With Matt Davidson’s awesome (hair) Rookie Season ongoing and him only being cockblocked from the AL ROY by one Aaron Judge (he’s actually part Ogre and shouldn’t be eligible), your pal BeefLoaf got to thinking about his 5 favorite rookie seasons of recent White Sox vintage. I bring you, the 5!
5a. 2004 Ozzie Guillen (Manager) – I know Ozzie Guillen was the 1985 AL Rookie of the Year, I know that Ozzie Guillen is 31st ALL TIME in Defensive WAR by Baseball Reference. I loved Ozzie Guillen as a player, but more important in our lifetime was his tenure as White Sox skipper which started in 2004. I remember at the time, Polish w/Extra Onions telling me that he “LOVED THIS HIRE!!!”. When Ozzie arrived the White Sox had the core of a championship team (evidenced by the 2000 playoff appearance) that hadn’t done much with it. Much like Mike Ditka being hired by the Bears in 1981, he/they cleared out the people on the rosters that didn’t belong and brought on a winning culture.
5b. 2014 Jose Abreu – Coming off a horrible season in 2013, the White Sox made a big splash in signing the Cuban star and he didn’t disappoint (even if the team sucked). He came into the league bashing the ball everywhere, having a season he has yet to replicate. He’s lower on this list only because. 1) This team was pretty awful 2) He really wasn’t a rookie, he was a grown ass man who was making his debut in MLB because politics are stupid and get in the way of important shit like baseball. To this day, Abreu is a 108 fave.
4. 2009 Gordon Beckham – This was early into the 108 thing and I can vividly remember myself and Slumpbuster celebrating madly each time Gordon Beckham got a big hit to help that team. Remember our White Sox were coming off of a division crown in 2008 and we thought with Gordon Beckham this team was destined to get back to the playoffs. He showed up in the majors, the great hair, the touted bat, he even moved over to 3B to take over for #3 on this list (RIP in Peace). Paul Konerko even basically adopted him as his son on the team, we thought he was destined for greatness, but alas, it was all for naught. A few years later, before the 108 blog, I remember putting up a post on Facebook (RIP in Peace) that all I wanted for Christmas was for the Sox to rid themselves of Gordon Beckham. His terribleness and the fan bases continued love for him throughout his terribleness was too much for the ‘Loaf.
3. 2007 Josh Fields – This was a bad year for our White Sox, most of the Championship core was still in place and the squad was coming off of narrowly missing the playoffs in 2006 with 90 wins. Alas, Jose Contreras had a HORRIBLE year, after having his wife serve him with divorce papers on Opening Day. In the midst of the worst team of that era popped up Josh Fields. The rookie upstart smashed 23 HR’s in only 100 games. It looked like the White Sox had found their future replacement for the oft injured Joe Crede, but alas, Fields turned into a Pumpkin in 2008 and 2009 and washed out of MLB. He probably sells Dip and Dots at a Minor League park near you right now.
2. 2005 Bobby Jenks – Amongst all of the crazy shit that went right for a good White Sox team in 2005, enter Bobby Jenks. Jenks was basically poached from the LA Angels of Anaheim (or whatever the fuck they called theyselfs) for $20K, and it turned out to be a wise investment…..after Dustin Hermanson crapped out (OW MY BACK!!) and Shingo Takatsu failed to rekindle his previous magic (LOLOLOLOL!!!) the White Sox turned to Jenks and he locked down 6 saves to close out the regular season and then got himself 4 saves in the playoffs, including the World Series clincher. Probably the most important rookie on this list. Jenks went on to have a several more good season with our White Sox before his personal demons got the best of him. Nobody will ever forget how Ozzie Guillen would signal for him from the bullpen.
1. 1983 Ron Kittle – I’m too young to remember this season, I turned 5 about the time the 1983 White Sox were turning it around and going on a run that would take them from 7 games out to winning the division by 20. At the middle of this was the 1983 AL ROY and the White Sox lone all star on that squad, Ron Kittle. The bespectacled LF for our Pale Hose was coming off of one of the greatest minor league season in history. Kittle’s 1982 season at Edmonton whips it out and gloriously pisses all over Kris Bryant’s 2014 season split at Tennessee and Iowa. This was video game shit, before the video game era (okay fine, Pitfall was pretty sweet back then, but it is nothing compared to the shit that would follow). Unfortunately for us, Kittle battled nagging injuries the rest of his career and was never the same as that first season. We’ll still all remember his mammoth roof shots (Hey Biguns, I wonder what the Exit Velocity was on those babies) and sub-Melky Cabrera defense in LF. To this day, Kitty remains a 108 fave.
Go to www.fromthe108.bigcartel.com to buy some 108 schwag and to be entered into a contest, just this week for free tickets to Mark Buehrle Day on Saturday, June 24th