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Paul Konerko

Chicago White Sox — No. 14
First baseman
Born: March 5, 1976 (1976-03-05) (age 33)
Providence, Rhode Island
Bats: Right Throws: Right 
MLB debut
September 8, 1997 for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Career statistics
(through 2009)
Batting average     .277
Home runs     326
Runs batted in     1,045
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Paul Henry Konerko (pronounced /kəˈnɛrkoʊ/; born March 5, 1976 in Providence, Rhode Island) is a first baseman in Major League Baseball with the Chicago White Sox. He previously played with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1997-1998) and Cincinnati Reds (1998). Recently, Konerko helped the Chicago White Sox win the 2005 World Series. Konerko is of Polish (paternal) and Italian (maternal) descent. He is currently the captain of the White Sox.

Contents

High school career

As a child, Konerko lived in Norwich, Connecticut, and played for the Norwich Little League. At Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, Konerko was named the Arizona Republic/Phoenix Gazette Player of the Year as a senior, after leading his team to a Class 4-A state championship. His older brother Peter had a brief stay in the minor leagues.

Career statistics

So far in his career, he has a .278 batting average, he has 311 home runs, 963 RBI, and 813 runs scored. In 5576 at-bats, he has 1549 hits, 284 doubles, 6 triples, and 8 grand slams.[1]

Career overview

Konerko was ranked the #1 catcher in the nation during his senior year in high school.

As a Minor leaguer, Konerko enjoyed some good numbers. On May 13, 1995 with the San Bernardino Spirit, he drove in the only run of a 21-inning game. It was the longest shutout in California League history.

Konerko was traded, along with lefty pitcher Dennys Reyes, by the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Cincinnati Reds for All Star closer Jeff Shaw.

After two incomplete seasons in the Majors, he was traded by the Reds to the White Sox for Mike Cameron. Since then, Konerko has put together several excellent offensive seasons.

Konerko has proven himself to be a consistent offensive threat in the middle of the White Sox lineup. Konerko concluded the 2006 season with 35 home runs, helping him rank in the top 10 for total home runs over the past three seasons, after clubbing 40+ home runs in 2004 and 2005.

On September 18, 2008, Konerko became the last opposing player to hit a home run at Yankee Stadium in the 9th inning of a 9-2 White Sox loss.

Being a fan of heavy-metal music band Metallica, the intro of the song Harvester of Sorrow is played just before his at-bats in home games.

On Monday, April 13, 2009, Konerko connected back to back with Jermaine Dye for the 300th home run of both players' respective careers off of Detroit Tigers pitcher Zach Miner. This was the first time that this had ever happened in Major League history; where two players had hit a century milestone home run in one game, let alone back to back. [2]

On July 7, 2009, Konerko was 3 for 4 with three home runs including seven RBIs in a 10-6 win against the Cleveland Indians. It was the first time in his big league career that he hit three longballs in a game. He is also the only White Sox player to accomplish that at new Comiskey Park (US Cellular Field). The last time he did that was 1998 in AAA Vancouver.

Postseason

Paul Konerko (right) and Jermaine Dye (left) present a jersey to President George W. Bush as the White Sox are honored at the White House for their victory in the 2005 World Series.

In 2000, with a 95-67 record, the White Sox made the playoffs for the first time since 1993. Konerko made his first postseason appearance that year, when the White Sox lost to the Seattle Mariners in the 2000 American League Division Series (ALDS). The Mariners swept the series in 3 games, and in 9 at bats, Konerko had no hits. He got on base once on a walk.

In 2005, the White Sox faced the Wild Card Boston Red Sox in the 2005 ALDS. The White Sox swept the Red Sox in three games and were helped tremendously by Konerko's hitting, which included a home run over Fenway Park's Green Monster in Game 3.

The White Sox defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the American League Championship Series (ALCS). After going 0 for 4 in the first game and 1 for 4 in the second game, Konerko hit 3 for 4 with three RBI in the third game of the ALCS against the Angels. Two of the RBI came from a home run in the first inning. In Game 4, Paul was 1 for 4 with three RBI on another first inning home run, the second in as many nights. In Game 5, Konerko went 1 for 5 with another RBI. He was named the ALCS MVP on the strength of a .268 batting average, two home runs and seven RBI. He said, "I think you could split this four ways," referring to his feeling that the MVP should be awarded to the four White Sox starting pitchers who pitched four consecutive complete games in the ALCS.

First baseman Paul Konerko (left) and Andruw Jones during a spring training game in Arizona, 2008.

In Game 2 of the 2005 World Series, Konerko hit the first grand slam in White Sox World Series history to put the White Sox ahead 6-4. It was also the first grand slam in postseason history to give a team the lead when trailing in the seventh inning or later. Those were Konerko's only RBI of the World Series, but they were critical in giving the White Sox the momentum to complete a four-game sweep of the Houston Astros and they were the most for a White Sox hitter in the series. Konerko caught the final out for every one of the series-clinching games throughout the playoffs.

Following the 2005 World Series victory, Konerko handed the ball from the final out in that series to team owner Jerry Reinsdorf at the White Sox' victory parade. Shortly before that, Konerko remarked that "We should do this again next year". Hoping to make that dream a reality, Konerko signed a five-year $60 million deal with the White Sox on November 30, 2005 after reportedly turning down more lucrative offers from the Los Angeles Angels and the Baltimore Orioles.[3]

See also

References

External links

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