On this date in 1988, the White Sox acquired promising outfielder Lance Johnson and pitcher Ricky Horton from the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Jose DeLeon.
It took some time but this deal executed by general manager Larry Himes turned out to be a good one.
After struggling in 1988 and not making the club in 1989, Johnson blossomed into a productive player.
The product of Triton Junior College hit .300 over his final 50 games in 1989 and was in the big leagues to stay. Johnson hit at least .274 in each year between 1990 and 1994 in becoming a fan favorite.
He led the A.L. in triples in each season between 1991 and 1994 while covering a lot of ground in center field. Johnson was an important part of the White Sox A.L. West Divison championship season of 1993.
In addition to hitting .311 with 14 triples, Johnson swiped 35 bases and went 4-for-9 with a homer and four RBIs in the Sox two victories in the A.L.C.S.
And, along the way, he earned the nickname “One Dog” from Hall-of-Fame announcer Hawk Harrelson because of his number and baserunning style. The tag has endured as one of the most popular monickers in team history.
DeLeon had some good years with the Cardinals but he was nowhere nearly as valuable to his team as Johnson was to the Sox.
DeLeon made his way back to the Sox for the 1993, 1994 and 1995 seasons as an effective reliever.
Horton appeared in 52 games for the 1988 Sox before being dealt to Los Angeles for Shawn Hillegas on Aug. 30, 1988.