The happy-go-lucky 12-year veteran has never even been close to playing on a playoff contender. Dunn experienced disappointing endings in his time with Cincinnati and Washington and also in a 44-game stint in Arizona after a late-season waiver deal in 2008.
When signing a four-year, $56 million dollar contract with the Sox in Dec. 2010, the slugger envisioned the always aggressive Kenny Williams’ offer as his first real chance of winning a World Series ring.
“I didn’t want to go somewhere that the approach was, ‘Let’s try to have a winning record or get over .500,’” Dunn said. “To me, that just isn’t acceptable.”
Like most young ballplayers, Dunn has envisioned winning a championship since he was a kid.
“I have always thought about how that would feel , just getting your name called out as the players line up on the foul lines for introductions,” he said. “That is why you play the game, for the little stupid stuff like that so you and your teammates can enjoy them. Before I leave this game I will somehow some way get there. If winning a World Series isn’t the reason you play, then you are playing for the wrong reason and should not be allowed to play.”
As a young player in the Reds organization, Dunn was always intrigued by Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin and his stories of Cincinnati’s World Championship in 1990.
“Lark would talk to me a lot about that season,” Dunn said. “As many things that he has accomplished in his life on the field and off the field, Barry always comes back to that moment being the ultimate moment for him. He is in the Hall of Fame, he won an MVP, but he always comes back to that.”
After suffering through arguably the worst offensive season in history, Dunn has been a force for the White Sox this year, leading the majors in home runs and staying among the Top 5 RBI producers all season.
Dunn is closing in on 400 career home runs and has made over $100 million, yet when all is said and done he feels his career will be incomplete without a championship.
“Yes, for sure, mine will be missing a lot without a World Series,” Dunn said. “That is the reason I play this game of baseball. I’m not interested in playing on a winning team or have a winning record or just making the playoffs, but to win a ring. You have to make the playoffs to get there so that is No. 1 on the checklist.”