How Does Paul Konerko Get to the Hall of Fame?
Chicago White Sox slugger Paul Konerko notched his 400th career home run today against the Athletics. He joins fellow White Sox first baseman Frank Thomas as the only two in franchise history with more than 300+ home runs. Thomas is considered by many a sure Hall of Famer, while Konerko isn’t even in the discussion. There are accolades that Konerko can’t match “The Big Hurt” in, such as the two MVP awards or the career .300 batting average. However, what would it take for Konerko to match Thomas in career numbers and even numbers that would “lock” him into the Hall of Fame? I’m going to use Konerko’s averages of the last three seasons to figure this out.
Konerko is off to a solid start as he’s matched Thomas already in Midseason Classics. He is off to another hot start this season and with making an appearance each of the last two years, Konerko should pass Thomas in Kansas City this season.
Konerko’s 2009-2011 average hits per season is 161. This would mean Konerko would pass Thomas on the all-time hits list in about late 2014. Very likely. To get to the golden number of 3000 hits, Konerko would have to player another six healthy seasons or until he is 42 years old. Not likely.
This is where Konerko has made up some serious ground by continuing to churn out 30-homer seasons in his mid-30’s. His 3-year average is 32 home runs. Thomas only hit 448 of his in a White Sox uniform, this gives Konerko a real chance at becoming the franchise record holder by the end of next season. Konerko could pass Thomas some time in early 2016 overall BUT the magical number of 500 home runs would be in range at the end of the 2015 season. This could be the number that gets Konerko a Hall pass.
Runs Batted In:
430 more ribbies for Konerko here, at his 2009-2011 average of 101 a year, would take him just over four years to surpass Thomas’ total. Like the home run number though, Konerko needs just 220 more for the franchise record. That would be projected to happen in early 2015. There is no magic RBI number to get in the Hall of Fame.
I am not saying that Konerko will ever be the greatest White Sox player of all-time. Thomas led the league in OBP and OPS four times to Konerko’s none. Thomas has three Silver Sluggers on his mantle to Konerko’s none. The counting stats though portray a real chance that Konerko can put himself into the Hall of Fame discussion when all is said and done.
Konerko has a legitimate shot at the Hall of Fame as he is generally durable and seems to get better with age. He may get close to 500 home runs and 2700+ hits and 1600+ RBIs by the time he retires. Some mediocre players have been enshrined in recent years, such as Bruce Sutter, Ron Santo, and Andre Dawson, so he definitely has a chance.