Lost opportunity: This utter gem of a photo was never used by Topps, which is a crime against cardboard. (Topps)
1971 — It was the trade that perhaps saved the franchise: White Sox player personnel director Roland Hemond sent pitcher Tommy John and infielder Steve Huntz to the Dodgers for disgruntled slugger Dick Allen. Allen, one of the most prolific talents in the game, marched to his own drummer and was deemed difficult to handle by other teams and managers. Somehow Sox skipper Chuck Tanner, who had known the Allen family for years, got the best out of him. Allen would almost singlehandedly lead the team to the 1972 playoffs, winning the American League MVP. He’d win two home run titles in his three years on the South Side and be named to three All-Star teams. His popularity kept the turnstiles spinning and the White Sox solvent.
An hour later, Hemond stole pitcher Stan Bahnsen from the Yankees for infielder Rich McKinney. Bahnsen would go on to win 21 games in 1972.
2002 — And now, a deal that didn’t work too well for the White Sox: GM Ken Williams traded closer Keith Foulke, catcher Mark Johnson and a third player to the A’s for pitchers Billy Koch, Neal Cotts and a third player. Koch never found the success he’d had in Toronto or Oakland, in part because of a rare illness. Cotts, at least, would have a spectacular season in 2005, helping the Sox win the World Series.
Foulke meanwhile, saved 44 games and made the All-Star team in 2003. In his defense, Williams may have had his hands tied by the fact that manager Jerry Manuel had lost confidence in Foulke and refused to pitch him in key situations in the back half of the 2002 season.