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 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: January 25

Scooter: Fletcher was a dynamo on both early 1980s and early 1990s White Sox teams.


1983
The White Sox and GM Roland Hemond embarrassed the Cubs by hinting through the media that they might select pitcher Fergie Jenkins after the Cubs left him unprotected in the free agent draft. Jenkins, the future Hall-of-Famer, was getting close to the magical 300 win mark in his career. The Sox were entitled to a compensation pick after losing outfielder Steve Kemp to the Yankees.

Thus the Cubs were forced to trade Scott Fletcher, Dick Tidrow, Randy Martz and Pat Tabler to the Sox for a promise not to take Jenkins, along with pitchers Steve Trout and Warren Brusstar. The Sox then flipped Tabler for Jerry Dybzinski. After it was all said and done, Cubs GM Dallas Green was quoted as saying, “To say I’m relieved probably would be an understatement.”

Fletcher would be a part of the 1983 divisional champion, but his bigger impact perhaps came in 1990, for the “Doin’ the Little Things” White Sox, who shocked baseball by winning 94 games. Fletcher was a defensive rock at second base that season, and executed small things like bunting, hitting behind a runner, hitting to the opposite field and driving in key runs exceptionally well. Tidrow did just about everything a relief pitcher could do in 1983, and Dybzinski stabilized a shaky infield in the early part of that same season. Unfortunately, his baserunning error in Game 4 of the ALCS is what he is best remembered for.

The White Sox starting staff was so deep in 1983, with seven pitchers on the roster who all had won at least 10 games in a major league season, that Martz never really got a chance. He only made one emergency start that year in a game at Detroit.

Today in White Sox History: November 23

Bunyanesque: Kittle’s blasts were the stuff of legend. (Fleer)


1983 – The Baseball Writers Association of America announced that White Sox outfielder Ron Kittle was the winner of the AL Rookie of the Year award. The strongman from Gary, Indiana blasted 35 home runs and drove in 100 RBIs, helping the Sox to 99 wins and the Western Division title. He received 15 of 28 first-place votes. Julio Franco of the Indians, who in 1994 would join the Sox, was second, with Mike Boddicker of the Orioles third in the voting.

Kittle would hit seven rooftop home runs in his career with the Sox, the most by any player at the original Comiskey Park.

 

Today in White Sox History: November 3

Big win: All his early work with the White Sox paid off, as La Russa took home Manager of the Year hardware in 1983. (Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation)


1983Tony La Russa, who guided the White Sox to a 99-win season and their first playoff appearance in 24 years, was named the Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America. It was the first year the organization handed out that award. La Russa received 17 of a possible 28 votes to take the honor. He beat out the Orioles Joe Altobelli, who picked up seven first-place votes. La Russa also would take Manager of the Year honors from The Sporting News and the Associated Press.


1988 — The Sox named Jeff Torborg as the team’s new field manager. Torborg, a former major league catcher, and Indians manager, gained notable success with the club. His team and family philosophy took hold, and a young group of players stunned the baseball world by winning 94 games in 1990. (Torborg would be named Manager of the Year that season.)  He followed up that year by winning 87 games in 1991 before being forced out by GM Ron Schueler, who wanted to hire his own man.

Torborg, by the way, is the only man in baseball history to have caught a perfect game from Sandy Koufax and a no-hitter from Nolan Ryan, as he played for the Dodgers and Angels from 1964 through 1973.

Today in White Sox History: October 25

Blum of a blast: The longest game in World Series history ended soon after a midseason pickup made his mark. (YouTube)

1955 — Sox co-GMs Chuck Comiskey and John Rigney made their first trade: Shortstop Chico Carrasquel and center fielder Jim Busby went to Cleveland for slugging centerfielder Larry Doby, the left-handed power hitter the Sox had been lacking the previous three years. The deal also made room in the starting lineup for a rookie shortstop from Venezuela named Luis Aparicio.


1983 — Thanks to the most wins in the majors and a second-half run among the best ever, pitcher LaMarr Hoyt won the Cy Young Award. Hoyt was 9-8 at the All-Star break, then exploded to go 15-2 in the back half to end the year with a record of 24-10 and an ERA of 3.66. In addition, Hoyt pitched almost 261 innings with only 31 walks. He then threw a brilliant, complete game, 2-1 win over the Orioles in the ALCS in Baltimore.

Hoyt became the second White Sox pitcher to ever win the award, following Early Wynn. He easily outdistanced Kansas City’s Dan Quisenberry, 116-81, in voting points. Hoyt won 52 games for the White Sox between 1981 and 1983.


2005 — Game 3 of the World Series set the record for the longest by duration in history. The 14-inning game in Houston lasted five hours, 41 minutes and ended when another White Sox role player, Geoff Blum, belted a home run to give the club a 6-5 lead. It would end 7-5, with Game 2 starter Mark Buehrle picking up the save.

Today in White Sox History: October 8

The last time your editor cried over a ballgame: Tito Landrum crushes Britt Burns‘ (and another BB’s) dreams in 1983.


1948Frank “Trader” Lane was recruited out of the Big Ten Conference and took over as the new general manager of the White Sox. Lane would go on to become one of the greatest GMs in team history. Among the players acquired by Lane, who made over 230 trades in his Sox tenure, were such future All-Stars as Nellie Fox, Sherm Lollar, Billy Pierce, Chico Carrasquel and Minnie Miñoso. Lane built the club that would go on to win the pennant in 1959.


1983 — With the White Sox down 2-1 in the ALCS, Jerry Dybzinski overran second base after a single by Julio Cruz in the seventh inning of a scoreless game at Comiskey Park. In the ensuing rundown Vance Law, who was on base in front of Dybzinski, was thrown out trying to score what would have been the go-ahead run. The Sox wound up losing the game and the series to the Orioles on a home run by Baltimore’s Tito Landrum in the 10th inning. The final score was 3-0, spoiling a masterful pitching performance by Sox pitcher Britt Burns.


1993 — With the White Sox down 2-0 in the ALCS, Wilson Alvarez pitched a gem and beat the Blue Jays 6-1. The Sox scored five runs in the third inning, which gave him some breathing room. Alvarez’s complete-game victory was badly needed, and gave Sox fans a reason to keep hoping.

Today in White Sox History: October 5

Curve ball: Michael Jordan’s bombshell cast a Pall over the 1993 ALCS. (@Cut4)


1908 — White Sox pitcher Ed Walsh won his 40th game of the season, as he beat the Detroit Tigers, 6-1. No one has come close to 40 wins since.


1983Cy Young Award winner LaMarr Hoyt pitched a brilliant, complete game six-hitter in beating the Orioles 2-1 in Game 1 of the ALCS. It was the first time since divisional playoffs started in 1969 that Baltimore had lost the first game of a postseason series. It would prove to be the high-water mark for the Sox in the next week.


1993 — Game 1 of the ALCS was a complete, unmitigated disaster both on and off the field for the White Sox. On the field, the Toronto Blue Jays ripped the Sox, 7-3, but by the middle of the game, not one fan cared. Michael Jordan, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch, confirmed reports that he was holding a press conference the next morning to announce his retirement from the Chicago Bulls. Fans at the game and around the city were in shock.

Adding insult to injury, future Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk and Chicago native and former Sox pitcher Donn Pall were turned away by security guards when they attempted to wish the team good luck in the locker room before the game started. The White Sox claimed the rules were set by major league baseball but no fan or media member was fooled by that comment. Most media members felt Fisk was turned away on explicit orders from owner Jerry Reinsdorf. It was an insult Fisk never forgot.

Reinsdorf then took an unprecedented step of apologizing to the team in the clubhouse before the start of Game 2, saying he had no desire to steal their spotlight because of the Jordan situation.


2008 — Making the postseason for the third time in the decade, the White Sox were on the brink of elimination in the 2008 ALDS, but behind strong starting pitching from John Danks they beat the Rays, 5-3, to survive another day. Danks pitched into the seventh inning, with seven strikeouts. A three-run fourth inning set the tone for the Sox in the game, and narrowed Tampa Bay’s series lead to 2-1. 

Today in White Sox History: September 17

Big win: Oh, for the days of a 20-game division lead! (Chicago Sun-Times)


Sept. 17, 1971 — The White Sox defeated the California Angels 9-4 at Comiskey Park, in a game marked by. an unusual event. All nine players in the White Sox lineup got one RBI, including pitcher Bart Johnson, who started, gave up eight hits and struck out 12 in going the distance.


Sept. 17, 1983 — Before a packed house at Comiskey Park, Harold Baines hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Julio Cruz with the run that won the American League West title for the White Sox, as they edged the Seattle Mariners, 4-3. The Sox went to the playoffs for the first time in 24 years, drew a then-record season attendance of more than two million fans and had the best record in baseball at 99-63. They’d win the division by a record 20 games over the second place Kansas City Royals.


Sept. 17, 1984 Harold Baines became the only player in franchise history to have more than one game with three home runs. Baines had his first three-homer game in July 1982. On this day at the Minnesota Twins, he’d club three more in a 7-3 win, driving in four.  


Sept. 17, 2007 — The Sox tied the club record for the most runs ever scored in the fifth inning of a game when they sent 11 guys home at the Kansas City Royals. In addition to the 11 runs, they also collected 10 hits and three homers, one each by Danny Richar, Jermaine Dye and Josh Fields. Richar, Jerry Owens and Fields all had two hits and Fields drove in four runs in the inning.

Today in White Sox History: September 15

Double his pleasure: Lyons was so great for the White Sox, the franchise honored him with two “Days.”


Sept. 15, 1940Ted Lyons Day was held at Comiskey Park. The “Baylor Bearcat” won 260 games with the club and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1955. His No. 16 would be retired in 1987. This was the second time Lyons was honored this way, the first time coming in 1933.


Sept. 15, 1964 — In his first at-bat in the American League after many seasons in the NL, pinch-hitter deluxe Forrest “Smoky” Burgess belted a game-tying home run at Detroit. The Sox would eventually beat the Tigers 3-2 in 10 innings, keeping their pennant hopes alive. Burgess would lead the league in pinch hits in 1965 and 1966.


Sept. 15, 1970 — Shortly after taking over as the new director of player personnel, Roland Hemond targeted the man who’d eventually in his words, “save” the franchise. Hemond called Bing Devine to see what the chances were of making a deal for Cardinals slugger Dick Allen. Devine turned him down, but 15 months later Hemond would get his man — from the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Sept. 15, 1983 — The White Sox set the franchise record for most runs scored in the sixth inning of a game when they got 11 in a 12-0 win over the Seattle Mariners at Comiskey Park. LaMarr Hoyt got the win, his 21st on the season. The game only lasted seven innings due to rain. Harold Baines had a grand slam, as the Sox cut their magic number down to two for winning the division. The Sox sent 17 men to the plate in the sixth, which saw them get nine hits.


Sept. 15, 1990 — Owner Jerry Reinsdorf fired GM Larry Himes, citing “personality differences.” Himes drafted and signed future White Sox stars like Frank Thomas, Jack McDowell, Robin Ventura and Alex Fernandez. During the press conference announcing the hiring of Ron Schueler as new GM, Reinsdorf issued his famous “point A to point B to point C” comment. Later in a rare radio appearance he was candid on the subject to host Chet Coppock: “The fact is, Larry Himes cannot get along with anybody. You can hardly find anybody in the Sox organization that wasn’t happy when Larry Himes left.”


Sept. 15, 1996Frank Thomas slugged his 215th home run in a Sox uniform, breaking Carlton Fisk’s team record. Thomas homered three times at Fenway Park off the Red Sox’s Tim Wakefield, yet the Sox lost the game, 9-8.


Sept. 15, 1997 — In an 11-10 loss in Milwaukee, Sox rookies Mario Valdez and Jeff Abbott both hit their first big league home runs. Valdez got his in the fifth inning, Abbott an inning later.