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Paul in the Hall? White Sox’ Konerko votes no

Updated: September 24, 2011 12:22AM

PHOENIX — Paul Konerko was touched by Ozzie Guillen’s endorsement of him for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

But Konerko, as good as his
career numbers are, doesn’t believe he’s worthy.

‘‘I heard what Ozzie said, and it’s a compliment, of course,’’ Konerko said Saturday. ‘‘The only thing I’ll say is, I followed the game as kid, and I’m a fan of its history. I’m not a Hall of Famer.’’

But a pretty darned good

‘‘There are a lot of guys who are pretty darned good,’’ Konerko said.

Konerko, 35, has 383 career homers and 1,211 RBI, and he has shown no signs of tailing off after signing a three-year contract last offseason. He is having an All-Star
season with 18 homers, 55 RBI and a .327 average.

On Saturday, Konerko singled and drove in a run in his first two at-bats, and his homer with nobody on against Zach Duke in the sixth broke a 2-2 tie.

With 117 more home runs, he’ll reach a Hall-of-Fame-like 500. The question is, at what point will the inevitable decline occur?

In numbers guru Bill James’ Hall of Fame monitor, a score of 100 gives a player a good chance of induction. Konerko’s score is 56. Adam Dunn (59) and Ray Durham (64) are among those who rank ahead of Konerko as of now.

‘‘I think he will be in the Hall of Fame,’’ Guillen said last Sunday. ‘‘If you hit 400 home runs now, you should be. The Hall of Fame can’t get too picky now. You’re not
going to have 500 home runs and 3,000 hits [in the post-steroid era]. And he did it clean.’’

Hitting coach Greg Walker said Konerko is one of baseball’s premier fastball hitters and works tirelessly ‘‘on the things that matter.’’

‘‘His talent is way underrated, by himself included,’’ Walker said. ‘‘He is ultra-talented, and he probably doesn’t get enough credit for that. He knows his game better than he ever has.’’

Said Konerko: ‘‘It’s always a process of work, because you’re either working as hard as you can to keep a feeling you have or you’re working as hard as you can to get a feeling you want. It’s never-ending.’’

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