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Paul Konerko

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Paul Konerko photo

Paul Konerko bats in a 2012 game in Oakland.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Updated June 01, 2012

Vital Statistics:

Born: March 5, 1976

Hometown: Providence, R.I.

Height: 6-2

Weight: 220 pounds

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

Family:Wife, Jennifer; three children

Primary position: First baseman

Before the bigs:

  • Played third base in the 1993 World Junior Championship and hit .387 with 9 runs and 11 RBI.
  • Was Arizona Republic player of the year in 1994 as a catcher at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Drafted in the first round, 13th overall, by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1994 draft. Nomar Garciaparra was the previous choice by the Red Sox, and Jason Varitek went next to the Mariners.
  • Hit better than .300 in five minor-league seasons. Hit 19 homers at age 19 at Class-A San Bernadino in 1995, then .304 with 30 homers and 88 RBI, mostly at Double-A San Antonio in 1996.
  • Hit .323 with 37 homers and 127 RBI in 1997 at Triple-A Albuquerque and was named Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America and Baseball Weekly and was named Pacific Coast League MVP. Made his big-league debut that season as well with the Dodgers. But his path to the big leagues was limited because Eric Karros was a productive first baseman, and future All-Star Adrian Beltre was on the big-league roster as the team's third baseman of the future. Konerko was traded to the Cincinnati Reds on July 4, 1998 with pitcher Dennys Reyes for reliever Jeff Shaw.
  • Hit .327 with eight homers in 39 games for Triple-A Indianapols in the Reds organization and 26 games for the Reds, but Cincinnati shipped him to the Chicago White Sox before the 1999 season in a trade for outfielder Mike Cameron.

Career Highlights:

  • With the White Sox moving Frank Thomas to designated hitter, Konerko became the everyday first baseman for Chicago in 1999 and had a productive first full season in the majors, hitting .294 with 24 homers, 81 RBI and an .862 OPS.
  • Made his first All-Star team in 2002, when he batted .304 with 27 homers and 104 RBI. He had made five All-Star teams as of May 2012.
  • After a down 2003 (.234, 18 HR), he was named AL Comeback Player of the Year in 2004, when he hit .277 with a career-best 41 homers and 117 RBI.
  • Hit 40 or more homers in 2004 and 2005, and 39 in 2010.
  • Drove in more than 100 runs four out of five seasons from 2002 to 2006.
  • Had a career-defining season in 2005. Was an All-Star and sixth in AL MVP balloting in 2005, when he hit .283 with 40 homers and 100 RBI. Then he helped lead the White Sox to their first world championship in 88 years, hitting five home runs in the postseason, including a grand slam in Game 2 of the World Series against the Houston Astros. He was the MVP of the American League Championship Series.
  • Became a free agent after the 2005 season and signed a five-year, $60 million contract.
  • Hit a career-best .313 with 35 homers and 113 RBI in 2006, but slumped the next two seasons.
  • Hit his 300th home run on April 13, 2009, in the same game that teammate Jermaine Dye hit his 300th homer, the first time that had ever happened. They did it in back-to-back at-bats.
  • Hit three home runs and seven RBI on July 7, 2009 against the Indians.
  • In another contract year in 2010, he hit .312 with 39 homers and 111 RBI, finishing fifth in AL MVP voting. He re-signed with the White Sox through the 2013 season, a three-year, $37.5 million deal.
  • Hit his 200th hit on Aug. 23, 2011.
  • Hit his 400th career home run on April 25, 2012, and hit his 400th homer as a White Sox player later in 2012. He was 48 home runs behind Thomas, the club's all-time leader, at the time.
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