The White Sox’ current pursuit of big-name players this offseason has me in a big-money frame of mind. You don’t need me to tell you that Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are likely to receive the biggest contracts in free agent history. Whether that is to be the White Sox, however, is a matter of debate that will endure until the ink is dry on each player’s respective contract.
Looking to the past, though, there was a time when Jerry Reinsdorf and the White Sox did pony up the richest contact in baseball history: that, of course, was the signing of Albert Belle for 5 years and $55 million (as an aside, the other marquee free agents from that offseason: Roger Clemens and John Smoltz). Perusing the newspapers from around that period, Cleveland and the-then-named Florida Marlins were the favorites to land Belle, but the Sox outbid everybody (Cleveland reputedly offered 5/$40 million while the Marlins offered 4/$38 million). The Chicago Tribune‘s November 21 column was less than enthused due to Belle’s famous temperament:
To put it in the most charitable way possible, the jury is very much out on the signing by the White Sox of turbulent Cleveland Indians star Albert Belle to that five-year, $50-million contract…Belle is the poster child for much that is wrong with baseball–a superstar who feels no obligation to match his athletic gifts with grace. Driven by inner demons–including a quest for perfection–that have rendered him surly, moody, temperamental, boorish and occasionally violent, he has alienated fans, the media, coaches and players alike.
Anyway, enthusiasm was riding high among White Sox fans, since one of baseball’s best was added to a team coming off an 85-win season. Today’s Sporcle will test your knowledge of that 1997 team: who played for the White Sox that year? There are 45 names in all: how many can you get? Good luck!
- As with similar team-centric quizzes, the only qualifier is that a player must have recorded at least one plate appearance or pitching appearance to make the cut. (So, for instance, players involved in the White Flag trade will still be on this list)
- I’ve allotted 10 minutes for completion attempts.
- For hints I’ve provided the position of the player (as recorded by Baseball Reference), and the number of games in which they appeared.
Useless information to amaze, annoy, confuse, and/or confound your friends and family:
- Belle ultimately was one of the premier hitters of the ’90s: for the decade he finished first in doubles, fourth in home runs, first in RBI, eighth in slugging and twelfth in OPS.
- Despite having two of the best power hitters in the game on this team, the Sox only hit 158 home runs in 1997.
- Just three batters and one pitcher ended up being worth 3+ WAR.
Direct link here
Link to the 1997 team
All data from baseballreference.com
36/45. I did it with my bro waiting to board to go to the winter meetings! He only got 31 the loser!!!!
Hope you guys have a blast in Vegas!
Give ‘em hell Ken!
27. That was tough!
38/45, and a lot of those misses were pitchers I will never remember. A whole lot of talent resulting in a whole lot of aggravation under my least favorite Sox manager of my lifetime.
Kurkjian lists the White Sox as third most likely to sign Harper behind PHI and LAD, for whatever that’s worth http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=25479422