The All-Chicago team, 1960-1969

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The All-Chicago team, 1960-1969

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 1970-1979, 1980-1989, 1990-1999 and 2000-2011 teams if you haven't already.

Tony: The 1960s were tough years for us. My parents were only children during the time but grew up with these guys, so I wanted to honor that. In some areas, there were shoo-ins, like Santo at third or Billy Williams and Ernie Banks. There were quite a few of Hall of Famers that played during this time.

JJ: My dad grew up a Cubs fan close to Wrigley Field while my mom grew up a Sox fan, so I've heard about plenty of these players. Of course, I'll be the first to admit I never saw any of them play, so we're relying pretty heavily on stats here.

Tony: Starting pitching was especially difficult. There were a good 10-12 guys that were deserving, so at least half of those were going to be cut. Pitching was definitely at a premium in this decade. The bullpen was easy -- just three Sox pitchers. The Cubs had some decent guys, but that's all they were -- decent. Meanwhile, Wilbur Wood was simply fantastic, as was Hoyt Wilhem.

JJ: That Juan Pizarro didn't make this cut speaks to the pitching depth the city had in the 1960s. Of course, pitching was pretty easy to find later in the decade with the raised mound. Plenty of these guys easily would've made the relatively-thin 1970s rotation.

Tony: Center field was another tough choice, begging the question: Why has it been so hard for Chicago to find a good, reliable centerfielder that sticks around for more than a couple seasons? Throughout all these lists that we've done, CF has been the only position where we've consistently struggled to find a clear candidate.

JJ: No kidding. In the last 51 years, only two Cubs center fielders have totaled double-digit WAR (Adolfo Phillips, Rick Monday -- although Brian McRae should count with 9.9 WAR). For the Sox, there are five, although only one of them played more than five years with the team. Check back next week for our All-City team from 1960-present to find out who gets the nod.

And now, to the roster:

C: Randy Hundley
1B: Ernie Banks
2B: Nellie Fox
3B: Ron Santo
SS: Luis Aparicio
LF: Billy Williams
CF: Jim Landis
RF: Floyd Robinson
DH: Roy Sievers

Bench: Minnie Minoso
Bench: Pete Ward

SP: Fergie Jenkins
SP: Joe Horlen
SP: Dick Ellsworth
SP: Gary Peters
SP: Tommy John

Closer: Hoyt Wilhem
Righty reliever: Eddie Fisher
Lefty reliever: Wilbur Wood

Now that all the decade-specific rosters are set, check back next week for the All-Chicago team of the last 50 years!

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Quintana and Miguel Gonzalez looked like a pair of pitchers who began their offseasons earlier to prep for the World Baseball Classic.

Both White Sox starting pitchers looked sharp as they made their spring debuts in a 7-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Camelback Ranch on Sunday afternoon. Team USA relievers David Robertson and Nate Jones also pitched a scoreless inning each in the win. Prospect Zack Burdi also pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

Gonzalez, who is on the Team Mexico roster, only allowed a single on a dropped pop up on the infield in two scoreless innings.

“I’m a little ahead of the game right now,” Gonzalez said. “I started a little earlier this year in the offseason to work out, thinking I wanted to go to the WBC and get ready for that. But I think the most important thing right now is getting ready for April 1 with the White Sox. That’s my goal, and you don’t get these opportunities every year. To represent Mexico, it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be great.”

Quintana, who will start for Colombia in their March 10 opener against the United States, allowed a run and a hit in two innings. He struck out one and hit a batter.

“I feel good,” Quintana said. “I think for the first day I feel comfortable. I hit the glove. I feel good. A couple of pitches spinning were good and I feel really good.”

[RELATED: Jim Thome on being a finalist for National Baseball Hall of Fame]

Robertson is throwing much earlier than normal in anticipation of his March 6 departure for Miami, where Team USA begins its tournament. The club’s closer normally wouldn’t appear in a game until the calendar turns to March. Robertson said he usually only needs 5-6 spring outings to get in shape for the regular season. Though he felt a little rusty, the right-hander was pleased with several changeups and fastballs he threw.

“I wouldn’t say it was smooth but I got through it,” Robertson said. “I had a few bad pitches that were just not competitive. … All in all I got through what seemed like a tough inning for a first outing.

“I’m excited. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m going to go down there and put the ‘USA’ across my chest and have a chance to win something for our country. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m excited to play with a group of guys I’ve been playing against my whole life.”

Eddie Alvarez had a three-run double for the White Sox while Tyler Saladino collected two hits in three trips. Catcher Roberto Pena went 2-for-2 with an RBI. 

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Normally upbeat and positive, Jim Thome can’t help but beam with pride when asked about his Hall of Fame candidacy.

Thome, who blasted 612 career home runs, including 134 with the White Sox, is eligible for induction for the first time in 2018. Even though he’s expected by many to one day be voted into Cooperstown, perhaps even in his first year, Thome said he’s merely honored to be on the ballot. Thome is joined on the ballot by Chipper Jones and former teammate Omar Vizquel, among others. Voting begins in December and the results will be announced next January.

“To even be on the ballot and thought of, it would be the greatest honor I think you could get,” Thome said. “Or if you get an opportunity to go into the greatest fraternity baseball has or created, it would be indescribable. How do you ever think as a kid or a high school player or even going through the minor leagues, that you’d play at the big leagues that long? And then to get an opportunity at the end of your career to be put on the ballot is so great.

“That would be the coolest moment ever.”

Thome – who is in White Sox camp as a special assistant to the general manager – provided plenty of big moments in a career that spanned 22 seasons. He hit 30 home runs in 12 of 13 seasons between 1996-2008, leading the league with 47 in 2003. The slugger was a five-time All-Star and produced 72.9 b-Wins Above Replacement.

[RELATED: Brett Lawrie trying to clear final hurdles]

Thome isn’t as superstitious about his candidacy as others previously have been. He won’t be the guy to bring up the topic, but the Peoria, Ill.-native doesn’t shy away from discussing it, either.

“It’s not something you talk a lot about,” Thome said. “We’re not going to bring it up. But when people do bring it up, there’s a sense of pride, a sense of ‘Wow, baseball has thought that highly to put you on the ballot.’ And the fact that there’s just this wonderful fraternity of incredible players that you could be a part of, if you’re chosen.”