CHICAGO -- A.J. Pierzynski spent eight seasons with the Chicago White Sox. He won a World Series in his first year with the team and made an All-Star appearance. Pierzynski, who is joining his sixth team after signing with the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night, said the team he identifies with most in his career are those White Sox.
"We won a World Series, so it's hard to top that," Pierzynski said before the Cardinals played the Chicago Cubs on Saturday. "All the time I spent here, the people here and the fans always in Chicago have been great. Obviously the White Sox is kinda where it's at."
Pierzynski was in Cooperstown with his family to watch his former teammate Frank Thomas' be inducted into the Hall of Fame when he got the call from his agent that the deal with the Cardinals was done.
"He had a big party on Thursday night and it was kind of a surpise, he didn't know who was showing up," Pierzynski said of Thomas. "He was excited to see myself, [Aaron] Rowand, Jermaine Dye and some other guys who were there. He was really happy and excited, it was fun to see Frank like that. Usually when you see Frank, he's a little tense and uptight sometimes, so it was fun to see him happy. I mean, he's gotta be happy, he's going into the Hall of Fame."
In his time with the White Sox, Pierzynski had numerous instances where he drew the ire of Cubs fans when the intra-city rivals would face off. Having been a part of many rivalries, Pierzynski wasn't sure where Cubs-Cardinals would rank, but he did find some humor in the fact that his debut with St. Louis would come at Wrigley Field.
"If it can top the Cubs-White Sox when I was here, then it'd be pretty good," Pierzynski said of the rivalry. "It's gonna be pretty tough to top those first few years when I was here. You hear about it, obviously in the Midwest, it's a pretty big deal. But I've been a part of Yankees-Red Sox, Giants-Dodgers, White Sox-Cubs, it's pretty tough. I'm looking forward to it and hopefully Wrigley is loud and I'm sure I'll get a nice ovation today from the crowd."
Pierzynski's new manager, Mike Matheny, pointed out that it may not be all boos when Pierzynski, who started and batted sixth Saturday, steps to the plate.
"I think he anticipates that it's going to be pretty loud," Matheny said. "Actually, [Friday] there was a good portion of red in the stands. It'll be interesting to see how the fans react in a positive way from the red and from the blue. I know he's had a couple run-ins here, so one way or another, there's going to be some noise."