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