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But does it feel good to have Colon back?

by Senor Sock  

The world's foremost playboy, celebrity Sox Fan, and sock, Senor Sock!  The Toast of Argentina is swingin' Hollywood-style for our Pale Hose!

I couldn’t help but be reminded of the old Peaches and Herb song “Reunited… and it feels so good” as the Sox announced they had resigned Bartolo Colon for the 2009 season. My first reaction was: “If they wanted a old, fat pitcher wasn’t Wilber Wood available?”. Actually Colon last pitched for the Sox only 6 years ago (pre-triumphant 2005 world championship season) and posted a respectable 15-13 record with a 3.87 era. For 2009 Kenny Williams signed Colon for a low (one million is walking around money in Senor Sock’s world) incentive based contract. If he posts anywhere near the kind of numbers he did last time he wore the pinstripes great, even with the incentives the Sox will have gotten him on the cheap. He will be free to sign with someone else for huge bucks after he has helped the team win a world championship in 2009. If he pitches poorly, the Sox can release him and only lose a million (plus whatever extra they have to pay for craft services while he is on the team). The Dodgers just released tubby Andruw Jones and had to eat 21.5 million (dollars, not cheeseburgers), so Colon is a relatively low risk proposition.

Somehow all this  reminds me of getting together with an ex-girlfriend. I’m not talking about the simple booty call (or if you are lucky, the complex booty call! Yes!) , but actually “getting back together”. At the beginning you remember the good times you had and the things that attracted you to her in the first place. You remember her best features and whatever skills she may have. Beer goggles often keep the truth out of focus. But soon enough you remember why you broke up in the first place. The second time around always seems to end in disappointment and regret. 

The same seems to be true of players the Sox reacquire, especially lately. For awhile there Roberto Alomar (2003, 2004) and Sandy Alomar Jr. (2001-2002, 2003-2004, 2006) seemed to be on some sort of a yo-yo they came back so often. Roberto in particular acted as if Comiskey was his own personal retirement village. He saved the two worst years of his career (.253 in 2003 and .180 in 2004) for the south side while displaying all the range of a kitchen appliance.  Quick, who was the last Sox hurler to win 20 games? It was Esteban Loaiza who won 21 in 2003. The same Esteban Loaiza who returned last year but was quickly sent packing when it was discovered he couldn’t throw harder than Jessica Alba. 

Going back further, Jose De Leon used to be considered a fat pitcher (before Colon showed us what a fat pitcher really looked like) when he started for the Sox back in 1986-87. He returned in 1993 where he was relegated to pitching mop up relief. The late Ivan Calderon also returned to the Sox in 1993. The big left fielder wielded a dangerous bat for the Sox in 1986-90 before he left for free agency. But in 1993 he was a shadow of his former self (.115). 1989 was also a reunion year of sorts as former Sox ace Rich Dotson (he won 97 games in his first stint with the Sox) returned to Comiskey Park, but like Lindsey Lohan driving, it would probably have been better if he did not (3-7). Fan favorite Ron Kittle also returned that same year. Kittle was Rookie of the Year his first time with the Sox (.254, 35 HR). He left in 1986, after his batting average plunged like the Dow Jones and his strikeout total went to the roof. Kitty returned in 1989 and had some success (.302, 11HR) in limited action (169 at bats—they kept him away from anyone who could throw a curveball or anything off speed) and he came back again in 1991 (.191, 2 HR) before retiring. 

Hollywood swingin' on New Years can take it out of a sock!

There have been success stories to be sure. Carl Everett was acquired from the Rangers in 2003 then the Expos in 2004. He hit well both times before being invited NOT to return for the 2006 season. Luis Aparicio came back in 1968 after a 5 year exile in Baltimore and though he supposedly lost a step, he still had the soft hands (he won two more gold gloves) and was an all-star shortstop in 1970 when he hit .313. Steve Stone was always a hard luck pitcher when he was with the Sox in ’73 (6-11) but he came back after serving time with the Cubs to be part of the South Side Hitmen in 1977 (15-12) and ‘78 (12-12). I wished Veeck had had the money to keep him as Stone went on to even greater success in Baltimore (25-7, Cy Young Award in 1980). First base coach Harold Baines and the Sox were kind of like Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee in that he came back to the team twice. Traded away to Texas in 1989, he made a triumphant return in 1996 when he hit .311 with 22 HR. Baines came back again in 2000 when we really could have used his bat, but he left it in Baltimore, hitting only .213 with one lone dinger. The less said about his 2001 season the better. 

But most often the stories of getting back together again are more similar to that of Oscar Gamble who thrilled Sox fans as the big left handed bat of the south side hitmen in 1977 (.297, 31 HR) only to return in 1985 with no gas left in the tank. With apologies to Casey Stengle, Gamble was unable to hit the ground if he fell out of an airplane (.203, 4 HR). Buddy Bradford was a Sox outfielder from 1966-70 who also came back in 1972 and again in 1976. The big difference is that he was unable to hit in any of his times with the Sox. 

The player who was most like the girl you keep breaking up with and getting back together again with is probably the beloved Minnie Minoso. He played with the “Go-Go” White Sox from 1952-58, just missing the World Series in 1959. Veeck brought him back to Chicago in 1960 and Minnie hit .311 with 20 homers, but the Sox finished 3rd . He was picked up again in 1964 in what turned out to be a heartbreakingly close pennant race (the Sox finished second by ONE game!) but didn’t help much (.226, 1HR). Veeck must have felt guilty about depriving Minoso of the chance to play in the 1959 series because he brought him back as a stunt in 1976 (.125) and again in 1980, when his statue could move faster than Minnie (.000). 

Jim Abbott, Scott Fletcher, Darrin Jackson, Jim Essian, Bob Molinaro, Jerry Hairston, Eddie Fisher, Johnny Romano, Steve Busby, Dickie Kerr, Doug McWeeney (Yes, the Sox actually had a guy named McWeeny instead of entire teams of McWeenies—see 1975, 1988, 1989, 2007) Lena Blackburne, Nixy Callahan all had encores with the Sox. In one rare case, the Sox had a first baseman who hit better the second time around. He hit a measy .193 in 1910 but returned to the team in 1917 to hit .273. Better he had never returned. His name was Chick Gandil…and we all know how that turned out.  

I hope for the sake of the team Colon still has a lot more toothpaste left in the tube that he can squeeze out in 2009. But history suggests that “reunited and it feels so good” are just the words to a song and should be forgotten as Peaches and Herb.

Editor's Note:  An idol in his native Argentina, Senor Sock became the toast of the entertainment world while a regular on E! Entertainment Television's Emmy-award winning "Talk Soup". He has been romantically linked to many of the world's most beautiful women, including Suzanne Somers, Monica Bellucci, Donna D'Errico, Halle Berry and Peri Gelpin. Visit his NEW WEBSITE at   He is of course, a lifelong White Sox fan.


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