Today in White Sox History: April 9

Spirit of ’76: Rudy Schaffer, Paul Richards and Bill Veeck went all-out in Veeck’s return to Chicago on Opening Day.


1963
The start of the season found the White Sox in Detroit, and it was a highlight game for third baseman Pete Ward. Ward smacked a seventh-inning, three-run home run off Jim Bunning to push the Sox into the lead, and he also made a barehanded pick-up-and-throw-out of a slow roller hit by Al Kaline. The Sox would win, 7-5, and it would be the start of Ward’s co-American League Rookie of the Year campaign.


1971
It was the largest home opener in years, as 43,253 fans poured into Comiskey Park to see the “New Look” White Sox under GM Roland Hemond and manager Chuck Tanner. Ownership was completely caught with their pants down by the turnout, as concession stands and vendors ran out of items by the middle of the game!

The Sox wouldn’t disappoint, as Rich McKinney’s two-out, ninth-inning single scored Rich Morales with the game-winning run in the 3-2 victory over Minnesota.


1976
Owner Bill Veeck was back, and 40,318 fans turned out to say welcome home on Opening Day. They got their money’s worth, as in a tribute to the U.S. Bicentennial, Veeck, manager Paul Richards and front office executive Rudy Schaffer presented the colors dressed as the fife player, drummer and flag bearer of the Revolutionary War. Wilbur Wood tossed a complete game six-hitter and Jim Spencer had a two-run home run in the 4-0 win against Kansas City.


1977
The White Sox defeated the Blue Jays, 3-2, in Toronto for the franchise’s first-ever regular-season win outside of the United States. Oscar Gamble’s home run in the fourth put the Sox on top to stay, and the team added two more in the fifth. Chris Knapp got the win and Lerrin LaGrow earned his first save in what would be the best season of his career. He’d end 1977 with 25 of them and a 2.46 ERA.


1985
For future Hall-of-Famer Tom Seaver, it was his record 14th Opening Day start. For Ozzie Guillén, it was his major league debut. The two of them combined to help the Sox beat Milwaukee, 4-2, at County Stadium. Guillén would get his first hit in the big leagues that day, a bunt single off of future Sox pitcher Ray Searage in the ninth inning.


1990
It was the last home opener at the original Comiskey Park, and the Sox made it a good one in beating the Brewers, 2-1. Scott Fletcher’s sacrifice fly scored Sammy Sosa with what turned out to be the winning run. Barry Jones got the win, with Bobby Thigpen picking up the first of what would be a record-setting 57 saves in a season.


1993
During the home opener with the Yankees, Bo Jackson showed that the human spirit is simply amazing. Jackson, playing with an artificial hip, hammered a Neal Heaton pitch into the right field seats for a home run. It was Jackson’s first at-bat since his hip replacement, caused by an injury he suffered during his days as an All-Pro running back for the Raiders.

Jackson would end up with 16 home runs, including one in late September against Seattle that won the White Sox the Western Division title. As far as the baseball hit off Heaton, a fan returned it to him and he later had it encased and welded to his late mother’s headstone.


 

Today in White Sox History: April 7

Great White North: Jack Brohamer of the White Sox turns shin guards into snow shoes before Toronto’s MLB debut in 1977.


1970
The worst White Sox team in history began their forgettable season by getting pounded 12-0 at home by the Twins. Sox starting pitcher Tommy John only lasted into the fifth inning. The Sox would go on to lose a franchise-record 106 games.


1971
Charlie Finley, the A’s owner, got the first regularly scheduled Opening Day doubleheader in history but was stunned when the White Sox beat them twice, 6-5 and 12-4. Tommy John and Bart Johnson were the winning pitchers. The Sox clubbed five home runs on the day, including a grand slam by Bill Melton. It should have been six homers, except that Carlos May somehow missed touching home plate on his blast. The A’s picked up on it and tagged him out when he was sitting in the dugout.

This was also Harry Caray’s first regular season game as a White Sox announcer, although at the time not a whole lot of folks could hear him. Three straight awful years caused the Sox to lose their radio contract with any mainstream Chicago station. For the next two years Sox games were broadcast on WTAQ (LaGrange) and WEAW (Evanston), two low-powered stations.


1973
On Opening Day in Texas, Mike Andrews became the first White Sox DH. He hit sixth in the lineup for manager Chuck Tanner. He went 1-for-3 in the 3-1 win behind Wilbur Wood.


1977
The White Sox introduced American League baseball to Canada, as they played the first ever game in Toronto Blue Jays history. The Jays outslugged the Sox in a driving snowstorm to win, 9-5. But it was the start of something much bigger; the “South Side Hit Men” were born.


1984
Detroit’s Jack Morris threw what turned out to be the last no-hitter at Comiskey Park, shutting down the White Sox 4-0 on the NBC Saturday “Game of the Week.” The Sox had their chances, including loading the bases on walks in the fourth inning with nobody out.


1993
On his first swing of the season, future Hall-of-Famer Carlton Fisk would blast his final major league home run. It would come off of Minnesota’s Jim Deshaies in the third inning, and was the only run scored by the Sox in a 6-1 loss. Fisk would be released by the Sox in June.


1994
In the annual “Crosstown Classic” charity game between the White Sox and Cubs, Michael Jordan wrote his name into Sox lore. His double in the late innings tied the game and prevented the Sox from losing for the first time in this series. The game would end in a tie. The Sox would go 10-0-2 in the Crosstown Classic series (1985-95, with two games played in 1995).

 

 

 

Today in White Sox History: April 6

Solid as a: Rock Raines was a stalwart in the leadoff spot for the 1993 White Sox. (Pinnacle)


1993
A division championship season began with a night game in Minnesota and a big 10-5 win over the Twins. Tim Raines knocked in three runs on the night. The White Sox would wind up winning the AL West by eight games and compiling 94 victories.

Today in White Sox History: January 4

Inked to a comeback: Burks re-set his career on the South Side, then found glory in Colorado. (@KnightsBaseball)


1993
The White Sox signed oft-injured outfielder Ellis Burks to a one-year contract. Burks would have a breakout season in 1993 with 17 homers, 71 RBIs and a .275 batting average in the divisional championship season. He’d catch the final out to clinch the division title that season as well. Unfortunately, GM Ron Schueler wouldn’t give Burks the multi-year deal he was looking for when the season ended, and the outfielder left for Colorado and became an All-Star.

 

Today in White Sox History: December 28

Hey Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had a Deal: Burks begat Jackson for 1994.


1993
As part of an effort to replace Ellis Burks, White Sox GM Ron Schueler inked journeyman outfielder Darrin Jackson to a contract. D.J. would replace Burks just fine with 10 homers, 51 RBIs, seven stolen bases and a .312 average in the shortened 1994 season. He moved into the team’s broadcasting booth years later, first on TV, then radio.

 

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: November 2

(Upper Deck)


1993 — White Sox pitcher “Black” Jack McDowell easily captured the American League Cy Young Award, beating out Randy Johnson. McDowell went 22-10 with a 3.37 ERA, and led the league in wins and shutouts. He was second in innings pitched and third in complete games. Jack got 124 points, to Johnson’s 75. From 1990-94 Jack won more games than any pitcher in the American League.

Today in White Sox History: October 9

(@ChicagoTribune)


1919 — The White Sox unexpectedly lost the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds, 5-3. Sox fans, reporters and some players were totally shocked over the way some games were lost. The questions surrounding this series — one of the greatest upsets in baseball history — would linger for a year before exploding into the “Black Sox” scandal as eight players were put on trial for attempting to deliberately lose games.


1993 — In Game 4 of the 1993 ALCS the White Sox squared the best-of-seven series 2-2 with a 7-4 win in Toronto. Tim Belcher, who was acquired in a July trade, got the win in relief of Jason Bere. Unfortunately this was the last great moment for the “Good Guys Wear Black,” as Toronto closed out the series by winning Game 5 in Toronto and Game 6 at Comiskey Park.

A few years later, Toronto manager Cito Gaston revealed that the Blue Jays knew exactly what pitches were coming from both Sox aces (Jack McDowell and Alex Fernandez), something the Sox coaching staff never picked up on. In fact Toronto beat those pitchers four times, while losing all the other games.

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.