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Ultimate Sox Team:

by WSI editor George Bova

They aren't necessarily the best players of the decade.  They aren't the longest serving either.  In some cases they aren't even the fans' favorites.  But each of these players (for whatever reason) came to embody the Chicago White Sox of the 1990's.

First Base - Frank Thomas
Sox General Manager Larry Himes's #1 draft pick in 1989.  A great hitter and our only true star in the late-90's.  It's scary when you consider just how bad the Sox would be without him.

Second Base - Ray Durham
Ron Schueler's one and only homegrown prospect of any quality.  Pushed Joey Cora right out of town. Unlike the great young players drafted by Himes, Schueler appears willing to do whatever it takes to keep Ray happy.  Too late to get us a championship with the horses we had in the mid-90's of course.

Third Base - Robin Ventura
Another Himes #1 pick.  The soul of the team for most of the decade.  Laid back approach adopted by entire clubhouse.  Broken ankle slowed him down but never from lack of effort.  Should have used his bat to tenderized Nolan Ryan's head.   Having tolerated years of purpose pitches from the jerk, more than a few major league hitters wish he had.

Shortstop - Ozzie Guillen
The man who couldn't walk off the island and always came to the plate swinging.  Co-captain with Pudge before Lamont ended the distinction in '92.  Broke his leg, came back, and abruptly left when the White Flag Trade clearly left him unwanted.  The latest in the glorious string of talented Sox players from Latin America.

Outfield - Albert Belle
Acquired for his bat when the team needed pitching worse.  Suppose to bring back fans in spite of his well-documented surliness.  His salary just another way for Reinsdorf to thumb his nose at baseball's establishment.  No effort made to keep him when the slightest offer could have kept him.  In short, he is the perfect metaphor for management's incompetence in the 90's.

Outfield -Lance Johnson
The kid from Triton College.  A slap hitter, better than average defensively, and hardly colorful.  Not quite a star.  The typical Sox player of the 90's.

Outfield -Dan Pasqua
Acquired from the Yankees, the Sox had high hopes for Dan's future.  Dan simply had high hopes.  His monster home runs could not make up for his disappointing play in the field, at the plate, and problems with international customs.  Sox management never did make a full effort to fill the hole he made.

Catcher - Ron Karkovice
Carlton Fisk's understudy, Officer Karkovice finally got the lead role in '93.  Good defensively but aged very quickly.  Had the smarts to know Terry Bevington didn't have a clue.  Had the guts to state so publicly.  We fans could have done worse than have Karko behind the plate.

Designated Hitter - Bo Jackson
Hit the moon shot home run that won the decade's single most important game -- the 1993 division clincher.  Easily Schueler's most famous reclamation project.  Too bad he didn't do more against Toronto in the playoffs -- if he had been given the chance.

Pitcher - Jack McDowell
Himes's very first #1 pick.  The undisputed anchor of the best pitching staff in the league.  Management could never keep him happy and never had a plan for replacing him when they traded him away.  The beginning of the end for our championship hopes.

Pitcher - Alex Fernandez
From Himes #1 pick to White Sox starter in one magical summer, 1990.  Played a key role in the 94 wins that team achieved.  Schueler thought talent like Alex's grew on trees.  As usual he was wrong.

Pitcher - Jaime Navarro
The worst pitcher in Major League Baseball -- twice.  The undisputed anchor of the worst pitching staff in the league.  Management signed him to such a hefty salary he has no value to the team in trade.  A financial albatross, he is equally worthless on the pitching mound and in the clubhouse.  A complete loser.

Manager - Terry Bevington
The dumbest of the dumb.  Made his predecessor Gene Lamont look like a genius.  Schueler's lazy decision to promote this fool ended any chance the team had of achieving a championship.  Couldn't manage the pitching staff, couldn't delegate authority, and couldn't manage the clubhouse or the media.  A complete zero.   Everyone knew it --- except Schueler.

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