Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu burst onto the scene with a historic first month in the majors, setting MLB rookie records for most home runs (10) and RBI (32) before the beginning of May, per ESPN Chicago.
Abreu's achievements didn't end at the rookie level, as he also set a White Sox record for most RBI in March/April, per ESPN Chicago. Abreu bested the record of current teammate Paul Konerko, who knocked in 28 runs before May 1 in 2002.
Konerko, the heir to Frank Thomas as face of the franchise, is now limited to a part-time role in what will likely be his final season. The timing for a retirement couldn't be better, as the 38-year-old Konerko can pass the franchise crown to the Sox's prolific Cuban rookie.
Abreu, 27, is on pace for 56 home runs and 179 RBI, with both of those numbers representing would-be single-season White Sox records. Albert Belle, who isn't exactly held in the same regard as Konerko and Thomas, set both franchise records in 1998, when he slugged 49 home runs and drove in 152 runs.
Belle is well represented in the franchise record books, but not so fondly remembered in the minds of White Sox fans, or fans of other teams for that matter. Unlike the more mild-mannered Konerko and Abreu, Belle was a notorious hot-head who rubbed many fans and teammates the wrong way.
Abreu seems to be cut from the same cloth as Belle in terms of raw power, but that's about where the comparisons should end. Not only do the two seem drastically different in terms of personality, but even a player as talented as Abreu probably can't match Belle's team-record 49 homers and 152 RBI as a rookie.
Perhaps 49 is asking too much of Abreu, but, with good health, he should make a run at 40 homers, which would place him second on the all-time rookie list.
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