We’ve just finished going over the single-season home run leaders in Chicago White Sox history. Is there any kind of overlap between that and the White Sox all time home run leaders? Not a ton outside of Frank Thomas, who takes the top spot by a slim margin over another franchise legend.
First up will be talking about the top-five in detail before listing out the remainder of the top 25.
White Sox All Time Home Run Leaders: Top 5
Frank Thomas: 448 Home Runs
Thomas put together an impressive offensive resume during his 19-year Hall of Fame career. The Big Hurt posted a lifetime line of .301/.419/.555 with 521 home runs and 1,704 RBI. Out of those 19 years in the big leagues, his first 16 came as a member of the White Sox. It was a rather incredible run of dominance for the first baseman as he reached the top of the franchise’s career leaderboard, which we talked about when highlighting all time home run leaders for each MLB team.
After hitting seven homers in 60 games played as a 22-year-old in 1990, Thomas rattled off eight straight seasons of at least 24 home runs and 100 RBI. This streak also included a five-year run where Thomas upped the ante and slugged at least 35 dingers each season. His time with the franchise from 2001-05 was not nearly as dominant, and it’s mostly because he couldn’t stay on the field consistently.
We talked about Thomas’ 42-homer campaign in 2003 already. He also added 28 homers the year prior, but outside of those two seasons, he combined to hit just 34 homers, which came over 128 games. Not bad production for one year, but not great when it’s spread out over three. That first stretch was pretty great, though. From 1991 to 1997, Thomas never finished worse than eighth in AL MVP voting. He enjoyed four top-three finishes during this time, and on two of those occasions, he brought home the hardware.
Paul Konerko: 432 Home Runs
When I hear the name Paul Konerko, all I think of is the Chicago White Sox. It’s one of those player-team relationships that are just synonymous with one another. I was surprised to realize that he actually spent parts of his first two seasons in the big leagues elsewhere. He debuted for the Los Angeles Dodgers as a 21-year-old in 1997 and spent about a season and a half there before playing 26 games for the Cincinnati Reds.
But from 1999 to 2014, Konerko was a member of the White Sox, and he accomplished quite a bit during that period. He never led the league in any major offensive categories, was named an All-Star six times, and finished in the top-10 of AL MVP voting just twice. However, he did capture ALCS MVP honors and a World Series championship during Chicago’s 2005 title run.
In his 16 years on the South Side, Konerko hit double-digit home runs every year except his final one as a 38-year-old. He also enjoyed 13 different seasons of 20-plus homers, with his last nine coming consecutively between 2004 and 2012. Of those instances, nine were 30-homer seasons, and his most powerful span of time came in 2004 and 2005 when he enjoyed back-to-back campaigns of at least 40 home runs. His 2004 performance is tied with Thomas for the most by a White Sox first baseman in one season.
José Abreu: 243 Home Runs
From the perspective of counting stats, José Abreu is about as consistent as they come. Outside of the pandemic-shortened season of 2020, the first baseman has slugged at least 20 homers each year since debuting in 2014. He’s also driven in at least 100 runs in all but one full season (78 in 2018). And, his streak of at least 20 homers in a season nearly stayed intact since he hit 19 during his 2020 MVP campaign.
When using fWAR and wRC+ as the measuring stick, Abreu’s 2014 rookie season is still his best overall performance, where he produced numbers of 5.3 and 167, respectively. He not only was selected to the All-Star Game, but he also won a Silver Slugger award, AL Rookie of the Year honors, and placed fourth in MVP voting.
Most of his work in 2014 in the home run department came prior to the All-Star break, as 29 of his 36 dingers were slugged in the first half.
Harold Baines: 221 Home Runs
Harold Baines had multiple stops with the White Sox over the course of his 22-year big-league career. His first nine-plus years were spent with Chicago before bouncing around to Texas, Oakland, and Baltimore. He came back to the White Sox for part of the 1997 season before bouncing around a few more places and eventually finishing his career with the team he started it with in 2000 and 2001.
Baines enjoyed 11 different seasons with 20-plus home runs, and six of those instances came consecutively from 1982 through 1987. This stretch also included three All-Star Game selections and two top-10 finishes in AL MVP voting. His breakout was quite noticeable, too — after hitting 23 homers with 90 RBI in 814 plate appearances over his first two years, Baines put up 25 and 105, respectively, in ’82.
During that six-year stretch mentioned above, Baines averaged 23 home runs, 29 doubles, 99 RBI, and 76 runs scored while slashing .292/.342/.477 for Chicago.
Carlton Fisk: 214 Home Runs
Carlton Fisk spent the entirety of his 24-year Hall of Fame career wearing just two different types of socks, as he suited up for both the Boston Red Sox and Chicago. And while he put together some iconic moments in Beantown, he actually spent more of his time with the White Sox (13 years) than he did with the Red Sox (11 years).
He arrived to Chicago in 1981, which was his age-33 campaign. After hitting a combined 21 homers over his first 930 plate appearances (which spanned two seasons), Fisk found his power stroke. The veteran backstop would go on to enjoy four seasons of at least 20 homers in the next five years, with his 1985 season being the true outlier.
As a 37-year-old, Fisk matched his age in homers with a career-high 37 taters and 107 RBI to go along with a .238/.320/.488 line. This power surge was made possible by a solid first half — he slugged 23 homers with 54 RBI and a .848 OPS in 302 plate appearances prior to the All-Star Game. After the midsummer classic, Fisk hit his final 14 dingers and paired it with 53 RBI and a .770 OPS in 318 plate appearances.
White Sox All Time Home Run Leaders: The Rest
Here’s what the remainder of Chicago’s top-25 all-time home run leaders looks like at the moment:
- Magglio Ordóńez: 187 home runs
- Robin Ventura: 171
- Jermaine Dye: 164
- Bill Melton: 154
- Carlos Lee: 152
- Ron Kittle: 140
- Jose Valentin: 136
- Minnie Minoso: 135
- Jim Thome: 134
- Joe Crede: 125
- Sherm Lollar: 124
- A.J. Pierzynski: 118
- Greg Walker: 113
- Alexei Ramirez: 109
- Carlos Quentin: 107
- Ray Durham: 106
- Adam Dunn: 106
- Pete Ward: 97
- Tim Anderson: 97 (…and counting)
- Ron Karkovice: 96
To find out where some of the other young White Sox hitters rank on this list, check out FanGraphs.
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