Today in White Sox History: April 15

 


1954
The White Sox reintroduced major league baseball to Baltimore for the first time since 1902, as they played at the new Baltimore Orioles as their first home opponent. The Orioles had moved from St. Louis that offseason. Virgil “Fire” Trucks got the start for the White Sox, but the O’s beat them 3-1 on the afternoon, starting a run of numerous unfortunate, strange and bizarre happenings for the White Sox at Memorial Stadium over the next 37 seasons.


1972
The first labor impasse to cause regularly scheduled games to be cancelled caused Opening Day of the 1972 season to be pushed back. In Kansas City, the Sox would lose to the Royals, 2-1, in 11 innings despite Dick Allen’s first White Sox home run. Allen blasted a shot in the ninth inning off Dick Drago to give the team a brief 1-0 lead. Kansas City would tie the game with two out in the ninth inning on a Bob Oliver home run off of Wilbur Wood, then go on to win the game. The Sox would drop three consecutive one-run games to the Royals to start the season, two in extra innings, but would end up with 87 wins in only 154 games.


1983
Milt Wilcox had his perfect game ruined with two outs in the ninth inning, as White Sox pinch hitter Jerry Hairston ripped a clean single up the middle. It was the only hit of the night for the Sox, who lost to Detroit, 6-0.


1985
In a game at Boston, White Sox pinch hitter Jerry Hairston collected his 51st safety in that role, setting the franchise record. Jerry would lead the league in pinch hits from 1983 through 1985, and would retire with 87 in his career. Hairston also hit the last home run to set off Bill Veeck’s original exploding scoreboard in October 1981 — and he hit it off of future Sox pitching coach Don Cooper!


2006
It was one of the most incredible defensive plays in White Sox history: In the ninth inning of a game at U.S. Cellular Field against Toronto, second baseman Tadahito Iguchi had to charge in on a slowly-hit ball by Bengie Molina. His momentum carried him forward, and because of it he left his feet and starting falling to the ground. Before he hit the field, though, Iguchi got a throw off, despite being parallel to the playing surface. His throw was strong enough to get Molina at first. The Sox would win the game, 4-2.


 

 

Today in White Sox History: April 14

Tres Garcías: On this day in 2017, the White Sox outfield made history. (@WhiteSox)


1910
White Sox pitcher Frank Smith fired what remains the franchise’s only Opening Day one-hitter as he beat the St. Louis Browns in Chicago, 3-0. Smith would later go on to pitch for the Red Sox and Reds.


1917
White Sox pitching star Eddie Cicotte no-hit the St. Louis Browns, in a 11-0 laugher. The game was at St. Louis and remains the earliest no-hitter ever thrown by a Sox pitcher in a season.


1942
Because of the intervention of President Franklin Roosevelt, Major League Baseball continued during World War II. The Sox would lose to St. Louis, 3-0, this Opening Day and according to the reports of the time it was a very quiet, somber crowd. Marines and sailors marched in carrying the American flag from center field. Pearl Harbor was still etched in everyone’s memories.


1953
Cleveland’s Bob Lemon, who’d go on to manage the White Sox in 1977 and some of 1978, almost duplicated Bob Feller’s 1940 Opening Day no-hitter, holding the Sox to one hit in winning, 6-0. Feller’s gem is the only Opening Day no-hitter in MLB history. 


1955
The White Sox and Sandy Consuegra defeated the Kansas City Athletics, 7-1, in the Comiskey Park home opener. The game was the first-ever between the Sox and the Athletics since the A’s move from Philadelphia to Kansas City. Sandy went the distance, allowing only three hits.


1964
The bittersweet 1964 season began with the White Sox dropping a 5-3 decision to the Orioles in Chicago. Hoyt Wilhelm gave up three late runs to lose the game. The 1964 Sox would win 98 games … only to finish one game behind the Yankees for the pennant.


1981
In the home opener for the season and for new owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn, 51,560 fans poured into Comiskey Park to see the new faces and new attitude. The Sox put on a show in blowing apart Milwaukee, 9-3. The big blow was Carlton Fisk’s grand slam into left-center in the fourth inning off of former Sox hurler Pete Vuckovich.


2017
The White Sox started an all-García outfield at Minnesota, marking the first time in major league history a team’s three starting outfielders all had the same last name. All three collected hits, including Willy García, who doubled in his first big-league at-bat in the second. He played left field, with Leury García in center and Avisaíl García in right. The Alou brothers all played in the outfield for San Francisco in 1963 a few times, but all three never actually started a game together. The Sox won the contest, 2-1.


 

Today in White Sox History: April 13

Temp fireman: Tommy John earned an Opening Day save in 1965, but soon would blossom into an ace starter.


1965
The White Sox turned the tide so to speak from 1964, beating the Orioles in Baltimore on Opening Day by the score of 5-3. They lost to the same club to open the 1964 season at Comiskey Park by the exact margin. Tommy John, making his White Sox debut, picked up the save for Gary Peters. The 1965 White Sox would win 95 games under Al Lopez, in his last full season as Sox skipper.


 

Today in White Sox Baseball: April 12

Trailblazing: Mary Shane was named a White Sox announcer on this day in 1977.


1966
The White Sox opened the season with a 3-2 win over the Angels in 14 innings. Tommy McCraw delivered the game-winning hit. Rookie Tommy Agee would crack a home run off Dean Chance to begin his season, which would end with Agee being named the Rookie of the Year and the first Sox player to ever hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in the same season.

But the game became known for what the 28,000-plus fans sang to open the afternoon; it was not ‘‘The Star Spangled Banner,’’ but ‘‘God Bless America.’’ The Sox made the change stating that the words to the usual anthem were too hard to remember and to sing. Songwriter Irving Berlin (“White Christmas”) would write a letter to the Sox begging them to go back to the original anthem. The Sox then decided to let the fans vote on which they preferred — and ‘‘The Star Spangled Banner’’ won.


1967
The bittersweet 1967 season opened with a 5-4 loss in Boston to the eventual American League champions. The White Sox would go into the final week of the season in position to take their first pennant since 1959 — only to lose five in a row to bottom-feeders Kansas City and Washington. They finished in fourth place, three games out, with a record of 89-73.


1977
Former Milwaukee radio broadcaster Mary Shane became one of the first female announcers in MLB history when she began doing Sox games. Mary joined Lorn Brown, Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall in the booth for roughly 20 games. Most of her work was done when the Sox were at home. WMAQ radio general manager Charlie Warner discovered Shane, who only lasted this one season. The day of the press conference to announce her joining the broadcasting team Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley died, so very few reporters showed up for it.

She returned to Massachusetts, where she became an award-winning sportswriter before passing away very young, on Nov. 3, 1987.


 

Today in White Sox History: April 11

Wheels: Paul Konerko — yes, that Paul Konerko — once hit an inside-the-park home run. (YouTube)


1917
The World Championship season began in St. Louis, where the Sox battered the Browns, 7-2. Claude ‘‘Lefty’’ Williams picked up the win. Just slightly more than six months later, the Sox would win the World Series, four games to two, over John McGraw and the New York Giants.


1969
The White Sox initiated major league baseball in Seattle as the first home opponent for the expansion Seattle Pilots. The Sox promptly rolled over and died to the new team, 7-0, getting shut out by future Sox pitcher Gary Bell who went the distance. Bell would be traded to the Sox in June.


1982
When the great blizzard hit the Midwest and forced cancellation of a number of games, the White Sox had to open on the road the following week … in New York … with a doubleheader. No problem, as the franchise which had already won a regularly scheduled Opening Day twinbill in 1971, put the wood to the Yankees by winning 7-6 in 12 innings, and then 2-0. It was the start of an eight-game winning streak to open the 1982 campaign, the best start in franchise history.


2000
For a man with no speed, he got around the bases fast enough this time! Paul Konerko hit an inside the park home run against Tampa Bay. It came in the first inning off Esteban Yan and drove in two runs. The Sox won, 13-6.


2011
White Sox utility player Brent Lillibridge belted the franchise’s 10,000th home run when he took a fastball from Oakland’s Dallas Braden and hit it out of U.S. Cellular Field. It came in the fifth inning of a game the Sox eventually lost 2-1 in 10 innings.


 

Today in White Sox History: April 10

Ho-lee Cow: On a first-pitch opportunity to stab the Red Sox in the heart, Carlton Fisk drove the knife in deep. (YouTube)


1959
The season opener to a memorable, pennant-winning year started in Detroit where Billy Pierce faced Jim Bunning. The Sox blew a 7-4 lead when the Tigers got three runs in the eighth inning, and matters weren’t decided until the 14th. That’s when Nellie Fox, who hit home runs as often as he struck out, blasted a two-run shot to give the Sox the 9-7 win. Fox would go 5-for-7 and knock in three runs that afternoon, despite freezing temperatures.


1961
White Sox outfielder “Jungle” Jim Rivera was always good for the unexpected. Right before the Sox played in Washington D.C. to open the season, President John Kennedy threw out the first ball. Rivera came up with it and was escorted to the President’s box, where both Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon Johnson signed the ball.

After Rivera looked at it he said to the President,You’ll have to do better than that, John. This is a scribble I can hardly read!” So Kennedy, in block letters, spelled out his name on the baseball. Oh … the Sox went on to win the game, 4-3, getting single runs in the seventh and eighth innings. It was the first game the expansion Washington Senators ever played.


1968
Social unrest on the West Side of Chicago after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King held the Opening Day crowd at Comiskey Park to fewer than 8,000. The White Sox got shut out by Cleveland’s Sonny Siebert, 9-0. It was the first of a franchise-record 10 straight losses to open the season. Coupled with the five straight losses to close out 1967, the Sox would end up dropping 15 in a row.


1981
If you had written the script and pitched it to Hollywood, it would have refused it on the grounds of corniness — but reality is sometimes stranger than fiction. Carlton Fisk, native son of New England, returned to Boston on Opening Day mere weeks after leaving the Red Sox for the White Sox. Fisk was declared a free agent after the Red Sox mailed him his contract past the legal deadline, and he left. With a new team, in a new uniform, Fisk immediately began making Boston pay as he ripped a first-pitch, three-run home run in the eighth inning off of Bob Stanley to put the White Sox ahead 3-2 in a game they’d win 5-3.


 

Today in White Sox History: April 9

Spirit of ’76: Rudy Schaffer, Paul Richards and Bill Veeck went all-out in Veeck’s return to Chicago on Opening Day.


1963
The start of the season found the White Sox in Detroit, and it was a highlight game for third baseman Pete Ward. Ward smacked a seventh-inning, three-run home run off Jim Bunning to push the Sox into the lead, and he also made a barehanded pick-up-and-throw-out of a slow roller hit by Al Kaline. The Sox would win, 7-5, and it would be the start of Ward’s co-American League Rookie of the Year campaign.


1971
It was the largest home opener in years, as 43,253 fans poured into Comiskey Park to see the “New Look” White Sox under GM Roland Hemond and manager Chuck Tanner. Ownership was completely caught with their pants down by the turnout, as concession stands and vendors ran out of items by the middle of the game!

The Sox wouldn’t disappoint, as Rich McKinney’s two-out, ninth-inning single scored Rich Morales with the game-winning run in the 3-2 victory over Minnesota.


1976
Owner Bill Veeck was back, and 40,318 fans turned out to say welcome home on Opening Day. They got their money’s worth, as in a tribute to the U.S. Bicentennial, Veeck, manager Paul Richards and front office executive Rudy Schaffer presented the colors dressed as the fife player, drummer and flag bearer of the Revolutionary War. Wilbur Wood tossed a complete game six-hitter and Jim Spencer had a two-run home run in the 4-0 win against Kansas City.


1977
The White Sox defeated the Blue Jays, 3-2, in Toronto for the franchise’s first-ever regular-season win outside of the United States. Oscar Gamble’s home run in the fourth put the Sox on top to stay, and the team added two more in the fifth. Chris Knapp got the win and Lerrin LaGrow earned his first save in what would be the best season of his career. He’d end 1977 with 25 of them and a 2.46 ERA.


1985
For future Hall-of-Famer Tom Seaver, it was his record 14th Opening Day start. For Ozzie Guillén, it was his major league debut. The two of them combined to help the Sox beat Milwaukee, 4-2, at County Stadium. Guillén would get his first hit in the big leagues that day, a bunt single off of future Sox pitcher Ray Searage in the ninth inning.


1990
It was the last home opener at the original Comiskey Park, and the Sox made it a good one in beating the Brewers, 2-1. Scott Fletcher’s sacrifice fly scored Sammy Sosa with what turned out to be the winning run. Barry Jones got the win, with Bobby Thigpen picking up the first of what would be a record-setting 57 saves in a season.


1993
During the home opener with the Yankees, Bo Jackson showed that the human spirit is simply amazing. Jackson, playing with an artificial hip, hammered a Neal Heaton pitch into the right field seats for a home run. It was Jackson’s first at-bat since his hip replacement, caused by an injury he suffered during his days as an All-Pro running back for the Raiders.

Jackson would end up with 16 home runs, including one in late September against Seattle that won the White Sox the Western Division title. As far as the baseball hit off Heaton, a fan returned it to him and he later had it encased and welded to his late mother’s headstone.


 

Today in White Sox History: April 8

Whoops: This is not Denny McLain. (Topps)


1963
On this date, one of the biggest “what if’s” in franchise history took place. Per the rules at the time, the White Sox had to choose between two pitchers signed to “bonus baby” contracts; only one player signed to a deal for more than a certain amount of money could remain in the organization. The other would have to be waived.

With that in mind, rookies Bruce Howard and Denny McLain squared off in an intrasquad game to see who would be released and who got promoted to Double-A Lynchburg. Howard won, 2-1, so McLain got his walking papers and was claimed by Detroit the following week. He’d go on to win 131 big league games including 31 in 1968.


1991
Baltimore was always a “house of horrors” for the White Sox, but on this day they got the last laugh. The South Siders spoiled the last home opener in old Memorial Stadium by ripping the Orioles, 9-1. Sammy Sosa clubbed two home runs off of Jeff Ballard to lead the rout. He’d knock in five runs on the afternoon. Jack McDowell went the distance, striking out 10.


 

 

 

Today in White Sox History: April 7

Great White North: Jack Brohamer of the White Sox turns shin guards into snow shoes before Toronto’s MLB debut in 1977.


1970
The worst White Sox team in history began their forgettable season by getting pounded 12-0 at home by the Twins. Sox starting pitcher Tommy John only lasted into the fifth inning. The Sox would go on to lose a franchise-record 106 games.


1971
Charlie Finley, the A’s owner, got the first regularly scheduled Opening Day doubleheader in history but was stunned when the White Sox beat them twice, 6-5 and 12-4. Tommy John and Bart Johnson were the winning pitchers. The Sox clubbed five home runs on the day, including a grand slam by Bill Melton. It should have been six homers, except that Carlos May somehow missed touching home plate on his blast. The A’s picked up on it and tagged him out when he was sitting in the dugout.

This was also Harry Caray’s first regular season game as a White Sox announcer, although at the time not a whole lot of folks could hear him. Three straight awful years caused the Sox to lose their radio contract with any mainstream Chicago station. For the next two years Sox games were broadcast on WTAQ (LaGrange) and WEAW (Evanston), two low-powered stations.


1973
On Opening Day in Texas, Mike Andrews became the first White Sox DH. He hit sixth in the lineup for manager Chuck Tanner. He went 1-for-3 in the 3-1 win behind Wilbur Wood.


1977
The White Sox introduced American League baseball to Canada, as they played the first ever game in Toronto Blue Jays history. The Jays outslugged the Sox in a driving snowstorm to win, 9-5. But it was the start of something much bigger; the “South Side Hit Men” were born.


1984
Detroit’s Jack Morris threw what turned out to be the last no-hitter at Comiskey Park, shutting down the White Sox 4-0 on the NBC Saturday “Game of the Week.” The Sox had their chances, including loading the bases on walks in the fourth inning with nobody out.


1993
On his first swing of the season, future Hall-of-Famer Carlton Fisk would blast his final major league home run. It would come off of Minnesota’s Jim Deshaies in the third inning, and was the only run scored by the Sox in a 6-1 loss. Fisk would be released by the Sox in June.


1994
In the annual “Crosstown Classic” charity game between the White Sox and Cubs, Michael Jordan wrote his name into Sox lore. His double in the late innings tied the game and prevented the Sox from losing for the first time in this series. The game would end in a tie. The Sox would go 10-0-2 in the Crosstown Classic series (1985-95, with two games played in 1995).

 

 

 

Today in White Sox History: April 6

Solid as a: Rock Raines was a stalwart in the leadoff spot for the 1993 White Sox. (Pinnacle)


1993
A division championship season began with a night game in Minnesota and a big 10-5 win over the Twins. Tim Raines knocked in three runs on the night. The White Sox would wind up winning the AL West by eight games and compiling 94 victories.