Today in White Sox History: November 11

What could have been: If Schueler hadn’t pulled the trigger on his biggest deal, bringing PK to the South Side for more than a decade. (Topps)

1965 — “The Señor,” manager Al Lopez, resigned his position with the White Sox. Perhaps the greatest manager in franchise history, Lopez had nine winning seasons in his nine full time years as field manager. He won the 1959 American League pennant and was coming off of back-to-back-to-back 90-plus win seasons in 1963, 1964 and 1965. His 840 wins are the second-most in team history. He returned to manage for parts of the 1968 and 1969 seasons.

1998 — Perhaps the finest deal ever made by White Sox GM Ron Schueler came on this date, when he traded promising center fielder Mike Cameron to the Cincinnati Reds for infielder Paul Konerko. Konerko would eventually blossom into a consistent power-hitting first baseman, hitting 432 home runs with 1,383 RBIs in his career. Konerko was a six-time All-Star, a World Series champion, the 2005 ALCS MVP and the 2002 Comeback Player of the Year. 

2005 — They never made it on the cover of Sports Illustrated for winning the World Series, but the Sox did grace the cover of The Sporting News for the accomplishment. The caption was short and to the point: “Sweep!”

Today in White Sox History: October 28

Many of us were there: The 2005 receive a warm welcome from two million happy fans. (Chicago White Sox)

2005 – It was one of the largest turnouts for a championship celebration in Chicago sports history, as nearly two million people lined the parade route in the downtown area/South Side to honor the World Series champions. White Sox players and management addressed the crowd, and Paul Konerko presented the last out/game ball to owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

Today in White Sox History: October 24


2000 Ken Williams was named the new White Sox GM, replacing the retiring Ron Schueler. Williams, a former Sox player, would bring passion and heart to the position. He also wasn’t afraid to take risks, no matter how many times they failed. He built a World Series champion by 2005, which remains his signature moment in the organization.

2005 — The White Sox winning the pennant for the first time in 46 years, no less on the strength of four straight complete games, drew only a small cover mention in Sports Illustrated. In the upper left corner was a photo of Paul Konerko swinging with the caption, “At Last! The White Sox Are In The World Series.”

Today in White Sox History: October 23

Magic moment: Even though Houston rallied to tie Game 2 after this, Konerko’s grand slam might have been the first moment White Sox fans felt their team was destined to win it all. (YouTube)

2005 — Game 2 of the World Series ended in unexpected and dramatic fashion, as outfielder Scott Podsednik blasted a game-winning home run. The shot, off Houston’s Brad Lidge, ended the game in a 7-6 White Sox win at U.S. Cellular Field.

Earlier, with the Sox losing 4-2 with two outs in the seventh inning, Paul Konerko drilled the first pitch he saw for a grand slam. turning the game and perhaps the series around.

Very underrated moment, Damaso Marte jumping for joy while warming up in the bullpen as the homer sailed over him.

2012 – After one of the worst seasons in a century of major league baseball, Adam Dunn was named the American League winner of the Comeback Player of the Year award by The Sporting News. Dunn bounced back to hit 41 home runs and drive in 96 RBIs for the Sox, who contended for the division crown until the final week of the season. The previous year Dunn only hit 11 home runs with 42 RBIs and a batting average of .159.

Today in White Sox History: October 16

Four of a kind: Paul Konerko‘s unassisted out at first clinched a fourth straight win, fourth straight complete game, and World Series berth in 2005. (@RonVesely)

1952 — The White Sox sent infielder Willie Miranda to the St. Louis Browns in a trade. So what? Well consider this: It marked the third time in four months that Miranda was dealt between the two clubs! Miranda was traded to the Browns on June 15, 13 days later the Sox reacquired him and finally on this date they sent him back.

2005 — The White Sox won their sixth league championship, beating the Angels, 6-3. Jose Contreras fired the fourth consecutive complete game by the staff. The four consecutive postseason complete games hadn’t been seen in major league baseball since the 1956 New York Yankees pulled it off. After losing the first game of the ALCS, the Sox swept away Los Angeles.

Paul Konerko was named the ALCS MVP. The city of Chicago, especially on the South Side and in the South suburbs, went wild as the “nuclear scenario” happened for Cub fans … the Sox were in the World Series!

Today in White Sox History: October 3

Organ, grounded: Nancy Faust played her last for the White Sox in 2010. (Dan Kraemer/@DanCBS2)

1906 — The White Sox clinched the pennant while waiting out a rain delay in St. Louis against the Browns. When the game was finally played, the Sox shut out St. Louis, 4-0, behind Frank Owen. The Sox would end 1906 at 93-58-3, beating the New York Highlanders (Yankees) by three games for the pennant.

1993 — The Sox rung down the curtain at old Municipal Stadium in Cleveland by beating the Indians, 4-0. Jason Bere got the last win in the cavernous stadium, which was replaced in 1994 by Jacobs Field.

2005 — As baseball was wrapping up the regular season, Paul Konerko appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated sliding into second base in a game against Cleveland. The cover headine read: Playoff Scramble. Who’s Out, Who’s In? White Sox vs. Indians. Yankees vs. Red Sox. 4 teams, 3 Spots

2010 — Beloved by Sox fans for generations as the organist at White Sox ballparks, Nancy Faust played her last game as the team beat Cleveland, 6-5. Nancy took over as Sox organist in 1970 and in the ensuing 40 years rarely missed a game.

Her lasting contribution was unearthing a little known rock song in 1977 that turned into an anthem used by numerous pro and college teams. Nancy started playing Steam’s, “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)” when an opposing pitcher was being removed from the game. It caught on like wildfire with Sox fans, and became one of the things identified with the franchise.

Today in White Sox History: September 27

Sept. 27, 1959 — The White Sox closed their championship season with a 6-4 win at Detroit and when the final stats were in, second baseman Nellie Fox pulled off a rare feat, leading all American League second baseman in fielding percentage, putouts and assists.                 

Sept. 27, 1963 — During the last home doubleheader, the White Sox caught on to the folk music craze sweeping the nation. Between games against the Washington Senators, the club had a hootenanny promotion where folk groups and singers held a concert on the field.

Sept. 27, 1967— The White Sox finished the season with the two worst teams in the league, the Kansas City A’s and Washington Senators, and fans could smell that elusive World Series.

However it all began to fall apart when the Sox dropped a doubleheader to the A’s (5-2 and 4-0) after rain postponed the game Tuesday night. The Sox, in the middle of a pennant race, got more than three days off, not having played since Sunday afternoon in Cleveland. Pitchers Gary Peters and Joe Horlen got tagged with the losses on “Black Wednesday,” but the final embarrassment was yet to come.

Sept. 27, 1993 — In front of a capacity crowd at Comiskey Park II, the White Sox clinched the Western Division by beating Seattle, 4-2. It was Bo Jackson who clubbed a towering, three-run blast that just dropped over the wall in left that was the difference in the game. The homer capped off an incredible comeback season for one of the finest athletes in history. Also in this game Sox starting pitcher Wilson Alvarez saw his streak of 30 consecutive shutout innings snapped when Seattle got to him for two runs in the eighth. The Sox went 94-68 and took the title by eight games over Texas.

Sept. 27, 2003 — In one of the highest scoring games in their history, the White Sox battered the Royals in Kansas City, 19-3. Pitcher Bartolo Colon won this one easily. Joe Crede and Carl Everett both had four RBIs.

Sept. 27, 2011 — Pitcher Mark Buehrle set the franchise record when, for the 11th straight season he made at least 30 starts, won at least 10 games and pitched at least 200 innings. Buehrle set the milestone during a 2-1 win over the Blue Jays. Those numbers were a testament to his ability, dedication and durability.  

Sept. 27, 2014 — The Chicago White Sox have had a number of great players over the decades. One of them was first baseman Paul Konerko, and on this day the Sox honored Paul with a ceremony and unveiled a sculpture of him. The numbers showed that Konerko was one of the best players in franchise history, hitting 432 home runs and driving in 1,383 RBIs. He was a six time All-Star, a World Series champion, the 2005 ALCS MVP and 2002 Comeback Player of the Year. Konerko would play his final game for the Sox the next day, and retired after 16 seasons with the club. In May 2015, Konerko returned to U.S. Cellular Field and had his No. 14 retired.   

Today in White Sox History: September 5, 2019

Figure eight: In just his eighth career start, Zach Stewart tossed one of the best games in White Sox history. (Huffington Post)

Sept. 5, 1993 — In a game at Detroit, Sox star slugger Frank Thomas belted his 40th home run of the year. It marked the first time a Sox player ever hit that many in a season. Thomasshot came off of Mike Moore in the first inning of a 5-3 win over the Tigers.

Sept. 5, 2011 — In the back half of a day/night double header in Minnesota, Sox pitcher Zach Stewart fired a one-hitter, beating the Twins, 4-0. Stewart, acquired earlier in the season from the Toronto Blue Jays, was making only his eighth career major league start. 

Stewart retired the first 21 batters before Danny Valencia hit an opposite-field double to right to end Stewart’s perfect game bid. Zach would end the game with eight strikeouts. The Sox would also win the first game, 2-1, behind the strong pitching of Philip Humber.

*Bonus ghost of beat writer past content*

Monday, September 5, 2011
Posted: 3:40 p.m. Updated: 11:00 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini White Sox Insider

MINNEAPOLIS – The Chicago White Sox plodded into their rooms around 4 a.m. on Monday morning, flying west in the wee hours, crashing on their hotel beds, already having labored through what would promise to be anything but a relaxing Labor Day. Making matters all the more laborious, the Pale Hose had just been flushed out of Detroit in the most ignominious way possible, defeat giving way to utter embarrassment.

Then, forgotten rotation arm Phil Humber rebounded from 18 days away to toss a gem in the doubleheader opener, going seven scoreless to solidify his spot as the Chisox’s fifth starter.

That is, until Zach Stewart — Humber’s sole competition for that No. 5 slot — took the mound in the nightcap and pursued a perfect game into the eighth in defeating the Minnesota Twins, 4-0.

“I was close, but it’s one of those things,” said the mild-mannered Stewart. “I mean, I’ve given up hits before, so you get used to it.”

“I was trying not to think about it,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. “Easier said than done; yeah, I was thinking about it. Everything was possible with the way he was throwing the ball. All day he had good sinker and could locate his off-speed pretty well. This was a good day for his sinker, pretty good day for his slider, and we were pretty much working off that, mixing an occasional curveball and changeup. When a guy’s got a good sinker and we have a pretty good defense you just kind of roll with that and trust the D.”

For 82 pitches, Stewart — who was 0-1 with a 10.97 ERA in his prior two starts — carved his way through the Minnesota lineup. Stewart’s perfecto was dashed by Danny Valencia, who stroked a slider on the 83rd pitch, sending the pill into right field, the ball skipping past defensive replacement Alejandro De Aza for a leadoff double. Valencia had worked the count to 2-2 and barely missed extra bases with a screaming liner down the left-field line that fell just foul on the previous toss.

“He made a good swing on the ball and he put it in play,” Stewart said. “You just have to tip your cap to him. Honestly, I felt like I threw a good pitch right there. He just got it and did what he wanted with it. It was just a good hit.” 

“I thought that was the right pitch,” Flowers said of the double. “Up inside on a couple pitches, [Valencia] was on the slider, he had a good sinker all day, so that’s the pitch that got you there. Sinker away, I was hoping it was going to freeze him. It was a little bit off the plate, too — it was a good pitch he hit, tip your hat to Danny, he did a good job putting it in play.”

Afterward, Flowers walked to the mound expecting a tension release. Instead, he was sent back to complete the job.

“I thought [Stewart] was going to crack a smirk, but he was like, ‘OK, let’s get the next guy.’ That’s good to see,” Flowers said. “I told him he was doing a good job, and let’s get the complete game W.”

The moxie shown by the greenhorn impressed the man in the dugout.

“This kid gave up the hit, lost the no-hitter and perfect game, and he came back and threw around the plate again,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillén said. “Man at third? No panic. That’s a good thing when kids prepare themselves, acting on the mound like that. It’s not cockiness of anything. He’s got confidence. He’s not afraid.”

The White Sox ensured a sweep on the strength of solid, three-hit games from Alex Rios, Brent Morel and Alexei Ramírez. That trio also drove in three of the four White Sox runs in the game.

“That was nice, getting one early, after that series in Detroit where we felt like we were behind the whole time,” Morel said. “We got one early and kept tacking runs on.”

Before the doubleheader, Guillén was hesitant to permanently promote the better of the two No. 5 candidates tonight to the rotation for the final three weeks of the season, claiming he didn’t yet know, and that Humber’s and Stewart’s fate was tied to that of rehabilitating veteran Jake Peavy.

After the stellar starts, leading the White Sox to their first doubleheader sweep in Minnesota in more than 35 years, Guillen might be tempted to reshuffle his rotation to keep this competition red-hot.

As outstanding as Stewart was, Humber was almost equally devastating.

After a stellar performance in beating the Chicago Cubs at the beginning of July, Humber went six straight starts without a win. He was in danger of losing his spot in the rotation, and could well have lost his season after that frightening line drive off the forehead that drove him from his August 18 start and to the disabled list.

Returning to the mound for the first time since being sprung from the DL, Humber picked up right where he’d left off before the All-Star break, pitching seven scoreless, walkless innings in driving a 2-1 win in the first game of their doubleheader.

“I’m so thankful; it feels like it’s been a year since I had a win,” Humber said. “The guys did a great job getting us runs early. I just kind of got a lot of ground balls, and it was a great feeling to have some success. It’s a lot more fun getting them out than struggling to hold them. Hopefully I’ll build off of that and use that confidence to my next couple starts.”

“We needed Phil come out the way he did today,” Guillén said. “Just for the ballclub, besides sparing the bullpen because of a doubleheader, we needed this type of game to try to get it going and build some confidence. We didn’t do much [offensively], but to win this game after the last three days we had and a very short night, to come back and [win], hopefully those guys get some momentum going and continue to play the way we did today.”

It was a relief for the manager to see the first-half Humber emerge.

“His breaking ball was pretty good, and on top of that we made a couple of nice plays in the field, we caught a couple of balls out there to help him,” Guillén said. “His fastball was good, and sinker, threw a big pitch when he had to, and we turned a big double play [to end the seventh inning, and Humber’s outing]. It seemed like he got it back after the time off and was stronger once again.”

The White Sox gave Humber all the support he’d need in tallying once in the second and again in the third. The first run scored when De Aza beat out a double-play grounder, allowing A.J. Pierzynski (double) to score. In the third, Ramírez doubled home Juan Pierre (single) to put the White Sox up by two.

Minnesota rallied for a run in the bottom of the ninth off closer Sergio Santos, who gave up a walk, a single and a sac fly and was pulled for Chris Sale, who struck out Jason Repko for the final out for his sixth save in seven chances.

“That last thing we want to lose is a game like that, because that would kill us for good,” Guillén said in explaining the move of Santos to Sale.

Any semblance of closer controversy was completely averted by Stewart going the distance in the nightcap, as Stewart finished with 114 pitches and eight strikeouts against no walks, and just Valencia’s sole safety.

In the end, the two youngest and shakiest starters on the Sox stitched together two of just a handful of the best starts of the season, a circumstance much better than Guillén could have hoped for.

“It was great for us, besides great for them to win the games,” the manager said. “The last few games, we’ve been beat up pretty good. We’ve been using the pen and a day/night doubleheader puts in the back of your mind that I hope this goes good and I don’t use that many guys in the pen. Our pen was very thin today, so besides winning the games and throwing well, on top of that they saved our pen and let it recover.” 

The young fellas just roll with it
You’ll never accuse Stewart of being overly stressed, a characteristic he shares with several of the key rookies starring in the near-perfecto.

“I would say I probably noticed [the perfect game] in the fifth or sixth, but it still wasn’t one of those things where I was going for a no-hitter or a perfect game or whatever it was,” Stewart admitted. “Going into the eighth was when I was finally saying I had to focus and bear down to get through this.”

In fact, the chill Texan with the surfer’s curls had an unusual word for the most stressful circumstance a pitcher can find himself in: fun.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “It was one of those things I felt in the pen. The ball was coming out good and I can tell it was going to be somewhat of a good night. I didn’t know it was going to be that good. It just felt good from the beginning.”

Morel had some great stops at third base to help preserve the magic, but credited his starter with setting the tone.

“He did such a good job of working so quick, it’s like we were never on defense, like we were up to bat all the time trying to score runs,” said the rookie. “He was working quick and getting us back in the dugout. It’s so much easier when a guy is working quick and isn’t giving up a lot of hits. You’re out there for five minutes at a time, on your toes, expecting a ground ball. With these sinkerball guys, you gotta be ready every pitch.”

Meanwhile, when asked if the pitch he called that broke up the perfect game — a sinker away — would haunt him, the cool catcher played it off legit.

“Me? Nah,” Flowers answered. “I’ll think about it another two hours, then put it away and get ready for tomorrow.”

Maybe the best compliment of the night came from the low-key Paul Konerko, who spoke to the age issue with his usual aplomb.

“You feel good with [Stewart] out there,” he said. “He’s in control, and he’s going to make the other guy hit him. He pitches a lot older than his age.”

Six Pack of Stats – Game 2

Pressure Play (highest-leverage situation)
In a game like this one, pressure is going to leak out at unexpected times, and a 2.05 LI came from Gordon Beckham’s fly ball in the second inning, advancing Alex Rios to third and setting up the first run of the game for Chicago. White Sox 0, Twins 0.

Pressure Cooker (highest total leverage faced in the game)
Barely edging out Beckham for top game pressure was Twins starter Scott Diamond, with a 1.23 pLI for the game.

Wauoooo of the Day (greatest win probability added, single play)
With a .110 WPA, it was the last two White Sox runs that added most to the win, when Morel singled up the middle to drive in Ramírez and  Rios. White Sox 4, Twins 0

Game MVP (greatest win probability added, game)
Is there any question? Stewart takes MVP honors with a .447 WPA for the game, six points better than Humber’s outstanding effort in the first game of the doubleheader.

Chicago’s Start
According to @maxjusttyped on Twitter, Stewart’s amazing 94 game score wasn’t just tops for the White Sox this season, but it was the second-highest game score in all of baseball this season. That was keyed not only by the single hit, but nine strikeouts against zero walks.

Minnesota’s Start
Scott Diamond recorded a 45 game score for the Twins in taking his third loss in four decisions. His ineffective effort was scarred by eight hits over just five innings, and two walks against four Ks.