Originally Posted by Brian26
If Konerko either decides to retire after this season, or if the Sox decide not to bring him back, who would the cornerstone/marquee/franchise player be on the Sox?
Would this possibly be the first time since 1981 that the Sox wouldn't have a franchise type player? In 1980, perhaps a young Harold Baines or Chet Lemon was that guy, but neither put up amazing numbers.
Things changed in '81 when the Sox signed Carlton Fisk. You could argue Fisk was the heart of the Sox until 1991 when Frank Thomas took over that role. Frank was in that position until 2004 when he got hurt and Konerko went on to put up 40+ homers. Konerko's been the face of the franchise since then.
Does Viciedo break out in 2013 to take over that role? Does Chris Sale become the face of the franchise (seems unlikely since pitchers seem to have shorter stints, with the exception being Buehrle)?
Yes. I really don't see anyone stepping up to fill that role - especially the position players. Maybe Chris Sale - but it'll take a few years of consistently good numbers before he could even possibly be considered the next Mark Buehrle.
Unfortunately, that lack of star power might make it hard for the Sox to get more casual Chicago fans interested in them. Konerko and Buehrle (and AJ) are/were the kind of players that even my Mom (NOT a sports fan) knew who they were. There's nobody waiting in the wings to fill that role.