Over the last 25 seasons, the Chicago White Sox had the fortune of having a pair of closing pitchers who were among the league’s best.
Both were named Bobby.
Bobby Thigpen pitched in the 1980s and ’90s while Bobby Jenks graced the field in the early 2000s, although they only combined for 14 total seasons in a White Sox uniform.
Thigpen was drafted by the White Sox in the fourth round of the 1985 MLB Draft; he had previously been drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1983 but decided to go back to school. Thigpen donned the pale hose uniform for eight-and-a-half major league seasons. In 1990, he led the league with 57 saves, which still remains the team record in that category. That mark was also a league-wide record until 2008, when Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez broke it, notching 62 saves. Mets closer Edwin Diaz tied Thigpen’s mark of 57 just 10 years later in 2018. Thigpen remains atop Chicago’s all-time saves list with 201 for his career.
Second on the team’s all-time saves list? Bobby Jenks.
Although Jenks was drafted by the Angels in the fifth round of the 2000 MLB Draft, he was selected off waivers by the Sox in December of 2004. Jenks was the closer for the 2005 World Series Championship White Sox team. He tallied a pair of saves against the Red Sox in the American League Divisional Series and another pair against the Houston Astros in the World Series. Jenks was a two time American League All-Star who posted back-to-back 40-save seasons in 2006 and 2007. He compiled 173 saves in a White Sox uniform.
Thigpen posted a career ERA of 3.43, while Jenks posted a 3.53.
Two Bobbies, two different eras, both top-notch closers. The White Sox were blessed with some of the league’s best late-inning pitchers just a couple decades ago.