08/24/11 3:19 AM ET
Konerko typically humble after 2,000th hit
Captain is 13th player to reach feat in White Sox uniform
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
That piece of news became official in the eighth inning of Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the Angels. With Alejandro De Aza on second and two outs, Paul Konerko delivered not only the game-tying hit off Ervin Santana but also the 2,000th hit of his illustrious career.
The official breakdown reads 393 home runs, 359 doubles, eight triples for good measure and 1,952 hits as part of the White Sox. He joins Jim Thome (2008), Frank Thomas (2003), Tim Raines (1993), Carlton Fisk (1989), Luis Aparicio (1969), Nellie Fox (1960), Luke Appling (1943), Jimmy Dykes (1935), Al Simmons (1934), Harry Hooper (1922), Eddie Collins (1920) and George Davis (1902) as the 13 players who have reached this plateau while wearing a White Sox uniform.
"Awesome. My God. The way he got it, too," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He means a lot to the White Sox organization and baseball. He's one of the pure hitters in baseball. There's nothing better for the White Sox than to see him get 2,000 hits."
Well, the only thing better would have been for Konerko to reach 2,000 hits and the White Sox to win the game. But Konerko certainly did his part.
Santana jumped ahead in the count at 1-2 during that eighth-inning at-bat before Konerko fouled off two straight pitches and took a pitch in the dirt. He shortened up his swing at 2-2 and lined a shot into right field.
Anyone who has been around Konerko understands getting him to talk about a personal accomplishment, especially during a losing moment for the team, stands as a next-to-impossible feat. But for this milestone, Konerko used a bit of humor to talk about the meaning of the evening.
"Honestly, it's one of those where it's nice and it's nice for your friends and family," Konerko said. "But for me, you get a hit like that and the first thing I think of is, 'How did Pete Rose get 4,000 hits?' That's the first thing I think of or Derek Jeter getting 3,000 -- any of those guys.
"It feels like you do this from the time you are a kid until you have a wife and kids and the whole nine yards. It seems like you do it for your whole life and for someone to have another 1,000 hits or 2,000 hits, those guys are really good because it seems like this is all I've been doing.
"Again, it's one of those things that falls in the category of something you'll enjoy more when you are done playing. But it's cool."
With seven more homers, Konerko would join Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero and Thome as the sixth active player with 2,000 hits and 400 long balls. He ranks sixth in the American League with a .317 average, but none of his previous 25 hits this month will have greater individual significance than Tuesday's single.
And just like career hit No. 1, coming with the Dodgers off Dennis Cook as a pinch-hitter for Mike Harkey in the eighth inning of a game against the Marlins on Sept. 8, 1997, Konerko went the other way.