Totally Terrific: Both Carlton Fisk and Tom Seaver had late-career renaissances in Chicago.
1965 Another big deal pulled off by White Sox GM Ed Short kept the franchise’s streak of winning seasons going. The Sox were part of a three-team trade with Cleveland and the Athletics. When all was said and done, the Sox parted with outfielders Jim Landis and Mike Hershberger, pitcher Fred Talbot and catcher Cam Carreon.
In return they got back power-hitting catcher Johnny Romano, pitcher Tommy John and outfielder Tommie Agee. Agee would be named Rookie of the Year in 1966, becoming the first Sox player ever with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a season; John would be part of a brilliant starting rotation, making the All-Star team for the first time in 1968. Romano wasn’t a slouch either in his second stint with the club, banging out 33 home runs in two seasons before being traded.
1984 Once again White Sox GM Roland Hemond used the free agent compensation rule to the White Sox’s advantage, plucking future Hall-of-Famer Tom Seaver from the Mets. In his two full years with the Sox, Seaver would win 31 games, including his 300th overall on Aug. 4, 1985 against the Yankees. In both full seasons he’d combine to throw more than 236 innings.
Steal of a deal: Ed Short snagged four cornerstones of the mid-1960s White Sox, including Pete Ward, in a single trade in 1963.
1963 In a move that re-energized the franchise and led directly to back-to-back-to-back 90-or-more-win seasons in 1963, 1964 and 1965. White Sox GM Ed Short traded shortstop Luis Aparicio and outfielder Al Smith to the Baltimore Orioles for third baseman Pete Ward, outfielder Dave Nicholson, shortstop Ron Hansen and relief pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm.
Ward would be named co-Rookie of the Year (with teammate Gary Peters) and would supply power for the next few seasons. Nicholson, who struck out far too much, would have 22 home runs and 70 RBIs in 1963. Hansen would be one of the best defensive shortstops in the league and hit as many as 20 home runs in a season, at a time when shortstops simply didn’t do that. Wilhelm became the top relief pitcher of the 1960’s; in his six years with the Sox he’d win 41 games and save 98 others while producing some astonishingly low ERAs considering he threw the knuckleball.
2001 The White Sox acquired pitcher David Wells from Toronto, basically for pitcher Mike Sirotka. Over the coming weeks and months, Sirotka and the Blue Jays claimed the Sox knew that Sirotka had a bad arm and couldn’t pitch. Sox GM Ken Williams defended himself by saying that he told the Jays he thought Sirotka might be hurt and offered pitcher Jim Parque instead. Commissioner Bud Selig ruled in late March that the trade would stand. The whole episode became known as “Shouldergate.”
Double threat: Julio Franco possessed both one of the best smiles and most unique batting stances in White Sox history.
1960 White Sox owner Bill Veeck made up for some of his deals after the 1959 season by getting pitchers Juan Pizarro and Cal McLish from the Reds for infielder Gene Freese. Manager Al Lopez and pitching coach Ray Berres had their eyes on Pizarro for a few years, but Milwaukee refused to deal him to the Sox. Veeck therefore got his friend Bill DeWitt of Cincinnati to swing a deal and then to ship Pizarro to the South Side.
Pizarro was an enigmatic, moody pitcher, but when he got on the mound he was all business. Possessor of a blazing fastball, the lefthander had four seasons of double-figure wins, including 16 in 1963 and 19 in 1964. He was a two time All-Star selection.
1967 In one of the worst deals ever made by GM Ed Short, the White Sox sent infielder and base stealer Al Weis along with outfielder, base stealer and home run hitter Tommie Agee to the Mets in exchange for former NL batting champ Tommy Davis, pitcher Jack Fisher and catcher Buddy Booker. Two years later, the Mets would win the World Series thanks in large part to the play of Agee and Weis. None the players the Sox got in return did much for them. Deals along those lines sent the franchise into a tailspin, and by September 1970 Short was fired.
1993 White Sox GM Ron Schueler’s luck with taking chances on hurt or limited free agents continued when he signed Julio Franco to a contract. Franco would have a tremendous 1994 season hitting behind Frank Thomas. Julio would have 20 home runs, 98 RBIs, eight stolen bases and a .319 batting average in his one year in Chicago. He went to Japan the next year because the Sox refused to meet his asking price on a new deal.
The Go-Go White Sox really got up and went once Aparicio’s contract was purchased from Memphis. (Topps)
1955 — It was the start of a new era at shortstop for the White Sox. On this date the team purchased the contract of young infielder, Luis Aparicio from Memphis. Aparicio would begin his Hall of Fame career the following season, as the Rookie of the Year in the American League.
1961 — After 13 years on the South Side, with 186 wins and seven All-Star selections, pitcher Billy Pierce was traded to the San Francisco Giants by GM. Ed Short. Pierce and Don Larsen were sent west in exchange for knuckleballing relief pitcher Eddie Fisher, pitcher Dom Zanni, outfielder Bob Farley and a player to be named later. The trade would revitalize Pierce’s career and lead him to tossing a three-hit, complete-game win in Game 6 of the 1962 World Series against the Yankees.
Fisher would become one of the top relief pitchers in baseball and would team with Hoyt Wilhelm to give the Sox great depth in that area. He’d make the All-Star team in 1965 and win the Relief Pitcher of the Year award. In an unrelated note, Fisher did a spot-on imitation of Donald Duck!
1970 – New White Sox player personnel director Roland Hemond continued to rebuild a battered franchise. At the Winter Meetings he shipped Gold Glove-winning outfielder Ken Berry, infielder Syd O’Brien and pitcher Billy Wynne to the Angels for pitcher Tom Bradley, catcher Tom Egan and outfielder Jay Johnstone.
The deal would be a steal just based on what Bradley did, winning 15 games with a sub 3.00 ERA in both 1971 and 1972. Egan provided great backup help to Ed Herrmann and Johnstone was a quality outfielder and clubhouse comic.
The dropped third strike heard ’round the world: A.J. Pierzynski remains forever a folk hero on the South Side for this ALCS Game 2 stunt. (YouTube)
1966 — Another one of White Sox GM Ed Short’s best moves came on this day: He sent two-time All-Star pitcher Juan Pizarro, nursing a bad arm, to the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league pitcher Wilbur Wood. Woodwould blossom in Chicago thanks to his knuckleball, first as a record-setting relief pitcher, then as a four-time 20-game winner (1971-74). Woodwould also make three All-Star teams.
2005 — In one of the strangest endings to a postseason game in history, the White Sox beat the Angels 2-1, in Game 2 of the ALCS. With the game tied in the ninth inning, catcher A.J. Pierzynski ran to first on a third strike that possibly bounced in the dirt (replays were definitely unclear, seeming to indicate that Angels catcher Josh Paul both caught the ball on the fly and held on to it). Paul, a former Sox player, heard home plate umpire call Pierzynski out on strikes (also captured on camera) and rolled the ball back to the mound, not bothering to throw to first base, as required by the rules for a dropped third strike.
Short-lived: Al Lopez (center) celebrates a new Sox managerial contract with GM Ed Short (left) and owner Arthur Allyn (right). (Leo Bauby Collection.)
Good news, South Side Hit Pen readers! We’ve added another heavy hitter to our lineup, longtime White Sox writer and historian Mark Liptak. Mark is the foremost White Soxhistorian online, having written hundreds of past pieces for White Sox Interactive. We’re proud to have him join South Side Hit Pen, where he will be bringing you this daily dose of White Sox history, ace features and interviews, and commentary on the current club.
1970 — With the Chicago White Sox about to end their worst season in franchise history, G.M. Ed Short was fired after nine years on the job. Short would make brilliant offseason deals in 1963 and 1964 to net the club players like Hoyt Wilhelm, Pete Ward, Tommy John and Tommy Agee. But starting in 1968, his moves backfired and lost the club players like Agee, Tommy McCraw, Don Buford and Bob Locker without getting anything back of substance in return.
1998 — Albert Belle hit his 42nd home run of the season in Baltimore. In the same game, he got his 337th total base of the season. Both milestones set the franchise record in their respective categories, in the 9-5 win. Belle ended the year with 49 home runs and 399 total bases.