Paul Konerko is still the White Sox’ best hitter, and at age 36 he is showing no signs of slowing down.
At Oakland on Wednesday, Konerko hit his 400th career home run and continued adding to a resume that should attract Hall of Fame interest one day.
As for reaching the 500-home run milestone, Konerko says it’s not even on his mind.
“No,” Konerko said before Thursday night’s loss to the Red Sox.
“All I can say about it is, when I hit 300, at that moment I didn’t really feel like 400 was in play. So I certainly don’t feel like 500’s in play. I’m not sure it’s in the cards.”
Konerko hit his 300th career home run on April 13, 2009. If he stays on the same pace, the first baseman could reach 500 in April of 2015.
Konerko is signed with the Sox through the end of next season, and he doesn’t even like looking that far ahead.
“I’m just going to continue to play,” Konerko said. “I feel like, as a player, one thing I’ve learned is setting finish lines while you’re still playing is not a good thing to do because when you do that you let up. It’s going to come, for me and for everybody.
“I know I’ve got this year and I’m going to play next year. But as far as, ‘Hey, when’s my career going to end?’ I just think the worst thing I can do is, even if I say next year, three years from now ... when you actually say it, there’s a tendency to let up and not get as much as you can today.”
Konerko is going to stick to the grind and let the numbers fall where they may.
If he is closing in on 500 at the end of the 2014 season — or ’15 season — Konerko said he’d be happy to call it quits without reaching the milestone.
“I certainly would not play a season, or agree to play a season, if I didn’t want to do everything else I always wanted to do,” Konerko said. “I always wanted to come out and play and do it right from the beginning of spring training. I would never come back just to chase a number.
“If I ever got in that position and I played, it would be because I still have a passion to play, like now. Chasing a number, it’s not fair to your teammates and it’s not fair to the game. Who knows if we’ll ever get to that point? Who knows?”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.