Wednesday, June 15, 2011

An Evening with Tom Paciorek

When Tom Paciorek joined the Chicago White Sox, I was torn.  While I had liked Paciorek from the early 70's when he was with the Dodgers, I didn't like that his arrival would cut into the playing time of my favorite player, Mike Squires.  Squires was just coming off of his solid 1981 season, in which he won a Gold Glove.  I was certain that Squires was going to be the man at first base.
My fears were justified, as Paciorek got the bulk of the playing time and Squires continued to lose time, becoming mostly a defensive replacement and utility man (even pitching a little).  Paciorek hit over .300 for his first two seasons in Chicago.  Despite my fandom for Squires, I had to root for Paciorek.
Years later, Paciorek is still very likable.  At a recent autograph appearance, Wimpy told stories and answered questions for about 30 minutes.  It really was a unique event.
Paciorek told a story about hitting walk-off homers in consecutive games for the Mariners against the Yankees (Rudy May and Ron Davis).  He came up the third night with a shot at a third walk off, but Goose Gossage ended that possibility.
Paciorek talked about being named the 1972 Minor League Player of the Year, while with the Albuquerque Dukes.  Unfortunately, the Dodgers were loaded with talent back then and Paciorek was stuck in a reserve role.  He did have some great LaSorda stories though.
Wimpy talked about broadcasting for the White Sox and how he was reuniting with Hawk Harrelson while Stone was off for a few games.  Paciorek would love to do more broadcasting if the situation was right.
It was great meeting Paciorek.  He really is a class act.  Squires will always be my favorite White Sox player, but Paciorek is right up there, too!
Tom Paciorek and me in Waukegan, IL-May 2011

1 comment:

White Sox Cards said...

It's great to know that Wimpy is as nice off the field as I would expect him to be. :-)