White Sox' Konerko won't chase numbers

Updated 8/21/2013 12:29 AM
  • Paul Konerko runs past Royals starting pitcher Ervin Santana as he scores on a passed ball during Tuesday night's 2-0 White Sox victory.

    Paul Konerko runs past Royals starting pitcher Ervin Santana as he scores on a passed ball during Tuesday night's 2-0 White Sox victory. Associated Press

Time waits for no one, no favors has he.

Time waits for no one, and he won't wait for me.

By Scot Gregor


In addition to being one of the best players ever to pull on a White Sox uniform, Paul Konerko is a big-time music buff.

As he nears the end of his 15th season with the Sox, Konerko probably has been grudgingly playing the classic Rolling Stones song over and over in his head.

Is the 37-year-old captain going to play again next season, be it with the White Sox or another major-league team?

Or, is it going to be time to retire?

Pardon the pun, but stay tuned.

In his first at-bat against the Royals in Tuesday night's 2-0 victory at Kauffman Stadium, Konerko sure looked like he's got some gas left in the tank.

He hit a line drive into the left-field corner and legged out a double. And after he moved up to third base on Avisail Garcia's bloop single, Konerko made it home on a passed ball.

Afterward, he was laughing in the dugout, most likely because Konerko legs out doubles and scores on passed balls about once a decade.

But this season has been anything but fun for Konerko, who is batting .241 with 9 home runs and 42 RBI. His career low for homers in a season is 18 (2003) and his RBI low is 62 (2008).

His contract expires at the end of the season, and Konerko is not interested in talking about retirement.

But let's backtrack to early last season for some guidance.

On April 25, Konerko hit his 400th career home run at Oakland. The next day, when the White Sox were back at U.S. Cellular Field to play Boston, Konerko talked about the milestone homer and shed some rare light on his future.

"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. That's something I can definitely say.

"Chasing a number, it's not fair to your teammates, and it's not fair to the game."

Konerko has 431 career home runs, tying him for 44th place all time with Cal Ripken Jr. Only 25 players in baseball history have hit 500 or more homers, and Konerko likely would need two more full, healthy seasons to get there.

That figures to be way too long of a chase, and that's why this season is likely the end of Konerko's long, successful run with the Sox.

Executive vice president Kenny Williams has a hard time imagining what White Sox life will be like without Konerko.

"That's a difficult one, and I'll tell you why, because you have a guy that you respect so much," Williams said at the Cell last week. "He's going to have his jersey retired, his name up on the rafters up there eventually.

"Beyond that, I don't know what Jerry (Reinsdorf) might have planned. He's one of the White Sox' all-time greats. I think it's premature and disrespectful for me to talk about an ending to such an esteemed career and person before he starts talking about it. I don't want to touch it.

"Now, I've had a couple of lengthy conversations with him and certainly know that he believes he can still do this, and do this at a high level. Let's let him just play.

"Just play. Play as long as you want to play and we'll figure it out as we go."


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