Today in White Sox History: April 7

Great White North: Jack Brohamer of the White Sox turns shin guards into snow shoes before Toronto’s MLB debut in 1977.

The worst White Sox team in history began their forgettable season by getting pounded 12-0 at home by the Twins. Sox starting pitcher Tommy John only lasted into the fifth inning. The Sox would go on to lose a franchise-record 106 games.

Charlie Finley, the A’s owner, got the first regularly scheduled Opening Day doubleheader in history but was stunned when the White Sox beat them twice, 6-5 and 12-4. Tommy John and Bart Johnson were the winning pitchers. The Sox clubbed five home runs on the day, including a grand slam by Bill Melton. It should have been six homers, except that Carlos May somehow missed touching home plate on his blast. The A’s picked up on it and tagged him out when he was sitting in the dugout.

This was also Harry Caray’s first regular season game as a White Sox announcer, although at the time not a whole lot of folks could hear him. Three straight awful years caused the Sox to lose their radio contract with any mainstream Chicago station. For the next two years Sox games were broadcast on WTAQ (LaGrange) and WEAW (Evanston), two low-powered stations.

On Opening Day in Texas, Mike Andrews became the first White Sox DH. He hit sixth in the lineup for manager Chuck Tanner. He went 1-for-3 in the 3-1 win behind Wilbur Wood.

The White Sox introduced American League baseball to Canada, as they played the first ever game in Toronto Blue Jays history. The Jays outslugged the Sox in a driving snowstorm to win, 9-5. But it was the start of something much bigger; the “South Side Hit Men” were born.

Detroit’s Jack Morris threw what turned out to be the last no-hitter at Comiskey Park, shutting down the White Sox 4-0 on the NBC Saturday “Game of the Week.” The Sox had their chances, including loading the bases on walks in the fourth inning with nobody out.

On his first swing of the season, future Hall-of-Famer Carlton Fisk would blast his final major league home run. It would come off of Minnesota’s Jim Deshaies in the third inning, and was the only run scored by the Sox in a 6-1 loss. Fisk would be released by the Sox in June.

In the annual “Crosstown Classic” charity game between the White Sox and Cubs, Michael Jordan wrote his name into Sox lore. His double in the late innings tied the game and prevented the Sox from losing for the first time in this series. The game would end in a tie. The Sox would go 10-0-2 in the Crosstown Classic series (1985-95, with two games played in 1995).





Today in White Sox History: October 4

Bud man: By 1981, Harry had ditched the Falstaff for Budweiser. By 1982, he’d ditched the Sox. Here he is, broadcasting his last game, from Comiskey Park’s center field bleachers.

1948Chuck Comiskey III was named vice president of the White Sox. He refused to see the team continue to be the laughingstock of the American League and immediately began to take steps to change things on and off the field. Those changes started to bear fruit during the 1951 season.

1981Jerry Hairston’s grand slam helped beat the Minnesota Twins, 13-12, setting off Bill Veeck’s original exploding scoreboard for the last time. The blast came off of future White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper. The Sox trailed in the game 12-5 before scoring eight runs in the final two innings. The win gave the Sox their first “winning” year since 1977. The game also marked the end of broadcaster Harry Caray’s association with the Sox after 11 seasons.

Today in White Sox History: September 29

Blood brothers: Ozzie Guillén and Ken Williams celebrate the division title.

Sept. 29, 1908 — White Sox starting pitcher Ed Walsh fired two complete games in a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox. He won both by the scores of 5-1 and 2-0. In 1908, Walsh would have arguably the greatest pitching year in the history of the game, winning 40 times with an ERA of 1.42.

Sept. 29, 1917 — With a 3-1 win in the second game of a doubleheader in New York, the White Sox won their 100th game of the season. That remains the most wins in a single season in franchise history. Eddie Cicotte picked up the win.

Sept. 29, 1920 — With the White Sox leading the American League late in the season, pitcher Eddie Cicotte and outfielder Joe Jackson confessed (without an attorney present) that they helped throw the 1919 World Series. Charles Comiskey suspended eight players; the Sox collapsed down the stretch and blew the pennant, losing out to Cleveland by two games.

Sept. 29, 1921 — One of the “clean” White Sox, pitcher Dickie Kerr, was honored with a day at Comiskey Park. Kerr then went out and fired one of his best games, blanking Cleveland on six hits to win, 5-0.

Sept. 29, 1967 — The Sox still had a chance for the pennant, but lost 1-0 to the Senators. The only run was set up when first baseman Tommy McCraw wasn’t able to catch a pop up off the bat of Washington’s Fred Valentine in the first inning. NBC-TV had erected a barrier for their field level cameras in case the World Series came to Comiskey Park, and Valentine’s pop fell into that enclosed area near the visitor’s dugout. Valentine then singled to drive in the only run.

The 1967 season marked the 17th straight year that the Sox finished better than .500.

Sept. 29, 1990 — The last night game ever played at the original Comiskey Park was won by the White Sox, 4-2. Frank Thomas slapped a two-run single up the middle off Seattle Mariners starter Matt Young to drive in the go-ahead runs.

Sept. 29, 2005 — The White Sox beat the Tigers in Detroit, 4-2, clinching the Central Division title. The Sox won 99 regular season games and led the division every day of the season (and remain one of the few teams in baseball history to go wire-to-wire). The Sox then blitzed through the postseason, going 11-1 on their way to the world championship. They swept Houston in four games to get it.

Sept. 29, 2008 — White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramírez set a major league rookie record when he hit his fourth grand slam of the season in an 8-2 win over the Tigers. The home run would also tie the franchise record for most grand slams in a season. Albert Belle originally set that mark in 1997.

White Sox trip Angels, 7-2, behind a McCann grand slam

Second salami of the week: McCann was the man, perhaps with a blessing from St. Walton. (@WhiteSox)

As much as the Angels tried to trip up the White Sox, with “70s Weekend” celebrated during the same game Bill Walton stepped in for color commentary on the Chicago broadcast, they failed. The South Siders prevailed, 7-2, thanks to a masterfully-pitched game, and timely hitting, baserunning … and bunting.

With Lucas Giolito on the mound, the White Sox ran into a jam in the first. After loading the bases with only one out on a single, hit by pitch, and walk, Giolito settled down and escaped the inning unharmed. He struck out Kole Calhoun on a deceptive changeup before getting Albert Pujols to ground out to retire the side.

In the top of the second, the White Sox had a failed threat of their own. With a runner on first and two outs, Jon Jay reached on a throwing error by pitcher Patrick Sandoval. Yolmer Sánchez drew a walk to load the bases, but Sandoval induced a flyout from Ryan Goins to end the inning.

However, a threat that did not come up empty occurred in the top of the third. Leury García doubled to lead off the inning, and Tim Anderson followed with this single to put the first run on the board for either side.

After a balk and a groundout that advanced him, Anderson found himself on third base. With one out, James McCann came up with an excellent opportunity to drive in an insurance run, but his grounder did not get the job done. However, Anderson was able to score on a wild pitch anyway to make the score 2-0.

The Angels cut their deficit in half during the bottom of the third. David Fletcher led off a line drive to left that Eloy Jiménez did not play properly. Fletcher ended up at third with a leadoff triple. Though Giolito put the rally on hold by striking out superhuman Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani hit an RBI single to drive in the first run for L.A.

The White Sox got back their insurance run in the fourth. José Abreu hit a leadoff double, and two bunts later he had crossed home plate. Jon Jay laid down a sacrifice bunt back to the mound, and Yolmer Sánchez placed one perfectly to drive Abreu home and reach first safely.

Though Giolito was sharp, that did not prevent Mike Trout from doing Mike Trout things. In the fifth, Trout launched a 438-footer to bring the Angels back within one. That was Trout’s 41st home run, as he continues his dominance over the baseball world.

Trout also had an outfield assist on a Jiménez fly ball in the sixth. James McCann attempted to advance to third, but Trout nailed him. The next batter, Welington Castillo, hit a sharp liner, and you will never believe who made a great play on it. That’s right; it was Trout. FanGraphs had Trout at 8.0 WAR, and Baseball-Reference had him at 7.9 entering today. Those numbers have surely increased since the start of play tonight. Mercy, what a player.

Giolito worked his way in and out of trouble in the sixth, as he pitched around a single and a walk to the first two batters he faced. Giolito struck out Fletcher to escape the jam, and his performance would end on that high note. Giolito’s line ended up as follows: six innings, six hits, two runs (both earned), three walks, 11 strikeouts. It is worth mentioning that the only team in the majors that strikes out less than the Angels is the Astros.

With the score still 3-2 in the top of the eighth, up stepped McCann, and a grooved, 1-0 slider was deposited way, way deep (446 feet, to be exact):

This was McCann’s second eighth inning grand slam in the past three games. I don’t have a stat for you about that, but I imagine it has been quite some time since that has happened.

After Giolito exited, Aaron Bummer and Kelvin Herrera did the heavy lifting for the final three. Neither of them allowed a run, so the White Sox won by a score of 7-2. As a result, the White Sox improved to 55-66, and the Angels fell to 60-64.

Later, the White Sox will play the third of this four-game series in Anaheim. That matchup will start at 8:07 CST, and Héctor Santiago the White Sox’s probable starter. WGN 720 will have your radio coverage, and Lauren Wilner will have your coverage here at SSHP.