CHICAGO -- Even the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., appears to be preparing for what could be Paul Konerko's final season on the South Side.
The road jersey Konerko was wearing last April when he hit the 400th home run of his career was in the process of being put on display Friday morning.
The milestone homer took place April 25 at Oakland, and in typical Konerko fashion, it tied the score in the ninth inning. The White Sox went on to lose the game in 14 innings. Adding significance to the jersey is that Konerko also recorded his 2,000th hit as a member of the White Sox in that game.
Konerko’s 400th home run jersey will be located in an area of the museum where team lockers are located. The White Sox’s locker is not only going to be represented by Konerko’s jersey, but will also have the glove Dewayne Wise used to preserve Mark Buehrle's 2009 perfect game, as well as the ball Jim Thome hit for his 500th home run.
Also in the locker is the cap Philip Humber wore during his perfect game last year, Freddy Garcia's cap from his outing in Game 4 of the 2005 World Series, a replica World Series ring given to fans the year after the club won the title and the bat Scott Podsednik used to hit his game-winning home run in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series.
Konerko’s jersey will replace the jersey that was worn by Buehrle when he pitched his perfect game.
“Paul has flown under the radar for a lot of people, at least outside of Chicago, and a lot of people don’t appreciate how great and how consistent of a player he has been,” Hall of Fame senior curator Tom Shieber said.
Konerko, who turned 37 this week, is in the final season of a three-year, $37.5 million contract. He is deferring $7 million of his $13.5 million salary this season in $1-million yearly installments until 2020.