White Sox Draft Countdown: Top 10 picks from past 25 years (#8)
The following player on our list was certainly a staple in the White Sox lineup for their “glory years” of the mid-2000s. It is hard to measure exactly how much he brought to the table, for although his offensive numbers are some of the highest of any Chicago player during his playing time, it was this guy’s heart that really won fans over.
Without further adieu, here’s our first World Series champion to make the countdown…….
#8 Joe Crede: 1996 5th rd pick (137th overall)
Perhaps one of the biggest fan favorites over the past fifteen years to wear a White Sox uniform, Joe Crede manned the hot corner in the Windy City for almost a decade. Drafted in the fifth round of the 1996 MLB Draft out of Fatima High School (MO), he spent five years in the minor leagues before finally getting the call up to the big show on September 12, 2000. Crede only played in seven games during his late September call up. The third baseman would only total 70 games over the next two seasons, as he didn’t become the full-time starter until the 2003 campaign. During that season, Crede would show off his power, as he hit 19 homers and drove in 75 runs. In fact, his home run prowess was something White Sox fans would get used to during his time in Chicago. From 2002-2008, Crede would launch 125 home runs. Only Paul Konerko (214) and Jermaine Dye (137) would have more during that stretch. Crede also ranks near the top of the list in producing runs in those seven seasons as well with his 412 RBI–he trails Konerko (651) and A.J. Pierzynski (430). During the magical 2005 season, Crede was a big contributor for the World Champions. He posted 22 home runs and 62 RBI in the regular season, and really had a big part in helping the White Sox secure their first World Series title since 1917. After getting only one hit in the ALDS, Crede stepped up big time in the ALCS against the Angels. In 19 at bats, Crede went 7-19 (.368) with two homers and seven RBI. One of the more memorable moments of the South Siders entire postseason run came during game 2, when Crede delivered a walk-off RBI single to bring the series even at one. Crede’s success in the ALCS would carry over to the Fall Classic, as he would smack two more home runs and drive in three runs en route to a series sweep of the Houston Astros. Following the 2005 championship season, Crede would then have his best statistical regular season in 2006–which incidentally was his last full season in Major League Baseball. He would record career highs in home runs (30), RBI (94) and batting average (.283). His stellar offensive performance would earn him his first—and only—Silver Slugger Award. An injury-prone 2007 caused Crede to only play in 47 games, but he bounced back in 2008 to earn a spot on the American League all-star team. Unfortunately, injuries would once again derail his season, as Crede would only play in 11 games following his appearance in the midsummer classic and miss out on the 2008 White Sox playoff run altogether. He would then enter free agency following the 2008 season, and the White Sox would not resign him—ultimately ending his nine year White Sox career. He would sign on with division rival Minnesota in 2009. For the third staraight season, a nagging back injury would stand in the way of Crede playing a full season, but he still managed to hit .228 with 15 homers and 48 RBI. That year would mark the final season Joe Crede would ever play in the Majors. After taking a year off in 2010 to heal up, he was invited to spring training by the Colorado Rockies. Crede never made it out their complex though, as he decided to retire in mid-February 2011. Since his departure, the White Sox have yet to find Crede’s replacement, as no third baseman as logged more than 125 games. It is near impossible to remember the 2000s White Sox–and especially that 2005 World Series team–without thinking of Joe Crede. His bat helped cement a lineup that slugged its way to a championship that was 88 years in the making. That alone will immortalize him for years to come in Chicago White Sox lore.
Tomorrow, we’ll check in with #7 on our countdown.
Top 10 White Sox draft picks from past 25 years
#10: Addison Reed
#9: James Baldwin
#8: Joe Crede
#1: THURSDAY (DRAFT DAY!)