Today in White Sox History: April 15

 


1954
The White Sox reintroduced major league baseball to Baltimore for the first time since 1902, as they played at the new Baltimore Orioles as their first home opponent. The Orioles had moved from St. Louis that offseason. Virgil “Fire” Trucks got the start for the White Sox, but the O’s beat them 3-1 on the afternoon, starting a run of numerous unfortunate, strange and bizarre happenings for the White Sox at Memorial Stadium over the next 37 seasons.


1972
The first labor impasse to cause regularly scheduled games to be cancelled caused Opening Day of the 1972 season to be pushed back. In Kansas City, the Sox would lose to the Royals, 2-1, in 11 innings despite Dick Allen’s first White Sox home run. Allen blasted a shot in the ninth inning off Dick Drago to give the team a brief 1-0 lead. Kansas City would tie the game with two out in the ninth inning on a Bob Oliver home run off of Wilbur Wood, then go on to win the game. The Sox would drop three consecutive one-run games to the Royals to start the season, two in extra innings, but would end up with 87 wins in only 154 games.


1983
Milt Wilcox had his perfect game ruined with two outs in the ninth inning, as White Sox pinch hitter Jerry Hairston ripped a clean single up the middle. It was the only hit of the night for the Sox, who lost to Detroit, 6-0.


1985
In a game at Boston, White Sox pinch hitter Jerry Hairston collected his 51st safety in that role, setting the franchise record. Jerry would lead the league in pinch hits from 1983 through 1985, and would retire with 87 in his career. Hairston also hit the last home run to set off Bill Veeck’s original exploding scoreboard in October 1981 — and he hit it off of future Sox pitching coach Don Cooper!


2006
It was one of the most incredible defensive plays in White Sox history: In the ninth inning of a game at U.S. Cellular Field against Toronto, second baseman Tadahito Iguchi had to charge in on a slowly-hit ball by Bengie Molina. His momentum carried him forward, and because of it he left his feet and starting falling to the ground. Before he hit the field, though, Iguchi got a throw off, despite being parallel to the playing surface. His throw was strong enough to get Molina at first. The Sox would win the game, 4-2.


 

 

Minnie Miñoso makes the South Side Hit Pen Hall of Fame!

You made it, Minnie: Miñoso is the sole Hall-of-Famer from the first SSHP Veteran’s ballot.


Our debut Veteran’s Committee ballot is in the books, and the sole winner was Chicago White Sox legend Minnie Miñoso, with 78% of the vote. Miñoso polled at 73% of our original, 30-player draft ballot, so he nudged forward with just enough support to sneak in.

No other candidates broke the 75% threshold, but none polled so poorly as to drop off of the Veteran’s ballot. Next year, we’ll consider breaking the ballot into positions or even eras in order to create a little bit of spacing in the results, perhaps resulting in more players being elected in a given year.

The full results:

Minnie Miñoso (78%)
Dick Allen (58%)
Lou Whitaker (58%)
Tommy John (51%)
Pete Rose (48%)
Kenny Lofton (22%)
Dwight Evans (19%)
Luis Tiant (17%)
Mark McGwire (14%)
Bobby Bonds (12%)

Voters averaged 3.77 selections per ballot, which means nearly everyone made the maximum four selections in this election. Well done!

Congratulations to Minnie, and we’ll see you back here for another Veteran’s Committee vote next year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inaugural South Side Hit Pen Veteran’s Committee Hall of Fame election: final round


Last month, we instituted our first-ever Veteran’s Committee vote, and 101 votes later we’ve now winnowed an original list of 30 players down to the 10 top vote-getters, for our final ballot (votes in parenthesis):

Minnie Miñoso (74)
Dick Allen (65)
Pete Rose (64)
Tommy John (57)
Lou Whitaker (56)
Kenny Lofton (42)
Dwight Evans (35)
Luis Tiant (33)
Bobby Bonds (28)
Mark McGwire (26) 

The rules are that a player needed at least a 5% vote to survive on a future ballot, thus the following 17 players could be chosen for our vote next offseason (votes in parenthesis):

Jim Edmonds (22)
Joe Torre (22)
Bobby Grich (20)
Ken Boyer (18)
Lance Berkman (17)
Kevin Brown (17)
Graig Nettles (17)
Rafael Palmeiro (17)
David Cone (16)
Chet Lemon (15)
Buddy Bell (14)
Keith Hernandez (14)
Bret Saberhagen (10)
Rick Reuschel (8)
Willie Randolph (7)
Sal Bando (6)
Reggie Smith (6)

 

Finally, three players failed to garner the minimum support, and thus will drop off of our Veteran’s consideration for at least five years (votes in parenthesis):

Willie Davis (4)
Darrell Evans (3)
Chuck Finley (1)

So, we’re kicking off a month of Hall of Fame votes: Veteran’s (January 1-7), Traditional (January 8-14), and White Sox (January 15-22) with this final round of Veteran’s voting.

Veteran’s balloting will end next Tuesday, so vote sooner than later, please.

Below are the bios for our 10 remaining candidates. Players must receive 75% of the vote to be enshrined.

note: aWAR = average WAR across the three measures; aaWAR = adjusted average WAR, accounting for time lost due to labor impasses or institutional racism


Dick Allen
First Baseman/Third Baseman
Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland A’s
(1963-77)

bWAR: 58.7
fWAR: 61.3
WARP: 59.1
aWAR: 59.7
aaWAR: 60.3
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 161st
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B: 17th
Core Stats: 351 HR, .292/.378/.534, .912 OPS, 156 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1964 NL Rookie of the Year, 1972 AL MVP, seven-time All-Star, two Top 5 MVP finishes

One of the all-time hardest-hitters, Allen’s path to the Hall has been complicated by a number of “moody” tropes that defy his true role as a clubhouse force, at least proven by his White Sox days. Of course, Allen did also move to the beat of his own drum, which rarely endears. 


Bobby Bonds
Right Fielder
Giants, Angels, Cleveland, Yankees, Rangers, Cardinals, Cubs, White Sox
(1968-81)

bWAR: 57.9
fWAR: 57.2
WARP: 63.6
aWAR: 59.6
aaWAR: 59.8

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 179th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among RF: 22nd
Core Stats: 332 home runs, 461 stolen bases, .268/.353/.471, .824 OPS, 129 OPS+
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves, 1973 All-Star MVP, two Top 5 MVP finishes

It’s mind-boggling that while the Steve Garveys, Dale Murphys and Dave Parkers of baseball get studied consideration for the Hall, Bonds does not. A five-tool player, Bonds was derailed by personal issues off the field that helped keep him from all-time great status.


Dwight Evans
Right Fielder
Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles

(1972-91)
bWAR: 67.1
fWAR: 65.1
WARP: 69.2
aWAR: 67.1
aaWAR: 70.4
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 138th

JAWS All-Time Rank Among RF: 15th
Core Stats: 385 home runs, .272/.370/.470, .840 OPS, 127 OPS+
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star, eight Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, two Top 5 MVP finishes

Evans has managed to be underrated despite some high-profile postseason appearances and status as nearly a career Red Sox player. A devastating all-around player.


Tommy John
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, California Angels, Cleveland, Oakland A’s

(1963-89)
bWAR: 61.5
fWAR: 79.4
WARP: 36.9
aWAR: 59.3
aaWAR: 60.7

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 201st
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 85th
Core Stats: 288 wins, 3.44 ERA, 1.283 WHIP, 111 ERA+, 3.38 FIP
Core Accolades: Four-time All-Star, two Top 5 Cy Young finishes

John is Exhibit A for the Jamie Moyer-type pitcher who simply never stopped pitching and piled up Hall-worthy numbers. That John was effective, even dominant, after the surgery that now bears his name adds an impressive wrinkle to his “piling up.”


Kenny Lofton
Center Fielder
Cleveland, Braves, Dodgers, Phillies, White Sox, Pirates, Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Giants, Astros

(1991-2007)
bWAR: 68.3
fWAR: 62.4
WARP: 50.6
aWAR: 60.4
aaWAR: 63.8

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 100th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among CF: 10th
Core Stats: 622 stolen bases, .299/.372/.423, .794 OPS, 107 OPS+, 15.5 dWAR
Core Accolades: Six-time All-Star, four Gold Gloves, one Top 5 MVP finish

An elite center fielder who played center for a long time. Like Brown, his mercenary status hopping cities after Cleveland likely dinged his status among voters.


Mark McGwire
First Baseman
Oakland A’s, St. Louis Cardinals

(1986-2001)
bWAR: 62.2
fWAR: 66.3
WARP: 58.8
aWAR: 62.4
aaWAR: 63.6

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 137th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 1B: 18th
Core Stats: 583 home runs, .263/.394/.588, .982 OPS, 163 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1987 AL Rookie of the Year, 12-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, three Top 5 MVP finishes

PED controversies aside, McGwire put up numbers. There likely remain enough steroid purists out there to keep him far off of the ballot for years to come, but the numbers and rankings merit inclusion here.


Minnie Miñoso
Left Fielder
Chicago White Sox, Cleveland, Washington Senators, St. Louis Cardinals

(1949-80)
bWAR: 50.5
fWAR: 50.8
WARP: 54.9
aWAR: 52.1
aaWAR: 57.5

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 229th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among LF: 22nd
Core Stats: .298/.389/.459, .848 OPS, 130 OPS+
Core Accolades: Nine-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves, four Top 5 MVP finishes

Beyond his role as Mr. White Sox and trailbreaking status as the first great black Latino player in the majors, Miñoso has the numbers to merit induction. Institutional racism prevented Minnie from a full major league career, as he missed at least one All-Star level season in the majors while sequestered into the Negro Leagues.


Pete Rose
First Baseman/Left Fielder/Third Baseman/Second Baseman/Right Fielder
Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos 

(1963-86)
bWAR: 79.7
fWAR: 80.1
WARP: 73.2
aWAR: 77.7
aaWAR: 79
JAWS All-Time Rank Among LF: 5th

Core Stats: 3,562 games, 4,256 hits, 2.165 runs, .303/.375/.409, .784 OPS, 118 OPS+
Core Accolades: All-time games and hits leader, 1973 NL MVP, 1963 NL Rookie of the Year, 17-time All-Star, two Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger, four Top 5 MVP finishes, 1975 World Series MVP

Obviously Rose has the numbers to be in the Hall, as an all-time great, so his inclusion here is more a referendum on whether unsavory and/or banned actions off the field should affect enshrinement status on it. If not elected, Rose will be joined on the ballot next year by Joe Jackson, in a similar test.


Luis Tiant
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Boston Red Sox, Cleveland, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates, California Angels 

(1964-82)
bWAR: 66
fWAR: 54.8
WARP: 41.5
aWAR: 54.1
aaWAR: 54.6
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 111th

JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 57th
Core Stats: 3.30 ERA, 1.199 WHIP, 114 ERA+, 3.47 FIP
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star, two Top 5 Cy Young finish, one Top 5 MVP finish

Tiant’s case is bolstered (though not a determination for his inclusion here) by some heroic postseason pitching and extremely colorful personality.


Lou Whitaker
Second Baseman
Detroit Tigers

(1977-95)
bWAR: 75.1
fWAR: 68.1
WARP: 48.5
aWAR: 63.9
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 76th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 2B: 13th
Core Stats: 2.369 hits, .276/.363/.426, .789 OPS, 117 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1978 Rookie of the Year, five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger, three-time Gold Glove

While not the biggest lock of a candidate on this list necessarily, his idiotic bypassing by the Veteran’s Committee just last week helps fuel votes like this. You’d think almost no one thinks Whitaker is not a Hall-of-Famer at this point, certainly not if Alan Trammell is. But just enough folks on a solitary, punch-dunk Vet Committee just did, so labor on we must.


The ballot: Keep in mind that you can vote for up to four players, but review your selections before clicking [VOTE], because you can’t edit after the fact.

[poll id=”14″]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A tale of two Bat Days

By any name: There’s been no more menacing power hitter in White Sox history than Dick Allen.


The White Sox have had attendance issues for decades now. The team’s problems began in the late 1960s, for a variety of reasons. One chief reason was the club didn’t have a marquee name, an impact player who could draw fans in big numbers.

During their stretch of winning seasons from 1951-67, the White Sox had players like Luis Aparicio, (stolen bases and defense), Nellie Fox (singles hitter and bunter), and usually a solid pitching rotation. But there was no Willie Mays, Hank Aaron or Harmon Killebrew. When the White Sox won, they won low-scoring games with little offense. The team didn’t hit have a 30-home run hitter in its entire history until 1970. Vast Comiskey Park was not a great place for power hitters, anyway.

During the offseason between 1971 and 1972, the White Sox finally were able to acquire that dominant player they never seemed to have when they traded pitcher Tommy John and first baseman Steve Huntz to the Dodgers for Dick Allen.

Allen hit for great power and average, and there was no doubt he was an elite talent. The biggest problem was that he had a very checkered past. Some fans in Philadelphia counted the days to his departure. The White Sox would be his fourth team in four years. Would any baggage that he would carry be worth giving up a front-line pitcher and a promising first baseman?

Allen would quickly become a South Side icon, but he would also be tied to two historic days at Comiskey Park that spelled both optimism and ruin, both for him and the team.

In the beginning, it appeared the Allen pickup was a mistake. Bad baggage-carrying Allen reared his head.

The talented first-baseman didn’t care to show up for spring training. Just as important, contract talks stalled, and it appeared, in those pre-free agent days, that Allen might hold out. But the team and player came to terms, and then Allen revealed that he wanted to be called “Dick” and not “Richie.” That small request was granted and Richie Allen of the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, and Los Angeles Dodgers, became known as Dick Allen of the Chicago White Sox.

Opening Day in 1972 was delayed 10 days because the owners locked out the players in a labor dispute. But Allen would quickly show that this delay and missing spring training would not affect his play.

The White Sox opened the season on April 15 in Kansas City. In the top of the ninth, in a scoreless game, Allen hit a mammoth home run that cleared the left-center field wall by plenty. The Sox would lose that game 2-1 in 11 innings, but Allen had demonstrated his awesome power with a devastating down-cutting swing.

And on June 4, Allen truly cemented his relationship with White Sox fans.

June 4 was Bat Day. That promotion always brought out good crowds to the ballpark. But on June 4, 1972, 51,904 showed for a doubleheader against the Yankees. It was the first 50,000-plus crowd for a regular season game at Comiskey since August 1955 — another doubleheader against the Yankees.

The opener was all White Sox. Young righthander Tom Bradley threw a complete game-six hitter, while Bill Melton hit a towering home run deep into the left field lower deck. At one point, fans held thousands of bats in the air, and the Sox won 6-1. A little less than two years after losing 106, the White Sox looked like contenders.

In between games, there was a damper. It was announced that Dick Allen was not in the lineup. A crowd of over 50,000 shows, and Allen is not playing in the nightcap? Was he injured? Was he fatigued? Or was baggage-carrying Richie Allen uninterested in playing before a large and history-making crowd?

The White Sox offense looked lethargic in the second game. Going into the last inning, the Yankees led 4-2, and it appeared the Sox were going to settle for a split. However, they put on two runners with one out in the bottom of the ninth. And who comes out of the dugout to pinch-hit? Not bad Richie Allen, but good Dick Allen.

Comiskey Park went wild, but Allen calmly strolled up to the plate apparently unmoved by all the excitement. On the second pitch from reliever Sparky Lyle, Allen once more used that down-cutting swing of his and sent a vicious line drive to left.

Sitting down the left field line, I picked up the ball just as it went a little over the shortstop’s head. At first, I thought it was one of those hard-hit balls that are caught by the outfielder. But the ball kept rising. It remained on a line, but it rose. Left fielder Roy White wasn’t coming in, he was drifting back. Once at the wall, White had a totally frustrated look as he watched the drive zip into the seats for a game-winning, three-run homer.

When was there a more exciting moment at Comiskey Park in recent memory? A fan would have to think about it. And when had a White Sox hitter demonstrated power like Allen? It is safe to say: Never.

The next season, Bat Day fell on May 20 for another doubleheader, this time against the Twins. A record 55,555 showed. Is that suspicious-sounding number correct? I was at this game also, and was forced to sit in the top row of the right-field upper deck. I had a better view of the Dan Ryan than of the field. Fans stood. They sat in the aisles. They parked themselves on the catwalk of the scoreboard. The view of people everywhere, in every seat, in every other available space, was breathtaking.

There is a great picture that ran in the Sun-Times the next day. A small girl is sitting in the lower concourse and a mound of boxes rose above and behind her. The boxes once held the bats. It was said that more than 2,200 fans had to be given refunds because there was no room in the stadium. If that 55,555 number is correct, almost 58,000 showed for the Sunday doubleheader. That was more than 10% of the entire team attendance in 1970.

The crowd erupted when Bill Melton homered off ex-Cub Bill Hands in the first. Carlos May added another homer in the fourth, and the Sox, behind the complete game pitching of Wilbur Wood, won 9-3. Excitement ran through the stadium.

Yet, in a repeat of the Bat Day 1972, Dick Allen was not in the lineup for the nightcap. This was hard to defend; it didn’t make sense.

Allen came out to pinch-hit again, but this time there were no heroics. In the fourth, with the bases loaded, Allen popped out. The Sox lost, 3-0, and missed his bat terribly. In the two dates that had a combined attendance of 107,453, good Dick Allen looked like bad Richie Allen, as he had little interest in playing on these historic occasions.

Allen would miss a good part of the 1973 season due to injury, although some questioned how serious the injury was. The team had other injuries, and the White Sox won a disappointing 77 games. And in early September 1974, good Dick Allen looked like bad Richie again.

As the season was winding down in 1974, Allen was on his way to another American League home run championship. Another 100-RBI season was in reach. But Allen again didn’t seem interested. He told the club he was retiring, and wasn’t waiting until the end of the season. With three weeks left, he was taking his leave. The White Sox lost their impact player for reasons unknown, or lamely explained.

The 1975 season was a dud. Attendance dropped to fewer than 800,000. The once-popular Melton was practically booed out of the city. The center field scoreboard celebrations were also duds, as they were shortened to save money. The franchise had few resources, an aging stadium and a non-believing fan base. A charter member of the American League looked like it was on its way to Seattle.

And where was Dick Allen? He decided he was going to play again and ended up in Philadelphia, the place that had hated him more than Chicago turning on Melton. In 1976, Allen threatened to sit out the NCLS because the Phillies didn’t include his friend, Tony Taylor, on the postseason roster. Allen went 2-for-9 in the series and made little impact as he drove in no runs; the Phillies were swept by the Reds.

In 1977, Allen went to Oakland. Again, not interested in playing a second game of a doubleheader at Comiskey Park, Allen had a confrontation with A’s owner Charlie Finley in the locker room. Once again, Allen had limited himself to a single pinch-hit appearance in a nightcap, and Finley was offended that Allen had already showered and was ready to leave. On June 19, 1977, during the year of the South Side Hit Men, Allen left baseball for good. Hardly anyone noticed or cared as he again deserted a team before the season was over.


The man who had become Dick Allen had also become a vital hope for a team and place that had finally had accepted him. He was there for two historic days at Comiskey Park. He provided an excitement like no other White Sox player before him. Then he vanished, and hope seemed to vanish with him. With the exception of the Hit Men season, the second half of the 1970s was an unmitigated disaster and a source of embarrassment.

Many White Sox fans who were around during the 1970s, get angry at hearing the name Dick Allen. His majestic home runs are great memories, but his “retirement” leaves a different type of memory. Yet can anyone really stay angry at Dick Allen? He could have put up Hall of Fame numbers. He could have left an endearing legacy after suffering bitterness and rejection in other places. His demons did more harm to him than anyone else. As fans wonder what could have been, Allen must wonder the same thing.

But there was that line drive into the left field seats on Bat Day 1972. Fans didn’t want to leave Comiskey. They wanted to believe, because the White Sox finally had that one great player who could take them to the World Series.

Unfortunately, that World Series wouldn’t happen for another 33 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vote in the inaugural South Side Hit Pen Veteran’s Committee Hall of Fame election

(ThisIsCooperstown.com)


Over many years at South Side Sox, we conducted our own yearly Hall of Fame voting, to see how the opinions of White Sox fans matched up vs. Hall of Fame voters (spoiler alert: We’re smarter).

Two years ago, we also created our own White Sox Hall of Fame, honoring not only the greatest players in White Sox history, but the most memorable games, teams, contributors, promotions, and so on.

When Harold Baines was elected to Cooperstown via a Veteran’s Committee ballot in 2018, it sparked an idea for a third round of voting, now hosted here at South Side Hit Pen: our own Veteran’s Committee ballot.

There are dozens of worthy players who for one reason or another — oh, let’s just say it, baseball writer ignorance — have dropped off of the ballot. We seek to remedy that, on the heels of the latest BBWAA election that saw only Ted Simmons among former players voted into Cooperstown last Sunday.

Nearly mirroring the ballot of 32 players for the regular election, here are 30 players comprising our inaugural Veteran’s Committee ballot. Just like in the regular Hall of Fame election, you may vote for up to 10 players. And those candidates who don’t receive at least 5% of the vote will fall off of this balloting next year.

note: aWAR = average WAR across the three measures; aaWAR = adjusted average WAR, accounting for time lost due to labor impasses or institutional racism


Dick Allen
First Baseman/Third Baseman
Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland A’s
(1963-77)

bWAR: 58.7
fWAR: 61.3
WARP: 59.1
aWAR: 59.7
aaWAR: 60.3
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 161st
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B: 17th
Core Stats: 351 HR, .292/.378/.534, .912 OPS, 156 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1964 NL Rookie of the Year, 1972 AL MVP, seven-time All-Star, two Top 5 MVP finishes

One of the all-time hardest-hitters, Allen’s path to the Hall has been complicated by a number of “moody” tropes that defy his true role as a clubhouse force, at least proven by his White Sox days. Of course, Allen did also move to the beat of his own drum, which rarely endears. 


Sal Bando
Third Baseman
Oakland/Kansas City A’s, Milwaukee Brewers
(1966-81)

bWAR: 61.5
fWAR: 56.2
WARP: 51.3
aWAR: 56.3
aaWAR: 56.6
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 156th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B: 16th
Core Stats: .254/.352/.408, .760 OPS, 119 OPS+
Core Accolades: Four-time All-Star, three Top 5 MVP finishes

Core member of the threepeat Oakland A’s of the early 1970s, with a relatively brief but potent peak.


Buddy Bell
Third Baseman
Texas Rangers, Cleveland, Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros
(1972-89)

bWAR: 66.3
fWAR: 61.7
WARP: 62.5
aWAR: 63.5
aaWAR: 66.6
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 135th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B: 15th
Core Stats: 2,514 hits, .279/.341/.406, .747 OPS, 109 OPS+, 23.8 dWAR
Core Accolades: Five-time All-Star, six Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger

Chronically underrated given his defensive majesty, almost no one regards Bell as Hall of Fame-caliber. But the numbers are there, even offensively, where he had enough lasting power and durability to pile up more than 2,500 hits.


Lance Berkman
First Baseman/Left Fielder/Right Fielder
Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees
(1999-2013)

bWAR: 52.1
fWAR: 55.9
WARP: 49.4
aWAR: 52.5
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 230th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among LF: 20th
Core Stats: 366 home runs, .293/.406/.537, .943 OPS, 144 OPS+
Core Accolades: Six-time All-Star, four Top 5 MVP finishes

Potent power bat, certainly not the strongest case here but worthy of a second look.


Bobby Bonds
Right Fielder
Giants, Angels, Cleveland, Yankees, Rangers, Cardinals, Cubs, White Sox
(1968-81)

bWAR: 57.9
fWAR: 57.2
WARP: 63.6
aWAR: 59.6
aaWAR: 59.8

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 179th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among RF: 22nd
Core Stats: 332 home runs, 461 stolen bases, .268/.353/.471, .824 OPS, 129 OPS+
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves, 1973 All-Star MVP, two Top 5 MVP finishes

It’s mind-boggling that while the Steve Garveys, Dale Murphys and Dave Parkers of baseball get studied consideration for the Hall, Bonds does not. A five-tool player, Bonds was derailed by personal issues off the field that helped keep him from all-time great status.


Ken Boyer
Third Baseman
St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Chicago White Sox
(1955-69)

bWAR: 62.8
fWAR: 54.8
WARP: 61.5
aWAR: 59.6
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 155th

JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B: 14th
Core Stats: .287/.349/.462, .810 OPS, 116 OPS+, 10.7 dWAR
Core Accolades: 1964 NL MVP, 11-time All-Star, five Gold Gloves, two Top 5 MVP finishes

Extremely strong two-way player, another devastatingly good third baseman who’s been well overlooked.


Kevin Brown
Starting Pitcher
Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Florida Marlins, San Diego Padres, Baltimore Orioles

(1977-95)
bWAR: 67.8
fWAR: 76.5
WARP: 80.1
aWAR: 74.8
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 91st
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 50th
Core Stats: 3.28 ERA, 1.222 WHIP, 127 ERA+, 3.33 FIP
Core Accolades: Six-time All-Star, two Top 5 Cy Young finishes

Perhaps akin to Allen, Brown’s carpetbagger status in the game sullies what is an absolutely potent Hall of Fame resume. Roy Halladay was elected on his first ballot, while Brown was kicked to the curb.


David Cone
Starting Pitcher
New York Mets, New York Yankees, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox

(1986-2003)
bWAR: 62.3
fWAR: 56
WARP: 71.5
aWAR: 63.3
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 115th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 64th
Core Stats: 3.46 ERA, 1.256 WHIP, 121 ERA+, 3.57 FIP
Core Accolades: 1994 Cy Young, five-time All-Star, three Top 5 Cy Young finishes

A dominant arm who perhaps didn’t quite stand out enough in a Roger Clemens-Pedro Martinez era, Cone was a consistently-elite money pitcher, period.


Willie Davis
Center Fielder
Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, California Angels

(1960-79)
bWAR: 60.7
fWAR: 53.7
WARP: 55.1
aWAR: 56.5
aaWAR: 58
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 211th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among CF: 16th
Core Stats: 2.561 hits, 398 stolen bases, .279/.311/.412, .723 OPS, 106 OPS+, 11.1 dWAR
Core Accolades: Two-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves

A speed and defense merchant who is almost alone on this ballot as such. Davis had longevity and legit status as a glue member of perennial contending teams.


Jim Edmonds
Center Fielder
St. Louis Cardinals, Angels, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds

(1993-2010)
bWAR: 60.4
fWAR: 64.5
WARP: 67.1
aWAR: 64
aaWAR: 64.9
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 144th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among CF: 15th
Core Stats: 393 home runs, .284/.376/.527, .903 OPS, 132 OPS+
Core Accolades: Four-time All-Star, eight Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger, two Top 5 MVP finishes

A highlight-reel defender with a potent power bat to boot.


Darrell Evans
Third Baseman/First Baseman
San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers

(1969-89)
bWAR: 60.4
fWAR: 64.5
WARP: 67.1
aWAR: 63.9
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 199th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B: 18th
Core Stats: 414 home runs, .248/.361/.431, .792 OPS, 119 OPS+
Core Accolades: Two-time All-Star

Another slight oddball on the list here, as primarily a power bat. Evans was overlooked during his career, and in retirement as well.


Dwight Evans
Right Fielder
Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles

(1972-91)
bWAR: 67.1
fWAR: 65.1
WARP: 69.2
aWAR: 67.1
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 138th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among RF: 15th
Core Stats: 385 home runs, .272/.370/.470, .840 OPS, 127 OPS+
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star, eight Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, two Top 5 MVP finishes

Evans has managed to be underrated despite some high-profile postseason appearances and status as nearly a career Red Sox player. A devastating all-around player.


Chuck Finley
Starting Pitcher
California Angels, Cleveland, St. Louis Cardinals

(1986-2002)
bWAR: 57.9
fWAR: 56.9
WARP: 49.9
aWAR: 54.9
aaWAR: 56.9
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 190th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 79th
Core Stats: 3.85 ERA 2,610 K, 1.376 WHIP, 115 ERA+, 3.91 FIP
Core Accolades: Five-time All-Star

While certainly not the most imposing candidate on this ballot, Finley was a legitimate force and a premier southpaw for more than a decade.


Bobby Grich
Second Baseman
California Angels, Baltimore Orioles

(1970-86)
bWAR: 71.1
fWAR: 69.1
WARP: 53.1
aWAR: 64.4
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 83rd
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 2B: 8th
Core Stats: .266/.371/.424, .794 OPS, 125 OPS+
Core Accolades: Six-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger, one Gold Glove

One of several poster children for both the tendency of writers to miss Hall-worthiness in front of their own eyes and the redemption of hallowed careers thanks to the advance of sabermetrics. The same case made to get Ted Simmons into the Hall will one day work for Grich.


Keith Hernandez
First Baseman
St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets, Cleveland

(1974-90)
bWAR: 60.4
fWAR: 59.4
WARP: 45.8
aWAR: 55.2
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 162nd
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 1B: 19th
Core Stats: .292/.384/.436, .821 OPS, 128 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1979 NL co-MVP, five-time All-Star, 11 Gold Gloves, two-time Silver Slugger, 1979 batting title, two Top 5 MVP finishes

Hernandez had a sneaky-great career that included a very strong second act in New York, after an initial run in St. Louis.


Tommy John
Starting Pitcher
Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, California Angels, Cleveland, Oakland A’s

(1963-89)
bWAR: 61.5
fWAR: 79.4
WARP: 36.9
aWAR: 59.3
aaWAR: 60.7

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 201st
JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 85th
Core Stats: 288 wins, 3.44 ERA, 1.283 WHIP, 111 ERA+, 3.38 FIP
Core Accolades: Four-time All-Star, two Top 5 Cy Young finishes

John is Exhibit A for the Jamie Moyer-type pitcher who simply never stopped pitching and piled up Hall-worthy numbers. That John was effective, even dominant, after the surgery that now bears his name adds an impressive wrinkle to his “piling up.”


Chet Lemon
Center Fielder
Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox

(1975-90)
bWAR: 55.6
fWAR: 52
WARP: 45.8
aWAR: 51.1
aaWAR: 53.2

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 186th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among CF: 20th
Core Stats: .273/.355/.442, .797 OPS, 121 OPS+
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star

Like Bell, a double-take candidate who gets close to no consideration among voters, even among the veteran’s committees of baseball. Legendary range in the outfield. a consistent bat, and a mysterious illness that truncated his career all combine to make Lemon an intriguing Hall case.


Kenny Lofton
Center Fielder
Cleveland, Braves, Dodgers, Phillies, White Sox, Pirates, Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Giants, Astros

(1991-2007)
bWAR: 68.3
fWAR: 62.4
WARP: 50.6
aWAR: 60.4
aaWAR: 63.8

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 100th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among CF: 10th
Core Stats: 622 stolen bases, .299/.372/.423, .794 OPS, 107 OPS+, 15.5 dWAR
Core Accolades: Six-time All-Star, four Gold Gloves, one Top 5 MVP finish

An elite center fielder who played center for a long time. Like Brown, his mercenary status hopping cities after Cleveland likely dinged his status among voters.


Mark McGwire
First Baseman
Oakland A’s, St. Louis Cardinals

(1986-2001)
bWAR: 62.2
fWAR: 66.3
WARP: 58.8
aWAR: 62.4
aaWAR: 63.6

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 137th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 1B: 18th
Core Stats: 583 home runs, .263/.394/.588, .982 OPS, 163 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1987 AL Rookie of the Year, 12-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, three Top 5 MVP finishes

PED controversies aside, McGwire put up numbers. There likely remain enough steroid purists out there to keep him far off of the ballot for years to come, but the numbers and rankings merit inclusion here.


Minnie Miñoso
Left Fielder
Chicago White Sox, Cleveland, Washington Senators, St. Louis Cardinals

(1949-80)
bWAR: 50.5
fWAR: 50.8
WARP: 54.9
aWAR: 52.1
aaWAR: 57.5

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 229th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among LF: 22nd
Core Stats: .298/.389/.459, .848 OPS, 130 OPS+
Core Accolades: Nine-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves, four Top 5 MVP finishes

Beyond his role as Mr. White Sox and trailbreaking status as the first great black Latino player in the majors, Miñoso has the numbers to merit induction. Institutional racism prevented Minnie from a full major league career, as he missed at least one All-Star level season in the majors while sequestered into the Negro Leagues.


Graig Nettles
Third Baseman
New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, Cleveland, Minnesota Twins, Atlanta Braves, Montreal Expos 

(1967-88)
bWAR: 68.0
fWAR: 65.7
WARP: 64.6
aWAR: 66.1
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 126th

JAWS All-Time Rank Among 3B: 12th
Core Stats: 390 home runs, .248/.329/.421, .750 OPS, 110 OPS+, 21.4 dWAR
Core Accolades: Six-time All-Star, two Gold Gloves, one Top 5 MVP finish, 1981 ALCS MVP

Yet another incredible bat that doubled as a killer defender, Nettles has an advantage over Bell and Boyer due to successive, high-profile defensive highlights with the Yankees in the postseason.


Rafael Palmeiro
First Baseman
Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs 

(1985-2005)
bWAR: 71.9
fWAR: 70
WARP: 64.4
aWAR: 68.8
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 131st

JAWS All-Time Rank Among 1B: 12th
Core Stats: 3,020 hits, 569 home runs, .288/.371/.515, .885 OPS, 132 OPS+
Core Accolades: Four-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, one Top 5 MVP finish

More PED taint, yes, but Palmeiro has an even more compelling case for the Hall than McGwire. An elite bat, solid glove, and great longevity.


Willie Randolph
Second Baseman
New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland A’s, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates 

(1975-92)
bWAR: 65.9
fWAR: 62.1
WARP: 52.8
aWAR: 60.3
aaWAR: 61.3
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 136th

JAWS All-Time Rank Among 2B: 17th
Core Stats: .276/.373/.351, .724 OPS, 104 OPS+, 20.2 dWAR
Core Accolades: Six-time All-Star, Silver Slugger

Another easily-overlooked player, which is somewhat shocking given a career largely in the Bronx. 


Rick Reuschel
Starting Pitcher
Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees 

(1972-91)
bWAR: 69.5
fWAR: 68.2
WARP: 42.3
aWAR: 60
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 93rd

JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 49th
Core Stats: 3.37 ERA, 1.275 WHIP, 114 ERA+, 3.22 FIP
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star, two Gold Gloves, three Top 5 Cy Young finishes

Perhaps the consummate overlooked candidate. The only area Reuschel can be dinged is “elite status,” because he rarely reached such air despite three Top 5 Cy Youngs.


Pete Rose
First Baseman/Left Fielder/Third Baseman/Second Baseman/Right Fielder
Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos 

(1963-86)
bWAR: 79.7
fWAR: 80.1
WARP: 73.2
aWAR: 77.7
aaWAR: 79
JAWS All-Time Rank Among LF: 5th

Core Stats: 3,562 games, 4,256 hits, 2.165 runs, .303/.375/.409, .784 OPS, 118 OPS+
Core Accolades: All-time games and hits leader, 1973 NL MVP, 1963 NL Rookie of the Year, 17-time All-Star, two Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger, four Top 5 MVP finishes, 1975 World Series MVP

Obviously Rose has the numbers to be in the Hall, as an all-time great, so his inclusion here is more a referendum on whether unsavory and/or banned actions off the field should affect enshrinement status on it. If not elected, Rose will be joined on the ballot next year by Joe Jackson, in a similar test.


Bret Saberhagen
Starting Pitcher
Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies 

(1984-2001)
bWAR: 58.8
fWAR: 55.3
WARP: 54.4
aWAR: 56.2
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 142nd

JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 70th
Core Stats: 3.34 ERA, 1.141 WHIP, 126 ERA+, 3.27 FIP
Core Accolades: 1985 and 1989 AL Cy Young, three-time All-Star, Gold Glove, one Top 5 Cy Young finish, 1985 World Series MVP

Perhaps the anti-Reuschel candidate, as Saberhagen had runs of elite pitching but a touch less longevity and overall dominance.


Reggie Smith
Right Fielder/Center Fielder
Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants 

(1966-82)
bWAR: 64.6
fWAR: 64.6
WARP: 68.1
aWAR: 65.8
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 129th

JAWS All-Time Rank Among RF: 16th
Core Stats: .287/.366/.489, .855 OPS, 137 OPS+
Core Accolades: Seven-time All-Star, Gold Glove, two Top 5 MVP finishes

Another consummate glue guy and elite power bat. Again, his own teammates Steve Garvey and Ron Cey seem to merit more consideration for the Hall in spite of less-worthy resumes.


Luis Tiant
Starting Pitcher
Boston Red Sox, Cleveland, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates, California Angels 

(1964-82)
bWAR: 66
fWAR: 54.8
WARP: 41.5
aWAR: 54.1
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 111th

JAWS All-Time Rank Among SP: 57th
Core Stats: 3.30 ERA, 1.199 WHIP, 114 ERA+, 3.47 FIP
Core Accolades: Three-time All-Star, two Top 5 Cy Young finish, one Top 5 MVP finish

Tiant’s case is bolstered (though not a determination for his inclusion here) by some heroic postseason pitching and extremely colorful personality.


Joe Torre
Catcher/First Baseman/Third Baseman
Atlanta Braves, St.Louis Cardinals, New York Mets

(1960-77)
bWAR: 57.6
fWAR: 62.3
WARP: 51.9
aWAR: 57.3
aaWAR: 57.4

Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 176th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 1B: 24th
Core Stats: 2.342 hits, .297/.365/.452, .817 OPS, 129 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1971 NL MVP, nine-time All-Star, Gold Glove, one Top 5 MVP finish, Hall of Fame Manager

Yes, Torre is already in the Hall as a manager, but he has an even stronger case as a player. His ability to dominate at a grueling position like catcher, then shift into a second elite career at another position(s) should not be taken lightly.


Lou Whitaker
Second Baseman
Detroit Tigers

(1977-95)
bWAR: 75.1
fWAR: 68.1
WARP: 48.5
aWAR: 63.9
Hall of Stats All-Time Rank: 76th
JAWS All-Time Rank Among 2B: 13th
Core Stats: 2.369 hits, .276/.363/.426, .789 OPS, 117 OPS+
Core Accolades: 1978 Rookie of the Year, five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger, three-time Gold Glove

While not the biggest lock of a candidate on this list necessarily, his idiotic bypassing by the Veteran’s Committee just last week helps fuel votes like this. You’d think almost no one thinks Whitaker is not a Hall-of-Famer at this point, certainly not if Alan Trammell is. But just enough folks on a solitary, punch-dunk Vet Committee just did, so labor on we must.


The ballot: Keep in mind that you can vote for up to 10 players, but review your selections before clicking [VOTE], because you can’t edit after the fact.

[poll id=”13″]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today in White Sox History: December 11

Fan club: There doesn’t seem to be a Sox fan alive who doesn’t adore Wimpy, including sometime partner Jason Benetti. Paciorek came to the White Sox on this day in 1981.


1973
In was one of the worst deals ever made by GM Roland Hemond, the White Sox acquired Cubs star Ron Santo after Santo refused a deal to the California Angels. Santo, who may have been able to be picked up on waivers, was acquired for three players, including pitcher Steve Stone.

Santo did very little in his one season with the White Sox and was considered a clubhouse cancer, tormenting some younger players, which raised the ire of Dick Allen. Santo’s White Sox highlight was probably the inside-the-park home run he hit on June 9, 1974 against Boston’s Bill Lee at Comiskey Park. Santo was also one of the few players who disliked playing under manager Chuck Tanner.


1975
Hemond sent third baseman Bill Melton and pitcher Steve Dunning to California for first baseman Jim Spencer and outfielder Morris Nettles. Melton had a bad back and had worn out his welcome with the team, getting into a shouting match in a Milwaukee hotel lobby with broadcaster Harry Caray.

Spencer, meanwhile would win a Gold Glove for his defensive prowess. He also had 18 home runs and 69 RBIs for the South Side Hit Men, twice driving in eight runs in a game in 1977.


1980
Edward DeBartolo was voted down by American League owners in his attempt to buy the White Sox from Bill Veeck. DeBartolo, the man who invented the modern shopping mall in Boardman, Ohio, owned horse racing tracks and wasn’t from the Chicago area — both considered “red flags” by the other owners.

In an effort to appease then commissioner Bowie Kuhn, DeBartolo agreed to live in Chicago at least 20% of the time to have a direct idea of what was going on with the franchise. His compromises fell on deaf ears, as he only received three yes votes. The way was then opened for the group headed by Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn to get the franchise.


1981
In another fine deal pulled off by Hemond, he sent shortstop Todd Cruz and outfielder Rod Allen to the Mariners for Tom “Wimpy” Paciorek. Tom made the All-Star team with the M’s in 1981 and would lead the Sox in hitting in 1983. He was also one of the craziest guys to ever do commercials for the club. After he retired, he worked in the Sox broadcasting booth from 1988 through 1999 and to this day does fill-in games for the club.


1996
After losing star pitcher Alex Fernandez to free agency and claiming that starting pitcher Kevin Tapani was faking an injury to his pitching hand (an injury so “fake” it forced Tapani to miss the first half of the 1997 season with the Cubs …), GM Ron Schueler signed pitcher Jaime Navarro to a four-year, $20 million deal. Navarro was a complete bust. His three-year record with the Sox was 25-43, and by many statistical measures he was the worst regular starting pitching in White Sox history.

Making matters worse was Schueler’s refusal to talk with the agents for Roger Clemens after Clemens had expressed an interest in joining the team, saying “Roger Clemens is over the hill.” During that same three-year period that Navarro was with the Sox, Clemens would win two Cy Young awards and 55 games.

Navarro eventually did do something positive for the franchise — he was part of a deal that brought José Valentín and Cal Eldred to the Sox in January 2000.

 

 

Today in White Sox History: December 2

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.

 

 

 

A Conversation With: Wilbur Wood


He is a member of a very select fraternity. It’s a fraternity that goes beyond the usual small fraternity of former major league baseball players. It’s so small that you can count the members on both hands, if that.

That fraternity is composed of former pitchers who excelled as both starter and relievers.

Think about it. How many pitchers can you name who did well in both roles? A few immediately come to mind: Dennis Eckersley, Jim “Mudcat” Grant, John Smoltz and Hoyt Wilhelm, but many fans don’t know that Wilbur Wood was both a league-leading relief pitcher and a league-leading starter in his days with the Sox.

Wood’s White Sox career spanned from 1967 through 1978, and during it he was a key part of three of the most memorable White Sox teams in club history.

1967 Wood was a part of the deep bullpen the Sox had, as the “Near Miss” White Sox had the World Series squarely in their sights until a disastrous final week.

1972 Wood was the lead starter on the 1972 “Outhouse or Penthouse” White Sox [Note: That phrase was authored by Sox outfielder Rick Reichardt when talking about the surprising season.] Those Sox battled the Oakland A’s down to the final week for the Western Division championship. If not for the back injury to third baseman Bill Melton, the A’s dynasty of the 70’s might never have happened.

1977 Wood was also a spot starter on the 1977 “South Side Hit Men” Sox club that smashed all existing team hitting records and has carried on as the baseball version of the 1985 Chicago Bears.

Wilbur was one of the most popular Chicago athletes in the 70’s in part because he wasn’t 6´5´´, with a body by Adonis. Wilbur looked like your Uncle Butch or Cousin George. He was an everyman. And all Sox fans could relate to a guy who didn’t look like a sculpted god yet somehow found a way to consistently get major league hitters out again and again.

Wilbur was a three-time All-Star, a four-time 20-game winner, and recorded 57 saves and 163 wins in his career with the White Sox. He was named the 1968 American League Fireman of the Year, and in 1972 was both the American League Pitcher of the Year and the left-handed starting pitcher on The Sporting News American League All-Star team.

Wood led the American League in 33 different categories during his playing days, most of them in the good column. Among them were leading the league in appearances, games started, games finished, innings pitched (including a mind-blowing 376 innings pitched in 1972!), batters faced, wins and getting hitters to ground into double plays.

He had consecutive scoreless inning streaks of 29 in 1973 and 27 ⅔ in 1972. He tossed three complete-game two-hitters, with two of those taking 11 innings. He also added nine complete-game three-hitters. Wood started both ends of a double header twice [Note: Once because of rain that allowed an off-day. Wilbur finished the suspended game against Cleveland that began on May 26, 1973, then after a 30-minute break, began the regularly-scheduled game. This happened on May 28, 1973] and was named to the White Sox All-Century team.

There will never be another pitcher like Wilbur Wood.

When I spoke with Wilbur the topics were varied, from how and why he learned to throw the knuckleball, to how he became a starting pitcher and his initial reluctance to do so, to the pennant races of 1967, 1972 and 1977, his relationship with Eddie Stanky and Chuck Tanner, pitching so many innings and stories of his teammates during those great days.

He’s a unique man with a unique story.


Mark Liptak: Wilbur, you came to the Sox on Oct. 12, 1966. Juan Pizarro was the player eventually sent to the Pirates for you. Why don’t we start about how you found out about the deal and your reaction to it?

Wibur Wood: I actually found out about it from a friend. I was at home and got a call from someone saying they heard it over the radio! I guess it was later in the day that I got a call from the White Sox letting me know about it.

Your career was floundering with both the Red Sox and the Pirates, but then in 1967 (51 games, four wins, four saves and an ERA of 2.45) suddenly it all turned around. How did that happen? 

I had spent parts of seven years in the big leagues, and as my record showed things weren’t going that well. I was signed as a fastball/curve ball pitcher and did very well with those in the minor leagues, but they just weren’t good enough for the majors. I’d be fine for three or four innings, but after I went through the batting order once I’d start to get hit. I just decided to junk my curve and everything else and go 100% with the knuckleball. I actually had thrown that pitch a long time; I started using it back in high school and semipro ball. Sometimes I’d still throw a fastball to get the hitter’s timing off ,but that was only once in a while.

Hoyt Wilhelm and Eddie Fisher were already on the Sox at that time and they threw the knuckleball a lot. Did they teach you anything about it that you didn’t know?

We’d talk more about the finer points of the pitch. It’s funny, but all knuckleballers tend to throw the pitch the same way. I recently spoke with Tim Wakefield at a charity golf tournament, and he held the pitch the same way I did, which is the same way Hoyt and Eddie did.

How was your knuckleball different from Hoyt’s and Eddie’s?

My pitch had a tendency to break down and away from right-handed hitters. Eddie’s had a tendency to break down and in to them. Hoyt’s was unpredictable: When he threw it, it could go all over the strike zone.

The wind could change how the pitch was moving as well. The area around home plate in most of the stadiums that I pitched was where the wind would blow after it bounced off the stands, or in some parks like the old Metropolitan Stadium in Minnesota, just come right in and bounce the pitch around. A knuckleball acts by having the wind push against the seams.

I always used to feel sorry for White Sox catchers. Guys like J.C. Martin, Gerry McNertney, Ed Herrmann. It had to be rough trying to catch not one, not two, but three different knuckleball pitchers.

Well remember that the guys who caught us on the Sox, and I’d mention Pete Varney as well, they came up through the Sox system and in spring training they’d catch us. In the spring, because you have so many pitchers in camp, you’d bring in just about every catcher in the organization. So these guys had a chance to see [knuckleballs] for three years or so. Then when they made the Sox, they were used to it. Now if guys came in from somewhere else like in a trade, and never saw that pitch before, it would be tough.

Hawk Harrelson has commented on the fact that he didn’t understand why more pitchers don’t try learning that pitch. He mentioned it might really help guys who are struggling, or coming off an arm injury. When you pitched, Wilhelm, Fisher, Phil and Joe Niekro and Jim Bouton, among others, threw the knuckler. Any thoughts on why the knuckleball has become a lost art? 

See, if you are trying to learn the pitch because you’ve had an injury, it’s too late. I used to get a lot of calls when I was playing from pitchers who got hurt, and they’d ask about throwing it. The knuckleball isn’t something that’s learned overnight. I threw it for years, from when I was in high school. It takes that long to get used to it. What major league organization is going to give a pitcher three or four years to master the pitch?

That 1967 season was the season the Sox almost won the pennant. It’s been a long time, but I imagine the disappointment of that final week (where the Sox lost all five games to the lowly A’s and Senators) still remains.

That was my first good year in the major leagues, and I remember getting caught up in all of it. We were right there until the last week.

[The Sox closed the 1967 season with two games in Kansas City and three at home to Washington — the two worst teams in the league. After sweeping Cleveland that weekend, the Sox flew to Kansas City where they were off Monday. Tuesday’s game was rained out, and they played a doubleheader Wednesday night. The Sox were actually off for three days, because they last played Sunday afternoon — unheard of in a pennant race. Chicago lost both games, and then were off again Thursday before hosting the Senators. The White Sox were beat 1-0, eliminated from the four-team pennant race, then played flat and lost both weekend games to finish the season.]

One thing I particularly remember from 1967 was after manager Eddie Stanky made those comments about Carl Yastrzemski. [On June 5 before a series in Chicago, Stanky commented that Yastrzemski “May be an All-Star from the neck down, but in my book he’s a moody ballplayer. And I don’t like moody ballplayers.”] We went into Boston and played them in a big series. Every tomato in the city of Boston was in Fenway Park, and when Eddie went out to change pitchers the fans let him have it … and he couldn’t dodge them all! I was sitting in the bullpen laughing my ass off watching it.

You were a quick study with the knuckleball, because by 1970 you were one of the top relief pitchers in all of baseball, including your stellar season in 1968. [In 1968, Wood led the league with 88 appearances, with 13 wins, 16 saves and an ERA of 1.87 for a team that won just 67 games. Wood also saved 15 games in 1969 and 21 games in 1970, both for terrible teams.] Why do you think you were able to pick up the nuances of that pitch the way you did where others couldn’t?

I was fortunate because I was always able to throw strikes with the knuckleball. That was my biggest asset. I was always around the plate. Eddie (Herrmann) never even had to put down a sign, he knew what I was going to throw, I knew what I was going to throw, and the fans knew what I was going to throw.

In the 1970s when Carlton Fisk was with the Red Sox and we’d play them, I’d scream at him from the mound because he’d waste so much time. I’d yell, “Get in the box; I’m throwing a god damn knuckleball, not a fastball. You know it!” I mean why prolong the agony, right? [laughing]

The White Sox fell on miserable times in the late 1960s and 1970. They lost more games in that three-year period than at any other time in franchise history. The Sox lost 106 games in 1970 alone. It had to be agony going to the park every day. I don’t know how you guys kept your sanity!

It was awful. I’ll tell you how bad it was. The only games that I ever wanted to come into were games where I could pick up a save. I never wanted to go into games where the score was tied, because I knew, and everybody on the team knew, that we’d find some way to lose the game. We had no chance. The pitchers knew it and the position players knew it.

Joe Horlen told me about his 1971 spring training injury, which caused him to miss most of the season. But that’s only half of the story, because as a direct result of his injury Chuck Tanner began considering the option of making you a starting pitcher. I have heard you were against the move but for the sake of the team decided to give it a try. Why the initial opposition?

That was a strange situation, because even before the injury I was almost traded. It’s true; the Sox had a deal in place with Washington. I was going to be traded for Darold Knowles. But I was holding out that year. I was fighting for more money, and I never signed a contract. So the trade was null and void. It was pretty apparent that Chuck didn’t want me in the bullpen. He wanted hard-throwing guys, and we had players like Terry Forster and “Goose” Gossage coming up, so I became a starter. Roland Hemond said this one time, and it’s true: “Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make.”

As a pitcher, can you talk a little about the differences in preparation between starting and coming in to finish games?

I enjoyed pitching in relief, because I knew when I went to the park that there was a chance I’d get in the game. When you are a starting pitcher, you pitch — then sit for three or four days. I used to take ground balls in the infield on days when I wasn’t pitching just to keep busy, and I’d run a little bit, but sitting around just wasn’t for me.

The 1971 season was the start of an incredible run of success for you. (42 starts, seven shutouts, a save, 334 innings pitched, 210 strikeouts, 22 wins and an amazing ERA of 1.91.) A lot of folks felt that you should have won the Cy Young because you threw a very unpredictable pitch, a knuckleball, whereas Vida Blue, who did win the honor, had a conventional arsenal of pitches. Did you think you had a chance to win the award, and how did you feel about that season? (Wood never faced Blue head-to-head that season. Wood finished third in the voting, behind Blue and Mickey Lolich.)

Honestly, I didn’t think about the Cy Young back in those days. At the time, it wasn’t that important to me. Looking back, would I have liked to have won it? Sure.

I’d imagine that by the end of the year, you were comfortable starting games.

I was a little apprehensive at first doing this, it was just like before any game you’re always a little nervous. But when you start having success you get comfortable, and I had success starting right away. I was tickled pink that things turned out the way they did.

The Sox made great strides from the disaster of 1970 to 1971, but heading into the 1972 season did you expect the team to be as good as it was, even with Dick Allen on board?

I thought in the spring that we’d have a pretty good team because the guys weren’t selfish. They did what they had to do to win games. I knew that we’d win games, but I didn’t know how many. As far as Dick, he made all the difference in the world. He was a tremendous hitter. [Strike-shortened 1972 saw the Sox win 87 games and finish 5 ½ games behind the eventual World Champion A’s. Allen would win the AL MVP and narrowly miss winning the Triple Crown. He finished with a .308 batting average, 37 home runs and 113 RBIs.]

By June 4, 1972, the date of the famous “Dick Allen Chili-Dog Game” against the Yankees (in a doubleheader nightcap with New York the White Sox trailed 4-2 with two on and two out in the ninth. Tanner wanted Allen to pinch-hit but he was eating a chili dog. He wolfed down his snack, getting chili all over his jersey. On the third pitch from Sparky Lyle, Allen blasted a three-run, game-winning home run.), the Sox were an amazing 18-2 at home. As a guy who occasionally gave up some long fly balls, I’d imagine you enjoyed playing in a pitcher’s park. 

Oh, absolutely. I loved pitching in Comiskey Park. It had a big outfield, and gave you room for a mistake. I’d spin one and a guy would hit it, yet most of the time our outfielders were able to run it down because they had the room to get to balls in the gaps.

You were selected for your second All-Star Game, and in this one you actually pitched. How was that experience for you? (In the 1971 game at Detroit ,neither Wood nor teammate Melton appeared. In the 1972 game in Atlanta, Wilbur pitched two innings, allowing one run on two hits with a strikeout, as the National League won 4-3, in 10 innings.)

It was a great experience for me. Just a lot of fun. I’d gone the year before, but it was a great thrill to actually be able to participate in one of these.

Wilbur, you pitched a lot of great games, but to me this was your best with the Sox. On Sunday, Aug. 12, 1972 in Oakland, the Sox had cut a seemingly safe A’s lead of 8 ½ games down to one. The White Sox had split the first two games of this huge series, and you took the mound against Blue Moon Odom. Two hours and forty five minutes later, you walked off the mound a 3-1 winner in 11 innings, having fired a two-hitter. The Sox were now tied for first place in the division. What do you remember from that afternoon? (The complete game was Wilbur’s 20th win of the year.)

I’m sorry, that I don’t remember any more details [besides] when Ed Spiezio hit the [game-winning] home run. To me, even though it meant going into a tie for first place, it was just another day. Like I said, I’d get a little nervous before the game, but once you go to the bullpen and start throwing you get into the flow of the day and forget about everything else.

When I spoke with your catcher and teammate Ed Herrmann, he told me that he felt whoever won that series would win the division, but that it took so much out of you guys just to get that split that it drained you and Oakland was able to pull away.

Ed’s right. It was draining, especially on the position players. In a big series like we had with Oakland, a lot is expected of players. It’s draining. Plus, we had kept knocking on the door that season trying to catch those guys [and] that becomes draining, too. Because we were in a pennant race, we had to play our guys every day. That race was so close, you just couldn’t give guys time off.

If Bill Melton wasn’t lost for the season with the herniated disc on June 28 of that year, do the Sox win the West? (Melton, the 1971 American League home run champion, fell off his garage roof the previous November getting down his son who somehow wandered up on it. He fell on his back, which damaged a disc. Bill went to spring training and played through it the first few months of the year, but the condition got worse, with pain shooting down his legs because of pressure on a nerve.)

I don’t know if we would have won, but I know our chances would have been a hell of a lot better.

You pitched almost 377 innings tin 1972, an astonishing total, with eight shutouts, 24 wins, and an ERA of 2.51. Even though the knuckleball was your primary pitch, were you ever concerned about throwing that many innings?

I didn’t think about it that much. I was throwing the ball well; I had been in a groove the entire season. I wanted to give it a shot, I enjoyed it. I also didn’t like down time, just sitting around. So when they said “do you want to pitch every second day or third day?” I said “sure.”

People said I didn’t get sore because all I threw was the knuckleball, but that’s not true. I’d get stiff and sore, and in those days pitchers never used ice. I didn’t get as sore as if I was throwing, say, a slider, because I wasn’t putting the pressure on my elbow and shoulder, but I did get sore.

Hopes were never higher than in 1973. The Sox were the favorites according to the press, Melton was back and the team got off to a roaring start. By late May, the Sox were 26-14, with a t3 ½-game lead over the Angels. But even before injuries tore up the team (the team used the disabled list 38 times), the Sox weren’t very happy. GM Stu Holcomb’s hard line salary policy alienated many guys. Players like Rick Richardt, Mike Andrews, Jay Johnstone and Spiezio were released when they couldn’t come to terms, and that decimated the depth of the club. What was the mood in the locker room that season?

I don’t remember exact instances in the locker room where players got mad, but I’m shocked about the number of times we used the disabled list. I didn’t realize we used it that often.

As for you personally, an oddity took place on May 28, 1973, when you started the completion of a suspended game against the Indians and then after you won that one, went out and beat them again in the regularly-slated game. What was that experience like? (Wood’s line for the night: 14 innings, one run, seven hits, nine strikeouts, for a 13-3 record and it wasn’t even June yet!)

When a game goes that long, everybody figures that basically it would be over in an inning or two. It was my night to start anyway, so I figured I can give them an inning or two. It turned out the [suspended] game went five innings. I felt fine [and] knew I could throw a few more innings at least, so I started the second game. Everything was going well, so I just kept going and was able to finish it off.

I don’t know if both of these are related or not, perhaps you can shed some light on it. The 1973 Sox were ruined by injuries. It seemed everybody from Brian Downing to Allen to Ken Henderson to Carlos May were hurt. On July 20, 1973 in New York you started both ends of a doubleheader against the Yankees. Was that because of the injuries to the team, perhaps the pitching staff, or did you and Tanner have something else in mind? (Wood wasn’t sharp that day losing 12-2 and 7-0. He became the first pitcher to start both ends of a regularly-scheduled doubleheader since Cincinnati’s Fred Toney on June 23, 1918.)

No that wasn’t planned. Chuck was going to start someone else in game two, but I got knocked out early in the first game. I told Chuck I didn’t pitch much; I can go back out if you need me. Maybe I shouldn’t have, because they beat me up in the second game too! [laughing] That was strange, because I always had good success against the Yankees. (Wilbur failed to record an out in game one, giving up four hits and five earned runs. In game two he lasted 4 ⅓ innings, again allowing five earned runs.)

Despite the Sox being mediocre in 1973 and 1974 you still won 20 games, running that 20-win streak to four straight seasons. You made the All-Star Game again in 1973, but there was something missing from the Sox in those years. It wasn’t like in 1971 and 1972. Any idea what went wrong?

Well the injuries played a big part, and overall we were getting older. The team wasn’t as young as in 1971 and 1972.

When Bill Veeck took control of the Sox again in December 1975, he let Tanner go as manager. What was it like to play for Chuck? He seemed to be the exact opposite of your first Sox manager, Eddie Stanky.

Chuck was a player’s manager. I enjoyed playing for Chuck, we all did. Chuck was the most positive guy I’ve ever been around. No matter how bad things were going Chuck would always find something to be positive about, something to try to keep you going.

In fact, Chuck spent more time with guys who were having trouble or in a slump then with guys who were going well. I thought that was really smart. Remember in baseball you only have 25 guys, if two or three guys are down or having a hard time suddenly your roster is really short. Chuck tried to keep everybody ready to play because that gave us a better chance of winning.

In 1976, the Sox arguably weren’t any better than the versions from 1974 and 1975 but you personally were off to a great start. Opening Day for example, you shut out the Royals, 4-0. By early May of that year you were pitching brilliantly again: five complete games in seven starts, ERA less than 2.50 and a winning record. It all came apart in Detroit, courtesy of a line drive off the bat of Ron LeFlore. What do you remember about the injury and what was broken?

Ron hit me in the kneecap with a line drive, and it just blew it apart. He swung at a ball using an inside-out swing.That’s always the toughest for a pitcher to pick up, because it looks like he’s pulling the ball. Instead, he hit it right back up the middle. I never saw it. I wasn’t trying to catch it, I was just trying to get out of the way.

Originally, the kneecap was wired together to hold it in place. I didn’t have a cast. The doctors felt this way it would heal quicker, and maybe I could be out there in September. That September, I was working out at home trying to get ready to come back when I slipped on the grass and the kneecap went out again. This time, they had to put some pins in it to hold it together and I had a cast on, so I was done for the season.

My father had the same type of injury, a broken kneecap, and I saw how tough it was for him. He was older then you when he got hurt, but given that you were 35 at the time ,was there any question about coming back for the next season?

No, because I had another year on my contract. I had signed a two-year deal with the Sox in 1976, so I was going to come back.

The 1977 season turned out to be magical for the Sox, one that is still cherished by Sox fans. Was there any indication in the spring that this club would be as good as it turned out to be?

No, not in spring training, but looking back we did have a lot of guys who wanted to play. We had guys like Eric Soderholm coming back from injury, and we had a lot of fighters.

You started 18 games that season and pitched some good ones, including what I call the Lamar Johnson game on June 19, 1977. (The Sox played the A’s in a doubleheader, winning 2-1 and 5-1 behind Wood and Francisco Barrios. Wood started the first game, going eight innings on six hits. It’s called the Lamar Johnson game, though, because the first baseman/DH sang the National Anthem, then went out and got the only three White Sox hits, two of them solo home runs.) You still had that magic.

Well, maybe, but to tell you the truth, I was gun shy. I’ll admit it. LeFlore’s shot got to me. I pitched everybody inside, I wasn’t going to let them get out on the ball and maybe hit another one back up the middle. It’s hard to pitch that way.

This team electrified Sox fans because of their ability to pound the baseball and win games in dramatic fashion. Sox fans demanded something that wasn’t seen in baseball until then, the curtain call. Adding to it Nancy Faust’s rendition of “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)” would send the crowd into a frenzy. Some of your teammates have told me that wasn’t a big deal; others have said they were uncomfortable with it because they felt opponents were being shown up. What were your feelings on all this?

You would have to put me in with the group that was uncomfortable with all that. I always had a saying, “Don’t wake up sleeping dogs.” Let ’em stay quiet, and leave town with a 5-4 loss. They’d say “Well we played a good game, and if we made one play, we would have won it.” Don’t wake them up;let them go home happy. Of course you see [curtain calls] more now, but back then it was a different story.

The season ended too quickly for Sox fans, as the team couldn’t keep up with an unbelievable Kansas City surge (the Royals went 35-4 from August 17 and September 25). When the Sox lost both Richie Zisk and Oscar Gamble to free agency, everyone knew the magic was gone. The team was pretty bad in 1978, but you still had a respectable season going 10-10 for a team that only won 71 games. When did you decide it was time to retire?

In September 1978, the Sox traded me to Milwaukee, but I didn’t want to go. I’m sure that bothered the folks in Milwaukee, but I figured that I’d try the free-agent market that offseason and see what happened. Well, I wasn’t offered a uniform by anybody! That was the end of it. It was time. I wasn’t myself. I was gun-shy since the LeFlore hit.

You were named by the fans as a member of the White Sox All-Century Team. How did you get the news, and what was your reaction?

Roland Hemond gave me a call to let me know about it. Then that summer, we made the trip to Chicago. It was a great honor. Thanks be to the knuckleball that made it all possible! [laughing]

You spent 12 years in a Sox uniform. This is going to be hard, but how about summing up your time for me on the South Side and those fantastic years?

I was fortunate. I spent 12 very pleasurable years in Chicago. We had some decent years. Granted, we never won a championship, but more often than not we were in the hunt for it. Those are the seasons where you start playing in April and you look around and realize it’s September already. You ask yourself, ‘Where did it all go?’ Those are the years that I had the most fun and that I’ll remember.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today in White Sox History: November 15

The baddest man in the whole damn town: Dick Allen, narrowly missing a Triple Crown, and throwing some leather, too. (When Topps Had Balls)


1972 — After accomplishing one of the greatest individual seasons in franchise history and barely missing the Triple Crown, White Sox first baseman Dick Allen was named the MVP of the American League by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He led the league with 37 home runs, 113 RBIs, a .603 slugging percentage and 99 walks. He led the Sox with a .308 batting average, drove in 19 game-winning runs, stole 19 bases, scored 90 runs and was only .0005 points shy of leading all AL first basemen in fielding. He received more All-Star votes than anyone in baseball. Allen garnered 21 of 24 first-place votes for 321 points. Joe Rudi was second with 164 points.

 

 

Today in White Sox History: September 14

Rubber arm: “15 innings of work, skip? No problem!”

Sept. 14, 1952 — In a 17-inning game in Chicago, White Sox pitcher Saul Rogovin struck out 14 Boston Red Sox in 15 innings of work. But it was Luis Aloma who got the decision as the White Sox won, 4-3.


Sept. 14, 1974 — White Sox first baseman Dick Allen called a team meeting and announced he was retiring from baseball. Allen, the controversial slugger, would win the American League home run title despite missing the final two weeks of the season. Allen was fighting serious injuries to his shoulder and leg from previous seasons, but the way he “walked out” on the Sox left a bad taste in the mouths of many fans. White Sox GM Roland Hemond traded Allen’s rights to the Atlanta Braves for a player to be named later (interestingly, only after Allen had been traded a second time, to Philadelphia in May 1975, did the White Sox-Braves trade get completed … with one of the players Atlanta acquired from the Phillies, catcher Jim Essian!). Allen would un-retire and see action with the Phillies and Oakland A’s before retiring for good after the 1977 season.


Sept. 14, 1997 — Carlton Fisk had his uniform No. 72 retired in a ceremony before the White Sox took on Cleveland. The game was also remembered for manager Terry Bevington going to the mound to make a pitching change … with no one was warming up in the bullpen when he called for the change! (The White Sox had a 3-0 lead at the time, and Bevington’s blunder of pulling a pitcher with a cold bullpen led Cleveland rallying to win, 8-3.)


Sept. 14, 2017 — It was a record-setting afternoon for a couple of White Sox players in the team’s 17-7 blowout of the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Sox outfielder Avisaíl García went 5-for-5 with seven RBIs and two runs scored in the game, in addition to a walk. White Sox rookie second baseman Yoán Moncada went 4-for-5 with two walks and five runs scored, and first baseman José Abreu went 4-for-5 with three runs scored.

García became the second White Sox player with five hits and seven RBI in a game since at least 1913. The other was Carl Reynolds, at the New York Yankees on July 2, 1930. Moncada, meanwhile, tied Hall-of-Famer Tim Raines‘s franchise record with the five runs scored. Raines originally set the record against the Red Sox in Boston on April 18, 1994.

The Sox as a team pounded out 25 hits in the game.