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.


1970
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.


1971
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.


1973
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.


1977
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.


1984
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.


1993
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.


1994
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: 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: 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: October 1


Oct. 1, 1950Luke Appling got his final hit in a White Sox uniform. The future Hall-of-Famer spent 20 years and 2,422 games in a Sox uniform. He’d later come back as a coach for the club in 1970 and 1971.


Mel Allen is on the radio call of the blowout.

Oct. 1, 1959 — After 40 years, the wait was over and the Sox were back in the World Series, facing the Dodgers. The Sox reacted in Game 1 like they were trying to win the title all at once, burying L.A. 11-0. Ted Kluszewski slammed a pair of home runs and tied a series record with five RBIs. The Sox assaulted Dodger starter Roger Craig early and often to give Cy Young award winner Early Wynn a lot of breathing room.


Oct. 1, 1970 — It was the end of the worst season in White Sox history and as it turned out the final game ever called by longtime Sox announcer Bob Elson. “The Commander” began his White Sox career in 1930, and for the next 40 years called games in good times and bad. His style simply no longer fit the environment, and with the Sox needing to make drastic changes everywhere, he was let go. Elson found work for 1971 calling the Oakland Athletics while the A’s announcer, Harry Caray, took over for Elson with the Sox! 


Oct. 1, 1975 — Owner John Allyn appeared on Johnny Morris’ sports show on WBBM-TV. While talking about the pending sale of the club, Allyn said if he did own the team in 1976, Harry Caray wouldn’t be back as lead announcer. Allyn was tired of Caray and wanted to fire him.

The next day, Caray had this retort: “I can’t believe any man can own a ballclub and be as dumb as John Allyn. Did he make enough to own it or did he inherit it?”

As it turned out neither man had to worry, Allyn sold to Bill Veeck and Veeck retained Caray for the entirety of his ownership.


Oct. 1, 2015 – In the seventh inning of a game at U.S. Cellular Field, José Abreu’s two-run single gave him 100 RBIs for the season, the night before he collected his 30th home run of the year. Both milestones came off of Kansas City’s Luke Hochevar. Abreu thus became only the second player in major league history with at least 30 home runs and at least 100 RBIs in his first two seasons, joining Albert Pujois in that exclusive club.

Today in White Sox History: September 6

Mr. Incredible strikes again: Thome’s homer in the 15th ended the longest-ever September game between first-place teams.


Sept. 6, 1903 Guy “Doc” White of the White Sox hurled a one-hitter in beating the Cleveland Naps, 1-0, in 10 innings in a game in Chicago. It would be the first of five one-hitters thrown by White between 1903 and 1908.

(White never threw a no-hitter, by the way.)

He also threw one-hitters against the St. Louis Browns in 1904, Philadelphia Athletics and Browns in 1906, and Washington Senators in 1908. In addition to being a great pitcher, White was also a dentist and an evangelist. 


Sept. 6, 1905 — White Sox pitcher Frank Smith tossed a no-hitter at the Detroit Tigers. The Sox won that game easily, 15-0, and also won the second game of the twin bill by shutout. Smith would throw a second no-hitter in 1908, and also had three one-hitters between 1905 and 1910.


Sept. 6, 1971 — Sox pitcher Steve Kealey belted a three-run, eighth-inning home run at Comiskey Park off of the Minnesota Twins’ Ray Corbin. The clout helped the Sox to a 6-3 win. It would be the last time a Sox pitcher homered in a game at Comiskey Park. Kealey also picked up the save in the same game.


Sept. 6, 1981 — It was the beginning of the end for broadcaster Jimmy Piersall in connection with the White Sox. Piersall and Harry Caray appeared on the “The Mike Royko Show” on WLS-TV. Royko asked the duo how they handle baseball wives who disliked the comments they made about their husbands. Caray said, “You know what, Mike? I would love to call all the wives together someday and tell them what their husbands say about them across the ballfield.” Piersall’s answer was more controversial, to say the least: “First of all, they were horny broads that wanted to get married, and they wanted a little money, a little security and a big strong ballplayer. I traveled, I played. I got a load of those broads, too.”


Sept. 6, 1999 — In a doubleheader at Texas, manager Jerry Manuel and star DH Frank Thomas got into an argument after Thomas refused to pinch-hit in the nightcap. Manuel was livid, and sent Thomas back to Chicago. It was discovered after examination by team doctors that Thomas saying he was hurt rang true: They found a bone spur the size of a walnut on the outside of his ankle, which required surgery and ended his season.


Sept. 6, 2008 – The White Sox and Angels battled at U.S. Cellular Field for almost four hours in the middle of a pennant race, and played 15 innings to boot. That’s when Jim Thome blasted a monstrous home run deep into the right-field bleachers to end the game with a 7-6 White Sox win. The contest set the record for the longest game (by innings) ever played in September by two teams both in first place at the time. The home run was Thome’s 30th on the season.