6 players you may have forgot played for the Cubs and White Sox originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
With the second leg of the Crosstown Classic kicking off Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, fans of both teams are often reminded of the tumultuous regular season series that the two teams have had for over 25 years.
Although instantly recognizable names such as Sammy Sosa and Ron Santo may come to mind first when thinking of players who have played on both sides of town, there’s likely many that fans have forgotten as the years have gone by.
Over the course of the two team’s histories, 202 players have played in at least one MLB game with the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox each, likely leaving some hidden trivia for even the most diehard of fans.
Though some names are more recognizable than others, here’s a look at six players you may have forgotten have played for both Chicago teams.
1. Jeff Samardzija
From an All-American wide receiver for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to one of the Cubs’ most revered pitching prospects, the journey to the majors for Merrillville native Jeff Samardzija was certainly far from typical.
While mostly known for his early years with the Cubs, eventually emerging as a struggling team’s ace, the righty affectionately known as “Shark” also had perhaps a forgettable season on the South Side.
Following a short rental stint with the Oakland Athletics, Samardzija spent 2015 on the South Side.
Despite still winning 11 games, Samardzija’s ERA was near 5 on the season, leading all of baseball in hits and earned runs allowed.
Samardzija still followed up the season with a five-year, $90 million contract with the San Francisco Giants, playing his final game in 2020.
2. Neal Cotts
Though mostly known for his stellar season with the 2005 World Series-winning White Sox, Cotts also had a multi-year stay on the North Side.
After spending the first four years of his career with the White Sox, Cotts went across town to the Cubs ahead of the 2007 season, giving the southpaw a taste of playing competitive baseball for both Chicago teams.
Though often battling through injury during three years with the Cubs, Cotts posted a solid season in 2008 for the NL Central champions.
3. Geovany Soto
Well-known as a Cubs backstop highlighted by a fantastic 2008 season that saw him win NL Rookie of the Year, Geovany Soto also played two non-consecutive seasons with the White Sox toward the end of his career.
After spending 2015 backing up Tyler Flowers as the White Sox catcher, Soto spent 2016 with the Los Angeles Angels before returning to the Sox in 2017, where he played just 13 games.
In eight seasons with the Cubs, Soto hit .252/.342/.445, smashing 112 doubles and 77 home runs.
In addition to the Cubs, White Sox and Angels, Soto also spent time in the MLB with the Rangers and Athletics.
4. Kosuke Fukudome
Perhaps more well-known internationally for his longevity in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league, Fukudome’s four-year, $48 million contract with the Cubs ahead of the 2008 season generated unique excitement from the fanbase.
Despite a hot start and being named to the All-Star team in 2008, Fukudome’s Cubs tenure did not go entirely as planned, with the outfielder putting up relatively modest offensive numbers from a power position.
After being traded to Cleveland during the contract’s final season, Fukudome spent his last year in the majors with the White Sox in 2012, playing just 24 games while posting seven hits.
Fukudome, who debuted in Japan’s NPB in 1999 as a 22-year-old, returned to the league in 2013 and played until 2022, his age-45 season.
5. Kenny Lofton
Kenny Lofton, the longtime speedster who was known to fans as a journeyman so much that DHL made a commercial about it, spent time on both sides of town during his bouncing around.
While primarily remembered for his three separate stints with Cleveland, Lofton hit two sides of town in as many years in the middle of his career.
After his second stint in Cleveland, lasting four years, Lofton signed with the division-rival White Sox ahead of the 2002 season, but was traded ahead of the deadline to the San Francisco Giants, who came within outs of winning the World Series. Lofton himself made the final out in the series’ decisive game.
Lofton then signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates shortly before the 2003 season again, but was shipped to the division-rival Cubs ahead of the deadline to aid their playoff run.
Lofton had 16 hits in the 2003 postseason with the Cubs, with the rental being the extent of his stint with the club.
The 17-year veteran played for 11 different teams during his MLB career.
6. Welington Castillo
Continuing an earlier mention of a catcher mostly known for his time with the Cubs, Geovany Soto’s successor at the position also later spent playing time on the South Side.
After Soto was shipped to the Rangers ahead of the 2012 deadline, Castillo was next in line to be the team’s everyday catcher, a duty he carried for all of the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
After a full season with the Snakes, Castillo spent a year with the Baltimore Orioles before concluding his big league career with two seasons with the White Sox, playing in a total of 121 games for the South Siders.
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