March 18, 2011

2011 Milestone Preview: American League Central

Last season, the Chicago White Sox honored one of their greats, Frank Thomas, by retiring his Number 35.

This July, they're set to unveil a bronze statue of the one-time Sox legend...the eighth to grace U.S. Cellular Field.

Coincidentally...I'm planning on being at that game. But that's neither here or there now is it?

So with that…here comes the AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL.


CHICAGO WHITE SOX


Team captain Paul Konerko is on the verge of two major milestones in this...his 13th year on the Southside.  Coming off, arguably, one of the best years of his career, Konerko is just 139 hits away from 2000 and 35 home runs away from 400 career blasts.

Also approaching 400 career bombs...the newly acquired Adam Dunn.

Sure, the "Big Donkey" is 46 home runs away from the milestone...but he's done it before.  And given that he had a five year stretch (2004-2008) where he hit 40 or more home runs...is 46 really out of the question?

The ageless Omar Vizquel enters his second season with the White Sox the active leader in games playes, at bats and plate appearances.  For his career...he's sitting at 2799 hits all-time.

And speaking of hits...outfielder Juan Pierre is 158 hits away from reaching 2000 for his career.

CLEVELAND INDIANS

As if the Indians signing journeyman Orlando Cabrera (who is 52 hits away from 2000 for his career), Cleveland has decided on making August 13 a date to circle on your calendar.

And what's going on August 13?

Well...it's none other than Mike Hargrove “Human Rain Delay” Bobble Head Day.  Great seats are still available.

DETROIT TIGERS

Last November, Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson succumbed to dementia.  This season, not only are the Tigers going to honor their former skipper with a patch on their sleeves...but they'll be retiring his number as well.


Pretty classy.

Current manager Jim Leyland enters the season second in wins among active managers trailing only Tony LaRussa.  With 1493 career victories, he's only 78 wins behind Hall of Famer Dick Williams on the all-time list.

Also bound to make some headlines in the Motor City is outfielder Magglio Ordonez.  Should "Maggs" be able to bounce back from last season's ankle injury, he'll get the eleven home runs it'll take to reach 300 for his career.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS

A quick scan of the Royals' roster isn't going to excite a soul.  And of the four names you're likely to recognize...one of them is catcher Jason Kendall.


Yikes.

Currently, Kendall is fifth all-time in being hit by pitch having been plunked 254 times.  In order to surpass Don Baylor and move into fourth place...he'll need to get hit 14 times.  It's possible.

MINNESOTA TWINS

Up in Minnesota, Jim Thome is back swinging for the fences.  Currently, Thome is eighth all-time and just eleven home runs away from becoming the latest slugger to reach 600 for his career.


Conversely, Thome resides second all-time in strikeouts.  The designated hitter has struck out 2395 times in his 20 seasons as a pro and trails only Reggie Jackson and his 2597 Ks.

Lastly, Minnesota will honor Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven by retiring his number this July.  His Number 28 will join five former Twins and Jackie Robinson up on the facade at Target Field.

The National League Central is next. In the meantime, feel free to check out Milestone Previews of the American League East and National League East.


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