Today in White Sox History: December 22

Clutch work in Beantown: El Duque spun the most storied inning of the 21st Century for the White Sox in the ALDS. (YouTube)


2004
As part of a plan to add more depth to the rotation, the White Sox signed veteran hurler Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez. “The Duke” started strong in 2005, faded somewhat down the stretch, but pitched perhaps the most historic inning in franchise history when he came in to a bases-loaded, no-out situation at Boston in Game 3 of the ALDS. He proceeded to get two pop outs and a strikeout as the Sox held on to win and advance to the ALCS.

 

 

Today in White Sox History: December 17

Spirit of 76: Paul Richards, flanked by Rudie Schaffer and Bill Veeck, made his final Opening Day as a manager a memorable one.


1914
Pants Rowland was named White Sox manager. He would guide the club to a 100-win season and the World Series title in 1917.

1975
Under new owner Bill Veeck, the Sox went retro with the naming of former manager Paul Richards to become the new manager, replacing Chuck Tanner. Richards was the man who turned around the franchise in 1951. He was one of the smartest baseball men in the game, but it had been years since he was involved in the day-to-day operations of a franchise. Apparently he didn’t even really want the job, agreeing to do it only as a favor to Veeck. He would last one season.

Years later, Tanner would reveal that Richards asked him to stay on as his third base coach, with the promise of getting the manager’s job again in 1977.

2004
The Sox claimed pitcher Bobby Jenks on waivers from the Angels. Jenks had a reputation as a reckless individual who wanted to party more then play baseball. Somehow, the White Sox found a way to reach him, and Jenks proved a godsend down the stretch in 2005, then followed it up with 41 saves in 2006.

 

Today in White Sox History: December 13

Not so bad: Ritchie was a monumental failure for the White Sox, but he was hurt — and the guys swapped out didn’t really sting too badly. (Upper Deck)


1969
The White Sox dealt their star left hander Gary Peters to the Red Sox for Syd O’Brien and Billy Farmer. Farmer retired instead of reporting, so as compensation the Sox received Jerry “Wheat Germ Kid” Janeski. Peters would win 33 games in the next three seasons. Janeski won 10 in 1970 then was shipped to Washington for outfielder Rick Reichardt.

Peters had spent seven full and four partial seasons with the team, with a 20-win season, two All- Star teams and a Rookie of the Year award.


1982
The White Sox outbid 16 other teams to sign free agent pitcher Floyd Bannister to a five year, $4.5 million deal. Bannister had led the American League in strikeouts in 1981. In his five seasons on the South Side, Bannister won in double figures every year, with a high of 16 wins in both 1983 and 1987.

His signing angered Yankee owner George Steinbrenner ,who wasn’t used to losing out on talent that he wanted. Steinbrenner was quoted as saying that he regretted voting against Edward DeBartolo in his bid to buy the Sox franchise from Bill Veeck back in 1980 and leveled verbal blasts at owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn.


2001
In his quest to find reliable starting pitching, White Sox GM Ken Williams traded youngsters Kip Wells and Josh Fogg and veteran Sean Lowe to the Pirates for Todd Ritchie. Ritchie would suffer a shoulder injury and have a disastrous 2002 season, going 5-15 with an ERA of 6.06 (4.84 FIP)! Ritchie’s -1.7 bWAR is tied for the 15th-worst pitching season in White Sox history. What made the trade worse is that Wells put up bWARs of 2.8, 4.9 and 1.7 for Pittsburgh the first three seasons after the trade.

But in fairness to Williams, over 20 combined seasons in the majors Fogg, Lowe and Wells compiled just 6.9 bWAR, so none of the pitchers dealt led to chest-clutching regret.

A free agent, the Sox let him Ritchie go after his one terrible South Side season, and he was out of baseball two years later.


2004
On the third anniversary of his ill-fated Ritchie deal, Williams continued his remake of the club. He sent power-hitting but defensively-challenged outfielder Carlos Lee to Milwaukee as part of a four-player deal.

The outfielder coming from the Brewers to replace him (Scott Podsednik) energized the lineup, stole more than 40 bases twice, made an All-Star team and hit a dramatic walk-off home run in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series.

 

 

Today in White Sox History: December 8

Cashing in: The only time in the 20th Century that the reigning MVP was traded or sold came in 1914, when the White Sox snagged future Hall-of-Famer Eddie Collins. (Baseball Hall of Fame)


1914
The White Sox purchased reigning MVP and future Hall of Fame second baseman Eddie Collins from Connie Mack and the Philadelphia A’s. The price was incredible based on 1914 standards: $50,000 went to Mack. $15,000 went to Collins as a signing bonus, and then Collins was tendered a five-year guaranteed deal worth $75,000! Collins would play for the White Sox for 12 seasons.


1959
The offseason purging of young players continued with the White Sox shipping future All-Star, power-hitting outfielder Johnny Callison to the Phillies for third baseman Gene Freese. Of all the offseason moves, this was probably the worst.

Freese was a slow, scattergun-armed infielder with limited range. Callison, the subject of “The Life of a Sox Rookie” documentary film in 1958, failed in a few tries to take over the left field spot but in a new environment blossomed, winning the 1964 All-Star Game for the National League with a three-run, ninth-inning home run. The AL team that year was led by (ironically) Sox skipper Al Lopez!

Freese would be sent along in 1961 to the Reds in exchange for two pitchers, one of whom was Juan Pizarro, who became a two-time All-Star. Freese would return to the Sox for parts of the 1965 and 1966 seasons.

The Sox, meanwhile, realized the mistake they had made and tried to reacquire Callison from Philadelphia before the start of the 1962 season without success. He’d play 10 seasons with the Phillies, accumulating five years in double figures for triples, eight seasons with 10 or more home runs and four years with at least 78 RBIs.


1996
Pitcher Alex Fernandez signed a free-agent deal with Florida, the culmination of misunderstandings and pettiness. Sox ownership felt Fernandez was going to remain contractually bound to them for another season, but that was torpedoed when the players union and owners agreed to give players service time during the time missed in 1994 because of the labor impasse. Fernandez became a free agent, and the Sox hastily made a late offer that was rebuffed. He won 79 games in four full and three partial seasons with the White Sox. Without him to anchor the rotation, the Sox were forced to try to fill the void. The choice to do so, Jamie Navarro, was a complete disaster.


2004
Trying to fortify his bullpen, White Sox GM Ken Williams inked free agent pitcher Dustin Hermanson to a contract. Hermanson would be spectacular in the first half of the 2005 championship season before back issues limited him in the second half. He’d still finish with 34 saves and an ERA of 2.04.

 

Today in White Sox History: September 13

Casual day: White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf kicks back to watch the Marlins and Expos at Sox Park in 2004. (Wikipedia)


Sept. 13, 1967 — In one of the longest games in franchise history and in the middle of a four-team pennant race, the White Sox shut out Cleveland 1-0 in 17 innings! (Now that’s pitching!)

The game lasted more than four and a half hours and was finally finished when Rocky Colavito singled to right, driving home Buddy Bradford. One other note from this game, Sox starter Gary Peters allowed one hit in 11 innings, striking out seven … and he also walked 10! (I wonder what his pitch count was!)

Don McMahon, the fourth Sox pitcher, picked up the relief win. (It’s notable that on at least one occasion this season, White Sox manager Ricky Renteria has used four pitchers in one inning.)


Sept. 13, 1987 — In a game in Seattle, White Sox pitcher Floyd Bannister fired a one-hitter in winning 2-0. Harold Reynolds’ two-out single to left in the first inning was the only baserunner on the night for the Mariners, and ironically he was thrown out trying to stretch the hit to a double! Bannister faced the minimum 27 hitters and struck out 10.


Sept. 13, 2004 — Due to hurricane Ivan, U.S. Cellular Field hosted the first two games of a series between the Montreal Expos and Florida Marlins. It was the first time a National League team played a regular season “home” game in an American League park since 1946.