Five White Sox are elected to the South Side Hit Pen Hall of Fame!

Dynamic duo: Former teammates Harold Baines and Carlton Fisk led five players into our White Sox Hall of Fame. (Topps)


In a phenomenal show of support and cohesion, a record five players were elected to the South Side Hit Pen White Sox Hall of Fame for 2020.

With more than 1,000 votes cast Joe Jackson (81%), Paul Konerko (79%), Carlton Fisk (79%), Harold Baines (78%) and Ed Walsh (75%) all crossed the bar for induction. Walsh, almost unquestionably the greatest pitcher in White Sox history, gains entry thanks to a rounding up of his 74.528% earned in his third year on the ballot.

Player Position Percentage
Joe Jackson Left Fielder 81%
Carlton Fisk Catcher 79%
Paul Konerko First Baseman 79%
Harold Baines Right Fielder 78%
Ed Walsh Right-Handed Starting Pitcher 75%
Ted Lyons Right-Handed Starting Pitcher 62%
Wilbur Wood Right-Handed Pitcher 56%
Robin Ventura Third Baseman 51%
Red Faber Right-Handed Starting Pitcher 42%
Chris Sale Left-Handed Pitcher 39%
Eddie Cicotte Right-Handed Starting Pitcher 37%
Hoyt Wilhelm Right-Handed Relief Pitcher 34%
Ray Schalk Catcher 24%
Sherm Lollar Catcher 21%
Jack McDowell Right-Handed Starting Pitcher 21%
Magglio Ordoñez Right Fielder 20%
Gary Peters Left-Handed Starting Pitcher 18%
Fielder Jones Center Fielder 12%
Tommy John Left-Handed Starting Pitcher 12%
Chet Lemon Center Fielder 11%
Joe Horlen Right-Handed Starting Pitcher 9%
Doc White Left-Handed Starting Pitcher 7%
George Davis Shortstop 7%
Ray Durham Second Baseman 6%
Alexei Ramírez Shortstop 5%
Lance Johnson Center Fielder 4%
Johnny Mostil Center Fielder 3%
José Quintana Left-Handed Starting Pitcher 2%
Matt Thornton Left-Handed Relief Pitcher 1%
Terry Forster Left-Handed Pitcher 1%

By virtue of everyone on the ballot getting at least one vote, nobody drops off for that reason next season. In 2021, five new players will enter the ballot, including José Abreu.

Here are the results of the other elections within the third annual Hall of Fame vote:




Pat Seerey has done very poorly in his two stints in the “moment” vote — and is so disrespected that the amateur White Sox historian who compiles these Hall of Fame articles couldn’t even spell his name right on the ballot (OK, so it might have been like 4 a.m.) — so it might be time to remove him from future voting.







Next year, we’ll have another full slate of players eligible for enshrinement, plus these additional categories. Some of the above will sit a year out in an every-other frequency, and perhaps we’ll even invented a new category or two (suggestions are welcome in the comments, as always).

Thanks to all who participated — you’re the ones who make this all a lot of fun! And stay tuned, because at long last our first South Side Hit Pen White Sox Hall of Fame “plaque” will be published on these pages. We’ll continue to unveil our “plaques” to all winners, throughout the year.


2018 White Sox Hall of Fame winners
Frank Thomas (Hall of Fame Player)
Minnie Miñoso (Hall of Fame Player)
Luis Aparicio (Hall of Fame Player)
Nellie Fox (Hall of Fame Player)
Luke Appling (Hall of Fame Player)
2005 (Season)
Bill Veeck (Contributor)
Exploding Scoreboard (Gimmick)
Disco Demolition (Promotion)
1991 (Uniform)
Ozzie Guillén (Manager)
2005 World Series Sweep (Moment)

2019 White Sox Hall of Fame winners
Mark Buehrle (Hall of Fame Player)
Billy Pierce (Hall of Fame Player)
Eddie Collins (Hall of Fame Player)
1917 (Season)
Nancy Faust (Contributor)
Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye) (Gimmick/Promotion)
Four Straight ALCS Complete Games (2005 Moment)
Mark Buehrle Between-the-Legs (Defensive Play)
Dick Allen (Meteoric Player)
Ozzie Guillén (Character)
Jim Margalus (South Side Sox Member)

 

It’s time for the third annual White Sox Hall of Fame vote!

The Terminator: Ed Walsh was a badass on the mound. Perhaps his the third time’s the charm for him and the White Sox Hall of Fame. (Wikipedia)


Once upon a time, the Chicago White Sox had a team Hall of Fame — until they decided to put it in mothballs, in favor of an extended gift shop. Now the Sox have a two-story team store, and they have yet to bring the team Hall of Fame back.

We’re tired of waiting, so we’ve established a virtual one. First at South Side Sox, now here at South Side Hit Pen.

Voting is similar to our regular Hall of Fame vote: You are able to choose a maximum of 10 guys from this year’s ballot of 30 nominees. A player will need 75% of the vote to gain enshrinement. If a player receives zero votes (as happened to two players last year), they will be booted off of the ballot for five years.

As an added bonus, there are some fun categories on the ballot, so don’t stop after the player vote!

In 2018, with our inaugural White Sox Hall vote, we enshrined five players: Frank Thomas, Minnie Miñoso, Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox and Luke Appling. Players need 75% of votes to gain induction, so near-misses included Mark Buehrle (66.7%), Joe Jackson (63.3%), and Paul Konerko (61.4%).

The second year of voting in 2019 landed Buehrle (82.5%), Billy Pierce (75.8%) and Eddie Collins (75.4%) into the Hall, with Ed Walsh’s 68.3% getting him closer to entry.

In 2018, we also enshrined 2005 (Season), Bill Veeck (Contributor), Exploding Scoreboard (Gimmick), Disco Demolition (Promotion), 1991 (Uniform), Ozzie Guillén (Manager), and 2005 World Series Sweep (Moment). In 2019, the extra categories winners included 1917 (Season), Nancy Faust (Contributor), Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye) (Gimmick/Promotion), four straight ALCS complete games (2005 Moment), Mark Buehrle between-the-legs (Defensive Play), Dick Allen (Meteoric Player), Ozzie Guillén (Character) and Jim Margalus (South Side Sox member).

A reminder that the dear departed KenWo wrote the intro and all of the player bios for our inaugural ballot, so the bios Ken wrote that are reprinted for this ballot carry a “— KW” designation, and I’d like to give him a high five for his fun intro here and anything else that has carried over from his hard work in putting together our inaugural ballot in 2018.

You have until February 10 to fill out your ballot, as the 2020 White Sox Hall of Fame class will be announced on February 11.

At the bottom of each category is your ballot, so there’s no off-site voting like in past years. We begin with another 30-player ballot, including five new additions.

Sitaspell, take yer shoes off, and ponder.

Note: aWAR averages Baseball-Reference (bWAR), FanGraphs (fWAR) and Baseball Prospectus (WARP) WAR measures, when available. aaWAR adjusts aWAR to account for lost time due to work stoppage, military service, or institutional racism. Each WAR listed is for White Sox play only.


Players

Harold Baines
Right Fielder/Designated Hitter
(1980-89, 1996-97, 2000-01)
bWAR: 24.7
fWAR: N/A
WARP: 23.0
aWAR: 23.9
aaWAR: 25.0

Last year’s SSS vote: 54%
Core Stats: .288/.346/.463, 1,773 hits, 221 HR, 981 RBI, 118 OPS+

The White Sox made Baines the No. 1 overall pick in the 1977 draft, and he didn’t disappoint, along with Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez and Chipper Jones becoming one of the most successful No. 1 picks of all time. Baines knocked in the winning run to clinch the AL West in 1983, ended the longest game in major league history with a walk-off homer in the 25th inning in 1984, and was a constant force in the Sox lineup throughout the lean years of the late 1980s. After being traded to Texas for Sammy Sosa and Wilson Alvarez, Harold had his No. 3 retired when the Rangers returned to Chicago in 1989. Harold would come back to the White Sox in 1996. After being dealt in the White Flag trades of 1997, Baines was again brought back in 2000. He is among the Top 10 all-time in nearly every White Sox offensive category, including runs (eighth), hits (sixth), doubles (fifth), homers (third) and RBI (fourth). His statue sits on the right field concourse. And in 2019, Baines was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame. — KW


Eddie Cicotte
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
(1912-20)
bWAR: 49.5
fWAR: N/A
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 49.5
aaWAR: 51.5
Last year’s SSS vote: 43%

Core Stats: 156-101, 183 CG, 28 SHO, 21 SV, 2.25 ERA/2.48 FIP, 1.11 WHIP, 133 ERA+

Perhaps most famous for being one of the Eight Men Out, Cicotte had a fantastic nine-year run with the Pale Hose. He came to the White Sox early in the 1912 season, after pitching for the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox early in his career. He went 18-11 with a 1.58 ERA in his first full season on the South Side. Cicotte really dialed it up for the World Series-winning 1917 White Sox, when he led the league with 28 wins, a 1.53 ERA and 346 ⅔ innings. After a down 1918 (along with the rest of the White Sox), Cicotte went 29-7 with a 1.82 ERA in 306 ⅔ innings for the 1919 White Sox. In that postseason, he went 1-2 in his three starts, with two complete games and an ERA of 2.91. The knuckleballer went 21-10 in 1920, before admitting to his role in the fix and being banned for life. — KW


George Davis
Shortstop
(1902, 1904-09)
bWAR: 33.0
fWAR: 32.0
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 32.5
Last year’s SSS vote: 11%
Core Stats: .259/.333/.332, 6 HR, 377 RBI, 162 SB, 109 OPS+

Davis signed with the White Sox in 1902, after a long tenure with the New York Giants, where he was a star hitter. In 1900, he was named manager of the Giants, while he still was a force with the bat. However, the Giants record under his tenure was awful, and Davis ignored the reserve clause to sign a deal with the White Sox in the relatively new American League. In that first season, Davis hit .299/.386/.402 with 34 extra base hits and 93 RBI — in the dead-ball era. After the season, Davis signed a two-year deal to return to the Giants. This angered White Sox owner Charles Comiskey, who filed injunctions that Davis could not play for any team other than the White Sox. The National League owners instructed the Giants to give up Davis’ rights, and the shortstop only appeared in four games for New York in 1903. In 1904, he was back with the Sox, providing good offense for the era, and threw the leather as a great shortstop, en route to a 7.2 WAR season. He matched that output in 1905, and was the best hitter on the “Hitless Wonders” of 1906 who upset the Chicago Cubs in the World Series. Davis hit .308 with three doubles, leading the Sox to their first championship. After that season, age and injuries slowed Davis. His career would end following the 1909 season, when he hit .132 in 28 games. Davis was elected to the Hall of Fame 89 years later, in 1998. — KW


Ray Durham
Second Baseman
(1995-2002)
bWAR: 21.4
fWAR: N/A
WARP: 16.5
aWAR: 19.0
aaWAR: 18.9

First year on the White Sox Hall of Fame ballot
Core Stats: .278/.352/.428, 1,246 H, 106 HR, 484 RBI, 219 SB, 102 OPS+

Durham was a steady influence on some perennially-disappointing 1990s White Sox teams, finally breaking through in the postseason in 2000, when he put up a .985 OPS as one of the few South Side hitters who didn’t wilt vs. the Mariners. He finished sixth in Rookie of the Year voting in 1995 despite putting up a statistically disappointing season, but would go on to make All-Star teams in 1998 and 2000. Durham’s 5.5 offensive WAR in 1998 ranked ninth in the AL, and he led the league in double plays in both 1998 and 2000. Durham’s closest player comps during his White Sox years were Bobby Grich and Joe Morgan, and a second baseman can’t find better company than that. Apparently Willie Harris and D’Angelo Jiménez waiting in the wings prompted the White Sox to dump Durham and some cash on the Oakland A’s at the trade deadline in 2002 for Jon Adkins. He’d go on to be a very productive player for four more seasons, so that’s a trade fail for Ken Williams.


Red Faber
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
(1914-33)
bWAR: 63.9
fWAR: 52.2
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 58.1
aaWAR: 58.4

Last year’s SSS vote: 49%
Core Stats: 254-213, 273 CG, 29 SHO, 27 SV, 3.15 ERA/3.43 FIP, 1.30 WHIP, 119 ERA+

Urban “Red” Faber spent his entire 20-year career with the White Sox. He won 20-plus games four times. He threw the spitball, which he learned in the minor leagues after he hurt his arm in a longest-throw contest in 1911. Faber went 10-9 in his rookie year, and then improved to 24-14 in 1915. In 1917, Faber went 16-13 with a 1.92 ERA for the champion White Sox. He won games two, five and six (the series clincher) in the 1917 World Series. After war duty cut his 1918 short, Faber’s 1919 season was a struggle due to illness and injury. The righthander only pitched once over the final month of the season, and didn’t appear in the 1919 World Series. His best three seasons were still to come, as from 1920-22 Faber won 69 games and led the league in ERA and complete games twice. At 34 years old, Faber fell to 14-11 in 1923, but managed to pitch for 10 more seasons, going 89-102 during that time. In 1964, Faber was elected to the Hall of Fame as a member of the White Sox. — KW


Carlton Fisk
Catcher
(1981-93)
bWAR: 28.9
fWAR: 29.9
WARP: 36.9
aWAR: 31.9
aaWAR: 33.2

Last year’s SSS vote: 58%
Core Stats: .257/.329/.438, 214 HR, 762 RBI, 1,259 hits, 109 OPS+

The Commander was brought in for the 1981 season, as Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn wanted to make a splash as the new owners of the team. Fisk was an All-Star in his first two seasons, and then in 1983 had his best season on the South Side. Pudge led the White Sox pitching staff to a dominant second half and also had a fantastic season with the bat, hitting .289/.355/.518 with 26 dingers as the White Sox made the playoffs for the first time since 1959. In 1985, at age 37, Fisk slugged a career-high 37 homers and knocked in 107 runs. In 1990, at the age of 42, Fisk had another great season, hitting .285/.378/.451 as the White Sox rose from their late-80s ashes to win 94 games and finish second to the Oakland A’s in the AL West. Fisk was an All-Star again in 1991, at age 43, when he hit 18 homers and knocked in 74. Fisk’s last game came on June 22, 1993, which was also Carlton Fisk Day at the ballpark. He became the leader in games caught that day, and was cut from the team a few days later. When he was released, Fisk was the team’s all-time home run leader, and currently ranks fourth, trailing only Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko and Harold Baines. He’s seventh all-time in White Sox RBI. Fisk made the Hall of Fame in 2000 as a member of the Red Sox, although he played more games with the White Sox. Fisk’s No. 72 is retired, and his statue is in center field. — KW


Terry Forster
Left-Handed Pitcher
(1971-76)
bWAR: 12.1
fWAR: 11.5
WARP: 12.8
aWAR: 12.1
aaWAR: 12.2
Last year’s SSS vote: 1%

Core Stats: 26-42, 75 SV, 3.36 ERA/2.84 FIP, 1.37 WHIP, 111 ERA+

Forster came up with the Sox in 1971, at the age of 19. The next season, Forster threw 100 innings, all out of the pen, and saved 29 games, with a 2.25 ERA and 104 strikeouts in a 3.2 bWAR season. He started 12 games in 1973, going 6-11 with 16 saves and a 3.23 ERA over 172 ⅔ innings. In 1974, Forster led the league in saves with 24 and threw another 134 innings, with one start. The workload caught up to Forster in 1975, as he only managed 37 innings, but he was still effective (2.19 ERA). The Sox tried starting him again in 1976, as he made 16 starts and went 2-12 with a 4.37 ERA. With Forster’s free agency looming, White Sox owner BIll Veeck swapped Forster and Goose Gossage after the season to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Richie Zisk, fueling the 1977 South Side Hit Men. Forster would go on to pitch through 1986, but would never again reach the levels as he did in the early 70’s with the Sox. — KW


Joe Horlen
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
(1961-71)
bWAR: 25.3
fWAR: 25.3
WARP: 28.4
aWAR: 26.3
Last year’s SSS vote: 9%
Core Stats: 113-113, 59 CG, 18 SHO, 3.11 ERA/3.35 FIP, 1.19 WHIP, 110 ERA+

You can call him Joe, or you can call him Joel, but you doesn’t have to call him Johnson. An All-America Second Teamer out of Oklahoma State, Horlen was signed by the White Sox in their magical year of 1959. The native Texan would hit the majors two years later, and pitch on the South Side for a decade. By 1964, he would enter the White Sox’s starting rotation for good, finishing the year second AL ERA (1.88) and whiffs (138), led in WHIP (0.935), and was the best in the majors in H/9, with 6.07. He was murder on the AL after that, regularly posting amazing ERAs. By 1967, Horlen went 19-7 and led the AL in ERA (2.06), shutouts (six) and WHIP (.953), and made the All-Star team for his first and only time. On September 10, in the heat of a furious pennant race, Horlen no-hit the Detroit Tigers at Comiskey Park. (It would be 40 years before another White Sox pitcher, Mark Buehrle, would throw a no-hitter in Chicago.) Horlen finished second in Cy Young and fourth in MVP voting in 1967. After that, as the White Sox stumbled toward the 1970s, Horlen’s performances diminished, but the ultimate insult came in 1972, when Horlen (the team’s union rep) was waived after leading a unanimous vote to strike. Horlen caught on with the Oakland A’s, and relieved for them on their way to a first World Series title — making him the only player in history to win a Pony League World Series (1952), College World Series (1959) and MLB World Series (1972) ring.


Joe Jackson
Left Fielder
(1915-20)
bWAR: 27.8
fWAR: N/A
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 27.8
aaWAR: 28.4

Last year’s SSS vote: 52%
Core Stats: .340/.407/.499, 30 HR, 433 RBI, 251 BB, 87 K, 159 OPS+

Jackson came to the White Sox from Cleveland midway through the 1915 season, in the most expensive transaction ever at the time: $65,500 in cash and players. Jackson only hit .272 in 45 games after the trade, but in 1916 her erupted for .341/.393/.495, with 40 doubles and 21 triples. In 1917, Jackson hit .301 as the Sox won the championship; Jackson hit .304 in the World Series (pay attention, this will come up again in a couple of years). With the World War I going full-force in 1918, Jackson only played in 18 games before taking a job building warships; this angered owner Charles Comiskey and Chicago sportswriters, as they found it cowardly that Jackson didn’t join the armed forces. However, with the war ending, Jackson came back to the White Sox in 1919 and had a great season. He hit .351/.422/.506, as the Sox found themselves back in the World Series again. Jackson worked out a deal with White Sox first baseman Chick Gandil to throw the Series for a reported $20,000. He only saw $5,000 of that money, and it didn’t seem to make an impact anyway, as he hit .375/.394/.563. Under the cloud of the 1919 Series, the 1920 season was Jackson’s best with the White Sox: .382/.444/.589 with 42 doubles, 20 triples, 12 homers and 121 RBI. That would be his final season in baseball, though, as he was banned for life for his part in throwing the 1919 World Series. However, the legend of Shoeless Joe Jackson lives on. — KW


Tommy John
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
(1965-71)
bWAR: 24.0
fWAR: 25.1
WARP: 28.2
aWAR: 25.8
Last year’s SSS vote: 12%
Core Stats: 82-80, 56 CG, 21 SHO, 2.95 ERA/3.20 FIP, 1.22 WHIP, 117 ERA+

It’s uncanny how similar the White Sox careers of John and Horlen are, down to career WAR totals. In one snapshot of how underrated those 1960s White Sox teams were, John was essentially the same pitcher in Chicago in the 1960s as he was with the Dodgers in the 1970s — yet he was a mere one-time All-Star with the White Sox, a multiple All-Star, Cy Young finalist and MVP candidate in L.A. And, of course, there was one huge difference between White Sox John and Dodgers John: A reconstructed ulnar collateral ligament, the success of which attached John’s named to the now-common Tommy John surgery, and extended the southpaw’s career by 14 seasons. His astronomical career WAR makes his lack of serious consideration for Cooperstown one of the bigger injustices in Hall annals. Simply put, John was phenomenal with the White Sox, leading the majors in shutouts for both the 1966 (five) and 1967 (six) seasons. More inadvertently, John’s trade to L.A. in 1971 reaped one of the most meteoric superstars in White Sox history: Dick Allen.


Lance Johnson
Center Fielder
(1988-95)
bWAR: 21.3
fWAR: 17.2
WARP: 13.8
aWAR: 17.4
aaWAR: 18.6

First year on the White Sox Hall of Fame ballot
Core Stats: .286/.325/.373, 1,018 hits, 77 3B, 17 HR, 327 RBI, 226 SB, 92 OPS+

One-Dog was an underrated minor star for the White Sox. Although fans lament the trade of Bobby Bonilla back to the Pittsburgh Pirates for José DeLeon, DeLeon ultimately yielded Johnson, who finished his career with a higher WAR than Bonilla. In his one postseason on the South Side (1993), Johnson produced 0.23 WPA and uncharacteristic muscle: a double, triple and homer in the six games, giving him a .758 OPS for the series. Johnson also provided significant defensive value (think Adam Engel-plus) in center field while often flanked by corner outfielders who desperately benefitted from his prodigious range.


Fielder Jones
Center Fielder
(1901-08)
bWAR: 31.8
fWAR: 32.4
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 32.1
Last year’s SSS vote: 2%
Core Stats: .269/.357/.326, 1,151 hits, 10 HR, 375 RBI, 206 SB, 112 OPS+

Jones came to the White Sox for their inaugural 1901 season. He hated the reserve clause that kept players tied to the same team, so when the American League declared itself a major league for 1901 and said it would ignore the reserve clause, Jones jumped on board. The White Sox won the American League championship that season (there was no World Series until 1903, and not one on a yearly basis until 1905). Jones wanted to go back to New York, but was not allowed to leave the South Side (selective attention to the reserve clause, eh?). Knowing that Jones would want to jump back at any time, owner Charles Comiskey made Jones his player/manager. This suited Jones, who went on to manage the White Sox to their first World Series victory, over the Chicago Cubs in 1906. Jones was a very good center fielder and above-average hitter. From 1901-08, Jones was worth between 3.1 and 4.9 bWAR every year, and was also considered one of the best managers in baseball. Jones left the White Sox after the 1908 season because his contract demands of an ownership stake in the club were not met; he turned down a blank-check offer to return. Jones would reappear six years later, at the age of 42, as a player/manager for the St. Louis Terriers of the upstart Federal League. — KW


Paul Konerko
First Baseman
(1999-2014)
bWAR: 29.8
fWAR: N/A
WARP: 33.2
aWAR: 31.1
Last year’s SSS vote: 52%
Core Stats: .281/.356/.491, 432 HR, 1,383 RBI, 2,292 hits, 120 OPS+

Konerko came to the White Sox from the Cincinnati Reds in 1999, in exchange for Mike Cameron. After unproductive cups of coffee with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds, Konerko would become a fixture in the White Sox lineup for more than a decade. He hit .294/.352/.511 in his first season in Chicago, and never played in fewer than 137 games until his final two seasons. Over that span, Konerko amassed some of the loftiest stats in team history, was the (unofficial) captain of the franchise’s first World Series championship in 88 years, made six All-Star appearances, and has a statue and jersey retirement. Konerko ranks in the top five in White Sox history in games, at-bats, hits, runs, doubles, home runs and RBI in. He also has a “16,000 square foot home”* in Scottsdale. — KW

* Hawkism; Ken Harrelson may or may not have been 10,000 square feet off in his estimate.


Chet Lemon
Center Fielder
(1975-81)
bWAR: 24.9
fWAR: 22.7
WARP: 21.4
aWAR: 23.0
aaWAR: 25.0

Last year’s SSS vote: 13%
Core Stats: .288/.363/.451, 73 HR, 348 RBI, 804 hits, 126 OPS+

Arguably the best center fielder in White Sox history, Lemon came to the White Sox in 1975 from the Oakland Athletics, in exchange for pitcher Stan Bahnsen. Lemon, who had played the infield (poorly) with the A’s throughout his minor league career, was quickly moved to center field by White Sox manager Chuck Tanner. In 1976, Lemon’s first full season in the bigs, the 21-year-old struggled to an OPS of .626. However, in 1977 Lemon came around. He hit .273 with 38 doubles and 19 homers for the South Side Hit Men. In 1978, Lemon would become an All-Star for the first time, and hit .300. In 1979, Lemon had his best year on the South Side, slashing .318/.391/.496 and adding a league-leading 44 doubles in a 5.8 bWAR season. Lemon’s power dropped off a little bit in 1980, but his average and OBP did not as he hit .292/.388/.442. He hit .302 in the strike-shortened 1981 season, which would be his last on the South Side. With Carlton Fisk pre-empting him as the Chisox’s top-salaried player, Lemon planned to become a free agent after 1982. Rather than lose Lemon for no return, new owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn shipped him to the Detroit Tigers for Steve Kemp. A certain future South Side Sox managing editor’s heart was broken into a million billion pieces on that day. — KW


Sherm Lollar
Catcher
(1952-63)
bWAR: 26.1
fWAR: 32.2
WARP: 32.8
aWAR: 30.4
Last year’s SSS vote: 7%
Core Stats: .265/.358/.402, 124 HR, 631 RBI, 1,122 hits, 106 OPS+

Sherm “The Tank” Lollar was a six-time All-Star catcher with White Sox, and backstopped the 1959 Go-Go Sox. Lollar made stops with Cleveland, the New York Yankees and St. Louis Browns before joining the White Sox, but it was with the White Sox that Lollar found a home; he would play in Chicago for the next 12 campaigns, catching the glory days of the 50’s and early 60’s. Always a good defensive catcher, Lollar really broke out with the bat in 1956, when he hit .293/.383/.438, with 11 homers and 75 RBI. In 1958, Lollar drilled 20 dingers for the Sox and followed that up with 22 for the American League champions in 1959. He finished ninth in MVP voting in both 1958 and 1959. Lollar hit only .226 in the 1959 World Series, but his one home run tied Game 4 at four in the seventh inning. The Sox would unfortunately go on to lose that game, and later the Series. Lollar’s power fell off in the ’60s, and the White Sox released him in 1963, bringing his career to an end. Lollar’s 124 home runs currently are tied for 16th in team history, just ahead of another star White Sox catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, who had 118. — KW


Ted Lyons
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
(1923-46)
bWAR: 67.6
fWAR: 64.5
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 62.8
Last year’s SSS vote: 57%
Core Stats: 260-230, 356 CG, 27 SHO, 25 SV, 3.67 ERA/4.01 FIP, 1.35 WHIP, 118 ERA+

Lyons played his entire 21-year-career with the White Sox. In 1925, his second full season as a starter, Lyons collected 21 wins, which led the league. Two years later, he led the league with 22 wins, 30 complete games and 307 ⅔ innings. In 1930, he won 22 games, with 29 complete games and 297 ⅔ innings. The heavy workload began to take a toll on Lyons, as he went 35-55 with a 4.13 ERA from 1931-34. However, manager Jimmy Dykes developed a plan for Lyons, in which he would pitch only on Sunday; Lyons would go 99-73 with a 3.44 ERA in nine seasons after that. Lyons led the league in ERA in 1942 with a 2.10 mark. He went 14-6 in his 20 starts, all of them complete games — as a 41 year-old! He then took the next three years off, joining the armed forces during World War II. He came back to the Sox in 1946, where at age 45 he went 1-4 with a 2.32 ERA in five complete games. He took over in May as the manager, ending his pitching career. He finished his career 30 games better than .500, even though he played his entire career in the shadows of the Black Sox scandal. The White Sox never finished higher than third, and rarely were above fifth, in his seasons on the South Side. Even still, Lyons went on to win the most games in White Sox history. He also holds the team record for games started and innings pitched. In 1955, he was voted into the Hall of Fame as a White Sox, and in 1987 his No. 16 was retired by the team. — KW


Jack McDowell
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
(1987-94)
bWAR: 21.6
fWAR: 25.1
WARP: 26.0
aWAR: 24.2
aaWAR: 26

Last year’s SSS vote: 16%
Core Stats: 91-59, 49 CG, 10 SHO, 3.50 ERA/3.55 FIP, 1.25 WHIP, 117 ERA+

McDowell was the unquestioned badass of the 1990s White Sox renaissance; on a team featuring future Hall-of-Famers Carlton Fisk and Frank Thomas, no one bulldogged it better than Black Jack. He was an All-Star and Top 10 Cy Young finisher for three straight seasons (1991-93), receiving MVP votes in 1992 and 1993. He won the Cy Young in 1993. The lockout that ended the 1994 season rather tragically for White Sox fans also started the decline of McDowell’s career – although a heavy workload (his fewest innings pitched from 1991-93 was 253 ⅔) likely contributed plenty, as well. McDowell was traded to the Yankees in 1995 and had one strong season in the Bronx, but is best known for flipping off the Yankee Stadium boo birds in 1996; a longtime musician (V.I.E.W, Stickfigure), McDowell’s fellow musicians/friends in The Baseball Project wrote a song (“Yankee Flipper”) in homage to his act of heroism. In retirement, McDowell has proven both an adept broadcaster and successful coach.


Johnny Mostil
Center Fielder
(1918-29)
bWAR: 24.2
fWAR: 22.9
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 23.6
Last year’s SSS vote: 2%
Core Stats: .301/.386/.427, 82 3B, 375 RBI, 1,054 hits, 176 SB, 113 OPS+

Mostil is on the short list of most unheralded players in White Sox history, as well as the most tragic. As well outlined by a terrific SSS piece from the past, Mostil snuck into Comiskey Park to see games as a child, grew up to become a rare White Sox superstar in the shadow of the Black Sox. He peaked around age 30, leading the league in steals in 1925 and 1926, and finishing seventh and second in the AL MVP voting in those two seasons. But 1926, and his amazing 133 OPS+ season, would be Mostil’s last effective one. It wasn’t a rapid decline in skills, but a brutal suicide attempt in 1927 that derailed Mostil’s career; he did come back, playing a full, but far less effective 1928 season. But before his 33rd birthday, Mostil’s career was over. There is a happy enough ending to Mostil’s story; after his playing career, he scouted for the White Sox and managed in the minor leagues, living to age 74.


Magglio Ordóñez
Right Fielder
(1997-2004)
bWAR: 25.2
fWAR: 22.7
WARP: 20.8
aWAR: 22.9
Last year’s SSS vote: 9%
Core Stats: .307/.364/.525, 187 HR, 703 RBI, 1,167 hits, 127 OPS+

The lone bright spot toward the end of the 1997 season was when the 23-year-old Ordóñez joined the White Sox in August. Magglio would have a heck of a month, hitting .319 with a .918 OPS, to show that he was ready to play every day. Ordóñez would have a good rookie season in 1998, but really started to shine in ’99. Maggs would hit .301 with 30 homers and 117 knocked in, as he became the poster boy for the “kids can play” campaign. In 2000, the White Sox won the AL Central largely behind Ordóñez’s .315 average, 32 homers and 126 knocked in. Magglio’s biggest year came in 2002, when he hit .320/.381/.597 with 47 doubles, 38 homers and 135 RBIs. He had another big year in 2003, hitting .317 with 29 and 99. In 2004, Ordóñez’s season came to an end after 52 games when he suffered a serious knee injury. He would then leave for Detroit as a free agent that offseason, and the White Sox would go on to win the World Series without him in 2005. Despite a relatively short tenure in Chicago, Ordóñez is fifth in home runs, ninth in RBIs, third in slugging percentage, fifth in OPS and ninth in batting average among White Sox. His 86 extra base hits in 2002 are third-most all-time in team history, and his 78 in 2003 are fifth. And my daughter is named Maggie for a reason. — KW


Gary Peters
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
(1959-69)
bWAR: 25.9
fWAR: 31.3
WARP: 26.1
aWAR: 27.8
First year on the White Sox Hall of Fame ballot
Core Stats: 91-78, 60 CG, 18 SHO, 1,098 K, 2.72 ERA/3.04 FIP, 1.190 WHIP, 115 ERA+

Peters made his hay on the mid-1960s White Sox juggernauts, but his history with the team extended back to the Go-Go 1959 club, for which he made his major league debut with one inning pitched in two games. Continuing to struggle to break onto Chicago’s loaded roster over the next three seasons, Peters was still a rookie in his fifth MLB campaign (1963), when he broke through to go 19-8 with a league-leading 2.33 ERA, 2.34 FIP and 150 ERA+, winning the Rookie of the Year. He also finished eighth in MVP voting in 1963, seventh in 1964, and ninth in 1967, while strangely never garnering Cy Young consideration. Peters was a two-time All-Star, twice leading the AL in ERA and ERA+.


José Quintana
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
(2012-17)
bWAR: 21.0
fWAR: N/A
WARP: 12.2
aWAR: 16.6
First year on the White Sox Hall of Fame ballot
Core Stats: 50-54, 890 K, 3.51 ERA/3.53 FIP, 1.250 WHIP, 115 ERA+

The very hardest of hard-luck stories, Quintana’s career on the South Side was marred by chronically low run support. He “shattered” his career mark for season wins with 13 (against 12 losses, natch) in 2016, Q’s last full season with the White Sox. He was named to his first and only All-Star team that season, finishing 10th in Cy Young voting. That season bolstered his trade value as the club moved toward a rebuild, and at the 2017 trade deadline he netted both Eloy Jiménez and Dylan Cease in a trade that may surpass George Bell-for-Sammy Sosa in lopsided crosstown swap annals.


Alexei Ramírez
Shortstop
(2008-15)
bWAR: 23.0
fWAR: 19.6
WARP: 21.3
aWAR: 21.3
First year on the White Sox Hall of Fame ballot
Core Stats: .270/.310/.399, 1,272 H, 109 HR, 590 RBI, 143 SB, 89 OPS+

The first bonus baby of the White Sox’s 21st Century run on Cuban stars, Ramírez made an instant impact on the White Sox, debuting in center field before settling in at second base for a runner-up Rookie of the Year campaign in 2008. Moving to shortstop and improving each year, Ramírez won Silver Sluggers in 2010 and 2014, was the Wilson Defensive SS of the Year in 2012 and was an All-Star in 2014. His penchant for dramatic hits — and dramatic reactions to getting hit on the field — remain legendary.


Chris Sale
Left-Handed Pitcher
(2010-16)
bWAR: 30.2
fWAR: 27.6
WARP: 30.0
aWAR: 29.3
Last year’s SSS vote: 18%
Core Stats: 74-50, 15 CG, 12 SV, 1,244 K, 3.00 ERA/3.06 FIP, 1.07 WHIP, 135 ERA+

Sale was drafted by the White Sox in 2010, and after throwing 10 ⅓ minor league innings found himself in Chicago later that season. Sale pitched impressively out of the bullpen in his first two campaigns before making the jump to the rotation in 2012. Sale started a streak of All-Star appearances that year that is still continuing. He went 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA in 2012, and in 2013 went 11-14 with a 3.07 ERA on a terrible club. In 2014, Sale was 12-4 with a 2.17 ERA. In 2015, Sale led the league in strikeouts (setting a White Sox record with 274), as he went 13-11. Chris was 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA in 2016, his final season with the White Sox. Sale finished in the top six in Cy Young voting every season he pitched as a starter. The White Sox however, never made the playoffs with Sale, and they traded him to Boston in 2017. Sale is sixth in White Sox history with 1,244 strikeouts, and his combined career in Chicago and Boston places him as the all-time MLB leader in K/9 (10.9) and K/SO (5.31).


Ray Schalk
Catcher
(1912-28)
bWAR: 33.3
fWAR: 22.4
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 27.9
aaWAR: 28.3

Last year’s SSS vote: 21%
Core Stats: .254/.340/.316, 1,345 hits, 11 HR, 593 RBI, 177 SB, 83 OPS+

Schalk made his debut at 19, in 1912. He’d go on to man the backstop on the South Side for 17 seasons. From 1913 to 1926, Schalk caught about 80% of the Sox contests. He was the catcher for the 1917 World Champions, and also the 1919 Black Sox (Schalk hit .304 in the 1919 World Series). Ed Walsh, Eddie Cicotte, Red Faber and Ted Lyons all had one thing in common: Schalk behind the plate. Schalk’s best year with the bat came in 1922, when he hit .281/.379/.371 with four home runs, 60 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. Schalk started to wind down his playing days when he took over as White Sox manager in 1927. He was fired partway through 1928, and went on to join the New York Giants coaching staff in 1929. Schalk ranks fifth in games, ninth in at-bats, 10th in hits, 13th in RBIs, eighth in walks and ninth in steals all-time for his White Sox career. Schalk was elected to the Hall of Fame as a White Sox in 1955. — KW

(For more information on Schalk, refer back to katiesphil’s terrific piece from 2018.)


Matt Thornton
Left-Handed Relief Pitcher
(2006-13)
bWAR: 10.8
fWAR: N/A
WARP: 9.3
aWAR: 10.3
Last year’s SSS vote: 1%
Core Stats: 31-35, 23 SV, 3.28 ERA/3.02 FIP, 1.20 WHIP, 137 ERA+

Thornton came to the White Sox in a trade of failed prospects with the Seattle Mariners. The Sox sent Seattle Joe Borchard, who had received the biggest signing bonus in White Sox history, in exchange for Thornton, who threw 100 mph but lacked the control or stamina to make it as a starting pitcher. The Sox put Thornton in the pen, and almost immediately he paid dividends, turning into one of the finest late-inning relievers in baseball. From 2008-10, Thornton went 16-10 with a 2.70 ERA and struck out 245 batters in 200 ⅓ innings, with a WHIP of 1.028. The run of dominance included an All-Star berth in 2010. Thornton slowed down a little bit in his last two-and-a-half years on the South Side, but was still plenty effective. He was traded to the Red Sox in 2013. Thornton’s 512 appearances rank fourth in team history, and his 137 ERA+ bests even Chris Sale’s. — KW


Robin Ventura
Third Baseman
(1989-98)
bWAR: 39.4
fWAR: 39.2
WARP: 30.4
aWAR: 36.3
aaWAR: 38.1

Last year’s SSS vote: 49%
Core Stats: .274/.365/.440, 171 HR, 741 RBI, 1,244 hits, 117 OPS+

Rockin’ Robin was drafted by the White Sox in the first round in 1988 out of Oklahoma State, and by late 1989 was in the big leagues to stay. Ventura played 150 games in 1990, and it was a struggle with the bat. However, when New Comiskey Park opened in 1991, Ventura found his legs, hitting .284/.367/.442 with 23 homers and 100 RBI that year and won his first of six Gold Gloves. He made his only appearance in the All-Star game in 1992. In 1995, Ventura hit .295 with 26 homers and in 1996, hit .287 with 34 home runs and 105 RBI. After a terrifying ankle injury in spring training 1997 limited him to only 54 games, Ventura returned for one last year on the South Side in 1998, when he hit 21 homers and knocked in 91. He joined the New York Mets in free agency in 1999, bringing to end a great era of Batman (Frank Thomas) and Robin. It is rumored he went on to manage the White Sox. — KW


Ed Walsh
Right-Handed Pitcher
(1904-16)
bWAR: 64.0
fWAR: 51.3
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 57.7
Last year’s SSS vote: 68%
Core Stats: 195-125, 249 CG, 57 SHO, 35 SV, 1,736 K, 1.81 ERA/2.02 FIP, 1.00 WHIP, 146 ERA+

Big Ed Walsh is the all-time career leader in ERA and FIP. Not for the White Sox, but in all of baseball history. He started his career with the White Sox in 1904, and in 1906 he got his first crack as a regular in the South Side rotation. Walsh did not disappoint, as he went 17-13 with a 1.88 ERA for the Hitless Wonders. Even better, he was 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA over 15 innings in the 1906 World Series against the hated Chicago Cubs, as the Sox went on to win the crosstown series. From there, things got ridiculous. Walsh went 24-18 with a 1.60 ERA over 422 ⅓ innings (!) in 1907. In 1908, Wash became the last pitcher to win 40 games in a season, going 40-15 with a 1.42 ERA over a record (at least for people that played after 1900) 464 innings pitched. The next year was a “down” year for Big Ed, when he went 15-11 with a 1.41 ERA in “only” 230 ⅓ innings. In 1910, Walsh had an 18-20 record even though his ERA was 1.27. Walsh went 27-18 in 1911, with a 2.22 ERA over 368 ⅔ innings. The 1912 season was the last big year for Walsh, as he won another 27 games with a 2.15 ERA, including 32 complete games and six shutouts, over 393 innings pitched. To top it off, he led the league in saves with 10. From there, Walsh went 13-7 over the next four years as the crazy innings load finally caught up with him. By the time the White Sox were winning another championship in 1917, Walsh was closing out his career throwing 18 innings with the Boston Braves. — KW


Doc White
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
(1903-13)
bWAR: 33.9
fWAR: 25.5
WARP: N/A
aWAR: 29.7
Last year’s SSS vote: 4%
Core Stats: 159-123, 206 CG, 42 SHO, 2.30 ERA/2.49 FIP, 1.11 WHIP, 114 ERA+

White, who was a dentist in the offseason, went straight from Georgetown University to the Phillies in 1901. He pitched two seasons in Philadelphia before the White Sox poached him into the American League. The Phillies offered White a big raise, but before he accepted, the American League and the National League united, and it was ruled that White would stay in Chicago. White would go on to pitch the last 11 seasons of his career for the Sox. In 1903, he won 17 games with a 2.13 ERA over 300 innings pitched. He was 16-12 with a 1.78 ERA in 1904, including a streak where he threw five shutouts in a row — a mark that would stand until Don Drysdale threw six in a row in 1968. The Doc went 17-13 with a 1.76 ERA in 1905. For the World Champions in 1906, White was 18-6, with a league-leading 1.52 ERA. In the World Series, he was 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA over 15 innings as the Sox beat the Cubs to claim their first World Series title. White won a career-high 27 games in 1907, with a 2.26 ERA over 291 innings. White continued to be solid for a couple more seasons before his workload took a toll and his effectiveness tapered off. White’s last season came in 1913, when he threw 103 innings with a 3.50 ERA. — KW


Hoyt Wilhelm
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
(1963-68)
bWAR: 16.4
fWAR: 8.9
WARP: 11.4
aWAR: 12.2
Last year’s SSS vote: 16%
Core Stats: 41-33, 99 SV, 1.92 ERA/2.51 FIP, 0.94 WHIP, 171 ERA+

Wilhelm came to the White Sox in 1963 at 40, in a heartbreaking trade that sent World Series heroes Luis Aparicio and Al Smith to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Ron Hansen, Dave Nicholson, Pete Ward and Wilhelm. The trade basically marked the end of the Go-Go Sox era of the ’50’s — but fueled the winningest three-season streak (1963-65) in team history. In 1963, the knuckleballer went 5-8 with a 2.64 ERA and 21 saves over 136 ⅓ innings. This was his only White Sox season with an ERA worse than 2.00. In 1964, Wilhelm dazzled opposing hitters, to the tune of a 1.99 ERA over 131 ⅓ innings. In 1965, it was an even better 1.81 ERA over 144 innings of work. Wilhelm never threw 100 innings again, but his ERA continued to fall. In 1966, Wilhelm posted a 1.66 ERA over 81 ⅓ innings. He followed that up with an even more impressive 1.31 ERA over 89 innings in 1967. In 1968, Hoyt had a “down” year, as his ERA rose to 1.73 over 93 ⅔ innings as a 45-year-old. With these great results, Wilhelm was picked by the Kansas City Royals in the 1968 expansion draft, ending most successful relief run in White Sox history. — KW


Wilbur Wood
Left-Handed Pitcher
(1967-78)
bWAR: 52.0
fWAR: 34.5
WARP: 39.9
aWAR: 42.1
aaWAR: 42.5

Last year’s SSS vote: 49%
Core Stats: 163-148, 113 CG, 24 SHO, 57 SV, 3.18 ERA/3.33 FIP, 1.23 WHIP, 116 ERA+

Hoyt Wilhelm had one more trick up his sleeve before he left the White Sox: He taught his dancing knuckleball to Wood, who had struggled to catch on with the Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Wood went on to throw possibly the best lefty knuckleball ever. In his first year, Wood went 95 ⅓ innings, with a 2.45 ERA. He followed that up in 1968 with an impressive 1.87 ERA over 159 innings, and a league-leading 88 games. In 1969, Wood went 10-11 with a 3.01 ERA over 76 games, and led the league in appearances for the third year in a row, compiling a 2.81 ERA with 21 saves over 121 ⅔ innings. Then, manager Chuck Tanner decided to change things up and make Wood a starter. The rotund southpaw responded by throwing innings like some of the pitchers profiled from early in the century. In 1971, Wood started 42 games, winning and completing 22 of them, with a ridiculous 1.81 ERA over 334 innings. In 1972, Wood started 49 games, threw 376 2/3 innings and won 24 games, all three figures leading the league. He had a 2.51 ERA that year. He led the league in starts (48), innings (359 1/3) and wins (24) in 1973. He was 20-19 in 1974, and was an All-Star for the third time. He lost 20 games in 1975, with a 4.11 ERA over 291 1/3 innings. He pitched three more years for the White Sox, never putting up the numbers he had previously. He currently ranks in the all-time team Top 10 in wins, games, starts, saves, innings and strikeouts. — KW

[poll id=”16″]


 

Additional Categories

Season

1906: With the fourth-best winning percentage in team history (.616), the 93-58, World Series-winning Hitless Wonders toppled the Cubs in the only all-Chicago Fall Classic.

1959: The 94-60 (.610 winning percentage, tied for seventh-best in team history) Go-Go Sox finally broke past the Yankees juggernaut to win the pennant, but fell in six games to the Dodgers in the World Series.

1964: A relative bunch of no-names finished with 98 wins, one game behind the damn Yankees for the AL pennant. Sandwiched season of the greatest three-season run (1963-65) in team history.

1983: The 99-63 Winning Ugly White Sox were upset in the ALCS by the Orioles.

1993: The 94-68 White Sox lost in the ALCS to the Toronto Blue Jays, and lost a back-to-back shot at the playoffs because of the 1994 lockout.

[poll id=”17″]

Previous winners: 2005 (2018) and 1917 (2019).


Manager

Jimmy Dykes: Managed 13 seasons (1934-46), 899-940 record (most White Sox wins all-time), 34.4 career managerial WAR (1.4 WAR per 162 games)

Clark Griffith: Managed two seasons (1900-01), 157-113 record, 1900 pennant, 5.6 career WAR (3.4/162)

Fielder Jones: Managed five seasons (1904-08), 426-293 record, 1906 World Series, 6.2 career WAR (1.4/162)

Al Lopez: Managed 11 seasons (1957-65, 1968-69), 840-650 record, 1959 pennant, 13.3 career WAR (3.0 WAR/162)

Ted Lyons: Managed three seasons (1946-48), 185-245 record, 5.1 career WAR (1.9/162)

[poll id=”18″]

Previous winner: Ozzie Guillén (2018)


Gimmick/Promotion

Dog Day: If not a White Sox invention, a promotion they first brought to prominence, with “Bark at the Park” a ubiquitous part of the ballpark experience today.

Elvis Night: August tradition at the new ballpark, inspired in part it seems by the Honeymoon in Vegas Flying Elvises.

Outfield Shower: From center field at Comiskey Park to the left field concourse today.

Seventh-Inning Stretch: Nancy Faust and Harry Caray singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”.

Turn Back the Clock: The White Sox started the retro uni trend in 1990, sporting 1917 duds and having lineups introduced through a megaphone as part of the goodbye to Comiskey Park.

[poll id=”19″]

Previous winners: Exploding Scoreboard (2018), Disco Demolition Night (2018), Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye) (2019)


Moment

Oct. 14, 1906: Hitless Wonders upset Cubs to win the World Series

July 18, 1948: Pat Seery becomes the third player in modern MLB history to hit four homers in a game, the fourth winning the game 12-11 over the Philadelphia A’s in the 11th inning

Sept. 22, 1959: Mayor Daley sets off the air raid sirens as the White Sox clinch the pennant

May 9, 1984: Harold Baines hits a home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the 25th inning, ending the longest game in major league history

Sept. 30, 2008: Jim Thome’s Blackout Game home run in game 163

[poll id=”20″]

Previous winners: 2005 World Series sweep (2018), “The Catch” by Dewayne Wise (2019)


2005 Moment

11-1 Postseason record, tied for best all-time since the playoffs moved to three rounds.

Orlando Hernandez comes on in relief and escapes a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning of the ALDS Game 3 vs. Boston.

Paul Konerko‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of World Series Game 1.

A.J. Pierzynski steals first base in Game 2 of the ALCS.

Scott Podsednik‘s game-ending World Series homer vs. Houston to win Game 2 of the World Series.

[poll id=”21″]

Previous winner: Four straight CGs in the ALCS (2019)


Defensive Play

Iván Calderon climbs the wall in Tiger Stadium on July 27, 1987 to rob Alan Trammell

Ken Griffey Jr. throwing out the lead run at home, with a ballsy tag by A.J. Pierzynski, in the 2008 Blackout Game

Tadahito Iguchi’s upside-down assist on April 15, 2006

Juan Uribe’s breakneck dive into the stands to bring the White Sox within one out of the 2005 World Series title

Dewayne Wise preserving Buerhle’s perfect game on July 23, 2009

[poll id=”22″]

Previous Winner: Mark Buerhle’s between-the-legs assist (2019)

Meteoric Player

Albert Belle: Two seasons on the South Side, and after a solid debut in 1997 (great counting stats but just 1.5 bWAR), launched into the stratosphere in 1998 (7.1 bWAR, .328/.399/.655, 49 homers, 152 RBIs). His White Sox bWAR represents 21.4% of his career total.

Terry Forster: Forster exploded on the scene at age 20 and stitched together three of the best relief seasons in White Sox history, peaking with 4.6 bWAR as a reliever, in 1971. His White Sox bWAR represents 65.4% of his career total.

Ron Hansen: An unheralded core of the best three-season stretch in White Sox history (1963-65), Hansen peaked at 7.7 bWAR in 1964 and finished in the top 17 of MVP voting in both 1964 and 1965. His White Sox bWAR represents 75.1% of his career total.

Esteban LoaizaOne full season on the South Side (2003), good for 7.2 bWAR, a start in the All-Star Game at Sox Park, runner-up for the Cy Young, 24th in MVP voting. His White Sox bWAR represents 35.2% of his career total.

Tommy Thomas: Even Chris Sale didn’t have as productive a first four White Sox seasons as Thomas, who peaked at 8.5 bWAR in 1927 and led the AL in at least one category in the opening quartet of his career. His White Sox bWAR represents 85.9% of his career total.

[poll id=”23″]

Previous winner: Dick Allen (2019)


Character

Harry Caray: His addled work across town is so frozen in the minds of many fans, it’s easy to forget what a good broadcaster Harry was on the South Side. “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” the home run net, broadcasting from the bleachers, and pointed criticisms were his White Sox hallmarks.

Steve Lyons: “Psycho” was quick with a smile and some antics, including his spontaneous pants-drop at first base in 1990.

Tom Paciorek: Both as a White Sox player and broadcaster, Wimpy brought a real sense of fun to the game. In a game that’s ever-serious, how cool is it to have a guy still around the team (for sub work on broadcasts) who’s having so much fun?

Scott Radinsky: A punk-rock relief pitcher? You betcha. Both Radinsky and Jack McDowell brought serious music chops to the White Sox clubhouse of the early 1990s, but Radinsky took it all one step farther.

Yolmer Sánchez: Gatorade bather who lives by the mantra, “have a good time all the time.”

[poll id=”24″]

Previous winner: Ozzie Guillén (2019)


You made it! Thanks for participating.

 

 

 

South Side Hit Pen’s Best of the 2010s

Three generations: One indelible memory. (Leonard Gore)


That last Christmas gift under the tree? Yep, it’s from your friends at South Side Hit Pen.

After we delivered our take on the very, very best and beyond, beyond worst games of 2019 last month, we decided to wrap up an extra-special treat, as we wrap up 2019 and the Teens to boot.

An octo-rama of the best and brightest SSHP writers present to you our Best of the 2010s — please enjoy.


Orlando Hudson leads off in what would quickly become a season finale onslaught.
Sure, it was a meaningless game, but it was also the last time the White Sox ended a season with a record better than .500. That wasn’t particularly inspiring at the time, because the White Sox had led the division until a week before, but looking back, a mere September collapse was the best of times. Plus, the score was significant — 9-0 being the official score of a baseball forfeit, given that the Sox would as good as forfeit the rest of the decade. The game itself had its moments – Gavin Floyd pitched seven innings of three-hit ball for his 12th victory of the season; Paulie and Dayan Viciedo hit dingers; the immortal Dan Johnson slammed three homers and picked up five RBIs, bringing his season total to six; and Adam Dunn improved the game significantly by not playing. (Yeah, yeah, that was his 41-homer year. So what?) — Leigh Allan

White Sox 9, Braves 6
June 22, 2010
There were two games that immediately jumped to mind, one sad, another happy. The sad one came in September 2011 in Kansas City, when manager Ozzie Guillén and I, both of us sensing it would be our last days together before setting off into other endeavors beyond the White Sox, sat alone and commiserated over our fates and futures for about 20 minutes in the visiting manager’s office of Kauffman Stadium. But I’m choosing the happier one, instead. And that game is a June win in Chicago, my first game on the White Sox beat. I was a week or so from riding in the Blackhawks Stanley Cup parade, finishing up my one-and-done year on that beat before jumping right into the White Sox job for CSN Chicago. I’d covered the White Sox before, but never as a permanent job, and after writing stories for the beat-less Comcast during the Hawks playoff run — some even on a Blackberry after my netbook exploded in San Jose — I sort of forced my way into a dream job on the White Sox beat. It was the start of a two-year run with the team that was hard as hell, but a glorious and lucky time for me. I recall no details of the game beyond an early offensive assault and the win pushing the team over .500, but I hopped on the beat with the White Sox in the midst of a six-game winning streak, and from there my pugnacious prose helped compel the club to jump from third to first place during a 14-5 run (20 of 25 wins overall) that made me think, briefly, that after a first Stanley Cup in 49 years and now a 20-5 run with my new Chicago team, I was some sort of lucky charm. Of course, I was proven wrong by September 2010, but this season — and this game — will always be a magical memory for me. — Brett Ballantini

White Sox 4, Tigers 3
July 23, 2016
It was a day that was supposed to feature a cool retro jersey: the 1976 navy pajama top. Me and a group of friends normally went to the cool promotional games — the Hawaiian shirt games, jersey giveaways, steins, etc. — because the promotions have been the best thing about the Sox the past decade. If it is a cool promotion, we will be there. So, we mainly went to that game in July for the giveaway, but with the trade deadline nearing, we also understood it could be Chris Sale’s last game at Sox Park. While we were in line waiting to get into the park among what was a pretty good crowd, we all got phone alerts via Twitter, multiple reports coming in that Sale would not be starting the game. Immediately, we all turned to each other and asked if he was traded. As the line got moving, more and more fans were looking at their phones and turning to their group, all equally confused.

Now, my friends and I wanted a rebuild (and still support it), so we were giddy that a potential trade was in the works. A pitcher scratched from a start in late July surely made it seem like a trade was imminent. As confusion permeated the lines and the stadium, we collected our retro jerseys at the turnstiles and went upstairs to our seats. Looking back now, we should have noticed something obvious: The Sox were not wearing the 1976 jerseys, they instead were in the 1983s. But we did not think anything of it at the time (you can say we were stupid, and I will admit we were/are). As game time grew closer, the story became clear: Chris Sale was not traded; he threw a temper tantrum. He cut up the jerseys the Sox were supposed to wear on that day.

Once that information found its way to our laps, we all just laughed and laughed. In the same year where the Sox had the Drake Laroche debacle, another White Sox childish display was the talk of baseball. Because Sale did not start, Robin Ventura had to go to an impromptu bullpen day, and the bullpen did very well: Matt Albers, Dan Jennings, Tommy Kahnle, Zach Duke, Nate Jones and David Robertson went all-out to get through the day and on to the next. The Tigers were able to put up three runs in eight innings, including a blown save by Jones. Meanwhile, the Sox offense did just enough. Avisaíl García drove in two runs through the first eight innings, with a home run. Dioner Navarro doubled in another run. It was a rainy day by the end of the game, so we left before the game was suspended after the eighth inning, and we did not go back for the ninth the next day, when Adam Eaton ended the game with an RBI single.

But the game was really a second act on the day: The real story was Sale’s. He ended up being suspended for five games, missing one turn in the rotation. But looking back now, that day must have made it much easier for the front office to trade him in the upcoming offseason. For me and my friends, we do not remember much about the game, but we all have vivid memories of the shock we all had once the true story came out, punctuated by the team wearing 1983s instead of 1976s.

The 2016 team was not all that bad, but it was the most embarrassing season to be a Sox fan in recent memory. This game was the exclamation point. — Darren Black


The youngest Gore scored his first-ever White Sox game at the tail end of 2019. (Leonard Gore)
White Sox 5, Angels 1
Sept. 8, 2019
Since nothing of any baseball importance happened during the seven years of the decade a White Sox fan was the POTUS, I’ll go with a personal choice that just snuck in under the wire. Sept. 8, 2019 was a completely forgettable and insignificant Sox 5-1 win over a Trout-less Angels team.  José Abreu homered; Danny Mendick homered (the first of his career!); Dylan Cease was wild (of course); and every starter got a hit except for Adam Engel (of course-of course).
But what made it most memorable for me was the fact that it was my son’s first ever White Sox game! And frankly, I didn’t spend much time watching this game because I was happy to have him with me. We watched a couple of innings, met Ron Kittle outside the park (of course-of course-of-course), and spent most of the game in the Fundamentals Kids Zone in left field doing all the baseball activities over and over. My dad and brother also were there, so it was three generations of Gore boys to enjoy a day that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. — Leonard Gore

Royals 4, White Sox 1
Sept. 29, 2013

White Sox 9, Rays 6
April 25, 2014
Looking for the best White Sox game of the decade was no easy task. But after digging through the dumpster fire of the last decade that was White Sox baseball, I stumbled across April 25, 2014, an evening affair against the Rays that produced some nice fireworks.

Cut to the top of the ninth at U.S. Cellular Field, as Evan Longoria smashed a two-run dinger off of Matt Lindstrom to straightaway center field, breaking a 4-4 tie. Things were looking grim for the Sox, but they got through the rest of the inning unscathed. Then in the bottom of the ninth, with two on and one out, Paul Konerko walked to load the bases. Adam Eaton was up next, and narrowly avoided hitting into a double play to end the game, just beating out the throw at first as a run scored. Grant Balfour then walked Marcus Semien to load the bases once again, setting the stage for José Abreu.

Abreu did not disappoint, smashing a walk-off grand slam into the bullpen in right center field, his second dinger of the game. Ballgame!!! This game set the stage for six years of heroics from José, as he’s been the star who has shined the brightest during that time for the White Sox. — Scott Reichard (guitarsox)


Image result for White Sox 9, Mariners 8 Aug. 24, 2012
The Tank and The Donkey, celebrating the moments of their lives.
The White Sox were fresh off a sweep of the mighty New York Yankees, who finished the season with the best record in the American League. So things were looking up for the White Sox, who held a two-game lead in the AL Central. The mediocre Mariners visited The Cell, and the White Sox broke through early and often against starter Jason Vargas. Even free agent bust Adam Dunn went deep, as the White Sox chased Vargas from the game after only four innings, leading 6-2 when Vargas departed. The White Sox tacked on one more against the bullpen to take a 7-2 lead.
Meanwhile, Jake Peavy settled in nicely, allowing only two runs in seven innings. Matt Thornton took care of business in a drama-free eighth inning, and it appeared the Mariners would go down quietly. However, the ninth inning was far from drama-free. Robin Ventura made an odd decision to have Philip Humber start the ninth inning. Though Humber had thrown a perfect game a few months earlier, his performance between the perfect game and this outing was rough: a 6.67 ERA and  .284/.363/.518 slash against him. Ventura’s strange decision did not pay off on this warm, August night, as Humber’s struggles continued: a leadoff home run and walk before departing with one out. In to pitch stepped Donnie Veal, who allowed a double to the first and only batter he faced.
But, it was OK, as the White Sox still led 7-3, and Seattle’s tying run was still on deck. Addison Reed, who came in to pitch after Veal, had room for error. Unfortunately, Reed could not get the job done, allowing four of his first five hitters to reach base safely, and the final hit was costly. John Jaso’s single gave the Mariners an 8-7 lead and took the wind out of many fans’ sails.
Luckily, the White Sox offense woke back up, as they solved Seattle’s Tom Wilhelmsen. Kevin Youkilis hit an RBI single to tie the game, and Paul Konerko won it with a base hit into right-center to score Dewayne Wise. This was the wildest game I have ever seen in person, and I am thankful that I was able to attend. In the bottom of the eighth, one of my friends was wondering aloud if we should take off early and beat the traffic. Mercy, I sure am glad that we did not listen. — Joe Resis

OK, so this clip doesn’t feature the Yolmer Homer, but it does include a Yolmer two-bagger and a cameo from our own traveling win streak, Ashley Sanders.
White Sox 9, Rays 2
July 19, 2019
Although it has been a very disappointing decade for the Chicago White Sox, there have been many games worth celebrating. For my favorite game of the 2010s, like many of us I’m picking among games I attended. Of those 29 games, July 19, 2019 in St. Pete against the Tampa Bay Rays is my reigning favorite. A 9-2 squelching of Tampa Bay included a Yolmer Homer — and those are legendary! Reynaldo López pitched seven innings, the Sox tallied 17 hits, and it was an electric victory that ended a seven-game losing streak. Whenever the pitching and hitting are so in sync, it creates an all-around fantastic game! — Ashley Sanders

Weigh in on the best White Sox of the decade

Not only is the 2019 season officially over after the Washington Nationals won the World Series, but so is this baseball decade. Some of you probably do not remember most of the players for the White Sox in the 2010s (I mean, who can blame you, though), but some rose above the rest.

This thought exercise is inspired by a relatively recent Effectively Wild podcast from FanGraphs with hosts Meg Rowley (FanGraphs managing editor), Ben Lindbergh (writer at The Ringer and author), and Sam Miller (writer at ESPN). They guessed the top five hitters and pitchers of this decade in terms of fWAR, and then checked to see if their guesses were correct. Now, since South Side Hit Pen is of course a White Sox site, we are going to come at this with a Sox angle. We will be creating our own White Sox lineup of the decade (2010-19).

Now, I have to warn you, it is not pretty, and the White Sox record over the decade should tell you why.

The Sox as a team only had two winning records, in 2010 and 2012. Their overall record was 743-876. They never went to the playoffs, obviously, the first time the Sox missed the playoffs for an entire decade since the 1970s. The Sox only had 13 different players selected to the All-Star game (Chris Sale’s multiple selections only count as one), seven hitters and six pitchers.

The big theme of the decade, maybe besides mediocrity and then the rebuild, was honoring White Sox past. The Sox had eight former employees get into the Hall of Fame: Robert Alomar (2011), Ron Santo (2012), Frank Thomas (2014), Tony La Russa (2014), Ken Griffey Jr. (2016), Tim Raines (2017), Frank Thomas (2018), and Harold Baines (2019). A great group of guys, but most from a distant White Sox past. The organization retired a few numbers to help boost some meager attendance as well. Thomas (No. 35, 2010), Paul Konerko (No. 14, 2015), and Mark Buerhle (No. 56, 2017). Again, those honors don’t just remind fans of how successful the distant past was, but how utterly bad the recent past is. So, as you will see, this is not a great group of players to choose from for an All-Decade lineup.

I implore you all to try and create a lineup yourself before looking at the polls. When I did this, I found that I couldn’t even remember a lot of players from 2010-13, even some of the better ones. But if not, or when you are done, choose which player(s) you think had the highest fWAR for the White Sox at each position in the polls below.


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Today in White Sox History: October 2

Doused: The White Sox took the good fortune of a possible 2-0 World Series lead and left it all wet in a late barrage of homers.


1904Doc White’s streak of 45 consecutive scoreless innings was broken when the New York Highlanders (Yankees) got a run in the first inning of the opener of a twinbill in Chicago. White would pitch in both games, getting decisions in both. He won the first game, lost the second.

1908 — In the heat of a three-team pennant race, it may have been the greatest game even thrown by opposing hurlers against one other. Cleveland beat the White Sox, 1-0, as Addie Joss fired a perfect game. Meanwhile White Sox starter Ed Walsh struck out 15 Indians and allowed only three hits. The winning run scored when catcher Ossee Schreck couldn’t hang on to one of Walsh’s spitters with a man on third.


1959 — Game 2 of the World Series started put like a repeat of Game 1. The White Sox were leading the Dodgers, 2-1, in the seventh inning with two out when Chuck Essegian and Charlie Neal slugged home runs off of Bob Shaw. Making matters worse was that in the middle of an eighth-inning Sox rally, the slowest man in baseball, Sherm Lollar, was waved home with what would have been the tying run on a double by Al Smith. Lollar was out by 10 feet. Instead of having men on second and third with no out, it was a runner on third with one out. The Sox lost the game, 4-3.

In the fifth inning, Chicago left fielder Smith would get hit in the face with a cup of beer knocked over by a fan reaching for Neal’s first home run. It would become one of the most famous photographs of the 1950s.


2015 — White Sox starter Chris Sale broke Ed Walsh’s club record for most strikeouts in a season. Sale struck out Tiger James McCann in the second inning of a 2-1 win, giving Sale his 270th strikeout of the year. Walsh’s record had stood since 1908. Sale would finish the 2015 season with 274 strikeouts.

Today in White Sox History: September 11

Heavy hearts: Baseball fell to the background for awhile at the end of the 2001 season.


Sept. 11, 2001 — The White Sox were in New York near ground zero when the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center took place, getting a firsthand look at one of the darkest days in U.S. history. Major league baseball, in the wake of the national emergency, suspended all games for a week. The Sox returned to New York in early October to make up the three games with the Yankees.


Sept. 11, 2016 — In a 2-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals at U.S. Cellular Field, White Sox pitcher Chris Sale set the team record by recording 200 or more strikeouts for the fourth consecutive season. (Sale had set the team single season mark for strikeouts in 2015.) He would pitch eight innings in this game, striking out 12, only to lose as the Sox offense could not give him any support.