When They Were Prospects: Magglio Ordoñez

Chris Kamka
NBC Sports Chicago

Ohhh-Eeee-Ohhh…. Maaaaagglio.

Once you hear it, you never forget it. But what you may have forgotten was exactly how GOOD Magglio Ordoñez was.

He was originally signed for $3,500 in 1991, and worked his way through the White Sox minor league system over the next half dozen years. 

He won the American Association batting title (.329) for the Nashville Sounds (AAA) in 1997 and was the 56th ranked prospect (by Baseball America) entering 1998.

Phil Rogers (then of the Chicago Tribune) said in mid-1997:

"Ordoñez is a deceiving package. He stands 5 feet 11 inches and is listed at 170 pounds. But an appetite for the weight room has given him an upper body that is much closer to Julio Franco than Julio Iglesias."

Ordoñez was an All-Star in 1999, his age 25-season. It was the first of four consecutive seasons with 30 home runs and a .300 batting average. In White Sox history, the only other player who has done that is Frank Thomas (five straight, from 1993-97). 

As of this writing, Ordoñez is one of four players to hit 100-plus home runs with a .300 career batting average in a White Sox uniform.

Minnie Miñoso                 .304        135

Frank Thomas                    .307        448

Magglio Ordoñez             .307        187

José Abreu                         .300        134

Magglio's stay in Chicago didn't end the way everyone would have hoped. A knee injury ended his 2004 campaign prematurely, and when the White Sox won the Fall Classic in 2005 their rightfielder was the World Series MVP. But it wasn't Magglio Ordoñez, who signed with the Tigers. It was Jermaine Dye, who ironically was born the very same day (January 28, 1974) as the man he replaced.

Ordoñez wasn't done. He hit a walkoff three-run home run in the ALCS to send the Tigers into the 2006 World Series and won a batting title the following year (.363). He capped a fine career in 2011, finishing with 294 career home runs, a .309 batting average - the 28th highest of anyone with at least 200 career home runs - and a .502 slugging percentage.

But whenever South Side fans hear "Ohhh-Eeee-Ohhh" they still can't help but to respond:

"Maaaaagglio."

What to Read Next