Category Archives: Discount Jerseys Authentic

Frank Thomas Jersey White Sox

The Chicago White Sox have had some great players play for them over the years but not many were better than Paul Konerko.
The Chicago White Sox are in the midst of a very exciting offseason. 2020 is going to be a very fun year for them. With that said, a big part of the offseason this year is seeing Paul Konerko on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time. Konerko is one of the biggest fan-favorite players in the history of the franchise. He deserves lots of recognition from not only Chicago fans but baseball fans in general.

White Sox fans got to see first hand how good number 14 actually was but when you look at his numbers you can see it. He also put up these numbers during the steroid era and was never even in the conversation to be one of those users. His numbers might be a little bit short of some of those guys who did use PEDs but he chose to stay clean and got the job done for the White Sox.

He had 439 home runs and had 1412 RBIs on 2340 hits. He is second on the White Sox all-time home run list, only behind Frank Thomas. He won the World Series with the White Sox and was the ALCS MVP during that run. He hit a grand slam during the World Series that year and it is one of the most memorable moments in the history of the franchise. He also was an American League All-Star six times throughout his career.

RELATED STORY: Yasmani Grandal helps the team with walks
Konerko is on a Hall of Fame ballot that has some White Sox flavor on it but out of all of those former Sox players, he deserves it the most. He might not get in on his first ballot but he deserves to be in at some point. His number is retired and he has a statue at Guaranteed Rate Field which shows how important the organization believes he was. Paul Konerko had a great career and it is nice to see him be recognized to some degree by the baseball world.

Blake Rutherford Jersey White Sox

The FanSided Fake Winter Meetings are currently underway. As the Colorado Rockies representative at these simulated meetings, we came to the table ready to shake things up.
It has been well reported that the Colorado Rockies are looking to find some creative ways to enhance their roster without “making some great big splash.” It’s also well known that the Rockies are backed into a financial corner thanks in part to some large, underperforming contracts.

With all of this in mind, we decided to shop around one of those contracts around to start the meeting. And, we were happy to find a trade partner in the Chicago White Sox.

I talked in this article how Daniel Murphy would be a good fit for the White Sox knowing they needed a designated hitter. Lo and behold, our friends at SouthsideShowdown.com thought the same thing.

Knowing that, we traded Murphy to the White Sox (along with his $8 million contract this season and $6 million buyout from a $12 million mutual option for 2021, per Spotrac.com) in exchange for 22-year-old Double-A outfielder (and former first-round pick) Blake Rutherford. He is also ranked as Chicago’s ninth-highest prospect according to MLB.com. Last season, he slashed .265/.319/.365 and earned this line from MLBPipeline.com:

Rutherford still impresses scouts with his smooth left-handed swing, pitch-recognition skills and willingness to use the entire field.

Yes, Rutherford would be part of a future for the Rockies and still has some work to get to the Majors. However, the Murphy trade not only freed up some financial space but also will allow Colorado to move Ryan McMahon to first base and begin the official process of him becoming the team’s first baseman of the future. The second base competition is officially open between Brendan Rodgers (who has said he expects to be back from right shoulder surgery in time for spring training) and Garrett Hampson.

Murphy’s defense was a liability last season and his disappointing season at the plate (yes, thanks in part to a broken finger suffered in the season’s second game) will likely not leave a big hole in the lineup to fill.

All in all, the Rockies save money (which we’re investing into other needed areas, stay tuned for those moves) and acquire a prospect while strengthening the right side of the infield. We’re happy with the move. What about you? We would love to hear your comments below or let us know on Twitter (@RoxPileFS).

NEXT: Who will Colorado protect in the Rule 5 draft?
Again, please remember that this is a simulated move. This has not happened in real life. This trade was made as a part of the FanSided FAKE Winter Meetings (fake is the key word there).

More simulated moves are coming so stay tuned!

Leury Garcia Jersey White Sox

Yasisdsdsdsel Puig is a powerful hitter in the league but never shines bright amongst his peers. Here’s how Puig can reach his glory with the White Sox.
Yasiel Puig has always been effective at the plate but continues to fly under the radar. This year, the one-time All-Star has elected free agency and the Chicago White Sox could be a destination for him. The Sox could add Puig to add some power to the lineup and give him the chance to become a star.

The Sox have a nice squad of batters but could use a more prominent fielder to create a big three in the outfield. Eloy Jimenez has held his own at the plate and Leury Garcia has done the same. But this past season, the Chicago White Sox fielded by a committee. Jon Jay was by far the most consistent hitter between himself, Ryan Cordell, and Daniel Palka, but with Jay and Cordell gone the Chicago White Sox are more exposed in the outfield.

Cordell’s performance for 2019 was underwhelming with a .645 OPS. Unfortunately, Palka was even more disappointing as he posted a .372 OPS. The addition of Puig could make up for that poor hitting in the lineup by becoming a sure starter in the outfield while providing a much more dangerous threat at the plate, even though Jay was able to get on-base. However, Jay lacked power and did not record any home runs last season. The 2018 Gold Glove finalist totaled only 9 RBIs in 165 at-bats.

It is worth mentioning young power hitter Luis Robert when bringing up the need for improvement in the outfield. Robert has had an outstanding minor league performance with a .328 batting average, a .376 OBP, and a .624 slugging percentage. He has shown in the past two years that he is ready for the main stage but his future is unclear in the 2020 regular season because the spotlight is on free agency. The Chicago White Sox had a chance to call Robert up last season when Jay hit the 60-day injured but he was not promoted.

Puig experienced two trades in one season, but it did not affect his game. His stats for the 2019 season consisted of a .267 batting average, a .327 OBP, and a .458 slugging percentage. With runners in scoring position, he averaged a .847 OPS, which means that Puig can be that clutch hitter the Chicago White Sox need to increase their chances to win close games.

Having hitters that aren’t productive in the lineup hurt the Chicago White Sox in 2019 and breaking that cycle will pave the way to becoming a winning franchise. Puig would be a great addition to the Chicago White Sox. He’s also a much more realistic addition because fielders with Marcell Ozuna‘s has a much higher value on the market.

Besides batting average, Puig and Ozuna’s statistics last season were close even though it’s rarely mentioned. Puig is just as good as Ozuna and he runs cheaper. FanGraphs predicts a three-year $38.3 million offer for him and a four-year $64 million offer for Ozuna. Puig is capable of filling the void as a star center fielder for the Chicago White Sox and a player fans can be excited about if it were to happen.

Evan Marshall Jersey White Sox

It’s non-tender deadline day, perhaps more often greeted by the casual observer with a question mark as opposed to an exclamation point, but an important day on baseball’s offseason calendar, nonetheless.

The White Sox, along with their 29 major league compatriots, have until Monday night to tender contract offers to their arbitration-eligible players or to decide not to, sending them to free agency. The White Sox have decisions to make on six players: Alex Colome, James McCann, Leury Garcia, Carlos Rodon, Yolmer Sanchez and Evan Marshall.

Here’s what to expect.

Yolmer Sanchez

Sanchez has been the most discussed of this group, and indeed his time with the White Sox already appears to be over. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported last week that the team placed its Gold Glove second baseman on outright waivers and that Sanchez cleared those waivers and will head to free agency. Sanchez, who had repeatedly said he wanted to stay with the only organization he’s ever known, followed with a social-media post or two indicating he was going to try to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation. The team, aside from a comment from manager Rick Renteria, has not officially announced anything involving Sanchez’s status.

Certainly the White Sox moving on from Sanchez wasn’t difficult to foresee. Nick Madrigal, the team’s first-round pick in the 2018 draft, is on the doorstep of the major leagues and is expected to be the starting second baseman on the South Side for the bulk of the 2020 campaign. While Sanchez plays some exceptional defense, he can’t match what Madrigal – a top-40 prospect in baseball who has also been touted as an elite defender – can do with the bat. Sanchez slashed just .252/.318/.321 in 2019, while Madrigal tore up the minors to the tune of .311/.377/.414 and struck out only 16 times in 120 games. In the end, Sanchez would have been an expensive reserve infielder, projected to make $6.2 million in arbitration.

Alex Colome

There are certain corners of the White Sox internet that look at Colome’s second-half splits and lack of strikeouts and see doom coming around the bend. Indeed, Colome did fare much worse after the All-Star break than he did before it, with a 3.91 ERA and a frightening .265/.347/.422 slash line against in the second half after posting a 2.02 ERA and holding hitters to a .127/.194/.288 line in the first half. Is that worth a projected $10.3 million? That’s the decision the White Sox face.

But Colome has been one of the more productive ninth-inning men in baseball in recent seasons, even if the second half of 2019 didn’t look so good. Since the start of the 2016 season, he’s posted a 2.78 ERA and saved 126 games, a total that would be significantly higher if not for his playing setup man for the majority of 2018.

In a 2019 season featuring plenty of problems from the rotation and lineup, the bullpen was a reliable unit for the White Sox, with a 4.31 ERA that ranked seventh in the American League, behind only the five playoff teams and the Cleveland Indians, who narrowly missed the postseason. Stability at the back end with Colome and Aaron Bummer is a good thing to head into 2020 with, especially with so many other holes that need filling on the roster. The White Sox likely don’t want to add potentially expensive bullpen help to their offseason to-do list.

James McCann

The White Sox tendering McCann a contract is a no-brainer, but he’s been talked about an awful lot since the team inked free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal to the richest contract it’s ever given out a couple weeks ago. McCann doesn’t figure to go anywhere, even with another All-Star backstop now ahead of him on the depth chart. McCann was a heck of a find by Rick Hahn last offseason, and having two good catchers is better than having one, especially considering the lineup permutations Rick Renteria might be forced to come up with if the White Sox front office opts for a DH rotation of Grandal, McCann, Jose Abreu and Zack Collins.

But McCann will be talked about on a variety of levels as the offseason goes on, too. If the White Sox could sell high on a guy who made the All-Star team last season – but who also batted just .226/.281/.413 in the second half – would they take that opportunity? Or will McCann stay on and serve as a personal catcher of sorts for Lucas Giolito after the duo had such incredible success in 2019? The White Sox have options, but no matter which path they end up traveling down with McCann, they’ll almost surely do so after tendering him a contract Monday.

Ian Hamilton Jersey White Sox

Last August, over at South Side Hit Pen our old friend WSM put together an early primer on the looming 40-man roster crunch for the Chicago White Sox heading into the 2019 Winter Meetings in December.

Working off of WSM’s original draft, with updates over time, here’s a thumbnail look at how the 40-man should shape up as the Rule 5 draft looms, about a month from today.

Arbitration-eligible players
Let’s assume all five arb-eligible guys will be offered arbitration and kept:

Alex Colomé
James McCann
Leury García
Yolmer Sánchez
Carlos Rodón

José Abreu took the qualifying offer from the White Sox, so let’s consider him a signed free agent, while fellow FAs, Iván Nova (unlikely to return) and Jon Jay (heh … right) are cut loose.

Regular 40-man roster
So with six players on the 40, here are the 22 musts currently on (and remaining) on the 40-man:

Micker Adolfo
Tim Anderson
Luis Basabe
Aaron Bummer
Ryan Burr
Dylan Cease
Zack Collins
Jimmy Cordero
Caleb Frare
Jace Fry
Carson Fulmer
Lucas Giolito
Ian Hamilton
Kelvin Herrera
Eloy Jiménez
Michael Kopech
Reynaldo López
Evan Marshall
Danny Mendick
Yoán Moncada
José Ruiz
Seby Zavala

That puts the 40-man roster at 28. It’s conceivable that players like Fulmer, Cordero, Mendick, Frare, Burr or Ruiz are designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man, but you’d think it would take a massive win-now trade or incredible early free agent shopping to necessitate such moves before the Winter Meetings. So let’s assume these 28 are locks.

Vulnerable guys
So, the core White Sox 40-man stands at 28. There are five guys on the 40-man who might find their spots in jeopardy:

Dylan Covey
Adam Engel
Kodi Medeiros
Daniel Palka
Thyago Vieira

Engel and Medeiros would seem to be locks to stick on the 40-man, while the other three … ?

If all five remain on the roster, putting the running total at 33.

Possible additions
Obviously, the White Sox can protect a full 40 players on its roster in advance of the Rule 5 draft, designating the lowest-priority players if and when the need arises as trades are made/free agents acquired. (Keep in mind that the club did not fill up its 40-man last year, and yet still did its funny little dance with the crosstown Cubs over Ian Clarkin.)

Here’s the group worth considering for protection on the 40-man (unprotected players won’t be “lost,” of course, but they will be vulnerable to other teams during the Rule 5 draft), ranked in a rough priority order rather than alphabetical:

Dane Dunning
Blake Rutherford
Bernardo Flores
Yermín Mercedes
Zack Burdi
Jimmy Lambert
Matt Foster
Kyle Kubat
Alec Hansen
Ti’Quan Forbes
Zach Thompson
Joel Booker
Danny Dopico

What’s your call?
So, based on the priority list above, and protecting all five “vulnerable” guys, that leaves a maximum of seven spots on the 40-man roster. Filling the 40-man means that Foster would be the last man protected.

Will the White Sox protect a full 40? And what players should be re-shuffled from the above lists in order to guaranteed that the strongest White Sox roster survives the Rule 5 draft?

Go on ahead and weigh in to the 40-man in the comments. It’s probably smart to assume the top 28 above are all safe and add up to 12 players from there.

Lucas Giolito Jersey White Sox

The Chicago White Sox are going all-in for 2020 and they want to add two starters to pair with Lucas Giolito, but who will they be?
The Chicago White Sox made a statement when they signed Yasmani Grandal and then extended Jose Abreu the following day: they are in it to win it starting in 2020.

And they aren’t done making moves, as Buster Olney has reported that Chicago wants to add two starters to pair with Lucas Giolito and Michael Kopech.

But there is little clarity to who the White Sox could get. So here are the two starters that make the most sense to fill the rest of the rotation.

Zack Wheeler is the White Sox’s #1 priority the rest of the offseason and they are “willing to pay a huge price” for him, according to USA Today.

Wheeler has a lot of upside, as he ranks in the top group of average fastball velocity and his slider is one of the fastest in the league as well.

Mets fans will tell you that the White Sox are not going to be overpaying Wheeler if they do sign him, as he has been overshadowed by Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.

Cole Hamels
Cole Hamels has said that he is willing to sign a shorter deal in exchange for pitching on a team that is going to be in contention, and the White Sox fit in that description especially when they play in the American League Central.

Hamels would bring the experience the White Sox need in their rotation, and he is still a good big league starter. In 27 starts, he logged 143 strikeouts with an ERA well under 4.

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Both Hamels and Wheeler would be great additions to the White Sox and would definitely make them even more of a contender in the American League.

Jace Fry Jersey White Sox

Zack Collins was called up from Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday, becoming the latest top White Sox prospect expected to make his big-league debut this season.

He’ll wear No. 38.

Fellow catcher Seby Zavala got the call in May, now Collins gets his turn, as the Sox also placed veteran backstop Welington Castillo on the 10-day injured list with a strained left oblique.

The team also reinstated left-handed reliever Jace Fry (left shoulder soreness) from the injured list.

The Sox have yet to set their lineup before Tuesday night’s game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, so it’s not a certainty Collins will start.

Collins slashed .250/.374/.482 with nine home runs, 39 RBI and 36 walks (tied for fifth in the International League) in 50 games for the Knights this season.

He made 31 starts at catcher and nine at first base.

James McCann has been a revelation for the Sox, and Collins has a way to go before resembling the team’s catcher of the future. The organization’s No. 12 prospect, a 2016 first-round pick, has as much to prove with his glove as with his bat.

Collins has thrown out 32.4 percent of steal attempts.

He ranks as the No. 9 catching prospect in baseball, and Baseball America grades him as having the best plate discipline in the Sox’s system.

Yolmer Sanchez Jersey White Sox

The Chicago White Sox declined to tender a 2020 contract to Gold Glove-winning second baseman Yolmer Sánchez, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Sánchez, who beat out New York’s DJ LeMahieu and Houston’s José Altuve for the prize in November, could still re-sign with the White Sox, but the team has opted not to give him a significant pay bump from his 2019 salary and has paved the way for him to potentially seek opportunities elsewhere.

The White Sox also announced that they declined to tender contracts to Ryan Burr and Caleb Frare, making them free agents. Right-handed pitcher Thyago Vieira was also released by the team to pursue playing opportunities in Japan, according to the team.

The White Sox said that all remaining players who were eligible for contracts were tendered offers, including reliever Alex Colomé, pitchers Carlos Rodon and Evan Marshall, and utilityman Leury García.

The roster moves leave the White Sox 40-man roster at 36 players.

Bo Jackson Jersey White Sox

I’m going to take a one-week sabbatical from the five greatest Royals at each position to write a piece on baseball cards. Specifically, Royals baseball cards. I’d read something in one of the comment sections about how a reader missed the old days of baseball cards. If you’re over the age of 45 you can relate.

Back in the day, you’d go to your local Five and Dime or grocery store and buy a pack (or three) for a piddly amount of change. When I started collecting, way back in 1968, as I recall a pack would set me back a nickel. Plus, you’d get a stick of pink gum, usually covered in some sort of white gum dust, which often would stain the first card of every pack. You’d get ten cards in each pack and if you wanted to complete a set, you had to buy a lot of packs.

For me, that meant I would have to mow a lot of yards and shovel snow off a lot of driveways before school in order to accumulate the cash necessary to complete a set. In 1975, I found an ad in the back of a baseball magazine advertising complete sets for sale. Eureka! For $12 I could order a complete set and not have to worry about getting 15 cards of Bill Gogolewski. You couldn’t get rid of Bill Gogolweski cards and there always seemed to be one in every pack I’d buy. Topps said they distributed all cards equally, but players like Gogolewski appeared far more often than the Mantles, Mays and Aaron’s of the world. You’d sit down with your friends to trade cards, trying to package together the best deal, but no one would take those Gogolewski cards.

So, I had my parents write a check for $12 (in exchange for my hard-earned cash) to a lady named Renata Galasso, somewhere in New Jersey or New York, and off it went in the mail. I can remember my dad saying, “You’ll never see that $12 again.” But lo and behold, about three weeks later, a UPS truck pulled up to the house and delivered my 1975 set. Wow! What a deal! I’d put on the Beach Boys album “Surfer girl”, the summer of 1975 being my Beach Boys phase, and play simulated baseball games of my own making with my newly acquired set. Plus, the 1975 set had the rookie card of George Brett. That was a great summer.

I collected hard from about 1969 to that glorious summer of 1975, then my collecting got sidetracked by the fumes. Car fumes and perfume, specifically. Soon college came, then real life: a job, marriage, kids, a mortgage, car payments. You know the drill. My cards sat idle for many years, in a box in my parents’ basement. Thankfully my mom did not throw them out, which was a fate that met many a man’s childhood card collection. I eventually picked up my boxes of cards, much to the delight of my parents, who were happy to have freed up the extra storage space.

In 1987, my wife and I attended a Royals game, and the team gave out these cool little books, sponsored by Surf laundry detergent, that had pictures and a description of every year of Royals cards up to that point. I’ve kept this book over the years and just recently found it, again, after unpacking some boxes of stuff. I loved it when it came out and I love it now. In addition to the card descriptions, the book also had a page on the team batting and pitching leaders, a page of the pitching and batting numbers of every player to play for the Royals, a couple of pages describing the highlights of each Topps set going back to 1951 and a page with the cards of the members of the Royals Hall of Fame. All five of them. Howser, Busby, Otis, Splittorff and Rojas. Here are the year by year highlights of those sets:

1969 – The expansion Royals got 27 cards in this set. About half of the players in the set are either wearing a hat from another team, that has been blacked out, or no hat at all. Roger Nelson is clearly wearing a Chicago White Sox uniform. The Royals star that year, Lou Piniella, was featured on the Seattle Pilots 1969 Rookie Stars card, his acquisition coming so late that Topps was unable to show him as a Royal. There was also a card of a pitcher named Dennis Ribant. Never heard of him before or since.

1970 – This set featured 29 Royal cards, including their first team card. Most of the players are in Royal uniform, with the exception of Piniella, Bill Butler, Pat Kelly, manager Charlie Metro and the newly acquired Amos Otis.

1971 – The 1971 set featured 35 Royals including the Rookie card of Paul Splittorff and the first Royal card of Cookie Rojas. This was the first set to feature the players autograph on the front of the card and several of the cards had pictures of the player taken “in action”. Most of these early years featured a player who would invariably play very little for the team, if at all, now hereby known as Mr. Irrelevant. In 1971, there were three of them, a first baseman named John Matias, an outfielder named George Spriggs and an infielder named Rich Severson. The Topps photographer and staff would try to guess which players might make the roster and make cards of them. If they guessed wrong, you ended up with a card of some guy playing in Omaha.

1972 – This set, with an attractive psychedelic font, featured 33 Royals. The 1972 set was massive, 787 cards total, and in those days the cards were issued in series, with the first series issued in the spring while the last series or two would be issued in the late summer. This created a problem with collectors as many stores would stop carrying baseball cards in August and move on to football cards. Consequently, the later series, the high number cards, would be hard to find and are now more valuable due to that scarcity and the 1972 set was one of those sets. The 1972 Royals set featured the debut card of John Mayberry. In a strange twist, there was also a Royals card for Jim York and Lance Clemons, the two players traded for Mayberry.

1973 – Topps went back to their standard 660 card set in 1973 and the Royals had 26 cards in the set. The design of the set was mostly uninspiring, except for an awesome card of “Freddie” (not “Fred”) Patek turning a double play. This was the first year that Topps’ graphic artist tried their hand at painting a KC on the cap of newly acquired Royals. Wayne Simpson got a card, but Hal McRae, acquired in the same trade, did not. This years Mr. Irrelevant was an infielder named Jose Arcia.

1974 – the 1974 set, also 660 cards, featured 28 Royals including the first-year card of Steve Busby. The set also featured the last card of original Royal Lou Piniella. Eight of the Royals were sporting mod mustaches, including Paul Splittorff and one of my favorite Royals, Dirty Kurt Bevacqua. Mr. Irrelevant was another infielder acquired in the off-season, Fernando Gonzalez.

1975 – Another 660-card set, but only featured 24 Royals. This was a good-looking set with bright colors. Topps went back to the autograph after a three-year hiatus. The 1975 set featured the rookie cards of Al Cowens, Frank White and George Brett, which became the most valuable card in the set. Amos Otis was featured in the first card which had a picture taken in Royals Stadium. Previously, most of the pictures used in the cards were taken in spring training or at other ballparks, usually Yankee Stadium. Topps was also getting better at managing the roster, as there was no Mr. Irrelevant in 1975.

1976 – Sticking with the 660-card set, Topps cut the Royals down to 23 cards in 1976. This set featured the first-year card of Dennis Leonard and a comical repainting of off-season acquisition Dave Nelson’s hat. With only 22 players featured (plus one team card) there was no Mr. Irrelevant for the second year in a row.

1977 – The 1977 set featured 25 Royals out of the 660-card set and included the first-year card of John Wathan. George Brett got two cards in this set. Mr. Irrelevant came back in the body of a pitcher named Ken Sanders. The set also featured the only Royal card of one of the all-time great hitters, Tommy Davis and the first Royal card of Larry Gura.

1978 – Topps expanded the 1978 set from 660 to 726, but only gave the 102-win Royals 27 cards. The set itself is kind of utilitarian and bland but did feature the first Royal card of Darrell Porter. There was no Mr. Irrelevant, as everyone in the set played a role on the 1978 team. The set also featured the last Royal card of John Mayberry.

1979 – Topps stayed with the 726-card set and once again gave Kansas City 27 entries. This was an attractive, somewhat undervalued set by design, and it featured several first-year cards such as Al Hrabosky and the rookie cards of Clint Hurdle, Rich Gale, Willie Wilson and U.L. Washington. Unfortunately, U.L. was not chewing on his toothpick when his picture was taken. No Mr. Irrelevant for the second year in a row.

1980 – This set featured 28 Royals (out of another 726-card set) and was a nice clean design as Topps brought back the autograph. The set featured the rookie card of Dan Quisenberry and the last Royal card of Steve Busby. Mr. Irrelevant returned as a pitcher named Eduardo Rodriguez.

1981 – The Royals got 28 cards once again in 1981 including a Brett brothers combo, George and Ken. Willie Wilson got two cards in this set and U.L. got one with a toothpick. Topps unfortunately went back to trying to paint the KC on hats with once again comical results. It’s amazing to see how graphics have advanced since the 1970’s and ‘80’s. No Mr. Irrelevant in 1981. Topps lost their monopoly on baseball cards in 1981 when Donruss and Fleer put out their first sets.

1982 – Topps went crazy this year and expanded the set to 792 cards. The Royals got 34 of those, including two more of the Brett brothers and a trio later known as the cocaine cowboys: Willie Aikens, Vida Blue and Jerry Martin. Pitcher Mike Jones was featured on a rookie card for the second year in a row and Mr. Irrelevant returned with pitcher Dave Frost.

1983 – The year of “The Pine Tar Game.” Topps stayed with their monster 792 card sets and Kansas City got 33 cards. It was a strange card design with two pictures of the player on the front of the card. Several Royals got two cards: Brett, Gura, Quisenberry, Wathan and Lee May. Dave Frost got a card, and Mr. Irrelevant for the second year in a row, as he didn’t play a single inning for the 1983 team.

1984 – This is the first year I noticed that Topps was getting cheap on the cards. The cardboard was a little thinner and not as glossy as past years. In the 792-card set, Kansas City got a new high of 37 cards, including the rookie card for Bret Saberhagen. It also had the first Royal card of Steve “Bye-Bye” Balboni and the last Royal card of Paul Splittorff. Topps stayed with the two pictures on the front design. No Mr. Irrelevant in 1984.

1985 – A must have set for Royal fans, if only because of the first World Series title. Topps issued 792 cards again and Kansas City got 30 of them. The cards design was basic. Dan Quisenberry got two cards and it appears that Topps used the same photo for both cards. The set featured the rookie card of Mark Gubicza. There was no Mr. Irrelevant, though I thought Butch Davis might take the mantle. Turns out Mr. Davis had an eight-year career with five teams.

1986 – The Royals came in with 32 cards in the 1986 set of 792. This was a boring card set. I can’t even think of anything to say about the set. There were no rookies to speak of and Mr. Irrelevant would fall to Mike LaCoss, who pitched in 21 games that summer.

1987 – Finally the last year in the book. The Royals got 32 of the 792 cards in the set. The design was very different, with a wood grain border. There were several significant cards in this set: The last card for Dick Howser and the last card of Hal McRae as a player. The set also included the rookie cards of Kevin Seitzer and Bo Jackson. I was going to award our final Mr. Irrelevant to Argenis Salazar. Then I checked his baseball reference page and realized he went by the name of Angel Salazar and played 233 games for the Royals.

So, there it is, the first 19 years of Royals baseball cards all packed into one small book. If you have any special baseball card memories, share them with us.hist

Bill Melton Jersey White Sox

Joe Jackson has been in the news since 2019 is the 100th anniversary of the 1919 Black Sox scandal season. Even more so today because it was announced that the White Sox will meet the Yankees on August 13, 2020 in the “MLB at Field of Dreams” game to be held in Dyersville, Iowa, the site of the popular 1989 baseball film.

Field of Dreams helped pull Joe Jackson from the dustbin of history, and all of a sudden, most baseball fans today know who he was. But how good was he?

Shoeless Joe Jackson is a player often distorted by myth and legend, but is best appreciated by simply examining the facts.

Joe could never exist today. Perhaps this is why he remains one of the more intriguing figures in baseball history. Can you imagine a guy playing an actual game in his socks? Even in the minors? Even for one game? For that matter, who was the last illiterate superstar to grace the diamond?

Consider the circumstances under which his career ended. A group of players throwing a World Series just to make an extra buck? Today’s average salary is a little over $4 million. Forget about it.

Jackson’s last season was 1920; his age 32 season. Plenty of good baseball left. His first sniff of the live-ball era. What would he have done with league production trending like this:

American League average BA/SLG for the last five seasons of Jackson’s career
1916 .248/.324
1917 .248/.320
1918 .254/.322
1919 .268/.359
1920 .283/.387

AL average BA/SLG for the first five seasons after Jackson
1921 .292/.408
1922 .285/.398
1923 .283/.388
1924 .290/.397
1925 .292/.408

How many more .400 seasons? In the inflated offensive era of the 1920s, many doubles & triples would turn into homers. Would White Sox fans not have had to wait until Bill Melton in 1971 for the first 30-HR season in franchise history? It’s a compelling thought because of his limited but incredible body of work. The inflated numbers would counteract the inevitable decline phase for a while, so he’d certainly build on his 1,772 hits, 307 doubles, 168 triples, and 54 home runs.

Jackson hit .408, .395 & .378 in his first three full seasons – but thanks to Ty Cobb, he finished second in the American League each time.

Amazingly, he put up a .356 lifetime average (3rd all-time among players with 3,000 career plate appearances) without a single batting title. He had a .423 OBP, good for 16th all-time. He slugged a very respectable .517. Struck out only 233 times against 519 walks.

Jackson’s career wRC+ of 165 is tied with Cobb for 8th all-time. Only Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Mike Trout, Rogers Hornsby, Barry Bonds & Mickey Mantle are better. Sure, that might slip a little in his mid-to-late 30s, but where would he fall? All the way to the Willie Mays-Frank Thomas-Henry Aaron tier? You could do worse.

He compiled 2,800 plate appearances for two original American League franchises (Indians & White Sox) and still owns the highest lifetime average for each (.375 for Cleveland, .340 for Chicago).

His game was not just limited to hitting. He could also run (202 SB), and throw (183 outfield assists).

This is a player who could conceivably make a list of the top 50 players period; not just limited to those not enshrined in Cooperstown.

Shoeless Joe Jackson (along with the other seven Black Sox) and John D. Rockefeller (a stunning $29 million fine imposed in 1907 on his Standard Oil in antitrust case) were the two most notable opponents taken down by Kenesaw Mountain Landis. The Standard Oil fine was overturned long ago. Isn’t it about time to give Joe his due?

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