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Friday, March 29, 2013
Konerko HOF exhibit a precursor?

By Doug Padilla

Paul Konerko
This jersey Paul Konerko wore when he hit home run No. 400 is in the Hall of Fame.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., currently is giving Paul Konerko a little bit of a test drive with his 2012 uniform on full display.

The uniform Konerko wore last season when he hit his 400th career home run is the centerpiece of a locker that contains memorabilia representing the White Sox. All 30 teams are represented with a locker of their own memorabilia.

Questions remain as to whether or not Konerko can do enough by the end of his productive career to earn a permanent spot in the Hall of Fame's plaque gallery.

Konerko is 78 home runs shy of 500, often considered a magical number for garnering Hall of Fame recognition, although not necessarily an automatic qualifier among Hall voters. To reach the 500 home-run plateau he will have to play beyond this season, something that isn't a given.

With his current White Sox contract expiring after the season, Konerko has talked about the possibility of walking away to become a full-time dad back in Arizona.

If he continues playing, he would need to average 26 home runs over the next three years to give him 500, all before reaching the age of 40.

Konerko has been a major contributor on a World Series-winning team, but unlike former teammate Frank Thomas, he has not won an MVP award. Thomas is up for induction for the first time next year.

Twice Konerko has finished in the top 10 of MVP voting, including a career-best fifth in 2010, and remains one of the under-appreciated sluggers in the game today.