubs uniform.

JJ: There were plenty of good bullpen names to choose from, and those we left off -- Keith Foulke, Bobby Thigpen, Terry Forster, Sean Marshall -- deserve a mention. So here it is.

Tony: There were so many good relievers to choose from. We even had to leave off Bobby Jenks, the World Series-winning closer of the White Sox, along with the four guys JJ listed. Point is, there just weren't enough spots for all the quality guys. The same can be said across the entire roster. Thank God we expanded to 25 guys, otherwise these debates would have gotten downright nasty.

And now, to the roster:

C: Carlton Fisk
1B: Mark Grace
2B: Ryne Sandberg
SS: Luis Aparicio
3B: Ron Santo
LF: Billy Williams
CF: Chet Lemon
RF: Sammy Sosa
DH: Frank Thomas

Bench: Robin Ventura
Bench: Paul Konerko
Bench: Ernie Banks
Bench: Andre Dawson

SP: Fergie Jenkins
SP: Mark Buehrle
SP: Carlos Zambrano
SP: Rick Reuschel
SP: Greg Maddux

CL: Bruce Sutter
RP: Lee Smith
RP: Wilbur Wood
RP: Hoyt Wilhelm
RP: Carlos Marmol
RP: Matt Thornton
RP: Roberto Hernandez
The final word
Chuck Garfien: Ernie Banks is Mr. Cub and he is sitting on the bench?? He and Luis Aparacio are both in the Hall of Fame and belong in the starting lineup. Banks actually played more games at first base than shortstop. Put him at first. Mark Grace should be a reserve.

My all-time favorite White Sox player is Chet Lemon, but hard to believe you have him as the best centerfielder on either side of town in the last 50 years??!! I know there haven't been too many exceptional CFs, but there is one. Two words: Lance Johnson. He ranked first in triples every season from 1991 to 1994, led the American League in hits in 1995, was an awesome leadoff hitter, quick defender, and had a great nickname: 1-dog. Not sure how you guys missed him.

Carlos Zambrano and Rick Reuschel had long careers on the Cubs. They both had exceptional games, but none of them ever won a Cy Young Award. Lamar Hoyt did for the White Sox in 1983. I know he didn't last long, but he needs to make the team just for that achievement alone -- and also because he was in the trade that brought Ozzie Guillen to the White Sox.

And no offense to Matt Thornton and Carlos Marmol, but have they ever saved 57 games in a season? Bobby Thigpen did in 1990. He's gotta be in the bullpen.

Chris Kamka: First things first, at first base, Paul Konerko is my starter. Mark Grace was a fine player, and I'm aware that his WAR was better, but WAR is something to use in the argument; it's not the entire argument. I strongly disagree that Grace was more valuable to the Cubs than Konerko was, and is, to the White Sox. For me, Grace just wasn't able to produce the power numbers a first baseman should produce (no 20-HR seasons, no 100-RBI seasons despite hitting 3rd or 4th 74.9 of his career). Konerko was the main offensive cog of the Sox' World Series winning team, and could quite possibly retire as the Sox franchise leader in HR and RBI. Grace is certainly deserving of a spot on this roster; I'd just put him at one of the bench spots.

Another spot I'd make a change would be center. In another move that goes against the statistics, I'll take Jim Landis, whose numbers took a hit during an offense-suppressed era. Landis won five Gold Gloves (1960-64), and I once read a quote from the late Jerome Holtzman where he recalls a conversation with Ted Kluszewski in which they both agreed that Landis was a better center fielder than Willie Mays. I do like Chet Lemon a lot though, his offensive numbers are sort of similar to Carlos Quentin, with an OBP inflated by a large total of HBPs, only with a better contact rate (Lemon would also fit in nicely with Ozzie's 2011 Sox -- he had 45 SB and 48 CS while on the Southside).

Jack McDowell vs Greg Maddux is air tight. Maddux has the wins (133 to 91) and BB9IP (2.4 to 2.8), but McDowell has a better win pct (.611 to .543), ERA (3.50 to 3.61), ERA (117 to 112), H9 IP (8.4 to 8.8), and K9 IP (6.1 to 5.8). Can't really go wrong either way, but I felt it necessary to mention how close they are.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comment section below or tweet @CubsTalkCSN or @WhiteSoxTalkCSN. Be sure to check back next Wednesday for the current All-Chicago team heading into the 2012 season.

Preview: White Sox, Red Sox duel Tuesday night on CSN

stl_sox_most_impressive_05-02_640x360_678176835717.jpg

Preview: White Sox, Red Sox duel Tuesday night on CSN

The White Sox take on the Red Sox on Tuesday night, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins live from the South Side at 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Tuesday's starting pitching matchup: Jose Quintana (3-1, 1.47 ERA) vs. Steven Wright (2-2, 1.37 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you're ready for the action.

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

— See what fans are talking about before, during and after the game with White Sox Pulse.

Road Ahead: White Sox return home after seven-game road trip

sox_road_ahead_05-01_640x360_677830723855.jpg

Road Ahead: White Sox return home after seven-game road trip

CSN's Chuck Garfien and Bill Melton talk about what's next for the White Sox, which host the Red Sox and Twins, in this week's Honda Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana Honda dealers.

After playing 19 games in 19 days the White Sox finally had an off day on Monday. The busy stretch ended in a seven-game road trip, which the Sox went 5-2 in.

Garfien and Melton talked about the success the White Sox have had on the road as the team returns home to face the Red Sox and Twins in a pair of three-game series this week. The Red Sox lead the AL East with a 15-10 record while the Twins have the worst record in the American League.

The White Sox entered Monday with more wins than any other team in the majors.

Tested White Sox get some well-earned rest

lawrie_no_doubt_man_05-01_640x360_677419075848.jpg

Tested White Sox get some well-earned rest

They’re pretty darn accomplished and they’re finally off.

As they relax and unwind Monday, their first day off since April 12 and only second scheduled one since the season began, the White Sox have to feel a sense of satisfaction.

Not only do they boast a major-league best 18 wins and they’ve already spent spent 22 days in first place in the American League Central, but the team also conducted itself extremely well during one of its most grueling stretches of the season. 

Courtesy of a 7-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, the White Sox finished off a run of 19 games in 19 days, including a dozen on the road, with a 13-6 mark. Given the rash of injuries suffered late in the span, manager Robin Ventura might describe Monday’s brief respite as well earned.

“Everybody’s ready for the off day,” Ventura said. “We knew it was there all along, and I thought the guys have handled it great, just taking care of each day as it comes, and we’ve got some guys who are banged up a little bit, some guys who are going on the (disabled list), and it’s been a pretty active stretch as far as playing games, winning games, losing guys to the DL, guys stepping it up for those guys, and so far it’s been pretty good.”

The schedule has been unrelenting for the White Sox (but more on that in a bit). 

What has raised the degree of difficulty is the way players began to drop like flies toward the end of April. 

It began April 24 with the hamstring strain that landed catcher Alex Avila on the 15-day DL.

His replacement, Kevan Smith, joined the team and suffered back spasms in pregame stretch on April 26, which not only removed him from making his major league debut, it also put him on the DL. 

Closer David Robertson returned to the club Sunday after he missed three of four games in Baltimore to attend the funeral of his father-in-law. The White Sox promoted Daniel Webb to pick up the slack in Robertson’s absence and the right-hander struck out the side in a scoreless inning on Thursday before he went on the DL with right elbow flexor inflammation.

Then on Friday, designated hitter Avisail Garcia tweaked his hamstring running to first on the final play of the game. As of Sunday morning, Ventura said Garcia’s availability for Tuesday might still be in question as Garcia wasn’t going to test the hamstring on Sunday. Garcia briefly tested it Saturday afternoon and said it’s not a serious enough injury to go on the DL, but also ruled himself out of action until at least Tuesday.

And on Sunday, Todd Frazier appeared to be in pain for several minutes after an Ubaldo Jimenez pitch hit him on his hand, though the third baseman wound up staying in the game.

Yet the White Sox endured through all of these speed bumps and closed out a seven-game road trip through Toronto and Baltimore with a win and a 5-2 record.

“We come here (Sunday), we do a job and we’re able to go back home with a lot of positivity and have a nice off day and relax,” second baseman Brett Lawrie said. 

The schedule has been anything but kind to the White Sox.

Had it not been for an April 10 rainout, the White Sox would be tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the most games played in the majors. To boot, 17 of their first 26 games have taken place on the road, where the White Sox are off to a 12-5 start, having won three of five series and splitting another.

Their strength of schedule also increased as the month wore on. So far, the White Sox played six teams that finished the 2015 season with a winning record, including two division-winners. 

Over their last 10 games, the White Sox played 2015 AL West champs Texas and AL East champs Toronto. They finished off the run with four in Baltimore, a place that has never been friendly, and went 8-2 in the process. 

So perhaps the White Sox will give themselves a pat on the back on Monday, or order a hot fudge sundae, or maybe even upgrade from a compact to a mid-size rental. 

They’ve handled themselves well through their first real test. And starting pitcher Chris Sale, baseball’s first six-game winner, said Sunday they’ll be ready for the next one, too.

“We’re playing great baseball against good teams,” Sale said. “We had some tough teams to face early on and the way we’ve handled it and the way we’ve played has been great. We go back to Chicago, enjoy the off day and keep it rolling.”