Chicago White Sox: Carlton Fisk
Abreu and Chicago White Sox teammate Alexei Ramirez both earned American League Silver Slugger Awards on Thursday, with the honor the latest on Abreu’s ever-growing postseason list.
The first baseman's Silver Slugger Award can go alongside his Sporting News Rookie of the Year Award and his Players Choice Outstanding Rookie honor. He also is the favorite to land the Baseball Writers Association of America Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award, to be announced Monday.
The Silver Slugger is given to the top hitter in each league at every position after voting by major league managers and coaches.
In hitting 36 home runs with 107 RBIs and a major league-leading .581 slugging percentage, Abreu bettered the likes of Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, Eric Hosmer and Edwin Encarnacion for the first-base award.
The 27-year-old had 10 years of experience in his native Cuba and definitely did not play like a rookie this past season. His home run total set a White Sox rookie record, and he became the first rookie in major league history to finish in the top five in all three Triple Crown categories.
He is the first rookie to win a Silver Slugger Award since Mike Trout in 2012.
Ramirez’s rebound season earned him his second career Silver Slugger Award; the shortstop also won the honor in 2010. The only other White Sox players to win multiple Silver Slugger Awards are Frank Thomas (four), Carlton Fisk (three) and Magglio Ordonez (two).
The 33-year-old Ramirez led all regular American League shortstops with 15 home runs, 74 RBIs and a .408 slugging percentage. His .713 OPS was second to the Toronto Blue Jays' Jose Reyes. He also posted career bests in total bases (254) and extra-base hits (52).
Ramirez, whose hot start this season led to his first All-Star Game appearance, is the only White Sox shortstop ever to win the Silver Slugger Award.
It is the fourth time a pair of White Sox teammates won Silver Slugger Awards in the same season. Joe Crede and Jermaine Dye did it in 2006, Ordonez and Thomas accomplished the feat in 2000, and Julio Franco and Thomas did it in 1994.
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CHICAGO -- On Carlton Fisk replica statue day, the Hall of Fame catcher took time to talk about the state of the game and how it’s played almost 20 years after his forced in 1993.
Fisk was pointed when asked about how baseball has changed.
“I think in a lot of ways the game has been taken away from pitchers and catchers,” Fisk said.
“You see it at junior-high girls softball, high school, college, minor leagues and now the big leagues. The catcher and the pitcher don’t run the games. They just don’t run the game. The calls come from the dugout most of the time, so when things get tough and the game is on the line, there is no reservoir of experience to say ‘this is how I can get through this.”
Fisk isn’t too keen on rule changes that have occurred over the years, including the umpire warnings to managers and players after somebody has been hit by a pitch.
“The game has been taken away from the pitchers and catchers by some of the rules that have been instituted in that teams aren’t allowed to police their own anymore,” he said. “You have umpires who do not follow pitchers and how they are pitching and who they are pitching to as well as the stuff they have. As a result they, don’t have a handle on the emotional highway of the game.”
The 64-year-old baseball icon doesn’t think he missed anything by not managing or coaching after his playing career ended.
“ I played long enough to get my fill as a player,” said Fisk, who played 25 years before he was released by the White Sox in 1993. “I don’t want to belabor the point, but I didn’t leave here very happy. It took me a long time to come to grips with that. I thought at one time, I would get back at it on a limited basis, but it is tough to do that and keep any continuity.”
Fisk, who works in community relations for the White Sox and does workshops for the Hall of Fame, is not surprised by the early success that his former teammate Robin Ventura has had managing the White Sox.
“He knows the game, the only thing really in question is the pitching staff (running the game),” said Fisk. “He never really abandoned the game, even when he wasn’t playing he was still involved in the College World Series.”