Paul Konerko

 

Paul Henry Konerko (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. He is currently the captain of the White Sox.

As a child, Konerko lived in Norwich, CT 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. He also sang in the Konerko Trio along with brothers, Trace & Haus. His older brother Peter had a brief stay in the minor leagues.

So far in his career, he sports a .281 batting average, he has 276 home runs, 895 RBIs, and 748 runs scored. In 5110 at bats, he has 1434 hits, 260 doubles and 5 triples.

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.

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.

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.
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.
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 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


Copyright 2008 Eric, Dan, Gilbert