Glenn Beck was having fun with this story on his radio show today. Apparently, Barack Obama could not say whom his favorite White Sox player was growing up. In fact, he could not name ANY White Sox player. Obviously, the fact that he can’t name a White Sox player shows that he is not really the White Sox fan that he has purported to be. This is a little silly, because this story is from 2010, Obama did not “grow up” in Chicago, and being a White Sox fan, or not, is not important to the job of President of the United States. But seriously, he couldn’t think of a single name?
I began to make a mental list of White Sox as I drove to work. Minnie Minoso is the first name that came to my mind. I had thought that Minoso was part of the 1959 Go-Go Sox who lost the 1959 World Series to the Dodgers. But he spent the 1958 and 1959 seasons with the Cleveland Indians, returning to the Sox in 1960. He was an eight-time all-star and had two at-bats with the Sox in 1980, when he was 54! Jack McDowell was on the Sox in the 1990’s; I remember him giving the bird to Yankee fans. But that was while he was a Yankee, not a Sock. And Frank Thomas. And Paul Konerko, whom the Dodgers traded for Jeff Freaking Shaw, and who has 431 career home runs. To be fair, though, let’s look at a few players who were active for the White Sox in 1985, when Wikipedia says that Obama arrived in Chicago.
Harold Baines had a career thought by some to be worthy of the Hall of Fame. His career spanned 21 years, with six all-star games and 384 home runs. He was drafted by the Sox in 1977. Who could forget Carlton Fisk (I almost did), who left the Red Sox in 1981 and was signed by the White Sox? While his best seasons were with the other Sox – he was a seven-time all-star from 1971 to 1980 – he did have some good seasons with the White Sox – he appeared on some MVP ballots in 1983, 1985, and 1990.
In my mind, the name that is associated most intimately with the mid-eighties White Sox is Ozzie Guillen. He was the Rookie of the Year with the Sox in 1985. The light-hitting shortstop also had recent fame as the manager of the Miami Marlins.
Even the most dispassionate White Sox observer could be expected to know one or two of these names. Maybe it is silly to make hay out of the fact that Barack Obama could not name any White Sox players. On the other hand, George Bush never claimed to be a basketball fan.