COUNTDOWN TO WHITE SOX OPENING DAY: 23 DAYS (VENTURA!)

23 days to Opening Day White Sox fans!

23 random facts on Robin Ventura, one of the Sox most popular No. 23s:

1. His NCAA record 58-game hitting streak at Oklahoma State was halted by future Sox teammate Jack McDowell of Stanford

2. He was a member of the gold-medal winning 1988 Olympic baseball team

3. The Sox made him the 10th overall pick of the June 1988 draft. He was selected right after the Cubs took Ty Griffin

4. Ventura played just 129 minor league games at Birmingham (AA) before debuting for the Sox on Sept. 12, 1989

5. Ventura’s manager at Birmingham was Sox Gold Glove-winning outfielder Ken “The Bandi” Berry

6. Ventura walked in his first big league plate appearance off Baltimore’s Pete Harnisch on Sept. 12, 1989 in the Sox 11-1 win over the Orioles

7. Ventura collected his first big league hit later in that game with a single off Olympic teammate Ben McDonald. He plated Steve Lyons with that hit for his first RBI

8. Ventura made the first of his seven opening day starts at third base for the Sox in 1990. Only Willie Kamm made more Sox opening day starts at third than Ventura

9. Ventura hit his first career homer off Boston’s Roger Clemens on April 18, 1990 at Comiskey Park

10. Ventura suffered through an 0-for-41 skid in 1990

11. Despite that drought, Ventura finished seventh in the American League Rookie of the Year voting

12. Ventura is the career leader among Oklahoma State products with 1,885 hits

13. Ventura is the only Sox third baseman with a 100-RBI season (2)

14. Ventura set a Sox record for third basemen with 34 home runs in 1996 (since broken)

15. Ventura, Todd Frazier, Joe Crede and Bill Melton are the only Sox third basemen with a 30-homer season

16. Ventura is a six-time Gold Glove winner, which is second in Sox history to shortstop Luis Aparicio’s seven

17. Celebrated his 25th birthday with his first All-Star selection. … Replaced Wade Boggs in the bottom of the fourth and played the rest of the game at third base. … Went 2-for-2 with a run, a double and an RBI for the first multi-hit game by Sox player in an All-Star Game since Richie Zisk in 1977. … Doubled to first off Fred McGriff’s glove (against Bob Tewskbury) in the sixth to score Carlos Baerga. … Double was the first by a White Sox player in an All-Star Game since Zisk in 1977. … Became the fifth White Sox player to hit safely in his first All-Star plate appearance (Chico Carrasquel 1951, Sherm Lollar 1956, Ron Kittle 1983, Harold Baines 1985) and the sixth to hit safely in his first All-Star at bat (Jimmy Dykes 1933, Chico Carrasquel 1951, Sherm Lollar 1956, Ron Kittle 1983, Harold Baines 1985). … Singled to center off Doug Jones with no out in the eighth and was eventually forced at third. … Handled two chances (one putout, one assist) without an error.

18. Ventura was the first Sox third baseman to homer in the postseason (Game 5 1993 ALCS)

19. Ventura is the only Sox first-round pick to manage the team (full-time)

20. Ventura wore 21 in 1989 and 1990 before switching to 23

21. Ventura is tied with Paul Konerko for the all-time Sox lead with 10 grand slams

22. Ventura hit the first walkoff grand slam at New Comiskey Park/US Cellular Field/Guaranteed Rate Field on July 31, 1991 off Texas’ Rich Gossage

23. Ventura hit .158 (2-for-19) vs. Nolan Ryan

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