It’s not often that we are graced with the opportunity to see an all-time great walk away from the game with such love and admiration.
He has been an icon on one of the most storied franchises in all of Major League Baseball.
His career has included so many accomplishments, playing in three decades, multiple All-Star games, winning the ALCS MVP, and bringing back a World Series Championship to a historic franchise after a long drought.
As he completes his final days of his career, MLB players and fans are pouring out their respect.
Believe it or not, we aren’t talking about Derek Jeter here. This icon of the game is Paul Konerko.
Konerko has enjoyed quite a career. At no point has he been loud, flashy, or in the news. The man just plays the game and plays it the right way. He has been the model of quiet consistency and in today’s professional sports world where flash, shocking headlines, criminal issues, and questionable morals are part of the everyday experience. Yet for some reason, his departure is getting minimal media attention.
Paul Konerko is a normal guy. He is hard working. He is one of us and should be lauded for it.
Throughout his 17-year career, Konerko amassed 439 home runs, over 1,400 RBI and 1,100 runs, all while batting .279. He was the classic working man’s hitter, grinding out every at bat, every game, day after day. No one looks at Paul Konerko and thinks they see a pure athlete, but I challenge you to look at that man and see anything other than a ballplayer.
As much as Jeter represents New York; the glamour, the city lights, the fashion and the beauty, Konerko epitomizes Chicago. The Windy City will always be a Cubs town, with the Northsiders representing the higher end business district. However, with the White Sox on the South Side, Konerko found his fit, embodying the blue collar, industrial Midwesterner.
Konerko never had one season that stood out with stunning numbers, but showed a consistency that is nearly impossible to achieve, even in the waning years of his career. According to FanGraphs, Paulie posted a .304 batting average with 96 homers and 291 RBIs in 2010-2012, at ages 34 through 36. He had multiple top 10 MVP seasons. He was six times an All-Star and has a championship ring to show for his heroic, series changing grand slam in 2005.
As the season winds down, of course we need to take time to say goodbye to Derek Jeter. But as a fan of the game, do not rob yourself of the opportunity to say goodbye to another one of the greats. Saturday is Paul Konerko Day in Chicago, so take a moment to watch this man before he is gone.
It’s not often that we as fans are graced by the likes of a Paul Konerko in Major League Baseball.
He is one of us. He is the Chicago. He is the White Sox.
Paul Konerko is baseball.