CHICAGO -- White Sox captain Paul Konerko hasn't even played his last game yet, and already he has been promised that nobody will wear his No. 14 again, while a bronze statue one day will bear his likeness inside the stadium.
"How could it not be retired? Of course it will be retired," chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said with a chuckle when asked whether Konerko's number would be taken out of circulation.
The White Sox currently have nine numbers retired, all of which are painted on the facing of the upper deck behind home plate. Perhaps not coincidentally, there is a significant blank space between Luis Aparicio's No. 11 and Ted Lyons' No. 16.
The White Sox also immortalize their top players with statues on the concourse in the outfield, the last being of Frank Thomas.
"Oh he's worthy of a statue," Reinsdorf said of Konerko.
Konerko, whose 432 home runs and 1,383 RBIs in a White Sox uniform are second in franchise history behind Thomas, will retire once the season ends Sunday. He has played 18 seasons in the major leagues, 16 with the White Sox, and was a six-time All-Star.
Asked for his favorite Konerko moment, Reinsdorf picked one off the field. During the team's championship parade in 2005, Konerko produced the ball used to record the last out and handed it to the team's majority owner.
The gesture brought Reinsdorf to tears.
"He reminded me a lot of my favorite all-time player, Pee Wee Reese, who was a quiet leader, who led by example rather than a rah-rah guy," said Reinsdorf, a Brooklyn native. "Not many players can be leaders through their personality, but when a great player outworks everybody else and comes to work early and plays hard and gives it his all, that's the best way a player can lead. Certainly that's the way Paulie has led."