6 players you may have forgotten played for the Cubs and White Sox appeared in the original NBC Sports Chicago
As the second leg of the Crosstown Classic kicks off Tuesday night at Wrigley Stadium, fans of both teams will often be reminded of the turbulent regular season series that both teams have had for more than 25 years.
While instantly recognizable names like Sammy Sosa and Ron Santo may come to mind first when thinking of players who played on both sides of town, there are likely to be a lot more players who have forgotten with the passing of the years.
While some names are more recognizable than others, here’s a look at six players you may have forgotten played for both teams in Chicago.
1. Jeff Samardzija
From an All-American wide receiver for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to one of the Cubs’ most respected pitching prospects, Merrillville Jeff Samardzija’s journey to the majors has been far from typical.
While mostly known for his early years with the Cubs and eventually emerging as a struggling team, the Salehs known as “The Sharks” also had a perhaps forgettable season on the south side.
After a brief lease with the Oakland Athletics, Samardzija spent 2015 on the south side.
Despite still winning 11 games, Samardzija’s ERA was close to 5 games on the season, leading all of baseball in hits and earned runs allowed.
Samardzija continued the season with a five-year, $90 million contract with the San Francisco Giants, where he played his final game of 2020.
2. Neil Coates
Although known mostly for his stellar season with the 2005 World Series-winning White Sox, Cotts also had a multi-year residency in the North Side.
After spending the first four years of his career with the White Sox, Coates went across town to the Cubs prior to the 2007 season, giving Southpaw a taste of playing competitive baseball for both teams in Chicago.
Despite often struggling through injury during his three years with the Cubs, Cotts had a solid 2008 season for the NL Central champions.
After 2009, Coates did not appear in another MLB game until 2013, where he revived his career with the Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins.
3. Giovanni Soto
Known as a Cubs backstop highlighted by his stellar 2008 season in which he won NL Rookie of the Year, Geovany Soto also played two non-consecutive seasons with the White Sox towards 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, playing just 13 games.
In eight seasons with the Cubs, Soto hit . 252/. 342/. 445, hitting 112 doubles and hitting 77 home runs.
In addition to the Cubs, White Sox, and Angels, Soto has also spent time in MLB with the Rangers and Athletics.
4. Kousuke Fukudome
Perhaps more famous internationally for his longevity in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League, Fukudome’s four-year, $48 million contract with the Cubs prior to the 2008 season generated unique excitement from the fanbase.
Despite getting off to a hot start and being named to the All-Star Team in 2008, Fukudome’s Cubs tenure didn’t quite go as planned, as the outfielder put up relatively modest offensive numbers from a solid position.
After being traded to Cleveland during the final season of the contract, Fukudom spent his final year in the majors with the White Sox in 2012, playing just 24 games while posting seven hits.
Fukudom, who made his debut in Japan’s NPB in 1999 at the age of 22, returned to the league in 2013 and played until 2022, his 45th season.
5. Kenny Lofton
Kenny Lofton, the longtime speedster who was known to the masses as such a pioneer that DHL made commercial about itspent time on both sides of town while wearing it.
While he is primarily remembered for his three separate stints with Cleveland, Lofton hit two sides of town in several mid-career years.
After his second, four-year stint in Cleveland, Lofton signed with the rival White Sox prior to the 2002 season, but was traded before the deadline to the San Francisco Giants, who came just short of winning the World Series. Lofton himself made the final in the decisive game of the series.
Lofton then signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates shortly before the 2003 season again, but was shipped to the rival Cubs before the playoff run deadline.
Lofton had 16 hits in the 2003 postseason with the Cubs, with the lease being the extent of his stint with the club.
The 17-year-old veteran played for 11 different teams during his MLB career.
6. Wellington Castillo
Continuing with an earlier mention of a catcher known mostly for his time with the Cubs, Giovanni Soto’s successor in the position spent time playing on the south side.
After Soto was shipped off to the Rangers before the 2012 deadline, Castillo was next in line to be the team’s daily catcher, a duty he held throughout the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
In a three-way combination with David Ross and Miguel Montero to start 2015, Castillo was traded to the Seattle Mariners, and later the Arizona Diamondbacks all that season.
After a full season with the Vipers, Castillo spent a year with the Baltimore Orioles before concluding his big league career with two seasons with the White Sox, playing a total of 121 games with the South Siders.