Today in White Sox History: March 21

Seeds of Sox: Charles Comiskey purchased the Sioux City Huskers and, eventually, brought them to Chicago.


1900
After a meeting with the Chicago Cubs, the way was cleared for Charles Comiskey to bring his team from St. Paul, Minn. to Chicago. He would set up shop of the South Side of the city. However, Comiskey was bringing the team to town regardless of whether the Cubs approved or not — the meeting was set up merely to try to avoid any conflicts.


1997
The White Sox suffered a major blow to their hopes for a championship when star third baseman Robin Ventura destroyed his ankle and lower leg on a slide at home plate in a spring game against the Red Sox. The injury was so horrific that a woman sitting in the stands passed out when she saw the result. Ventura’s spikes caught in the ground, grotesquely twisting his foot 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

The injury took place only 10 days before the season opener, and the Sox were left in a state of shock. GM Ron Schueler announced to the media the team would be looking for a replacement, and then did nothing to fill the void. The Sox stumbled out of the gate with an 8-18 start. Thankfully after a rigorous rehabilitation process, Robin would come back to play in 54 games in 1997 and continue to have an outstanding major league career.

 

Today in White Sox History: December 4

Savvy snag: Rule 5 draft choice Greg Walker clubbed his way through the mid-1980s.


1957 In a trade that shocked and outraged many White Sox fans, popular outfielder Minnie Miñoso and infielder Fred Hatfield were traded to Cleveland for future Hall of Fame pitcher Early Wynn and outfielder Al Smith. Wynn and Smith were among the final pieces acquired for the franchise that would win the pennant in 1959 (Wynn would win the Cy Young Award that season with 22 victories).


1979 The White Sox claimed first baseman Greg Walker from the Phillies in the Rule 5 draft. Walker would make the big club for good in 1983 and have three seasons with at least 24 home runs and two years with at least 90 RBIs. He’d then become the team’s hitting coach.


1997 Jerry Manuel was named the new manager, replacing Terry Bevington. Manuel became the second minority manager of the franchise in team history. In his seven years, the Sox would go to the playoffs in 2000 and have three winning seasons. He’d be named Manager of the Year for his efforts in winning the Central Division in 2000.

 

Today in White Sox History: September 30

Fond farewell: Scoreboard welcoming fans to the final game at Comiskey Park in 1990.


1921 — White Sox catcher Ray Schalk tied a major league record with three assists in one inning. It happened in a 3-2 loss to Cleveland at Comiskey Park. Schalk picked off three baserunners!


1949 — White Sox GM Frank Lane started the connection between the franchise and Venezuela when he dealt two minor leaguers and $35,000 to the Brooklyn Dodgers for shortstop Alfonso Carrasquel.

“Chico” would be named to three All-Star teams and would become the first Venezuelan to appear in the midseason classic. He’d be traded before the start of the 1956 season, to Cleveland for Larry Doby, which opened up the position for another Venezuelan, Luis Aparicio.


1956 — In the season-ending game at Kansas City, Sox pitcher Jim Derrington became the youngest person to ever appear in a game wearing a White Sox uniform. Derrington was 16 years old when he started against the A’s. He went six innings, allowing six runs (five earned) in a 7-6 loss. The teenaged lefty (who was a “bonus baby”) didn’t last long in the big leagues. He pitched a total of 21 innings in the majors, and had a career record of 0-2.


1966 — The White Sox defeated the New York Yankees 6-5 in 11 innings, on a single to left by Johnny Romano. It scored Wayne Causey. Why was that important? The loss guaranteed the Yankees a last-place finish, for the first time since 1912.


1971 — When Bill Melton smashed a home run on the last day of the season off the Bill Parsons of the Milwaukee Brewers, he became the first White Sox player to ever win a home run championship. Melton hit three home runs in the final two games to pass Norm Cash and Reggie Jackson for the title. Typically for a White Sox slugger, Melton only hit 33, the lowest total for a champ since 1965.

In an effort to give Melton an additional at-bat or two, manager Chuck Tanner had the power hitter leading off in the Sox final two games.


1980 — For all of his contributions to baseball and to the White Sox organization, owner Bill Veeck was honored with his own night. The ceremonies took place before the White Sox would drop a 5-1 decision to Oakland.


1990 — Eighty years of baseball history ended, as the original Comiskey Park closed with a 2-1 White Sox win over the Seattle Mariners. An emotional and capacity crowd, including politicians, musicians, sports and Hollywood figures, were in attendance.

Among the celebrities in the park were Governor Jim Thompson, Major Richard M. Daley, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Ron Howard, George Wendt, John Candy, Wayne Gretzky, Billy Cunningham and Maureen O’ Hara. The Oak Ridge Boys sang the National Anthem and the rock group Styx sung “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning. Bobby Thigpen got his 57th save in the game. The Sox would close out a miraculous 1990 season with 94 wins.


1997 — After controversies on and off the field (calling for a relief pitcher with no one warming up, a fistfight with umpire Richie Garcia at a steakhouse, a brawl near third base with Brewers manager Phil Garner) manager Terry Bevington was fired. No flowers were sent and no Sox fan (or player) shed any tears.


2000 — White Sox infielder José Valentin became the fourth player in franchise history to hit home runs from both sides of the plate in the same game. Valentin connected off Kansas City’s Blake Stein and Scott Mullen, driving in three runs in the 9-1 win. This had only happened six times in franchise history, and Valentin did it three times himself! Also, this feat happened three times against the Kansas City Royals.


2008 — For the first time, the White Sox played an extra game to get into the postseason. They hosted the Twins in the 163rd contest of the year (known as the “Blackout Game”) and won 1-0, clinching the Central Division title. John Danks threw eight shutout innings, Jim Thome belted what turned out to be the game-winning home run and Ken Griffey Jr. threw out Michael Cuddyer at home. The Sox won the division with a record of 89-74.


2016 — White Sox left hander Carlos Rodón tied the franchise and American League record by striking out the first seven Minnesota Twins hitters, in a game at U.S. Cellular Field. The original record was set by White Sox hurler Joe Cowley back in 1986 at Texas. Unlike Cowley, though, Rodón actually won his game, 7-3. Rodón struck out 11 on the night, pitching eight innings.

Today in White Sox History: September 28


Sept. 28, 1932J. Louis Comiskey, the new owner and son of Charles Comiskey, tried to rebuild his franchise by sending $150,000 (an unheard-of sum in those days) to the Philadelphia A’s for infielder Jimmy Dykes, outfielder Al Simmons and utility man George “Mule” Haas.

Simmons would become a member of the Hall of Fame in 1953, and in three seasons with the Sox twice drove in more than 100 RBIs. Dykes would eventually manage the team for more than 12 full seasons, beginning in 1934. He had five winning years and one season at .500 in that time, by Brett Ballantini’s managerial WAR the best manager in White Sox history.


Sept. 28, 1953 — The White Sox beat the St. Louis Browns, 3-2, behind Billy Pierce. It was the last American League game ever played in St. Louis, as the Browns moved to Baltimore after the season.


Sept. 28, 1959 — The White Sox team photo appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The caption read: “Chicago’s New Champions Sit For Their Portrait.”


Sept. 28, 1997 Frank Thomas won the batting championship with a .347 average. He joined Luke Appling as the only White Sox players to do this. Thomas was one of only a handful of players in major league history with a batting title and at least 450 home runs to their credit. Thomas was also the largest player (both in height and weight) to ever win a batting crown.


Sept. 28, 2003 — White Sox starter Esteban Loaiza recorded his 21st win of the season, beating the Royals 5-1. The 21 wins tied the major league record for the most wins in a season by a pitcher born in Mexico. Loaiza tied the mark set by Fernando Valenzuela in 1986.

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.