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 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: 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.


 

Today in White Sox History: December 13

Not so bad: Ritchie was a monumental failure for the White Sox, but he was hurt — and the guys swapped out didn’t really sting too badly. (Upper Deck)


1969
The White Sox dealt their star left hander Gary Peters to the Red Sox for Syd O’Brien and Billy Farmer. Farmer retired instead of reporting, so as compensation the Sox received Jerry “Wheat Germ Kid” Janeski. Peters would win 33 games in the next three seasons. Janeski won 10 in 1970 then was shipped to Washington for outfielder Rick Reichardt.

Peters had spent seven full and four partial seasons with the team, with a 20-win season, two All- Star teams and a Rookie of the Year award.


1982
The White Sox outbid 16 other teams to sign free agent pitcher Floyd Bannister to a five year, $4.5 million deal. Bannister had led the American League in strikeouts in 1981. In his five seasons on the South Side, Bannister won in double figures every year, with a high of 16 wins in both 1983 and 1987.

His signing angered Yankee owner George Steinbrenner ,who wasn’t used to losing out on talent that he wanted. Steinbrenner was quoted as saying that he regretted voting against Edward DeBartolo in his bid to buy the Sox franchise from Bill Veeck back in 1980 and leveled verbal blasts at owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn.


2001
In his quest to find reliable starting pitching, White Sox GM Ken Williams traded youngsters Kip Wells and Josh Fogg and veteran Sean Lowe to the Pirates for Todd Ritchie. Ritchie would suffer a shoulder injury and have a disastrous 2002 season, going 5-15 with an ERA of 6.06 (4.84 FIP)! Ritchie’s -1.7 bWAR is tied for the 15th-worst pitching season in White Sox history. What made the trade worse is that Wells put up bWARs of 2.8, 4.9 and 1.7 for Pittsburgh the first three seasons after the trade.

But in fairness to Williams, over 20 combined seasons in the majors Fogg, Lowe and Wells compiled just 6.9 bWAR, so none of the pitchers dealt led to chest-clutching regret.

A free agent, the Sox let him Ritchie go after his one terrible South Side season, and he was out of baseball two years later.


2004
On the third anniversary of his ill-fated Ritchie deal, Williams continued his remake of the club. He sent power-hitting but defensively-challenged outfielder Carlos Lee to Milwaukee as part of a four-player deal.

The outfielder coming from the Brewers to replace him (Scott Podsednik) energized the lineup, stole more than 40 bases twice, made an All-Star team and hit a dramatic walk-off home run in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series.