Today in White Sox History: April 11

Wheels: Paul Konerko — yes, that Paul Konerko — once hit an inside-the-park home run. (YouTube)


1917
The World Championship season began in St. Louis, where the Sox battered the Browns, 7-2. Claude ‘‘Lefty’’ Williams picked up the win. Just slightly more than six months later, the Sox would win the World Series, four games to two, over John McGraw and the New York Giants.


1969
The White Sox initiated major league baseball in Seattle as the first home opponent for the expansion Seattle Pilots. The Sox promptly rolled over and died to the new team, 7-0, getting shut out by future Sox pitcher Gary Bell who went the distance. Bell would be traded to the Sox in June.


1982
When the great blizzard hit the Midwest and forced cancellation of a number of games, the White Sox had to open on the road the following week … in New York … with a doubleheader. No problem, as the franchise which had already won a regularly scheduled Opening Day twinbill in 1971, put the wood to the Yankees by winning 7-6 in 12 innings, and then 2-0. It was the start of an eight-game winning streak to open the 1982 campaign, the best start in franchise history.


2000
For a man with no speed, he got around the bases fast enough this time! Paul Konerko hit an inside the park home run against Tampa Bay. It came in the first inning off Esteban Yan and drove in two runs. The Sox won, 13-6.


2011
White Sox utility player Brent Lillibridge belted the franchise’s 10,000th home run when he took a fastball from Oakland’s Dallas Braden and hit it out of U.S. Cellular Field. It came in the fifth inning of a game the Sox eventually lost 2-1 in 10 innings.


 

Today in White Sox History: April 1

New exes: Ed Herrmann hangs with former teammate Bill Melton at Comiskey Park in 1975,


1975
In an indication of how bad off the White Sox were financially, Ed Herrmann (one of the top catchers in baseball) was traded to the Yankees for four minor league players. The reason? According to Herrmann, it was because he wanted a $2,000 raise!


2011
The White Sox started the season with a torrent of runs in blistering Cleveland, 15-10. It was the second-highest scoring total on Opening Day in franchise history. The Sox led 14-0 after the first five innings. Carlos Quentin drove in five runs, and newcomer Adam Dunn knocked in four.

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 26

No joy in Mudville: Ozzie, mighty Ozzie, struck out.


Sept. 26, 1905 — In a doubleheader at Boston, Sox pitcher Ed Walsh relieved starter Doc White in the first inning of the opener and got the win, 10-5. Walsh then started and won the nightcap game over the Americans, 3-1. Because White didn’t retire a batter in the opening game, Walsh got credit for a pair of complete-game wins.


Sept. 26, 1943 — The White Sox set the franchise record for the most runs ever scored in the fourth inning when they put 13 on the board against the Senators at Washington. The South Siders would win the game, 15-3. Future Sox star pitcher Early Wynn was the victim of the Sox uprising. Also of note in the 13-run inning was a triple-steal on one play, as Thurman Tucker, Guy Curtright and Luke Appling all swiped bases, with Tucker stealing home.


Sept. 26, 1984 — Despite a disastrous season on the field, the White Sox drew the last of their 2,136,988 fans to Comiskey Park to become the first Chicago franchise to draw at least two million fans in consecutive seasons.


Sept. 26, 1998 — White Sox outfielder Brian Simmons became the third player in franchise history to hit home runs from both sides of the plate in the same game. Simmons connected off Kansas City’s Brian Barber and Allen McDill, driving home five runs in Chicago’s 13-5 win.

Sept. 26, 2011 — He was considered the face of the franchise for eight seasons, but on this night after a 4-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, manager Ozzie Guillén announced he was leaving after owner Jerry Reinsdorf agreed to let him out of the final year of his contract. 

Guillén, who was the 1985 AL Rookie of the Year with the White Sox, won the World Series in 2005 and also got the club into the playoffs in 2008. He had five winning seasons in eight years as manager, and was named Manager of the Year for his work in 2005.

In that magical season of 2005, “Ozzieball” resulted in the Sox getting off to the best start in their history. With a perfect blend of pitching, speed, power and the ability to execute the fundamentals, the White Sox were in first place from wire to wire. Then they blitzed through the postseason, putting together an 11-1 record that was the third-best post season record in baseball history.

Guillén’s passion and enthusiasm for the franchise was unparalleled, but at times he was his own worst enemy.

Over his final years in Chicago, he became increasingly thin-skinned and defensive when criticism was directed his way, and he lashed out at Sox fans on more than one occasion. In one of his infamous rants against fans he said they could ‘‘turn off their TVs and stop watching the game if they don’t like the [bleep]ing lineup,’’ and another in May 2011 claimed Sox fans would not remember him (“as soon as you leave the ballpark they don’t care about you. They don’t. The monuments, the statues … they pee on them when they get drunk.”) On the afternoon of the day he left the team Guillén told reporters (including South Side Hit Pen’s Brett Ballantini, who broke the news that Guillén had published a blog announcing his move to the Marlins during that night’s game) that he would not want to return to fulfill his 2012 contract unless he got an extension and more money.

Ozzie’s relationship with GM Ken Williams also deteriorated over the final few years, as the two men had different viewpoints over how the roster should be constructed and the style to which the Sox should play. Guillén’s family didn’t help the situation, with social media comments derogatory White Sox players and Williams.

Many felt when Ozzie was hired in November 2003 that he was the right man for the right team at the right time, and for a few years he was. Unfortunately, the White Sox manager with the longest tenure since Al Lopez let some personal foibles override a good situation, and it was best for all that a parting of the ways took place.