Paul Henry Konerko (Template:Pron-en; born March 5, 1976 in Providence, Rhode Island) is a Major League Baseball first baseman who has played for the Chicago White Sox since 1999. He previously played with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1997–98) and the Cincinnati Reds (1998). Recently, Konerko helped the Chicago White Sox win the 2005 World Series. Konerko is of Polish (paternal) and Italian (maternal) descent. He is currently the captain of the White Sox.
High school careerEdit
At Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, Konerko was named the Arizona Republic/Phoenix Gazette Player of the Year as a senior, after leading his team to a Class 4-A state championship. Konerko hit .558 in 1994, the school season record until Ike Davis, who later became the first baseman for the New York Mets, hit .559 in 2003. Konerko also held the school season record in doubles, with 18, until Davis hit 23 doubles in 2003. He also held the school career record in doubles (44), until Davis passed him with 48 doubles.
Konerko was ranked the #1 catcher in the nation during his senior year in high school.
Los Angeles DodgersEdit
As a Minor leaguer, Konerko enjoyed some good numbers. On May 13, 1995 with the San Bernardino Spirit, he drove in the only run of a 21-inning game. It was the longest shutout in California League history.
Chicago White SoxEdit
Konerko was traded by the Reds to the White Sox for Mike Cameron.
In 2000, with a 95–67 record, the White Sox made the playoffs for the first time since 1993. Konerko made his first postseason appearance that year, when the White Sox lost to the Seattle Mariners in the 2000 American League Division Series (ALDS). The Mariners swept the series in 3 games, and in 9 at bats, Konerko had no hits. He got on base once on a walk.
In 2005, the White Sox defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the American League Championship Series (ALCS). After going 0 for 4 in the first game and 1 for 4 in the second game, Konerko hit 3 for 4 with three RBI in the third game of the ALCS against the Angels. Two of the RBI came from a home run in the first inning. In Game 4, Konerko was 1 for 4 with three RBI on another first inning home run, the second in as many nights. In Game 5, Konerko went 1 for 5 with another RBI. He was named the ALCS MVP on the strength of a .268 batting average, two home runs and seven RBI. He said, "I think you could split this four ways," referring to his feeling that the MVP should be awarded to the four White Sox starting pitchers who pitched four consecutive complete games in the ALCS.
In Game 2 of the 2005 World Series, Konerko hit the first grand slam in White Sox World Series history to put the White Sox ahead 6–4. It was also the first grand slam in postseason history to give a team the lead when trailing in the seventh inning or later. Those were Konerko's only RBI of the World Series, but they were critical in giving the White Sox the momentum to complete a four-game sweep of the Houston Astros and they were the most for a White Sox hitter in the series. Konerko caught the final out for every one of the series-clinching games throughout the playoffs.
Following the 2005 World Series victory, Konerko signed a five-year $60 million deal with the White Sox on November 30, 2005 after reportedly turning down more lucrative offers from the Los Angeles Angels and the Baltimore Orioles.
Konerko concluded the 2006 season with 35 home runs, helping him rank in the top 10 for total home runs over the past three seasons, after hitting over 40 home runs in 2004 and 2005. In 2010, he was second in the American League for home runs with 39.
On September 18, 2008, Konerko became the last opposing player to hit a home run at Yankee Stadium in the 9th inning of a 9–2 White Sox loss.
On Monday, April 13, 2009, Konerko connected back to back with Jermaine Dye for the 300th home run of both players' respective careers off of Detroit Tigers pitcher Zach Miner. This was the first time that this had ever happened in Major League history; where two players had hit a century milestone home run in one game, let alone back to back.
On July 7, 2009, Konerko was 3 for 4 with three home runs including seven RBIs in a 10–6 win against the Cleveland Indians. It was the first time in his big league career that he hit three home runs in a game. He is also the only White Sox player to accomplish that at U.S. Cellular Field.
On July 10, 2010, Konerko was announced to replace Twins first baseman Justin Morneau at the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. That was his fourth All-Star selection of his career. Near the end of the 2010 season, Konerko was hit in the face by Minnesota Twins pitcher Carl Pavano. This resulted in major controversy. White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle returned the favor in the next inning hitting Twins first baseman Michael Cuddyer. Both teams then received a warning from the head umpire and no further incidents occurred. During his very next at bat Konerko hit a home run on the first pitch. Konerko is second on the White Sox All-time Home run list with 358, behind Frank Thomas' 448.
His older brother Peter had a brief stay in the minor leagues.
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