Top 10 Best Chicago White Sox Players of All Time
The Chicago White Sox are one of the oldest franchises in Major League Baseball, having begun American League play in 1901. Though they have won only three World Series, the Sox have certainly had their fair share of star players throughout the years. From “Shoeless Joe” Jackson to Frank Thomas, check out the top ten best Chicago White Sox players of all time!
Who Are the Best Chicago White Sox Baseball Players of All Time?
- Luke Appling
- “Big Ed” Walsh
- Frank Thomas
- “Shoeless Joe” Jackson
- Eddie Collins
- Ted Lyons
- Mark Buehrle
- Minnie Minoso
- Doc White
- Red Faber
1. Luke Appling
- Seven-time All-Star selection
- Two-time American League Batting Champion
- Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee
Luke Appling was a shortstop who played more than 2,400 games for the White Sox from 1930 to 1950. He is considered one of the greatest “old” shortstops in the history of the game, a nod to his incredible longevity in the MLB. In addition to his defensive prowess, Appling was also a very good contact hitter, racking up 2,749 hits over his career. His 15 seasons with a batting average over .300 also attest to his legendary longevity. In fact, the second of his two career batting titles came at the age of 36.
By the end of his career, which he spent entirely with the White Sox, Appling was number one in MLB history in games played and double-plays by a shortstop. In the later years of his career, he was given the nickname “Ol’ Aches and Pains,” apparently in response to his constant complaints about various ailments: sprained fingers, sore back, and others.
2. “Big Ed” Walsh
- Lowest career ERA in baseball history (1.82)
- Two-time AL strikeout leader
- 1906 World Series Champion
Ed Walsh was the best pitcher in White Sox history, playing for the club from 1904 to 1916. He was known for his signature pitch, the now-illegal spitball, which he threw about 90% of the time. An incredibly durable player, Walsh regularly started more than 30 games per season during his prime, which was a high number back then and would be unheard of today. Not only was he a workhorse year in and year out, but Walsh set several records at the same time. He still holds the MLB record for lowest career ERA. Also, he led the American League in wins in 1908, and pitched a no-hitter in 1911.
The most enduring accomplishment for “Big Ed” was the 1906 World Series victory, where he was the Sox’s ace against the crosstown Cubs. The Sox won the series in six games, and Walsh set the record for most batters struck out in a World Series game with twelve in Game 3.
3. Frank Thomas
- Five-time All-Star selection
- Two-time AL MVP
- Four-time Silver Slugger Award
Frank Thomas, who played for the White Sox from 1990-2005, was known as one of the greatest hitters of his era. No other player has ever matched his consistency during his prime, when he had seven consecutive seasons of more than 20 HR, 100 RBI, 100 walks, and a batting average over .300. Nicknamed “The Big Hurt”, Thomas was an imposing presence in the batter’s box, standing 6’5” and weighing in at 240 pounds. He was a part of the Sox’s most recent World Series victory, in 2005, although he was injured throughout the playoffs.
Upon leaving the Sox after the 2005 season, Thomas had established himself as the franchise’s all-time leader in nearly every batting statistic: home runs, runs scored, RBI, doubles, total bases, slugging, and several more. His legacy was cemented on July 31, 2011, when the White Sox unveiled a bronze statue commemorating his career with the club.
4. “Shoeless Joe” Jackson
- 1917 World Series Champion
- MLB best batting average by a rookie (.408)
- Most hits in a single World Series (12)
Perhaps the best-known White Sox player of all-time, outfielder “Shoeless Joe” earned his nickname in the minor leagues after playing without his cleats, which had been giving him blisters. An exemplary fielder and hitter, Jackson led the American League in triples in three different years. Jackson was the hero of the 1917 World Series, batting .304 and making an incredible catch in the outfield to help win Game 1. He only played for the Sox from 1915 to 1920, but became infamous during the Black Sox scandal of 1919.
Several Sox players, including Shoeless Joe, were accused of throwing the World Series in exchange for payments from a gambling boss. Although Jackson’s guilt is not definitely established, he became the face of the scandal after newspapers reported that a young boy approached him and said, “say it ain't so, Joe!”. This phrase became a widely known catchphrase and reference to the scandal, although it is believed that the purported interaction never actually took place.
5. Eddie Collins
- Six-time World Series Champion
- Four-time AL stolen base leader
- 1914 AL MVP
Eddie Collins was a legendary second baseman, known for his quickness and athleticism in the infield. He played for the White Sox from 1915 to 1926, and was a part of the 1917 World Series Champion White Sox. He was also a member of the infamous 1919 “Black Sox,” but it is generally agreed that he had no knowledge of the scandal and was not involved in the throwing of games. According to baseball historian and statistician Bill James, Collins was the greatest second baseman of all time, statistically speaking.
Collins’ legacy still looms large for the White Sox and baseball in general, as he still holds the record for most sacrifice bunts in a career (512), as well as the record for most stolen bases in one game (6). He also played the most major league games of any second baseman in the history of baseball. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1939.
6. Ted Lyons
- Two-time AL wins leader
- 1942 AL ERA Leader
- 1955 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee
A key part of the White Sox pitching lineup from 1923-1946, Ted Lyons cemented himself as a franchise legend by pitching frequently and usually pitching complete games. In the early part of his career, he pitched between 37 and 41 games per season, which was a large number even in that era of baseball. During those early years, he also surpassed 20 complete games in several different seasons. Famously, Lyons pitched a complete game in a game that went 21 innings, in May 1929 vs Detroit. Though he stayed in for all 21 innings, the White Sox lost to Detroit, 6-5.
As his career moved toward its later stages, Lyons settled into a schedule of only pitching once a week, earning him the nickname “Sunday Teddy.” White Sox fans would flock to Comiskey Park for Sunday games, knowing ahead of time that they would be certain to see Ted Lyons on the mound for the Sox.
7. Mark Buehrle
- Five-time All-Star selection
- Four-time Gold Glove Award winner
- Two career no-hitters (one perfect game)
Mark Buehrle was a starting pitcher for the White Sox from 2000 to 2011. He established himself as a stalwart of the franchise during this time, being selected to several All-Star teams and winning numerous individual awards. In 2003, he started 35 games, and in 2004, he led the American League in total innings pitched.
Buehrle was a part of the 2005 Sox team that finally brought a World Series victory back to the South Side of Chicago. Also, in 2007, he pitched a no-hitter in a home game against the Texas Rangers. This was the first no-hitter ever thrown in the stadium then-called U.S. Cellular Field. Then, in 2009, Buehrle reached the pinnacle of pitching, serving up a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 23rd. These accomplishments cemented Buehrle as one of the Sox’s greats, and the team retired his number 56 in 2017.
8. Minnie Minoso
- Nine-time All-Star Selection
- Three-time Gold Glove Award winner
- Three-time AL stolen base leader
By the end of his career, outfielder Minnie Minoso was known as “Mr. White Sox”, and it’s not hard to see why. He played for the club from 1951-1957 and again from 1960-1961. He established himself as both a power hitter and a speedster, putting up a large number of extra base hits as well as stolen bases in his 1951 campaign with the Sox. During the early part of his career, Minoso had played in the Negro Leagues, due to the racism of Major League Baseball in not signing black or hispanic players. As one of the first non-white players to enter the Majors, Minoso played a large role in breaking the color barrier of baseball.
After his retirement, Minoso managed the White Sox for a few years, and became somewhat of a franchise ambassador for the rest of his life. Upon his passing in 2015, President Barack Obama stated, “For South Siders and Sox fans all across the country, including me, Minnie Miñoso is and will always be ‘Mr. White Sox.’”
9. Doc White
- 1907 MLB wins leader
- 1906 AL ERA leader
- 1906 World Series champion
Doc White was a great left-handed pitcher who played for the White Sox from 1903 to 1913. Born Guy Harris White, but known as Doc due to his father being a physician, was a legend of the game of baseball for his various talents outside the diamond. After his first season in the major leagues, he returned to university to complete a degree in dentistry. In 1904, his second year with the Sox, he sported an incredible 1.78 ERA. During September of that year, he achieved a streak of five straight shutouts, a record that would stand for over 60 years.
The 1906 season was also strong for White, and he ended up with a 1.52 ERA. In the 1906 World Series against the Cubs, White was the starter and pitched a complete game in the clinching Game 6. This season cemented his place as one of the Sox’s all-time greats.
10. Red Faber
- Two-time AL ERA leader
- 1917 World Series Champion
- 1964 Hall of Fame Inductee
Red Faber was a pitcher who played for the Sox for his entire career, from 1914 to 1933. He was a spitball pitcher, a skill he picked up after an arm injury in the minor leagues prevented him from throwing curveballs. After plying his trade in the minors, he began his career with the Sox in 1914. 1917 was his best year, when he put up a 1.92 ERA. That year, his Sox went on to win the World Series, and Faber picked up three victories in the series. This is tied for the record for most wins in a World Series by a single pitcher.
Faber was injured during the Black Sox scandal of 1919. He was not involved in the conspiracy, and his teammates were quoted as saying that if he had been healthy, the fix would never have succeeded. This added another layer to his legacy as a White Sox legend.
- Luis Aparicio
- George Davis
- Carlton Fisk
- Nellie Fox
- Fielder Jones
- Billy Pierce
- Chris Sale
- Ray Schalk
- Robin Ventura
- Wilbur Wood
Who is the best Chicago White Sox player of all time?
Shortstop Luke Appling is considered the greatest White Sox player of all time. He played over 2,400 games for the Sox and put up over 2,700 hits in his career. Additionally, he was selected as an All-Star seven times and won the American League batting title twice. In all, Luke Appling was considered to be one of baseball’s greatest all-around shortstops of all time.
Which Chicago White Sox player holds the record for most home runs?
Frank Thomas holds the record for most home runs by a Chicago White Sox player. He amassed 448 homers as a member of the White Sox from 1990-2005. He also holds White Sox records for total runs, doubles, RBI, walks, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage. Frank Thomas was also an outspoken critic of players who used steroids, claiming that he never used them and that he was unfairly hurt by competitors’ cheating.