MELTON’S BAD BACK: What might have been

Forty-one years ago today, the White Sox parted company with the man whose bad back cost the franchise a trip to the World Series.

At least that’s what Roland Hemond, the Sox general manager at the time, has said.

On this date in 1975, the White Sox traded their all-time home run leader Bill Melton to the California Angels in a four-player exchange.

Melton, a third baseman, was a dominant force for the Sox in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

After becoming the first player in franchise history to lead the league in home runs outright in 1971, Melton suffered a devastating injury in 1972.

With the Sox in the midst of a renaissance campaign and trying to ride would-be A.L. MVP Dick Allen into the postseason, Melton and his potent bat missed 142 games.

It was too much for the Sox to overcome. The Sox finished second in the A.L. West Ti the eventual World Series champion A’s and left many asking ‘What if …?’

“If Melton didn’t come up with a herniated disc in mid-season, he played just 60 games that year, I think that club would have gone onto the World Series,” Hemond recalled years later.


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