Today in White Sox History: January 25

Scooter: Fletcher was a dynamo on both early 1980s and early 1990s White Sox teams.


1983
The White Sox and GM Roland Hemond embarrassed the Cubs by hinting through the media that they might select pitcher Fergie Jenkins after the Cubs left him unprotected in the free agent draft. Jenkins, the future Hall-of-Famer, was getting close to the magical 300 win mark in his career. The Sox were entitled to a compensation pick after losing outfielder Steve Kemp to the Yankees.

Thus the Cubs were forced to trade Scott Fletcher, Dick Tidrow, Randy Martz and Pat Tabler to the Sox for a promise not to take Jenkins, along with pitchers Steve Trout and Warren Brusstar. The Sox then flipped Tabler for Jerry Dybzinski. After it was all said and done, Cubs GM Dallas Green was quoted as saying, “To say I’m relieved probably would be an understatement.”

Fletcher would be a part of the 1983 divisional champion, but his bigger impact perhaps came in 1990, for the “Doin’ the Little Things” White Sox, who shocked baseball by winning 94 games. Fletcher was a defensive rock at second base that season, and executed small things like bunting, hitting behind a runner, hitting to the opposite field and driving in key runs exceptionally well. Tidrow did just about everything a relief pitcher could do in 1983, and Dybzinski stabilized a shaky infield in the early part of that same season. Unfortunately, his baserunning error in Game 4 of the ALCS is what he is best remembered for.

The White Sox starting staff was so deep in 1983, with seven pitchers on the roster who all had won at least 10 games in a major league season, that Martz never really got a chance. He only made one emergency start that year in a game at Detroit.

Today in White Sox History: November 27

 


1938 — White Sox star pitcher Monty Stratton, an American League All-Star in 1937 and one of the best young players in the game, accidentally shot himself in the leg after his .32 caliber pistol discharged when he was replacing it in his holster. Stratton had been out hunting. Unable to get help, he crawled a half-mile to a road leading into Greenville, Texas. The bullet pierced a femoral artery, which stopped circulation to the limb, and Stratton’s leg had to be amputated. His four-year career ended. Stratton eventually came back to play in a few minor league games using a wooden leg.

In 1948, Hollywood made “The Stratton Story,” starring Jimmy Stewart, June Allyson and former Sox manager Jimmy Dykes.


1951 – In yet another one of Frank Lane’s “best deals,” the White Sox GM sent five players to the St. Louis Browns for three players, including catcher Sherm Lollar. Lollar would become a three-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner. Of the players sent to St. Louis, one of them, outfielder Jim Rivera, would be reacquired by the Sox the following July. Both players would remain with the club through the early 1960s.


1961 — In a bizarre coincidence, both Minnie Miñoso and Joe Cunningham were at the same sports banquet in Joliet when word came that the White Sox and Cardinals had made a trade — Miñoso for Cunningham! Cunningham became perhaps the finest-fielding first baseman in franchise history, ranking right up there with Joe Kuhel and Tony Muser. And he could hit, too: In 1962, Joe would reach base 268 times and lead the Sox in walks, runs, sacrifice flies and bunts. He hit .295 and drove in 70 runs. In July 1964, the White Sox sent Cunningham to the Senators as part of a deal bringing Moose Skowron to the Sox.


1981 — It was a move criticized at the time, as Sox GM Roland Hemond sent outfielder Chet Lemon to the Tigers for outfielder Steve Kemp. The swap of All-Stars left Sox fans shaking their heads, as Kemp would become a free agent after the upcoming season. He’d eventually sign a big-money contract with the Yankees after knocking in 98 runs for the Sox in 1982.

However, what wasn’t known at the time was that the Sox weren’t going to re-sign Lemon; the young star had agreed to an extension, but then balked after the new Jerry Reinsdorf-Eddie Einhorn ownership went out and signed Carlton Fisk for more money than Lemon had agreed to.

And yes, the move broke the tiny little White Sox heart of the future editor-in-chief of South Side Hit Pen.