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: December 17

Spirit of 76: Paul Richards, flanked by Rudie Schaffer and Bill Veeck, made his final Opening Day as a manager a memorable one.


1914
Pants Rowland was named White Sox manager. He would guide the club to a 100-win season and the World Series title in 1917.

1975
Under new owner Bill Veeck, the Sox went retro with the naming of former manager Paul Richards to become the new manager, replacing Chuck Tanner. Richards was the man who turned around the franchise in 1951. He was one of the smartest baseball men in the game, but it had been years since he was involved in the day-to-day operations of a franchise. Apparently he didn’t even really want the job, agreeing to do it only as a favor to Veeck. He would last one season.

Years later, Tanner would reveal that Richards asked him to stay on as his third base coach, with the promise of getting the manager’s job again in 1977.

2004
The Sox claimed pitcher Bobby Jenks on waivers from the Angels. Jenks had a reputation as a reckless individual who wanted to party more then play baseball. Somehow, the White Sox found a way to reach him, and Jenks proved a godsend down the stretch in 2005, then followed it up with 41 saves in 2006.

 

Today in White Sox History: December 12

All heart: Bernazard was a core member of La Russa’s early -1980s White Sox teams. (@RonVesely)


1975
In an effort to start improving a desultory offense, White Sox GM Roland Hemond and new owner Bill Veeck acquired former NL batting champ Ralph “Road Runner” Garr from Atlanta for three players, including outfielder Ken Henderson and pitcher Dick Ruthven. Garr would have severe limitations on defense, but he did become the catalyst for the South Side Hit Men in 1977 with his speed and ability to hit to all fields. That year, he’d hit .300 with 10 home runs, 54 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.


1980
Sometimes, smaller moves can turn out to be important:Hemond traded pitcher Richard “Tex” Wortham to the Expos for switch-hitting second baseman Tony Bernazard. Bernazard would be part of the “New Deal” Sox in 1981 and would eventually be traded for another productive second baseman, Julio “Juice” Cruz in June 1983. Manager Tony LaRussa called Bernazard the heart of the club while he was on the South Side.

 

Today in White Sox History: December 11

Fan club: There doesn’t seem to be a Sox fan alive who doesn’t adore Wimpy, including sometime partner Jason Benetti. Paciorek came to the White Sox on this day in 1981.


1973
In was one of the worst deals ever made by GM Roland Hemond, the White Sox acquired Cubs star Ron Santo after Santo refused a deal to the California Angels. Santo, who may have been able to be picked up on waivers, was acquired for three players, including pitcher Steve Stone.

Santo did very little in his one season with the White Sox and was considered a clubhouse cancer, tormenting some younger players, which raised the ire of Dick Allen. Santo’s White Sox highlight was probably the inside-the-park home run he hit on June 9, 1974 against Boston’s Bill Lee at Comiskey Park. Santo was also one of the few players who disliked playing under manager Chuck Tanner.


1975
Hemond sent third baseman Bill Melton and pitcher Steve Dunning to California for first baseman Jim Spencer and outfielder Morris Nettles. Melton had a bad back and had worn out his welcome with the team, getting into a shouting match in a Milwaukee hotel lobby with broadcaster Harry Caray.

Spencer, meanwhile would win a Gold Glove for his defensive prowess. He also had 18 home runs and 69 RBIs for the South Side Hit Men, twice driving in eight runs in a game in 1977.


1980
Edward DeBartolo was voted down by American League owners in his attempt to buy the White Sox from Bill Veeck. DeBartolo, the man who invented the modern shopping mall in Boardman, Ohio, owned horse racing tracks and wasn’t from the Chicago area — both considered “red flags” by the other owners.

In an effort to appease then commissioner Bowie Kuhn, DeBartolo agreed to live in Chicago at least 20% of the time to have a direct idea of what was going on with the franchise. His compromises fell on deaf ears, as he only received three yes votes. The way was then opened for the group headed by Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn to get the franchise.


1981
In another fine deal pulled off by Hemond, he sent shortstop Todd Cruz and outfielder Rod Allen to the Mariners for Tom “Wimpy” Paciorek. Tom made the All-Star team with the M’s in 1981 and would lead the Sox in hitting in 1983. He was also one of the craziest guys to ever do commercials for the club. After he retired, he worked in the Sox broadcasting booth from 1988 through 1999 and to this day does fill-in games for the club.


1996
After losing star pitcher Alex Fernandez to free agency and claiming that starting pitcher Kevin Tapani was faking an injury to his pitching hand (an injury so “fake” it forced Tapani to miss the first half of the 1997 season with the Cubs …), GM Ron Schueler signed pitcher Jaime Navarro to a four-year, $20 million deal. Navarro was a complete bust. His three-year record with the Sox was 25-43, and by many statistical measures he was the worst regular starting pitching in White Sox history.

Making matters worse was Schueler’s refusal to talk with the agents for Roger Clemens after Clemens had expressed an interest in joining the team, saying “Roger Clemens is over the hill.” During that same three-year period that Navarro was with the Sox, Clemens would win two Cy Young awards and 55 games.

Navarro eventually did do something positive for the franchise — he was part of a deal that brought José Valentín and Cal Eldred to the Sox in January 2000.

 

 

Today in White Sox History: December 10

Doubling back: After his brother purchased the club from Bill Veeck in 1961, John Allyn returns the “keys to the White Sox.”


1963
One of the last players from the “Go-Go” Sox era, second baseman Nellie Fox, was traded to the Houston Colt 45s for pitchers Jim Golden and Danny Murphy. Fox, who’d eventually be elected to the Hall of Fame, played for 14 years on the South Side, being named to 12 All-Star teams. He was AL MVP in 1959 and won three Gold Gloves. Fox was dealt because young infielder Don Buford had hit .336 at Indianapolis and was ready to take over.


1975
After first being turned down, American League owners voted to allow Bill Veeck to buy the White Sox from John Allyn. The agreement kept the team in Chicago and ended speculation that the Sox were bound for Seattle, with Charlie Finley’s A’s headed for the South Side. Major League baseball wanted the Sox to move to the Pacific Northwest in order to end lawsuits filed after the Pilots were moved to Milwaukee before the start of the 1970 season.

It was the second time Veeck owned the club, the first time being from 1959 through July 1961.


1976
Bill Veeck came up with a unique way to try to bolster his cash-strapped franchise: A Rent-a-Player approach, attempting to acquire as many players as possible who were about to become free agents. He figured that because those players were playing for new, big money deals, they’d play hard every night.

With that as the backdrop, he traded relief pitchers Rich Gossage and Terry Forster, both former American League Fireman of the Year winners, to the Pirates for slugger Richie Zisk and pitcher Silvio Martinez.

Zisk, in his one season on the South Side, would belt 30 home runs and knock in 101 as the undisputed leader of the South Side Hit Men who shocked baseball by winning 90 games in 1977. Among Zisk’s home runs that season were a blast into the original center field bleachers at Comiskey Park (under the exploding scoreboard) and one over the roof and out of the park in left-center.


1987
GM Larry Himes sent pitcher Floyd Bannister and infielder Dave Cochrane to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for four players, including pitchers Greg Hibbard and Melido Perez. Both would help stabilize the starting rotation in the early 1990s.

 

Today in White Sox History: October 1


Oct. 1, 1950Luke Appling got his final hit in a White Sox uniform. The future Hall-of-Famer spent 20 years and 2,422 games in a Sox uniform. He’d later come back as a coach for the club in 1970 and 1971.


Mel Allen is on the radio call of the blowout.

Oct. 1, 1959 — After 40 years, the wait was over and the Sox were back in the World Series, facing the Dodgers. The Sox reacted in Game 1 like they were trying to win the title all at once, burying L.A. 11-0. Ted Kluszewski slammed a pair of home runs and tied a series record with five RBIs. The Sox assaulted Dodger starter Roger Craig early and often to give Cy Young award winner Early Wynn a lot of breathing room.


Oct. 1, 1970 — It was the end of the worst season in White Sox history and as it turned out the final game ever called by longtime Sox announcer Bob Elson. “The Commander” began his White Sox career in 1930, and for the next 40 years called games in good times and bad. His style simply no longer fit the environment, and with the Sox needing to make drastic changes everywhere, he was let go. Elson found work for 1971 calling the Oakland Athletics while the A’s announcer, Harry Caray, took over for Elson with the Sox! 


Oct. 1, 1975 — Owner John Allyn appeared on Johnny Morris’ sports show on WBBM-TV. While talking about the pending sale of the club, Allyn said if he did own the team in 1976, Harry Caray wouldn’t be back as lead announcer. Allyn was tired of Caray and wanted to fire him.

The next day, Caray had this retort: “I can’t believe any man can own a ballclub and be as dumb as John Allyn. Did he make enough to own it or did he inherit it?”

As it turned out neither man had to worry, Allyn sold to Bill Veeck and Veeck retained Caray for the entirety of his ownership.


Oct. 1, 2015 – In the seventh inning of a game at U.S. Cellular Field, José Abreu’s two-run single gave him 100 RBIs for the season, the night before he collected his 30th home run of the year. Both milestones came off of Kansas City’s Luke Hochevar. Abreu thus became only the second player in major league history with at least 30 home runs and at least 100 RBIs in his first two seasons, joining Albert Pujois in that exclusive club.