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: January 22

A coach to be named later: Current White Sox minor league coach Charles Poe helped deliver Danny Tartabull to the White Sox. (Kim Contreras/South Side Hit Pen)


1960
The White Sox introduced the first major league baseball jersey that had a player’s name on the back. It was the brainchild of owner Bill Veeck. At first the name was only on the road jersey, but over time, teams would have names on the backs of both road and home shirts.


1996
The White Sox dealt minor leaguers Charles Poe and Andrew Lorraine to Oakland for slugger Danny Tartabull. The enigmatic Tartabull had as much talent as anyone but often didn’t show it; however, he put together a very good season on the South Side, with 27 home runs and 101 RBIs. Tartabull signed a free agent deal with the Phillies the following year but would have just 11 more career plate appearances after the White Sox.

Today in White Sox History: December 15

Double threat: Julio Franco possessed both one of the best smiles and most unique batting stances in White Sox history.


1960
White Sox owner Bill Veeck made up for some of his deals after the 1959 season by getting pitchers Juan Pizarro and Cal McLish from the Reds for infielder Gene Freese. Manager Al Lopez and pitching coach Ray Berres had their eyes on Pizarro for a few years, but Milwaukee refused to deal him to the Sox. Veeck therefore got his friend Bill DeWitt of Cincinnati to swing a deal and then to ship Pizarro to the South Side.

Pizarro was an enigmatic, moody pitcher, but when he got on the mound he was all business. Possessor of a blazing fastball, the lefthander had four seasons of double-figure wins, including 16 in 1963 and 19 in 1964. He was a two time All-Star selection.


1967
In one of the worst deals ever made by GM Ed Short, t
he White Sox sent infielder and base stealer Al Weis along with outfielder, base stealer and home run hitter Tommie Agee to the Mets in exchange for former NL batting champ Tommy Davis, pitcher Jack Fisher and catcher Buddy Booker. Two years later, the Mets would win the World Series thanks in large part to the play of Agee and Weis. None the players the Sox got in return did much for them. Deals along those lines sent the franchise into a tailspin, and by September 1970 Short was fired.


1993
White Sox GM Ron Schueler’s luck with taking chances on hurt or limited free agents continued when he signed Julio Franco to a contract. Franco would have a tremendous 1994 season hitting behind Frank Thomas. Julio would have 20 home runs, 98 RBIs, eight stolen bases and a .319 batting average in his one year in Chicago. He went to Japan the next year because the Sox refused to meet his asking price on a new deal.

 

 

Today in White Sox History: September 7, 2019

Instant success: After knocking around as a bit pitcher for years, Donovan came to the White Sox and blossomed into a star.


Sept. 7, 1954 — One of the linchpins of the famed Sox pitching staff of the late 1950s, Dick Donovan, was acquired from the Milwaukee Braves after spending nearly the entire season in the minor leagues for the Detroit Tigers. Dick would win become an All-Star in his first White Sox season (1955) and win 73 games in six seasons on the South Side, including a pair of one-hitters.


Sept. 7, 1960 — In a game at Comiskey Park, infielder Sammy Esposito booted a cinch double play ball hit by future White Sox infielder Bill “Moose” Skowron, with Chicago leading in the eighth inning, 4-2. That lead quickly evaporated, as the New York Yankees rallied for four runs and a 6-4 win.

Willie Harris and his friend, Jesse James (I swear I’m not making the names up) had a wager on the game. When Esposito blew the ground ball Harris took matters into his own hands. He jumped over the box seat railing, ran on to the field, had words with the player then the two started throwing punches. It took several uniformed police officers and ushers to pull Harris off of Esposito. Harris left the field shouting that he was “a real Sox fan.”