White Sox praise Adam Dunn's handling of fans' frustrations

White Sox praise Adam Dunn's handling of fans' frustrations
August 31, 2014, 2:00 pm
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Vinnie Duber

White Sox fans won't have Adam Dunn to kick around anymore.

Warranted or not, Dunn was the frequent target of frustrated fans at U.S. Cellular Field. That frustration typically manifested itself in the form of boos. And lots of them.

It all stemmed from Dunn's high number of strikeouts, and he finished his four-year tenure in a White Sox uniform with 720 of them. That was always part of Dunn's game, long before he landed on the South Side, but fans were never happy about the swings and misses, even if they were frequently accompanied by home runs. Dunn had no problem in the power department, either, clubbing 106 of his 460 career long balls — which rank 36th on baseball's all-time list — with the Sox.

[MORE WHITE SOX: Adam Dunn's White Sox career comes to close with trade to A's]

So after his trade to the Oakland A's on Sunday, Dunn's legacy with the Sox seemed a bit hazy. But, like all things baseball, it was framed with whether the ultimate goal was achieved. And during Dunn's presidential term length with the team, they didn't reach the World Series.

"He would be the first and he and I discussed it last night and this morning, we were both disappointed we didn’t accomplish on the field what we had hoped when the deal was originally signed four years ago. He was brought here as part of a plan to win championships in that window and it didn’t happen. From that standpoint, we are all disappointed," general manager Rick Hahn said.

"From the off the field standpoint, or the clubhouse standpoint, he was outstanding," the GM continued. "He had what would be the most difficult year of his career the first year he was here, and there were high expectations that went along with it. He certainly heard about it and put pressure on himself because of that. But he carried himself with class throughout the entire time he was here. He was a great asset in the clubhouse the entire team he was here. He was a standup individual. From an off the field standpoint or a clubhouse fit, it was a tremendous fit."

[MORE WHITE SOX: Konerko hopes Dunn gets to experience playoffs with A's]

That first year with the team is what triggered the annoyance in fans. Dunn posted a rough .159/.292/.277 slash line with just 11 homers in 122 games. He bounced back to make the American League All-Star team in 2012, leading the majors in walks that season. But he also led baseball in strikeouts, not helping his reputation among fans.

But through all those struggles, Dunn remained the same guy, and that's what made teammates and Sox brass love him. He always faced the media after multi-strikeout days, and he always remained even-keeled in the clubhouse. It was enough for manager Robin Ventura to call him "one of the best I've ever been around."

"Well, I mean, anybody that is going to strikeout like that, you're going to have to take that," Ventura said of the boos. "He took it but still was a big contributor for what we did. I think inside the clubhouse, which people don't see, was probably his biggest impact, how he treated people and how he went about his business."