JOHN KEILMANChicago Tribune
The Chicago White Sox have been good to loyal fan Justin Salgado this year, and not just because they easily won their division.
The 25-year-old from Schererville made a preseason bet on Lance Lynn to win this years Cy Young Award, given to each leagues most outstanding pitcher. With Lynn dominant in midsummer, Salgado had a chance to cash in early and he took it, winning $800 on his $100 wager.
It was a savvy move he would have won $1,700 had he stuck it out but Torontos Robbie Ray is now the overwhelming favorite and it shows how Salgado simultaneously manages his sports wagering and his allegiance to the team.
He jumps on bets that will pay off with the success of the Sox; recently, he wrote a post for the Sox on 35th blog about how they feast on left-handed starters. Otherwise, he looks for neutral ways to profit, such as betting that the team and its opponent will score fewer runs than expected.
Ill never bet against them, he said. I just cant do it as a fan of the team.
Sports betting forces fans to weigh their hearts against their heads when it comes to their favorite teams, and the postseason prospects of the White Sox present an especially tough conundrum.
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The Sox began their series against the Houston Astros as a slight underdog, and should they meet the Tampa Bay Rays in the next round, theyll be underdogs again. But you can also bet on the Sox to win by a certain margin, or on the total number of runs scored, or on the performance of individual players right down to a single pitch.
In other words, there are plenty of ways to make money or get yourself in trouble.
Just be careful and bet within your means, Salgado said. If the payout is high, that means its a long shot.
Since Illinois legalized sports betting last year, gamblers within the state have wagered close to $700 million on baseball, putting it in third place behind basketball ($1.6 billion) and football ($941 million), according to Illinois Gaming Board records.
Most of that money has been bet online rather than at the states casinos, but that hasnt stopped Chicagos sports teams from angling for a piece of the action. As the Chicago City Council mulls a proposed ordinance that would allow arenas and stadiums to have their own sportsbooks, teams such as the Bears and Cubs have already signed partnerships with gambling companies.
As for the South Siders, team spokesman Scott Reifert said: The White Sox are very interested and are actively investigating options, but there are several hurdles to overcome before we proceed, including approval of a revised gaming ordinance by the city of Chicago.
A wrinkle in Illinois gambling law means those who want to bet on their phones must first register in person at a casino to activate their mobile account. Once thats done, they can wager as they like from the comfort of their couches, even after the games are underway.
Jay Croucher, head of trading for PointsBet, said baseball is more conducive than other sports to betting within the flow of the game, given the breaks every half inning or with a pitching change. About half of baseball wagers are made that way, a proportion he expects to increase.
Now were seeing player props become more popular Eloy Jimenez to hit a home run, Lance Lynn to get 10-plus strikeouts, he said. As the U.S. market gets more accustomed (to sports betting), niche markets and inning-by-inning markets are becoming more popular.
But for those who just want to bet on the White Sox to win, he said, the teams underdog status shouldnt be too worrying.
I think they have almost as good a chance as anyone in the American League, he said before the series began. The gap isnt a representation that (the Astros) are better, just that they have home field.
Most of the local action at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines has, unsurprisingly, come in on the Sox, said Ross Sansone, who helps run the sportsbook. Though people can bet remotely via the casinos BetRivers app, he said he expects a big crowd to wager in person Sunday, when the evening Sox game will be paired with NFL football.
Thats the day were looking forward to, actually, ramping up the staff and having all five (betting) windows open, he said.
Danny Burke, host of the Rush Hour sports betting show on VSiN and Marquee Sports Network, said baseball offers plenty of chances to outwit the bookmakers during the regular season, given the glut of statistics available to anyone with an internet connection. But that flips on its head during the postseason.
The whole dynamic changes, he said. You dont know what the feeling is around teams. You dont know if you can trust a pitcher as much under the big spotlight of an elimination game. I would definitely say I have more success in the regular season than the postseason because its just a completely different beast.
Burke gave the Astros a slight advantage over the White Sox prior to the series, though he said an upset wouldnt come as much of a surprise. Still, he said hometown gamblers should be wary of giving in to Sox fever.
(People) want to bet with their emotions so they not only can see their team win but make some money while doing so, he said. If you want to be a successful bettor you have to have no bias. Sometimes the viable option is to fade your favorite team.
So as much as everybody is happy that a Chicago team is in the playoffs and wants to bet the White Sox, dont go too crazy. Im not saying you cant throw a little bit of money on there and root for them along the way, but dont be throwing your whole bankroll on a series thats going to be really tough for the White Sox.
Minnie Minoso is best known for appearing in MLB in five different decades, with the White Sox giving him at-bats in the 1976 and 1980 seasons. In Minoso's prime, between 1951 and and 1961, he was a feared hitter and baserunner. He compiled 41.5 WAR in 12 seasons with the Sox.
Fox was a solid offensive player in his 14 seasons with the White Sox from 1950 to 1963, but it was with his glove that Fox cemented his reputation. Fox had a total of 47.4 WAR with the White Sox, and his 20.4 defensive WAR is third in White Sox history.
The list of all-time great Chicago White Sox players is pitcher-heavy, beginning with one of the greats of modern times, Mark Buehrle. In 12 seasons with the White Sox, which included the 2005 World Series title, Buehrle had 48.9 WAR, and threw two no-hitters.
Pierce (right, pictured with another all-time White Sox great Ed Walsh) was a White Sox fan favorite and longtime member of the pitching staff. In his 13 seasons with the White Sox between 1949 and 1961, Pierce had a 3.19 ERA and 49.4 WAR.
Cicotte is best known as one of the key members from the infamous 1919 Black Sox scandal, but in his nine seasons with the White Sox between 1912 and 1920, he was among the game's best pitchers, with an ERA of 2.25 in an average of 250 innings pitched per season and 50.0 WAR.
One of the great knuckleball pitchers and the best left-handed knuckleball pitcher of all-time, Wood pitched 12 seasons for the White Sox, both as a reliever and starter, between 1967 and 1978. He had a 3.18 ERA with the White Sox and 51.7 WAR.
The first great White Sox player, Walsh emerged as a reliever on the 1904 team and ended up throwing nearly 3,000 innings in his 13 seasons in Chicago from 1904 to 1916. In that time, Walsh had a 1.82 ERA and 63.9 WAR.
A true workhorse, Lyons pitched for 21 seasons all with the White Sox with three years missing toward the end of Lyons' career because of World War II when he was still a viable starter. Lyons wasn't always an ace he had seven seasons with an ERA over 4.00 but he threw at least 180 innings 16 times and led the league in ERA in his final full season of 1942. His 66.8 WAR is the second-most for a pitcher in White Sox history.
"Cocky" Collins was one of the game's all-time great contact hitters, Collins owns the 13th-most WAR all-time, with 67.4 of those WAR coming in his 12 seasons with the White Sox between 1915 and 1926. In that time, Collins had a .426 on-base percentage. His 512 career sacrifices (341 with the White Sox) is the most in MLB history.
Best known for his use of the spitball, Faber became the best pitcher in White Sox history by amassing 67.7 WAR in his 20-year career with the White Sox, during which he threw over 4,000 innings. Faber had a 3.15 ERA and 12 seasons with at least 180 innings. Faber, who played from 1914 to 1933, was the last American League player legally allowed to use the spit ball.
"The Big Hurt" is the greatest slugger and best offensive player in White Sox history. Thomas a two-time MVP had a .995 OPS in his 16 seasons with the White Sox, putting up 73.8 WAR despite negative WAR defensively.
A great player both offensively and defensively, Appling, who played most of his 20 seasons with the White Sox between 1930 and 1950 at shortstop, had 77.6 WAR in his career with the White Sox more than any other White Sox player. He's played in more games than any other White Sox player (2,422), and finished with a .399 on-base percentage.
According to MLB.com, "WAR (Wins Above Replacement) measures a player's value in all facets of the game by deciphering how many more wins he's worth than a replacement-level player at his same position (e.g., a Minor League replacement or a readily available fill-in free agent)."
For position players, the formula is: Number of runs above average a player is worth in his batting, baserunning and fielding compared to the number of runs provided by a replacement-level player. It's adjusted for position (the more difficult the position is to play, the more WAR earned) and league.
For pitchers, RA9 (run average per 9 innings) is used and adjusted for league and ballpark. Then, using league averages, it is determined how many wins a pitcher was worth based on those numbers and innings pitched total.
There are multiple WAR calculations. In these rankings, bWAR was used (Baseball Reference's version), but there are also fWAR (Fangraphs) and WARP (Baseball Prospectus) that vary slightly.
1. Luke Appling 77.6
2. Frank Thomas 68.3
3. Eddie Collins 67.0
4. Nellie Fox 47.4
5. Minnie Minoso 41.5
6. Robin Ventura 39.4
7. Luis Aparicio 35.3
8. Ray Schalk 33.2
9. George Davis 33.1
10. Fielder Jones 32.0
11. Paul Konerko 29.3
12. Carlton Fisk 28.9
13. Shoeless Joe Jackson 27.8
14. Willie Kamm 27.1
15. Sherm Lollar 25.6
16. Magglio Ordonez 25.3
17. Jos Abreu 25.2
18. Chet Lemon 24.9
19. Harold Baines 24.7
20. Johnny Mostil 24.2
21. Alexei Ramrez 23.1
22. Ray Durham 21.4
23. Lance Johnson 21.3
24. Buck Weaver 21.2
25. Lee Tannehill 20.9
26. Earl Sheely 20.3
27. Pete Ward 20.0
28. Jim Landis 19.7
29. Ozzie Guillen 19.5
30. Happy Felsch 19.4
31. Chico Carrasquel 19.3
T32. Bibb Falk 18.8
T32. Bill Melton 18.8
34. Floyd Robinson 18.5
35. Ron Hansen 18.1
T36. Don Buford 16.9
T36. Jose Valentin 16.9
38. Tim Raines 16.6
39. Adam Eaton 15.9
40. Carlos Lee 15.8
T41. Zeke Bonura 15.7
T41.Frank Isbell 15.7
43. Dick Allen 15.4
44. Harry Hooper 14.8
T45. Shano Collins 14.6
T45. Ron Karkovice 14.6
47. Tim Anderson 13.7
48. Jiggs Donahue 13.2
T49. Danny Green 13.1
T49. Carl Reynolds 13.1
1. Frank Thomas 74.9
2. Luke Appling 73.8
3. Eddie Collins 67.4
4. Minnie Minoso 39.6
5. Nellie Fox 35.2
6. Paul Konerko 34.4
7. Carlton Fisk 29.2
8. Robin Ventura 28.8
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Underdog White Sox present sports betting fans a test of heart vs. head - Bloomington Pantagraph