Brat attack: Stanky was a winning manager for the White Sox, but wore out his welcome quickly. (Topps)
In an unexpected move the Sox named “The Brat,” Eddie Stanky, as the team’s new manager replacing the retired Al Lopez. Stanky was an intense, obsessed man, the 1960s version of Billy Martin or Earl Weaver.
Stanky knew baseball and was a genius at tactical decisions but he was also extremely unpopular with many of his players. He imposed a curfew, dress code and a rigorous calisthenics program on the team. He would fine players (or bench them) every time they weren’t able to lay down a bunt, hit a sacrifice fly or advance runners into scoring position. He offered a new suit of clothes for any pitcher who threw a complete game with at least a certain number of ground ball outs. For stolen bases or advancing into scoring position the player would get a new pair of dress shoes. He’d have winning seasons in 1966 and 1967, nearly taking the pennant, but by early 1968 his act had grown old and he was fired… and replaced with …Lopez!
The White Sox traded former Cy Young Award winner Jack McDowell to the Yankees for two minor league players. McDowell was the winningest pitcher in the American League between 1990 and 1994. The move, which left the Sox pitching staff without its leader, proved very costly during the 1996 wild card collapse. The trade was made purely for financial reasons related to the labor situation that cost the team the last two months of the 1994 season.