(WSCR) The image of Cubs catcher Michael Barrett slugging White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski in the mouth is one of the most iconic images of the Crosstown Classic.
But had a few things gone differently back in 2003, that punch never would have been thrown. In fact, Pierzysnki could have been wearing a Cubs uniform in that game.
In November of 2003, Pierzynski was part of a blockbuster trade between the Twins and Giants. The Twins sent their 26-year-old promising catcher to San Francisco for three young pitchers: Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser.
The day before this trade went through, however, Pierzysnki received a call telling him to pack his bags because he was headed to the Cubs.
“When I got traded to the Giants, I actually thought I was going to the Cubs,” Pierzynski revealed to Comcast SportsNet for the upcoming show Inside Look: A.J. Pierzynski. “LaTroy Hawkins had just signed with the Cubs and he called me and said he’d talked to Dusty [Baker] and they were going to trade for me the next day.”
Reports indicated the Cubs were prepared to offer relievers Todd Wellemeyer and Juan Cruz for Pierzynski, but the Giants stepped in at the 11th hour to sweeten their deal.
Pierzysnki spent one forgettable season in San Francisco before signing with the White Sox.
Now, as the 35-year-old catcher is finishing up the final year of a two-year contract with the White Sox, he said he’d never rule out signing with the Cubs after this season.
“I could never say no to that, because as much as I love the White Sox, as much as I would love to be here, if they were the only team that came after me and I wanted to continue to play, how could I say no? You know it’s one of those situations where, they have a good catcher in [Geovany] Soto, so I don’t think that’s gonna happen, but it’s one of those situations where you can never say no to something.”