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AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Teammates chanted “Pauly! Pauly!” and doused their leader with champagne. And while Konerko might not have said it, he must’ve loved it. ‘`This means a lot to him,” said teammate Jermaine Dye. “He’s the heart and soul of this club. He’s been with this organization probably the longest of all of us. He pretty much carried us this series and he carried us all year.” Konerko, 29, will make his debut in the World Series in his seventh year with the White Sox. Dodger fans must be grumbling collectively, since he was drafted by the Dodgers in 1994 and traded in 1998 – just when he was making his way into the big leagues – for reliever Jeff Shaw. Konerko hit just four home runs for the Dodgers but doesn’t sound the least bit bitter about the trade. “I have nothing but good thoughts about the Dodgers,” Konerko said. “When I was there – I can’t speak for it now, I’m not there – the minor-league system and the way you got treated there was first class all the way. I still know that I’m a better player now because I came up through their system. ANAHEIM – The Chicago White Sox danced around in a circle in the clubhouse doing an “MVP” chant for Paul Konerko. Konerko certainly had the big bat in the ALCS as the White Sox won in five games. Konerko homered in the first inning in Games 3 and 4 and Chicago never trailed. On Sunday, he provided an insurance run with a double in the ninth. But Konerko wanted to share the award with the pitching staff, whose last four starters threw complete-game victories. “I feel like you were at an advantage because you were surrounded by all their coaches, all the managers they had were all guys that were big-league guys and you don’t get that in every organization.” Angels manager Mike Scoscia, a former Dodger player and coach, helped tutor Konerko when he was a catcher. The Dodgers turned him into a first baseman and now he’ll play on the game’s biggest stage for another organization. Konerko could be playing for another team next year since he’s a free agent. But this team – with so many no-name players who get the job done – already is lobbying for the front office to sign him. “I hope he signs with us,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “I’m not the GM. I’m not the owner. I’m not the manager. But I’m sure no one wants to see him leave. The guy he is and the player he is, I don’t want to see him leave.” Jill Painter, (818) [email protected]
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“I won the MVP but believe me, you can split this award five ways this series,” Konerko said. “Our team feeds off our pitching and that’s how it’s been since Day One.” But MVP awards aren’t meant for sharing and Konerko didn’t have to make any excuses for winning the award. Konerko hit 40 home runs during the regular season, including No. 200 of his career. He was 6 for 21 with 7 RBI and two runs scored in the ALCS.