Today in White Sox History: September 12

Scoring frenzy: Avisaíl García collected four hits in an 11-run attack in 2016, the White Sox scoring in every inning. (Wikipedia)

Sept. 12, 1900 — The White Sox beat the Cleveland Blues 12-4 in Chicago to clinch the franchise’s first pennant. However the American League wasn’t recognized as an “official” major league at the time. Roy Patterson got the win in the game.

Sept. 12, 2016 — The White Sox tied an unusual franchise record, as they beat Cleveland, 11-4, at U.S. Cellular Field: The Sox scored at least one run in every inning. It was only the 20th time in major league history that a team had accomplished this.

Chicago banged out 16 hits, Avisaíl García getting four of them. Six of the 16 hits went for extra bases. The first time the franchise accomplished this was May 11, 1949, beating the Boston Red Sox at Comiskey Park.

Today in White Sox History: September 11

Heavy hearts: Baseball fell to the background for awhile at the end of the 2001 season.

Sept. 11, 2001 — The White Sox were in New York near ground zero when the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center took place, getting a firsthand look at one of the darkest days in U.S. history. Major league baseball, in the wake of the national emergency, suspended all games for a week. The Sox returned to New York in early October to make up the three games with the Yankees.

Sept. 11, 2016 — In a 2-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals at U.S. Cellular Field, White Sox pitcher Chris Sale set the team record by recording 200 or more strikeouts for the fourth consecutive season. (Sale had set the team single season mark for strikeouts in 2015.) He would pitch eight innings in this game, striking out 12, only to lose as the Sox offense could not give him any support.

Today in White Sox History: September 10

A pennant race rescued: Horlen’s no-hitter righted the ship in late 1967. (Chicago Tribune)

Sept. 10, 1930 — Future Hall-of-Famer Luke Appling made his Chicago White Sox debut. It was the start of the legacy of great Sox shortstops, including Chico Carrasquel, Luis Aparicio and Ozzie Guillén. Appling went 1-for-4 in a 6-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

Sept. 10, 1954Paul Richards, one of the greatest managers in White Sox history, resigned to accept a duel position of general and field manager for the Baltimore Orioles. Richards was the man credited with turning around the fortunes of the franchise in 1951 with his aggressive running philosophy. Sox pitcher Billy Pierce called Richards the smartest manager he ever had. Richards was also credited with turning around Nellie Fox, helping make him into a very good hitter. Richards left because the White Sox were not willing to give him a multiyear contract extension or a raise, and because of personal disagreements he had with then-GM Frank “Trader” Lane.

(Chicago Tribune)

Sept. 10, 1967 — Coming off of two straight losses to the Detroit Tigers and in danger of falling out of the pennant race, Joe Horlen threw a no-hitter. Almost 24,000 Sox fans saw Horlen win, 6-0. Sox second baseman Wayne Causey saved the no-hitter with a grab of a smash up the middle off of the bat of Jerry Lumpe in the ninth inning; Causey’s throw just nipped Lumpe at the bag.

Rookie Cisco Carlos then shut out Detroit, 4-0, in the second game, vaulting the Sox right back into pennant contention. It was the last time in franchise history the Sox would throw doubleheader shutouts.

Sept. 10, 1977—- White Sox pitcher Wilbur Wood tied the American League record by hitting three California Angels hitters in a row in the first inning of the club’s 6-1 loss at Anaheim. With two out and a man on, “Woody” hit Dave Kingman, Don Baylor and Dave Chalk.

Today in White Sox History: September 9

Outfitted: Al Capone, son, and dozens of bodyguards take in a crosstown game in 1931. (The Petaluma Argus Courier)

Sept. 9, 1917 — This day marks the only time the White Sox have ever won a forfeited game. At Comiskey Park against Cleveland, the Indians were protesting a close call that went against them in the top of the 10th inning of a tie game.

When they took the field in the last of the inning, Cleveland players threw their gloves in the air, some rolled around in the dirt and catcher Steve O’Neill deliberately threw a ball into center field. Umpire Clarence “Brick” Owens had enough and declared the game won by the Sox.

Sept. 9, 1931 — At the cross-city exhibition game between the White Sox and Cubs at Comiskey Park this afternoon a famous (or “infamous”) fan and his son sat along the White Sox side of the field, in the front row.

The fan was Al Capone, the head of the largest crime syndicate in Chicago known as the “Chicago Outfit.” He took in the game with his son and a number of bodyguards who were seated directly behind them. They were part of a crowd of almost 35,000. The game was to benefit an unemployment relief fund established by Illinois governor Louis L. Emmerson as the Depression strengthened its grip on the country. Less than a month later, Capone would go to trial on income tax evasion charges, be found guilty, and sent to prison.

Sept. 9, 1983 — The Winning Ugly express roared on, crushing former Sox great Tommy John and the California Angels, 11-0. What was significant in this one was, for the first time in team history, the Sox hammered back-to-back-to-back home runs, courtesy of Carlton Fisk, Tom Paciorek, and Greg Luzinski in the first inning.

Not to be outdone, pitcher Britt Burns threw a one-hitter. Outfielder Mike Brown’s two-out single in the seventh inning was Burns’ only mistake.

Sept. 9, 2003 — With one move, White Sox manager Jerry Manuel perhaps cost his team a postseason berth and eventually led himself to be fired.

In a game the Sox were leading the Twins 8-2 in the ninth inning, Manuel brought in relief pitcher Jose Paniagua to get some work in. The Sox had a one-game lead over the Twins, and this was the second of a four-game series at U.S. Cellular Field.

Paniagua allowed four runs, giving the Twins momentum even though they’d lose, 8-6. Minnesota promptly won the final two games, swept the Sox the following week at the Metrodome and won the second of three consecutive division titles.

Paniagua, as he was leaving the field, made an obscene gesture at the home plate umpire and was released by GM Kenny Williams later that evening. Manuel’s dismissal would come a few weeks later.

There has always been debate over the impact of this incident in the divisional race, but Twins players have been quoted as saying it was a difference-maker.

Sept. 9, 2017 – White Sox slugger José Abreu became only the sixth player in franchise history to hit for the cycle in a 13-1 rout of the San Francisco Giants. José’s cycle, in order, went home run, double, single and triple. For the night, he went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBIs.

Today in White Sox History: September 8

Finally: Wynn wouldn’t get it with the White Sox, but his 300th arrived in 1963. (Post Cereal)

Sept. 8, 1962 — White Sox pitcher and future Hall-of-Famer Early Wynn won his 299th career game, beating the Washington Senators with a complete game, 7-3. Wynn would get a spring training invite from the White Sox in 1963, but was cut. Fortunately Cleveland, the team Wynn pitched for earlier in his career, picked him up; he got his coveted 300th win on July 13, 1963, when he beat the Kansas City A’s.

Today in White Sox History: September 7, 2019

Instant success: After knocking around as a bit pitcher for years, Donovan came to the White Sox and blossomed into a star.

Sept. 7, 1954 — One of the linchpins of the famed Sox pitching staff of the late 1950s, Dick Donovan, was acquired from the Milwaukee Braves after spending nearly the entire season in the minor leagues for the Detroit Tigers. Dick would win become an All-Star in his first White Sox season (1955) and win 73 games in six seasons on the South Side, including a pair of one-hitters.

Sept. 7, 1960 — In a game at Comiskey Park, infielder Sammy Esposito booted a cinch double play ball hit by future White Sox infielder Bill “Moose” Skowron, with Chicago leading in the eighth inning, 4-2. That lead quickly evaporated, as the New York Yankees rallied for four runs and a 6-4 win.

Willie Harris and his friend, Jesse James (I swear I’m not making the names up) had a wager on the game. When Esposito blew the ground ball Harris took matters into his own hands. He jumped over the box seat railing, ran on to the field, had words with the player then the two started throwing punches. It took several uniformed police officers and ushers to pull Harris off of Esposito. Harris left the field shouting that he was “a real Sox fan.”

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.

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.

Today in White Sox History: September 4

Iron man, chipmunk cheeks: Fox played in more than five seasons’ worth of consecutive contests before a virus snapped his streak, just short of 800 games. (Topps)

Sept. 4, 1960 — A viral infection knocked Nellie Fox out of the lineup for the first time since August 1955. He played in 798 consecutive games (still the White Sox record) and 1,072 out of 1,073.

Sept. 4, 1961 — It was a strange start to a good White Sox career for pitcher Joe Horlen. Horlen entered the game at the Minnesota Twins wearing a blank jersey. That’s right … no name, no number, on the back!

(Only one other time in major league history has this happened: Eric Davis of the Cincinnati Reds, on May 19, 1984.)

Horlen allowed two hits in four innings of work, and got the win in the 9-5 decision. An unusual major league debut!

Sept. 4, 1995Robin Ventura hit a pair of grand slams in a 14-3 win over the Texas Rangers. He was the eighth player in history at the time to hit a pair in one game. His eight RBIs tied the White Sox franchise record.

Sept. 4, 2016 — And 21 years later in a wild slugfest in Minnesota, won by the Sox 13-11, first baseman José Abreu drove in seven runs. José had a pair of three-run home runs in the game, along with an RBI single. The homers came in the first and seventh innings. The seven RBIs are one off of the franchise record for a single game.

Today in White Sox History: September 3

Ol’ Aches and Pains: Felt the twinge of a broken hitting streak in Boston. (Play Ball)

Sept. 3, 1936Luke Appling’s then-club record 27-game hitting streak ended in Boston, courtesy of Red Sox pitcher Wes Farrell. Appling’s record would stand until 2004, when Carlos Lee broke it by hitting in 28 straight games.

Sept. 3, 1990 — White Sox relief pitcher Bobby Thigpen set the major league mark when he earned his 47th save of the season in a win over the Kansas City Royals. He’d finish the year with 57 saves, which stood as the single-season mark until 2008. In 1990, Thigpen would also win four games and have an ERA of 1.83 … naturally he was named the Fireman of the Year.