Back in March I attended the 38th annunal Chicago Sun-Times sports collectors show at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL. I got a chance to sit down with All-Star first baseman Tom Paciorek. For those of us old enough to remember the 1983 Sox, Tommy played a pivotal part in help the Winning Ugly Sox pull to close to 30 games above .500 by the end of September. Younger fans remember Paciorek for his days of working alongside Ken Harrelson in the broadcast booth with the Sox. If you listened to the games they broadcasted, there was no doubt that Tom was Harrelson's lakey. Paciorek parted ways with the Sox and Harrelson in 2000. Most recently, Paciorek has been trying to land a gig since the Nationals decided not to renew his contract back in 2007.
When I talked Tommy back in March, he was more than adamant about his disdain for Jerry Reinsdorf and contempt for Harrelson. I don't blame him. People who toss others "under the bus" for the benefit of highlighting their resumes need to get a clue. From what 'Wimpy' told me, Ken Harrelson falls into this "clueless" category.
I asked Tom about the blue uniforms the White Sox wore back in 1982, and he mentioned that aside from the collar, they were quite comfortable. Talking to former Heisman winner Billy Cannon on Friday night of the show, I should have asked him about state issued prison uniforms. I digress.
'Wimpy' has the distinction of being the only player in MLB history to have 5 hits or more in a single game; having not started that game. Paciorek is one of three boys in his family to play professional ball. Jim played for the Brewers in 1987 and brother John played for the Colt .45's in 1963. Paciorek originally signed with the Dodgers in 1970. He found his way to the South Side of Chicago in 1982 and was part of 'Winning Ugly' in 1983. He batted over .300 his first two years at 35th and Shields and was traded to the Mets in 1985. Of course, the Mets won their second World Series in 1986, and by that time Paciorek was winding up his career in Texas.
Tom is one of the nice guys. He isn't pretentious. There is nothing fake or deceiving behind him. What you see is what you get. Nothing Wimpy.