Chicago White Sox: Ranking the 15 Greatest Pitchers In Franchise History

Alex RostowskyContributor ISeptember 6, 2011

Chicago White Sox: Ranking the 15 Greatest Pitchers In Franchise History

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    It seems like a simple task: throw the ball, hope the hitter doesn't make good contact, get it back and repeat.

    Unfortunately for people like myself, the talent to do it well has eluded us. Pitching will make or break a team, as it has since baseball's inception.

    For the Chicago White Sox, the biggest accomplishments in team history have come from the pitcher's mound. Every great moment in the White Sox organization has started and ended from the arms of their trusted pitchers.

    The White Sox have had some of the most dominating pitchers in the history of the game.

    Here are the ones that stand out.   

15. Sandy Consuegra

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    Years with the Club: 1953-1956

    Sandy Consuegra was a pitcher who split time in the bullpen and in the rotation. Whether he started or relieved games, Consuegra made an impact.

    His best year with the White Sox came in 1954, when he went 16-3 with a 2.69 ERA. He made the All-Star team for the first and only time in his career.

    After four standout years with Chicago, the aging Cuban veteran would go on to finish his career with the Baltimore Orioles.

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14. Bobby Thigpen

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    Years with the club: 1986-1993

    In the early 90s, there was only one possible player that could close out games for the White Sox. That man was Bobby Thigpen. 

    He held the record for saves in a season with 57 in 1990 before it was broken by Francisco Rodriguez in 2008. 

    Thigpen had five seasons with 20+ saves with the White Sox. During a difficult 1993 season, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, thus ending his tremendous run with the club.  

13. Wilson Alvarez

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    Years with the club: 1991-1997

    A staple in the White Sox rotation in the 90s, Wilson Alvarez gave the team his best. 

    He threw a no-hitter in 1991 against the Orioles in only his second major league start.

    After that, he would go on to have two seasons with 15 victories, including a 1993 campaign that helped the White Sox win the AL West. 

    Alvarez's name is also tied to one of the most infamous moments in White Sox history: the White Flag trade of 1997. 

12. Hoyt Wilhelm

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    Years with the club: 1963-1968

    In a career spent with eight different teams, Hoyt Wilhelm may have had his best years with the South Siders. 

    The knuckleball reliever never had a season with an ERA over .265 while with the White Sox. "Ol' Sarge" was great in the closer's role as well, having three seasons with 20+ saves during his time in Chicago. 

    The Hall of Famer did well wherever he went, especially in the Windy City. 

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11. Jack McDowell

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    Years with the club: 1987-1994

    "Black Jack" plain and simple knew how to throw the ball, as evidenced by his time in a White Sox uniform. 

    The 1993 AL Cy Young winner, McDowell was the ace of the Chicago staff in the early 90s. He had two seasons with over 20 victories and made the All-Star squad three times.

    McDowell wouldn't be the same after he left Chicago, but he will forever be remembered as one of the most dominating starters in the 1990s.  

10. Bobby Jenks

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    Years with the club: 2005-2010

    Bobby Jenks grew up fast.

    In his first season in the major leagues, Jenks took on the role of closer for a team in the hunt for a title. Bobby would shine in his 2005, throwing the final pitch of the World Series that sealed the deal for the White Sox. 

    The two time All-Star was lights out during much of his time with the club, retiring a then record 41 batters in a row in 2007. 

    After a while, his 100 MPH fast ball began to fade. After the 2010 season, Jenks departed for Boston, ruffling some feathers in the White Sox front office with his words on the way out. 

9. LaMarr Hoyt

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    Years with the club: 1979-1984

    After recording 10 saves in 1981, LaMarr Hoyt would go on to be one of the best starters in White Sox history. 

    He won 19+ games twice with the White Sox including the 1983 season, where he finished with 24 victories. 

    Hoyt would capture the 1983 AL Cy Young for his excellence. He even pitched a complete game in the ALCS against Baltimore, though it would be the only game Chicago would win in the series.

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8. Freddy Garcia

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    Years with the club: 2004-2006, 2009-2010

    In his days with the White Sox, Freddy Garcia had a knack for winning the big game, especially during his first stint with the team. 

    He pitched a complete game in the 2005 ALCS and threw seven scoreless innings in the game 4 clincher of the 2005 World Series, a game the White Sox would win 1-0. 

    Though he rarely had an ERA under four with the White Sox, Garcia always found a way to get it done. He won 55 games during both tenures with the club, which is impressive considering he pitched only three full years in a White Sox uniform. 

7. Jon Garland

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    Years with the club: 2000-2007 

    When Jon Garland was at his best, so were the White Sox. 

    His two 18 win seasons came in 2005 and 2006, years that Chicago would win 90+ games. His consistent performance made him a mainstay in the rotation during his tenure with the club. 

    Two of his best games as a pitcher came in the 2005 playoffs. In the ALCS he threw a complete game, only allowing four hits. In the World Series, he would allow just two runs in seven innings.

    Garland won 10+ starts in six straight seasons with the White Sox, always giving them his best.  

6. Jose Contreras

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    Years with the club: 2004-2009

    Though somewhat inconsistent in his tenure with the White Sox, Contreras is still one of the most important pitchers in team history. 

    He anchored the stellar rotation in 2005, starting the first game of the ALDS, ALCS and World Series. In the playoffs, Contreras went 3-1 with a 3.05 ERA with 14 strikeouts and two walks. 

    Contreras would win 10+ games for the White Sox three times. During the 2005 and 2006 regular seasons, he would win 17 consecutive games. 

    Now a reliever with Philadelphia, Contreras will forever be remembered by the White Sox faithful as the go to guy on the 2005 World Series Champion club. 

5. Eddie Cicotte

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    Years with the club: 1912-1920

    Cicotte may ultimately be remembered for his role on the 1919 "Black Sox," but we should remember him for his performance. 

    He was utterly dominant in his time with the club. During the 1917 and 1919 seasons, Cicotte would win 28 and 29 games respectively.

    Eddie Cicotte never had a season with an ERA over 3.26. Though banned for life in 1920, Cicotte deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.

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4. Ed Walsh

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    Years with the club: 1904-1916 

    Ed Walsh was the first of many great White Sox pitchers in history. 

    A World Series Champion in 1906, Walsh put up numbers that look downright silly considering how much the game has changed since his time. 

    He had five seasons with 20+ victories, including 40, yes 40 in 1908. 

    Walsh holds the record for career ERA with 1.82. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1946. 

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3. Ted Lyons

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    Years with the club: 1923-1942

    Ted Lyons spent his entire career with the White Sox. In that span, he won 260 games and had an ERA of 3.67. 

    "Sunday Teddy" had the misfortune of playing for some dismal Chicago clubs. He is often overlooked when discussing some of the best pitchers in MLB history due to his part on some lackluster teams. 

    His No. 16 is retired by the White Sox. Lyons was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1955. 

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2. Billy Pierce

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    Years with the club: 1949-1961

    "Billy the Kid" was as consistent pitcher as you could get in the 1950s. He had nine seasons with 14+ victories for the South Siders. 

    He was an integral part of the 1959 American League Champion team. 

    A seven time All-Star, Pierce's No. 19 has been retired by the White Sox. 

    Pierce is another White Sox pitcher that has been snubbed by the voting committee for the Hall of Fame. 

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1. Mark Buehrle

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    Years with the club: 2000-Present

    What hasn't Mark Buehrle done as a member of the White Sox? 

    Currently, at age 32, Buehrle has 159 victories and a 3.79 ERA and he's still going strong.

    He has been the opening day starter nine times and has had 10+ victories every year since 2001, including the current season. 

    Buehrle has made the All-Star team four times. He has thrown a no-hitter and a perfect game, has two gold gloves, and the major league record for 45 batters retired in a row. He also led the American League in innings pitched in 2004 and 2005.

    The beauty of Buehrle's game is his consistency without having overwhelming stuff. He works fast and efficiently, a rarity in today's game. He pitched a complete game in the 2005 ALCS and even came in for relief in game 3 the World Series just two days after starting game 2.

    The fact is, I could go on and on talking about Mark Buehrle. A class act and tremendous character to be around, Buehrle is the most important pitcher in White Sox history.

    He will have his No. 56 retired one day, and will ultimately be a Hall of Famer. Expect 250+ victories from Buehrle when his time on the mound is done.