Today in White Sox History: January 31

Inflated value: Billy Sullivan wasn’t just an ace backstop, but an inventor! (Turkey Red)


1909
White Sox catcher Billy Sullivan secured a patent on the first catcher’s chest protector. It contained a wind pad with compressed air.


2003
The U.S. Cellular Company and the White Sox signed an agreement selling the naming rights to Comiskey Park. The deal was worth $68 million over 23 years. The money received by the club contained the stipulation that it could only be used on renovations and upgrades for the stadium, not for player additions via free agency. The renovations made the ballpark, now Guaranteed Rate Field, one of the finest-looking stadiums in baseball.

 

Today in White Sox History: January 24

Miracle Man: Loaiza was supposed to merely fill out the rotation, not compete for the Cy Young.


2003
Sometimes luck plays a part in things … sometimes a very big part. On this date, White Sox GM Ken Williams signed free agent pitcher Esteban Loaiza to a contract. Loaiza was expected to round out the back end of the rotation, but he did much more than that. By season’s end he had won 21 games, started the All-Star Game and led the AL in strikeouts. He could have won the Cy Young Award, but a pair of 1-0 losses to Detroit appeared to kill his chances and he ended up second in the voting. The next year he was traded to the Yankees at midseason for pitcher Jose Contreras — another deal that was a steal for the White Sox!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today in White Sox History: January 15

The Bartolo Colon Experience: Not for the faint of heart. (Wikipedia)


2003
It was another bold stab by GM Ken Williams, as he acquired starter Bartolo Colon as part of a three-way deal with the Montreal Expose and New York Yankees. Colon had a good season for the Sox (15 wins, 242 innings and 173 strikeouts) before inking a large deal with the Angels, with whom he’d win the Cy Young. Williams brought Colon back in 2009, hoping for the same success, but got little for his troubles. In fact Colon got hurt, was overweight, and when assigned to a minor league rehab stint never reported!

 

Today in White Sox History: November 4

Glory days: Guillén at his peak, winning the 2005 World Series. (@OzzieGuillen)


2003 — Former White Sox All-Star shortstop Ozzie Guillén was named the team’s manager, replacing Jerry Manuel. Ozzie immediately set about changing the fortunes of the franchise. His “Ozzie-Ball” philosophy of pitching, smart-aggressive base running, defense and doing the little things instead of just waiting for the home run would help lead to a World Series title in 2005, the season he would be named Manager of the Year. He’d return to the playoffs with the club in 2008.

Before being allowed to leave in late September 2011, Guillén appeared to be headed for a very long career on the South Side, but his relationship changed with GM Ken Williams, and a parting was best for all concerned.

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 27


Sept. 27, 1959 — The White Sox closed their championship season with a 6-4 win at Detroit and when the final stats were in, second baseman Nellie Fox pulled off a rare feat, leading all American League second baseman in fielding percentage, putouts and assists.                 


Sept. 27, 1963 — During the last home doubleheader, the White Sox caught on to the folk music craze sweeping the nation. Between games against the Washington Senators, the club had a hootenanny promotion where folk groups and singers held a concert on the field.


Sept. 27, 1967— The White Sox finished the season with the two worst teams in the league, the Kansas City A’s and Washington Senators, and fans could smell that elusive World Series.

However it all began to fall apart when the Sox dropped a doubleheader to the A’s (5-2 and 4-0) after rain postponed the game Tuesday night. The Sox, in the middle of a pennant race, got more than three days off, not having played since Sunday afternoon in Cleveland. Pitchers Gary Peters and Joe Horlen got tagged with the losses on “Black Wednesday,” but the final embarrassment was yet to come.


Sept. 27, 1993 — In front of a capacity crowd at Comiskey Park II, the White Sox clinched the Western Division by beating Seattle, 4-2. It was Bo Jackson who clubbed a towering, three-run blast that just dropped over the wall in left that was the difference in the game. The homer capped off an incredible comeback season for one of the finest athletes in history. Also in this game Sox starting pitcher Wilson Alvarez saw his streak of 30 consecutive shutout innings snapped when Seattle got to him for two runs in the eighth. The Sox went 94-68 and took the title by eight games over Texas.


Sept. 27, 2003 — In one of the highest scoring games in their history, the White Sox battered the Royals in Kansas City, 19-3. Pitcher Bartolo Colon won this one easily. Joe Crede and Carl Everett both had four RBIs.


Sept. 27, 2011 — Pitcher Mark Buehrle set the franchise record when, for the 11th straight season he made at least 30 starts, won at least 10 games and pitched at least 200 innings. Buehrle set the milestone during a 2-1 win over the Blue Jays. Those numbers were a testament to his ability, dedication and durability.  


Sept. 27, 2014 — The Chicago White Sox have had a number of great players over the decades. One of them was first baseman Paul Konerko, and on this day the Sox honored Paul with a ceremony and unveiled a sculpture of him. The numbers showed that Konerko was one of the best players in franchise history, hitting 432 home runs and driving in 1,383 RBIs. He was a six time All-Star, a World Series champion, the 2005 ALCS MVP and 2002 Comeback Player of the Year. Konerko would play his final game for the Sox the next day, and retired after 16 seasons with the club. In May 2015, Konerko returned to U.S. Cellular Field and had his No. 14 retired.   

Today in White Sox History: September 9

Outfitted: Al Capone, son, and dozens of bodyguards take in a crosstown game in 1931. (The Petaluma Argus Courier)


Sept. 9, 1917 — This day marks the only time the White Sox have ever won a forfeited game. At Comiskey Park against Cleveland, the Indians were protesting a close call that went against them in the top of the 10th inning of a tie game.

When they took the field in the last of the inning, Cleveland players threw their gloves in the air, some rolled around in the dirt and catcher Steve O’Neill deliberately threw a ball into center field. Umpire Clarence “Brick” Owens had enough and declared the game won by the Sox.


Sept. 9, 1931 — At the cross-city exhibition game between the White Sox and Cubs at Comiskey Park this afternoon a famous (or “infamous”) fan and his son sat along the White Sox side of the field, in the front row.

The fan was Al Capone, the head of the largest crime syndicate in Chicago known as the “Chicago Outfit.” He took in the game with his son and a number of bodyguards who were seated directly behind them. They were part of a crowd of almost 35,000. The game was to benefit an unemployment relief fund established by Illinois governor Louis L. Emmerson as the Depression strengthened its grip on the country. Less than a month later, Capone would go to trial on income tax evasion charges, be found guilty, and sent to prison.


Sept. 9, 1983 — The Winning Ugly express roared on, crushing former Sox great Tommy John and the California Angels, 11-0. What was significant in this one was, for the first time in team history, the Sox hammered back-to-back-to-back home runs, courtesy of Carlton Fisk, Tom Paciorek, and Greg Luzinski in the first inning.

Not to be outdone, pitcher Britt Burns threw a one-hitter. Outfielder Mike Brown’s two-out single in the seventh inning was Burns’ only mistake.


Sept. 9, 2003 — With one move, White Sox manager Jerry Manuel perhaps cost his team a postseason berth and eventually led himself to be fired.

In a game the Sox were leading the Twins 8-2 in the ninth inning, Manuel brought in relief pitcher Jose Paniagua to get some work in. The Sox had a one-game lead over the Twins, and this was the second of a four-game series at U.S. Cellular Field.

Paniagua allowed four runs, giving the Twins momentum even though they’d lose, 8-6. Minnesota promptly won the final two games, swept the Sox the following week at the Metrodome and won the second of three consecutive division titles.

Paniagua, as he was leaving the field, made an obscene gesture at the home plate umpire and was released by GM Kenny Williams later that evening. Manuel’s dismissal would come a few weeks later.

There has always been debate over the impact of this incident in the divisional race, but Twins players have been quoted as saying it was a difference-maker.


Sept. 9, 2017 – White Sox slugger José Abreu became only the sixth player in franchise history to hit for the cycle in a 13-1 rout of the San Francisco Giants. José’s cycle, in order, went home run, double, single and triple. For the night, he went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBIs.