Ray Durham spent the first half of his career manning 2nd base on the South Side of Chicago during one of the more successful stretches of White Sox baseball in recent history.
He is also one of the most consistently overlooked players from the 2000 AL Central Champion team especially given his overall success with the team. Durham was the ideal leadoff hitter and middle infielder. He hit for contact, had an above-average on-base percentage, a knack for stealing bases, and decent power to boot. In fact, he averaged over 20 stolen bases and 10 home runs per season in his 7 plus years with the Sox.
The teams that Durham played on were stacked with the likes of Frank Thomas, Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Lee & even Albert Belle for a brief period, so he understandably did not always receive the attention or recognition he deserved. He did reach two All-Star games in 1998 and 2000, but it can be argued that he should have had at least double that while on the White Sox and even a few more from his playing days with the San Francisco Giants.
The White Sox’s all-time leader in leadoff home runs transitioned seamlessly into a run producer towards the tail end of this career. His speed diminished after he left Chicago due to fury on injuries, but just like a leadoff hitter should do, he adjusted.
Durham packed on some muscle and moved down to the middle of the lineup while with the Giants, even finishing with a career-high in home runs (26) two years before he retired. He finished his career with a .277 average, 192 home runs, and 2,054 hits.
Ray Durham was a model of consistency from the leadoff position that has been hard to come by since the early 2000s.
He took smart approaches at the plate to set an inning or game up properly and for that, he can be added to the Chicago White Sox good, but not great Hall of Fame.
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