Today in White Sox History: April 5

Spectacular start: Buehrle didn’t just win to begin 2010, he made a defensive play for the ages. (YouTube)


1960
Shortly before the season opened, the White Sox further decimated their stock of young talent by shipping future All-Star and power-hitting catcher Earl Battey along with future power-hitting All-Star first baseman Don Mincher to the Washington Senators for power-hitting first baseman Roy Sievers.

Sievers gave the Sox some good years, averaging 27 home runs, 92 RBIs and a .295 batting average in two seasons. He had a 21-game hitting streak in 1960 and made the All-Star team in 1961. But Battey, who cried when he was told he was traded, may have won the Sox the pennant in 1964, 1967 or both just by himself (to say nothing of other players shipped out that offseason like Johnny Romano, Norm Cash and Johnny Callison.) Battey would go on to make four All-Star appearances and win three Gold Gloves at catcher. Mincher would become a two-time All-Star.


1974
The White Sox opened the season at home under freezing conditions versus the Angels and Nolan Ryan. The Sox started Wilbur Wood, which prompted broadcaster Harry Caray to comment that the game was “The tortoise against the hare.” This time the hare won, as Ryan and the Angels got an easy 8-2 victory.

The game did have its moments, however. The streaking craze had hit college campuses and on this day a few young ladies in the upper deck decided to partially streak while a young man jumped the outfield fence and ran naked through left field before being hoisted back into the stands by his friends. Sox manager Chuck Tanner had one of the best lines anywhere when asked what he thought about the outfield streaker: “I wasn’t impressed by him.” (nudge, nudge, wink, wink … say no more!)


1977
Literally a few hours before the team was to head north to open the season, owner Bill Veeck traded shortstop Russell “Bucky” Dent to the Yankees. Salary was the reasoning behind the deal, and Veeck’s comment that “I’d trade Dent even-up for any other starting shortstop in the American League” didn’t help matters.

In return the White Sox got outfielder Oscar Gamble, pitcher Bob Polinsky, minor league pitcher LaMarr Hoyt and $200,000. Gamble would be a big part of the 1977 hitting orgy, while Hoyt would have some good seasons with the Sox culminating in the 1983 Cy Young Award.


2004
New Manager Ozzie Guillén figured he had his debut game all wrapped up, as the Sox took a 7-3 lead into the ninth inning at Kansas City. Over the next 20 minutes, the Royals scored six runs to take the game, 9-7. The amazing rally set the modern record for the most runs scored in the ninth inning to win a game on Opening Day.


2010
Mark Buehrle made his eighth Opening Day start, setting the franchise record and breaking the tie he had with Billy Pierce.
Buehrle was brilliant in the 6-0 win over Cleveland, but what everyone was talking about after the game was the play he made on a hard-hit ball off the bat of Lou Marson in the fifth inning. Both ESPN and the MLB Network called it the play of the year.

Marson’s shot ricocheted off Buehrle’s leg and ricocheted towards foul ground on the first-base side of the field. Buehrle sprinted off the mound, fielded the ball with his glove and flipped it between his legs to Paul Konerko, who made a barehanded catch to nip Marson by a step. It was simply an incredible play.


 

 

Today in White Sox History: April 4

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1982
One of the most highly-anticipated Opening Days in franchise history got snowed out. The White Sox were set to host Boston and the organization was expecting a crowd of around 50,000. That got torpedoed when a blizzard hammered the entire Midwest, cancelling games for days. In fact, the season didn’t open until April 11 in New York, with a doubleheader win over the Yankees.


1983
The same night North Carolina State upset Houston for the NCAA basketball title, the White Sox opened their division championship season dropping a 5-3 game at Texas. The Sox scored three times in the top of the first but were handcuffed after that. Errors by rookies Scott Fletcher and Greg Walker were costly to pitcher LaMarr Hoyt. The Sox would drop all three games to the Rangers, but rebounded to win 99 of the final 159 to take the division by a record 20 games.


1988
It was Ken Williams’ one moment in the sun as a player. On Opening Day, Williams belted a two-run homer in the fifth inning off of California’s Mike Witt to help the Sox to an 8-5 win. Williams would drive in three runs on the afternoon.


1994
The bittersweet shortened season started in Canada with a rematch of the 1993 ALCS. Toronto won this Opening Day 7-3 by blasting Jack McDowell (the reigning Cy Young Award winner) just as they did twice in the postseason the year before.


2005
The World Series season got off to a great start, as a packed house saw Mark Buehrle and Shingo Takatsu shut out Cleveland 1-0 in a game that took less than two hours! That season the White Sox would roar out of the gate at 26-9, the best 35-game start in franchise history.


 

Today in White Sox History: April 3

Bo Knows: That in 1993 he’d be an unsung hero for the division-winning White Sox. (YouTube)


1991
The Sox signed former two-sport All-Star Vincent “Bo” Jackson to a contract. Jackson would have hip replacement surgery and not make a real impact until 1993, when he hit 16 home runs, but the move was a masterful stroke from a public relations standpoint.


2000
The unexpected division championship season didn’t start off promisingly, as the White Sox were buried in Texas, 10-4. They’d lose the next day as well, 12-8. But by the end of the month the Sox set the major league record for most runs scored in April and “The Kids Can Play” White Sox were on their way to a league-leading 95 wins and a postseason appearance.


 

Today in White Sox History: April 1

New exes: Ed Herrmann hangs with former teammate Bill Melton at Comiskey Park in 1975,


1975
In an indication of how bad off the White Sox were financially, Ed Herrmann (one of the top catchers in baseball) was traded to the Yankees for four minor league players. The reason? According to Herrmann, it was because he wanted a $2,000 raise!


2011
The White Sox started the season with a torrent of runs in blistering Cleveland, 15-10. It was the second-highest scoring total on Opening Day in franchise history. The Sox led 14-0 after the first five innings. Carlos Quentin drove in five runs, and newcomer Adam Dunn knocked in four.

Today in White Sox History: March 31

Big blast: Frank Thomas was the first White Sox player to homer in a regular-season March game.


1996
Because of a quirk in the calendar the White Sox had a March Opening Day for the first time in franchise history, when they started the 1996 season in Seattle on the final day of the month. Frank Thomas hit a two-run home run off of Randy Johnson in the first inning, but the Sox lost the game, 3-2, in 12 innings. 

Today in White Sox History: March 30

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1971
Another good deal pulled off by the White Sox and GM Roland Hemond. He sent catcher Duane Josephson and pitcher Danny Murphy to the Red Sox for relief pitcher Vicente Romo and first baseman Tony Muser.

Muser was one of the best defensive first baseman in baseball and was tremendous as a late-inning replacement for Dick Allen. He was an earlier version of Mike Squires, if you will. Romo helped stabilize a young White Sox bullpen with an ERA of 3.33 and six saves in his two years with the team, primarily as a middle relief guy.


1981
Shortly before the start of the regular season, the White Sox purchased the contract of Chicago native slugger Greg Luzinski from the Phillies. The strongman would become a two-time American League Designated Hitter of the Year and provide solid power to the middle of the batting order. In his three-and-a-half seasons with the White Sox he pounded out 84 home runs and drove in 317 RBIs. “Bull” would also become the first man to hit three rooftop home runs in a single season at the original Comiskey Park (1983).


1982
Needing outfield help, White Sox GM Roland Hemond sent two prospects to the Dodgers for the speedy Rudy Law. Law would smash the team’s stolen base record in 1983, swiping 77 bases. His career on the South Side wasn’t long, but it was memorable, as he supplied speed and defense to the 1983 Western Division champions. In his four years with the Sox, Rudy stole 171 bases.


1992
Seeking another power bat to hit behind Frank Thomas and Robin Ventura and not being able to close a deal with Mark McGwire, White Sox GM Ron Schueler dealt outfielder Sammy Sosa and pitcher Ken Patterson to the Cubs for outfielder/DH George Bell. Bell would have 112 RBIs in 1992 and a solid 1993, but outbursts during the 1993 ALCS over playing time sealed his fate with the organization.

Sosa would become the face of the Cubs and challenge the all-time single season home run marks in the late 1990s. However in the wake of the steroid scandal and his potential involvement with it he left baseball with a cloud over him, with his future Hall of Fame chances in real jeopardy.


 

This Weekend in White Sox History

We’ll always have Kansas City: Matt Davidson made a BIG impression on the Royals to start 2018. (@MLBTradeRumors)


March 28, 1981
The Sox dealt pitcher Ken Kravec to the Cubs for pitcher Dennis Lamp. Over the next three seasons Lamp would do everything for the club … start, pitch long relief, close games. He’d toss a one-hitter against Milwaukee on August 25, losing his no-hitter in the ninth inning when Robin Yount blooped a double. Lamp would then lead the “Winnin’ Ugly” 1983 Western Division champion White Sox with 15 saves.


March 29, 2018
The earliest Opening Day in history at that time turned out to be a record-setting day for the White Sox, who blasted Kansas City, 14-7. The Sox tied the record for most Opening Day home runs by hitting six at Kauffman Stadium. (The 1988 Mets also hit six, against the Montreal Expos.) Matt Davidson became the fourth player in history to hammer three home runs on Opening Day, as he went 3-for-4 with four runs scored and five RBIs. Tim Anderson had two home runs and drove in three, with José Abreu hitting the other home run. Yolmer Sánchez also drove in three for the White Sox.

Today in White Sox History: March 23

Miracle man: King came out of nowhere to be an ace of two White Sox teams — one really bad, the other pretty terrific. (Bowman)


1989
The White Sox traded Ken Williams (who would eventually become the club’s GM and vice president) to Detroit for pitcher Eric King. Williams never achieved any measure of consistency in the big leagues. King, on the other hand, had two terrific seasons with the White Sox, going 21-14 with a 3.34 ERA and 5.1 bWAR.

Williams and teammate Ozzie Guillén had a close bond; in fact, Gullén was the one who broke the news (with tears in his eyes) to Williams that he had been traded.

 

 

Today in White Sox History: March 21

Seeds of Sox: Charles Comiskey purchased the Sioux City Huskers and, eventually, brought them to Chicago.


1900
After a meeting with the Chicago Cubs, the way was cleared for Charles Comiskey to bring his team from St. Paul, Minn. to Chicago. He would set up shop of the South Side of the city. However, Comiskey was bringing the team to town regardless of whether the Cubs approved or not — the meeting was set up merely to try to avoid any conflicts.


1997
The White Sox suffered a major blow to their hopes for a championship when star third baseman Robin Ventura destroyed his ankle and lower leg on a slide at home plate in a spring game against the Red Sox. The injury was so horrific that a woman sitting in the stands passed out when she saw the result. Ventura’s spikes caught in the ground, grotesquely twisting his foot 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

The injury took place only 10 days before the season opener, and the Sox were left in a state of shock. GM Ron Schueler announced to the media the team would be looking for a replacement, and then did nothing to fill the void. The Sox stumbled out of the gate with an 8-18 start. Thankfully after a rigorous rehabilitation process, Robin would come back to play in 54 games in 1997 and continue to have an outstanding major league career.