Editor's note: This story ran on June 10, 2012. Paul Konerko's current stats (below) won't vastly change who the guy is after another season. Here's what our voters thought about his Cooperstown prospects when last we surveyed.
.360 On-base percentage
.357 Slugging percentage
434 Home runs
(Stats through September 27, 2013)
In the post-steroid era, not many hitters have stood out as impressively as Paul Konerko.
There is some hesitation to declare Konerko a definite Hall of Famer, only because he's under contract for 11/2 more seasons.
The fact he leads the American League in batting average this season despite only two infield hits is a testament to his prowess as an all-around hitter.
Consistency has been a staple of Konerko's success. He has driven in at least 100 runs six times.
What has been just as impressive is Konerko's ability to carry the offensive freight in contract years, after which he remained loyal to the Sox in turning down more lucrative offers.
During the second half of the Sox's 2005 World Series run, Konerko batted .323 with 20 homers to prevent a Sox collapse. In 2010, Konerko batted .312 with 39 home runs and 111 RBIs.
There will continue to be a debate about fellow first baseman Jeff Bagwell, whose impressive career was diminished at the end because of injuries. But Konerko's Hall of Fame candidacy will get stronger if he continues a semblance of his consistent pace.
There's solid evidence Paul Konerko will fall into the abyss of the very, very good, where the likes of non-Hall of Famers Jeff Bagwell, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy and Andres Galarraga reside.
Konerko has 407 homers with a .284 lifetime batting average in his 16th season. Yet he has a lot of work to do to receive serious HOF consideration.