On this date in 1982, the White Sox made a little history when they became the first team to acquire a player with a pick from the free agent compensation pool which was part of the settlement of the protracted strike that fractured the 1981 campaign.
After losing stopper Ed Farmer to free agency, the Sox selected 21-year old catcher Joel Skinner, who was left unprotected by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Skinner, the son of former big league pitcher Bob Skinner, was coming off a year in which he hit .266 with 11 homers and 63 RBIs for the Pirates’ Class-A Greenwood affiliate.
General Manager Roland Hemond made this choice with an obvious eye to the future because, as they say, Carlton Fisk wasn’t getting any younger.
Skinner was called up by the Sox for short stints in 1983, 1984 and 1985. He was was given the starting job and Fisk was moved to left field in 1986 -– Ken Harrelson’s only season as Sox GM — but never blossomed.
With Skinner off to a .154 start, Fisk regained his familiar spot behind the plate on May 12.
On July 30, Skinner’s time with the Sox ended when he was dealt to the Yankees in a six-player swap.
He returned to the White Sox organization in 2012 when he began a five-year managerial career in the minor leagues. He managed at Triple-A Charlotte from 2012 to 2015 and at Class-A Winston-Salem in 2016.
The situation: Ozzie Guillen is set to leadoff the sixth in the White Sox 3-0 win over Kansas City in the 11th-to-last game at Comiskey Park … Guillen flew out as part of a 1-2-3 inning against Mel Stottlemyre decreasing his .293 average a bit
The discovery: I just had a hunch really.
Comiskey Park’s final season was 1990 and the Royals were the opponent.
One of the best games from that season was a Sept. 5 clash with KC so I was just hoping it would be that game and … IT WAS!
I confirmed my hunch by checking the scoreboard linescore and Guillen’s average in the pic against the boxscore and Guillen’s 1990 gamelog at retrosheet.org.
I never get tired of talking about, thinking about or writing about this game, which veered off into so many memorable directions.
This picture is a wonderful microcosm of the evening. If this photo were to be zoomed out, the park would be beautifully lit with the 19,526 on hand comfortably dressed because it was a gorgeous evening.
While the park was in its final days, this was hardly a somber occasion.
In fact, the place was electric. These final moments at “the baseball palace of the world” were more like an Irish wake with fans celebrating the park instead of mourning it.
There was a lot to celebrate this night as manager Jeff Torborg’s upstart collection of emerging talent and accomplished veterans were fighting to keep pace with the big bad Oakland A’s in the American League West.
As the scoreboard depicts, this was pitcher’s duel with Greg Hibbard matching Stottlemyre goose-egg for goose-egg while bobbing and weaving with the likes of George Brett, Bo Jackson, Frank White and Willie Wilson.
This scintillating game reached its peak with two outs in the eighth inning.
With the game still scoreless, the Royals loaded the bases thanks to a Kevin Seitzer double, an intentional walk to Brett and an unintentional walk to Danny Tartabull.
That brought Bo Jackson to the plate.
Torborg had one of the best bullpens in the game that year. Anchored by Bobby Thigpen and his record-setting 57 saves, the Sox relief corps was bolstered by ultimate setup men Barry Jones and Scott Radinsky and the workmanlike Donn Pall, Ken Patterson and Wayne Edwards.
Even with the righty Jackson facing the lefty Hibbard, Torborg did not make a change.
The fact that Thigpen had saved five games in the last six days made Torborg’s decision easier.
It took all of three pitches for the slight Hibbard (6-0, 185) to vanquish the great Bo Jackson.
When Jackson, who would become a member of the Sox 210 days later, swung and missed at a Hibbard change for his fourth whiff, the fans went bonkers.
This truly was one of the last great dramatic moments at the oldest active ballpark in the Major Leagues.
After that finish to the top of the eighth, there was no way the Sox were going to lose.
A bases-loaded two-run single by rookie Robin Ventura and an RBI single by Ivan Calderon provided the Sox with their cushion.
The inning started with a walk to Frank Thomas, who was playing in his 33rd game and was already showing the discerning eye that would make him one of the most feared hitters in history. In addition that frame was moved along by a sacrifice bunt from … (scrawny) SAMMY SOSA.
By the way, that first Sox run was scored by pinch-runner Rodney “Scooter” McCray, who would gain immortality a year later when he ran through an wall as a member of the White Sox Triple-A affiliate in Vancouver.
God I loved this game. It had a little bit of everything, didn’t it?
The ninth was almost anti-climactic. Well, Hibbard made it feel that way anyway.
The crafty Mississippian needed just 10 pitches to retire the side in order to complete the four-hitter and the only shutout of his career.
In addition to all the drama, this contest holds tremendous sentimental value for our family.
This was the last game my wife, eight months pregnant with our first, attended at Comiskey Park, a place where we forged some of the most lasting friendships in our relationship.
Exiting the park I remember thinking I am going to tell my daughter she was part of one memorable and beautiful nights in the waning days of one of baseball’s greatest cathedrals.
All that from one picture!
The postscript: The second-place White Sox stayed 6.5-games behind Oakland when this night ended. This was the closest the team would get to first place the rest of the season. … Hibbard’s complete game shutout was the 466th by a Sox pitcher (787th overall) at Comiskey Park and the first by a lefty since Jerry Reuss on May 1, 1989. … The first White Sox shutout at Comiskey Park was by Hall-of-Famer Ed Walsh on Aug. 4, 1910, 35 days after the park opened. Walsh threw 16 zeroes against the A’s but had to settle for a no decision in a scoreless tie. … The first Sox shutout by a lefty at Comiskey Park was by Doc White against Cleveland … Hibbard’s blanking was also the first by a Sox pitcher against the Royals since Tom Seaver’s two-hitter on May 14, 1984. … Prior to Hibbard, the last lefty to whitewash the Royals at Comiskey Park was Jerry Koosman, Seaver’s longtime Mets’ teammate, on June 3, 1983. … Guillen’s average wouldn’t get over the .292 displayed in the photo the rest of the way. .
Note: As always, I am open to discussion and correction on this.
A few nuggets — @soxnerd style — on Francisco Liriano, who announced his retirement on Monday:
*Liriano was the last pitcher to no-hit the White Sox.
While pitching for the Twins, the left-hander struck out two and walked six as the Sox were no-hit for the first time in nearly a decade in Minnesota’s 1-0 win before 20,901 at U.S. Cellular Field on May 3, 2011.
*One year, two months and 28 days later, the Sox acquired Liriano making him the only pitcher to no-hit and play for the Sox
*Liriano’s no-no was the first against the Sox since Bret Saberhagen turned the trick on Aug. 26, 1991 in Kansas City. Robin Ventura, the Sox manager when Liriano no-hit the club, was 0-for-3 against Saberhagen.
*Liriano’s no-hitter was the third at New Comiskey Park/US Cellular Field/Guaranteed Rate Field and the first one by a pitcher not named Mark Buehrle
*Liriano’s no-no was the first by an opponent vs. the Sox in Chicago since Jack Morris’ gem on April 7, 1984 for Detroit … Andy Hawkins’ no-hit loss for the Yankees on July 1, 1990 at Comiskey Park is not considered an official no-hitter because it did not go nine innings
*Liriano’s two strikeouts were tied for the fewest in a no-hitter vs. the Sox with Cleveland’s Addie Joss on April 20, 1910 and St. Louis’ Ernie Koob on May 5, 1917
*His six walks tied Morris for the most against the Sox in a no-hitters
*Liriano went 3-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 12 games (11 starts) for the 2012 White Sox after being acquired from Minnesota for infielder Eduardo Escobar and pitcher Pedro Hernandez on July 28th
When he was acquired manager Robin Ventura’s team was riding a five-game winning streak and held a 2.5-game lead in the American League Central.
That 2012 team wound up being one of the most disappointing in recent Sox history.
With Liriano and many others faltering, the Sox flopped down the stretch. The Sox held a three game lead on Sept. 18 but finished the season 4-10 and wound up in second place, three games out.
Things got so bad for Liriano in September he was demoted briefly to the bullpen.
After going 2-0 with a 4.56 ERA in five starts in August, the native of the Dominican Republic was 1-2 with a 6.84 ERA in six games (five starts) in Sept./Oct.
His last appearance for the Sox was a loss on Sept. 25. He was tagged for four runs on seven hits in 3.2 innings as the Sox lost 4-3 in Cleveland and fell into a first-place tie with Detroit. A loss the next day knocked the Sox out of first for good.
*On the brink of free agency, Liriano was 3-10 with a 5.31 ERA with Minnesota when he was obtained by the Sox. That brought his record with the Twins to 50-52 with a 4.33 ERA with 788 strikeouts in 733.1 innings in 156 games (130 starts) from 2005 to 2012.
*Liriano made his last start for the Twins in 2012 against the Sox (loss) in Chicago and his first start for the Sox in 2012 against the Twins (no decision) in Minnesota
*His best outing for the Sox was a victory over the Twins on Sept. 15, 2012 in Minnesota that included a little bit of drama.
Making his second start against his former team, Liriano threw 6.2 no-hit innings before giving up a two-run home run to Trevor Plouffe, one of the Twins’ “Piranhas” as Ozzie Guillen used to call them.
He finished the frame but that was the extent of the outing. Liriano struck out nine and walked two in the Sox 5-3 win.
“To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about a no-hitter,” he said afterward. “I was trying to go deep in the game and throw less pitches each inning. … I was just trying to go deep in the game and give us a chance to win the ballgame.”
*Liriano actually turned his career around during his dark days with the Sox.
According to a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article of Aug. 20, 2013, Liriano righted himself during his bullpen banishment.
“In the U.S. Cellular Field bullpen last season, Liriano watched teammate Brett Myers command his fastball with an over-the-top delivery,” the article said. “Throughout his career, Liriano had thrown with a three-quarters arm slot and struggled with fastball command. After watching Myers, Liriano decided to experiment with a more over-the-top style and found he had better control of his fastball from an elevated arm slot. In the winter, he practiced the motion over and over, building muscle memory.
“The result? Liriano has dramatically improved his fastball command this season in making a strong case for NL Comeback Player of the Year honors.”
That adjustment would have been nice in late August of 2012 instead of a month later.
After becoming a free agent, Liriano signed with Pittsburgh and did win the NL Comeback Player of the Year and received Cy Young votes in 2013 (16-8, 3.02 ERA).
My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox concludes with a look at SEBY ZAVALA:
*Some nuggets on Seby Zavala’s three home run game of July 31, 2021 …
—Zavala was the first White Sox catcher with a 3-home run game
—Zavala joined Paul Konerko 7-7-09, Harold Baines 7-7-82, Claudell Washington 7-14-79, Gus Zernial 10-1-50 and Merv Connors 9-17-38 as Sox players with a 3-homer game at home … Zavala and Konerko are the only Sox players to do this at New Comiskey Park/US Cellular Field/Guaranteed Rate Field
—No American Leaguer recorded a three-homer game in fewer Major League games than Zavala’s 18
—Zavala was the first player in MLB history to hit his first career home run as part of a three-homer game (Elias)
—Zavala’s 3-homer game produced six RBI making him the third Sox player with a 6+ RBI game out of the ninth slot (Charles Johnson 7 on 9-2-00 and Craig Grebeck 6 on 4-30-92)
—Zavala was just the seventh No. 9 hitter to log a 3-homer game and the first Sox player to do that. … The deepest in the order a Sox 3-HR game occurred was from the seventh spot by Jose Valentin on 7-30-03
—Zavala joins the Sox Gus Zernial (10-1-50), the Red Sox Norm Zauchin (5-27-55) and the Nationals Ryan Zimmerman (5-29-13) as the only Zs with a 3-homer game
—The only Sox player who wore a higher number than Zavala’s 44 while hitting three homers in a game was No. 79 Jose Abreu on 8-22-20
—Zavala and Baines (who did it twice) are the only Sox draft picks to log a 3-homer game for the team
—Zavala, Konerko and Baines (7-7-82) are the only Sox players whose 3-homer game included a grand slam
—Zavala, Frank Thomas (9-15-96) and Zernial are the only Sox players with a 3+-HR game in a loss.
More on Zavala’s 2021 …
*Eight of his 15 hits went for extra-bases
*Nine of the 18 pitchers Zavala caught held hitters to a .200 average in lower in 2021.
*Zavala’s five homers were the most by a Sox rookie catcher since Miguel Olivo’s six in 2003. … Only Bill Nahordny (8 in 1978), Ed Herrmann (8 in 1969) and Olivo are the only Sox rookie catchers with more homers than Zavala
*Zavala’s grand slam on July 31 was the first by a Sox No. 9 hitter and the first by a Sox rookie catcher since Josh Phegley victimized the Tigers on 7-11-13.
*Zavala’s slam was the first by a Sox player wearing No. 44 since Dan Pasqua on April 11, 1992
My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at NICK WILLIAMS:
*Nick Williams attended Ball High School in his native Galveston, Texas, the same school that produced Brandon Backe, the Astros starter and loser in the Sox clinching Game 4 of the 2005 World Series
*Williams’ 10 at bats and 13 plate appearances in 2021 were the most by a Sox player without a hit since Sap Randall (12, 15) in 1988
*The only player in Sox history with a .000 average and a higher on-base percentage with more plate appearances than Williams’ 13 in 2021 is Doug McWeeny, who notched a .308 OBP in 14 PAs in 1924 (0-for-9)
*Wiiliams (2021) and Roy Graham (1922) are the only Sox players to be hit by two pitches and not record a base hit in a season
My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at ANDREW VAUGHN:
*Andrew Vaughn (Game 3 of the 2021 American League Division Series) and Swede Risberg (G5 1917 World Series) are the only White Sox rookies with a post-season pinch-hit
*Vaughn (G2 2021 ALDS) and Gavin Sheets (G3, G4 2021 ALDS) are the only White Sox rookies to start at DH in the postseason
*Vaughn’s double in Game 3 of the 2021 American League Division Series was the first by a White Sox pinch-hitter in the post-season
*On April 6th, Vaughn became the 1,205th player to collect a hit for the Sox. Fred Hartman collected the Sox first hit in the franchise’s inaugural game on April 24, 1901
*Vaughn became the 655th player to homer for the Sox on May 12. Frank Shugart hit the Sox first homer on April 29, 1901
*Vaughn appeared at first, second, third, left, right and DH in 2021.
The games at second, third left and right were the first of his pro or collegiate career.
How about pitching?
While position players Danny Mendick, Romy Gonzalez and Yermin Mercedes got shots on the bump, Vaughn, who pitched in 11 games at the University of California, did not.
*It was a great July for Vaughn at .308/.347/.516 and four homers but then …
The right-handed hitter slashed .225/.350/.375 with a still respectable four homers in August but plummeted in September at .095/.156/.195 with no homers.
His .095 average was the lowest by a Sox player in the month since Andy Gonzalez hit .083 in 2007 (minimum 45 plate appearances). Vaughn’s mark was the fourth-lowest Sept-/Oct. mark in team history behind Gonzalez, Luis Alvarado (.085 in 1972) and Carlos May (.092 in 1974).
*Vaughn ranked third on the Sox behind Jose Abreu (213) and Tim Anderson (171) with 151 batted balls with an exit velocity of at least 95 mph.
*MY TWO CENTS: The end to Vaughn’s season was disappointing no doubt especially when he spent the first half making the game look so easy.
As a whole what he accomplished is so promising and nothing short of amazing considering …
—he didn’t play in 2020
… his Major League debut was his first game above Class-A
… he battled injuries late in the season
… he never knew when he was going to play
… he played only 15 games at his natural position of first base
… he made his pro debut in the outfield, where he spent most of his time, and at second and third
I can’t wait to see what Vaughn can do without these distractions .
My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox rolls on with a look at RYAN TEPERA:
*Ryan Tepera became the first pitcher to earn a save in the same season for the White Sox and Cubs on Aug. 20, 2021 at Toronto. The right-hander notched a save for the Cubs on May 27 about two months before he was dealt to the Sox.
Craig Kimbrel also accomplished this feat in 2022.
*Tepera and Kimbrel joined Codi Heuer (2021), Matt Karchner (1998), Bill Long (1990), Lynn McGlothen (1981), Bob Miller (1970), Emmett O’Neill (1946), Jose Quintana (2017), Phil Regan (1972) and Steve Renko (1977) as pitchers to appear in a game for both Chicago franchises in the same season.
*Tepera’s 0.77 ERA in August was the lowest by a Sox pitcher with at least 13.1 innings since Matt Albers 0.00 ERA in the month in 2015.
My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at GAVIN SHEETS:
It was a blast watching Gavin Sheets emerge as a bonafide big league slugger in 2021.
The left-handed hitter flashed big power, showed promising discipline by averaging a team-high 4.49 pitches per plate appearance and he wasn’t afraid of the big moment.
With that as a backdrop here is a look at Sheets’ 2021 @soxnerd style …
*Sheets endeared himself to Sox fans in a hurry.
He became the first player in team history to log multi-hit games in each of his first two big league contests and he became the first Sox player to hit safely with an RBI in each of his first four MLB games.
*Sheets (Game 3 2021 ALDS) and Andrew Vaughn (Game 2 2021 ALDS) are the only Sox rookies to start at DH in the postseason
Speaking of DH, Sheets is comfortable there. In 22 games as a DH, Sheets slashed .350/.395/.690 with eight homers. He hit .143 as a first baseman, .250 as a left fielder and .237 with three homers as a right fielder.
*Sheets was the first rookie to start at first base in the postseason for the Sox (Game 1 ALDS)
*Sheets’ handed the Sox their shortest walkoff win in club history on July 19th. Sheets first career walkoff homer came with two on and no outs in the seventh inning of the second game of a doubleheader.
Doubleheaders were seven-inning games for most of 2020 and all of 2021.
*Sheets victimized the Twins’ Jose Berrios with that walkoff homer. That made Sheets the first Sox player to hit a walkoff homer off a starter since Carlos Quentin went deep off John Lackey on May 25, 2008. THANKS TO THE GREAT CHRIS KAMKA FOR THIS ONE
*Gavin’s dad, Larry, played in the bigs from 1984 to 1990 and in 1993. That relation provided me with some fun nuggets. Such as …
–Gavin Sheets hit the first homer by a Sheets in Baltimore since Larry went deep off Nolan Ryan for the Orioles on May 29, 1989 at Memorial Stadium
And my favorite with a flourish …
-*Sheets, a native of Lutherville, joins Easton’s Harold Baines, who did it 13 times, as the only Marylanders to homer in Baltimore for the Sox
*Sheets became the 660th player to homer for the Sox when he went deep on June 30th. Frank Shugart was the first player to homer for the Sox on April 29, 1901
*19 of his 40 hits (11 homers, 8 doubles) went for extra-bases in 2021 which translated to a .506 slugging percerntage
*Seven of his 11 home runs came with men on base … He slashed .299/.360/.597 with runners on and .295/.333/,591 with men in scoring position.
*Sheets hit .268 with all 11 of his homers against right-handed pitching … Against lefties, Sheets hit .111 (2-for-19) with no extra-base hits
*Sheets was happy at home, hitting .324 with eight homers, a .370 on-base percentage and .730 slugging percentage (.186/.286/.314 on the road)
*Sheets’ .450 average in interleague games was the third-highest by a Sox rookie (minimum 20 at bats) behind Jamie Burke’s .524 average in 2004 and Nick Madrigal’s .500 in 2021
My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at pitcher JOSE RUIZ:
*The Sox tried to get Jose Ruiz to thrive in high leverage situations but it just didn’t happen.
In 12 of those opportunities, opponents tagged Ruiz for a .421 batting average (staff worst), a .429 on-base percentage (staff worst) and a .579 slugging percentage. As a team, the Sox slashed .242/.312/.390.
This isn’t a new thing, unfortunately.
In 22 high leverage appearances in his career, foes have slashed .422/.500/.578 vs. Ruiz.
Medium leverage situations haven’t been much kinder to the righty.
In 2021, Ruiz was hit at a .290 clip with a .343 on-base percentage and .710 slugging percentage (three homers) in medium leverage. For his career, opponents are slashing .309/.381/.691 in these opportunities.
Which brings us to low leverage.
Ruiz was good when there wasn’t much on the line in 2021, Ruiz held batters to a .176/.250/.290 slashline in 51 outings. The Sox staff was .229/.299/.385 here.
In his career, Ruiz has a .206/.305/.354 slashline in 93 low leverage situations.
*Keep Zack Collins and Ruiz separated!
Ruiz amassed a bloated 6.48 ERA in 23 outings (25 innings) throwing to Collins (288/.378/.577 slashline). In addition, he surrendered seven of his eight homers with Collins behind the plate.
With Yasmani Grandal, Yermin Mercedes and Seby Zavala catching. Ruiz’s ERA was 0.90. That’s four earned runs in 40 innings with an opponent’s average of
The White Sox gave away these nifty patches commemorating the 90th anniversary of their 1906 World Series title in 1996.
The huge upset by the “Hitless Wonders” came over the 116-win Cubs.
There was no 100th anniversary patch because the Sox were too busy reveling in the afterglow of the 2005 World Series title.
Here’s a look at the 1906 White Sox World Series …
*OCT. 3, 1906, SOX CLINCH: The White Sox clinched their first American League pennant while waiting out a rain delay in St. Louis by virtue of second-place New York ’s loss to Philadelphia in the second game of a doubleheader. The “Hitless Wonders” would go on to win the World Series in six games against the Chicago Cubs.
*OCT. 9, 1906, GAME 1: The White Sox stunned the heavily-favored Cubs 2-1 amidst snow flurries before 12,693 at the Cubs’ West Side Park in the first game of the only all-Chicago World Series. Nick Altrock outdueled Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown in giving the White Sox an emotional boost in the series.
The White Sox scored one in the fifth when George Rohe, playing only because regular shortstop George Davis was injured, tripled and scored on an error by Brown. The Sox made it 2-0 in the sixth on a Frank Isbell RBI.
The Cubs scored a run in the sixth but Altrock retired nine of the 11 batters he faced to protect the lead. Altrock, who went 20-13 during the regular season, gave up one run on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts. Five days later, the White Sox finished off the Cubs to win the Series. … The interest in this Series was so intense in Chicago , the Tribune provided play-by-play reports via mechanical boards in theatres.
*OCT. 10, 1906, GAME 2: The Cubs pulled even with the White Sox by winning Game 2 of the World Series 7-1 in chilled South Side Park . The Cubs, who won a Major League record 116 games during the regular season, scored four runs in the first three innings off Doc White to take the lead for good. Ed Reulbach limited the Sox to one hit, a single to center by Jiggs Donahue in the seventh inning. Patsy Dougherty scored the Sox lone run in the fifth with the help of a Cubs’ defensive lapse
*OCT. 11, 1906, GAME 3: The White Sox rode a three-run sixth inning and the pitching of Ed Walsh to a 3-0 win over the Cubs to take a 2-1 lead in the World Series. Walsh, who threw 10 shutouts during the regular season, limited the Cubs to two hits and one walk while fanning 12 at West Side Park . After allowing a leadoff single, Walsh retired 20 of the next 21 batters he faced. George Rohe was the hero on offense. His bases-clearing triple in the sixth inning accounted for the scoring as the White Sox moved to within two wins of clinching their first World Series title.
*OCT. 12, 1906, GAME 4: The White Sox were limited to two hits by Mordecai Brown in dropping Game 4 of the World Series 1-0 at South Side Park . The Cubs made a run off Nick Altrock in the seventh stand up in tying the Series at 2-2. Eddie Hahn’s seventh inning single and Patsy Dougherty’s eighth inning single were the Sox only hits.
*OCT. 13, 1906, GAME 5: The White Sox moved to within one game of clinching their first World Series title by defeating the Cubs 8-6 in Game 5 of the first and only All-Chicago Fall Classic at West Side Park . The White Sox scored a run in the first Frank Isbell’s double. The Cubs responded with three in their first but the Sox took the lead for good with four in the fourth on doubles by Isbell, George Davis and Jiggs Donahue. The Cubs pulled to within two after seven but Doc White preserved Ed Walsh’s win with three innings of one-hit relief. Frank Isbell had four doubles for the White Sox.
*OCTOBER 14, 1906, GAME 6: WORLD CHAMPIONS! The White Sox pulled off one of the greatest upsets in sports history by claiming the World Series title with an 8-3 Game 5 win over the Cubs at South Side Park .
Few had given Charles Comiskey’s “Hitless Wonders” a shot at winning the first and only All-Chicago Fall Classic against the powerhouse Cubs, who won a big league record 116 games, but timely hitting a sterling pitching netted the Sox their first crown.
The White Sox settled this one early by scoring seven runs in the first two innings off Cubs’ ace Mordecai Brown, who was pitching on one days rest. George Davis and Jiggs Donahue drove in six of those seven runs as the Sox totaled 14 hits.
Doc White, who earned the save the day before with three shutout innings, went the distance. He gave up three runs on seven hits with four walks and two strikeouts.
For their triumph, Sox players each received a winner’s share of $1,874 while each Cub player received a loser’s share of $440.
The next time the White Sox and Cubs would meet in a game of consequence would be for a 1997 interleague game at Comiskey Park.
My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at CARDS RODON:
Here are some nuggets to remember Rodon by since he most likely will be departing via free agency …
*The highlight of Rodon’s breakout season was his no-hitter of Cleveland on April 14 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
About that gem …
—it was the 20th no-hitter in Sox history
—it was the second Sox no-no thrown on April 14 (Ed Cicotte 1917)
—it was the first no-hitter thrown by a Sox first round pick. The only other Sox draftee to toss a no-no? 38th rounder Mark Buehrle
—it featured an All-Atlantic Coast Conference battery with North Carolina State’s Rodon and Miami’s Zack Collins at catcher
—Rodon retired the first 25 batters he faced before hitting Carlos Perez with a pitch
—it featured just the third hit batsmen by a Sox pitcher in a no-hitter (Cicotte (April 14, 1917 and Joel Horlen Sept. 10, 1967)
—it was the sixth no-hitter with the only baserunner reaching on a HBP
—it was the first no-hitter thrown by a pitcher within two years of having Tommy John surgery (Credit: STATS LLC)
—it was the fifth no-hitter thrown at New Comiskey Park/US Celluar Field (Buehrle 2, Liriano and Giolito)
—it was Rodon’s first career complete game of nine innings and first shutout
—it was the second no-no thrown by a third overall draft pick (No. 3 in 2014) and first since Philip Humber’s perfecto for the Sox in 2012. … Best I can tell the only pitchers picked higher than Rodon and Humber to throw a no-hitter were second overall choices Justin Verlander and Josh Beckett
More on Rodon’s 2021 …
*It’s best he get his rest.
Rodon was 9-2 with a 1.76 ERA when he got at least six days of rest in 2021.
With five days rest, he was 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA and 2-2 with a 3.25 ERA with four days rest.
He made 13 starts with at least six days rest, five with five days rest and six with four days rest.
*Rodon finished 2021 second in Sox history to Chris Sale (10.086) with an average of 9.547 strikeouts per nine innings
*Rodon’s average of 12.55 strikeouts per nine innings in 2021 was the highest in Sox history for pitchers with at least 71.1 innings.
*If Rodon is not re-signed he will join Joe Cowley and Humber as the only Sox pitchers who were not brought back after throwing a no-hitter.
*Rodon’s 2.26 ERA at Guaranteed Rate Field was the lowest by a White Sox lefty with at least 60 innings and the lowest overall since Alex Fernández’s 2.23 in 1994
*In making his first All-Star team, Rodon became the third pitcher picked in the first-round to represent the Sox at the game (Sale, McDowell)
Other Sox first-rounders to rep the Sox at the ASG: Frank Thomas, Tim Anderson, Robin Ventura, Carlos May and Harold Baines
*Rodon joined Cy Young (Sept. 19, 23, 1905) as the only pitchers in American League history to have had 10+ strikeouts, no walks and two or fewer hits allowed in consecutive starts (.May 21, 26, 2021) … THANKS TO THE GREAT CHRIS KAMKA FOR THIS ONE
*His 13 wins in 2021 were two more than he had from 2017 to 2020
*Defying convention, Rodon, a lefty, was death on right-handers.
He held righties to a .175 average in 2021, which was, by far, the lowest by any Sox lefty with at least 31.2 innings in a season. The previous low here was Gary Peters’ .200 in 1967
*His 0.72 ERA was the lowest by a Sox pitcher in March/April (minimum 25 innings) since Joe Dobson’s 0.52 in 1952
*Rodon recorded nine strikeouts with the bases loaded in 2021, which was tied for the second-highest output in Sox history since 1952 (Rich Gossage had 10 in 1975)
My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at LUIS ROBERT:
*BAT HIM SEVENTH! Luis Robert was the greatest seventh-place hitter in White Sox history in 2021.
The center fielder set team records from that spot in the order (minimum 60 plate appearances since 1952) with a .431 batting average and a .655 slugging percentage.
*Robert is turning into one of the White Sox great “Cub Killers.”
In his second season, Robert hit a Sox-record .556 (minimum six at bats) against the Cubs.
In two games, Robert was 5-for-9 with a double, two homers and four RBI against the Northsiders. His .636 on-base percentage vs. the Cubs was also a team record and his 1.333 slugging percentage is tied with Yasmani Grandal (2021) as the top mark against Chicago’s other team.
For his career, Robert is slashing .387/.457/.896 with four homers and nine RBI in eight games against the Cubs.
*Robert has amassed a .393 average while hitting safely in all seven of his postseason games.
His seven game postseason hitting streak is tied with Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, A.J. Pierzynski and Eddie Collins for the longest in Sox history
*Robert’s .351 home average was the highest by a Sox player (minimum 100 plate appearances) since Frank Thomas hit .385 in 1994
*Robert’s .338 average was the highest by a Sox player (minimum 298 plate appearances) since Thomas led the league with a .347 average in 1997
*Robert’s home run on Oct. 3 had an exit velocity of 117.7 mph, which was the Sox top mark of 2021 (sixth-best in MLB).
This is the second consecutive season Robert had the Sox hardest-hit ball. His 115.8 mph single on Opening Day was the Sox hardest-hit ball of 2020.
*Robert’s .402 average in tie games was the Sox best mark in tie games (minimum 99 plate appearances) since Thomas hit .408 in 1997.
*Robert joins Hall-of-Famers Nellie Fox (Game 3 1959 World Series) and Eddie Collins (G8 1919 World Series) as Sox No. 2 hitters with a 3-hit game in the postseason (Game 2 of the 2021 American League Division Series)
*Robert hit the Sox last homer vs. the Cleveland Indians on Sept. 24. The team will become the Guardians in 2022.
For the record, Jack Fournier hit the White Sox first homer vs. the Indians on June 29, 1915 in Cleveland.
*Nine of Robert’s 14 homers in 2021 either tied the score or gave the Sox the lead (15 of 24 in his career).
My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at YOAN MONCADA:
*Yoan Moncada’s 34 doubles in 2021 are tied for third among White Sox third basemen behind Willie Kamm’s 39 in 1923 and Robin Ventura’s 38 in 1992
*Moncada joins Kamm (5), Ventura (3) and Crede (2) as Sox third basemen with multiple 30-double seasons (2019, 2021)
*Moncada’s 84 walks in 2021 were the fourth-highest total by a Sox switch-hitter behind Lu Blue’s 127 in 1931, Tony Phillips’ 125 in 1996 and Yasmani Grandal’s 87 in 2021
*Moncada’s .375 on-base percentage in 2021 was tops among American League switch-hitters and second in the Majors to Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds’ .390
*Moncada’s .375 on-base percentage in 2021 was the highest by a Sox switch-hitter since Phillips’ .404 in 1996 (minimum 100 games) … The output was the eighth-best all-time among Sox switch-hitters
*Moncada topped American League third basemen with a .375 on-base percentage and 81 walks in 2021
*Moncada hit 10 home runs at Guaranteed Rate Field in 2021. He and Jose Valentin, who did it five times, are the only switch-hitters with multiple-homer seasons at New Comiskey Park/US Cellular Field/Guaranteed Rate Field
*Moncada’s .390 average in the fourth inning in 2021 was the highest by a Sox player (minimum 70 plate appearances) since Magglio Ordonez hit .393 in the frame in 1999
*Moncada returned to being one of the worst “clutch” performers in White Sox history in 2021.
His .212 career average with two outs and runners in scoring position in 2021 was the seventh-worst figure (minimum 200 plate appearances) in Sox history (since 1952).
Moncada appeared to be improving with a .375 output in 2020 but he fell off to .212 in 2021.
*Moncada finished 2021 third in Sox history among switch-hitters with 70 homers behind Valentin (136) and Ray Durham (106).
My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at YERMIN MERCEDES:
I can just hear the theme song to Yermin Mercedes’ 2021 season with the White Sox: “ 🎼That’s life … That’s what people say … Flyin’ high in April … Shot down in May 🎼”
The Rule V pickup went 5-for-5 in his first big league start and it was on!
He joined Washington’s Cecil Travis (May 16, 1933 vs. Cleveland) as the only modern era players to record five hits in his first career start (Elias).
Then came three more hits making Mercedes the first player in MLB history to start a season 8-for-8.
When the home crowd (limited capacity, remember those days?) got their first glimpse of Mercedes, the legend exploded.
In his first plate appearance in Chicago, Mercedes launched a 485-foot home run in the first inning of a 6-0 win over Kansas City in the franchise’s 121st home opener.
The massive blast was the fourth-longest at New Comiskey Park/US Cellular Field/Guaranteed Rate Field and the longest since Joe Borchard’s 504-foot shot on Aug. 30, 2004 against the Phillies.
With a crowd of 8,207 sounding more like a crowd of 88,207 the “Yerminator” signaled his arrival with authority.
Oh it was a fun April complete with audio drops at the park with Gene Honda introducing “THE YER-MIN-ATOR!”
But just as quickly as he burst on the scene … he fizzled out.
Mercedes finished April slashing .415/.455/.659 with five home runs and 16 RBI and a club rookie-record 34 hits in the first month of a season.
Of course he was named American League Rookie of the Month for March/April.
By the time Mercedes was sent to Triple-A Charlotte two months later, his average sunk to .271 — that’s a drop of a whopping 144 points.
Mercedes’ power went out, too. The native of the Dominican Republic hit just two homers while slugging .326 in May and .190 in June.
Did the league figure him out? Did his homer on a 3-0 count in a rout and subsequent comments from manager Tony La Russa on May 17 have some impact?
Whatever it was, Mercedes never got a chance to right himself in the Majors.
He was optioned to Charlotte on July 2 and finished the season there despite briefly retiring and dropping a massive hint that he was headed to Japan.
Here are some other nuggets from Mercedes’ 68-game roller coaster ride with the Sox in 2021 …
*That 485-foot homer was the longest hit by the Sox in 2021 and the third-longest in the Majors all season
*On May 9, Mercedes joined George Bell (June 5, 1993) and Jorge Orta (June 17, 1979) are the only Sox DHs with a double, a triple and 3 RBI in a game
*Mercedes, Abreu and Luis Robert are the only Sox to win the AL Rookie of the Month Award in their first full month in the Majors
*His .415 average in March/April is the ninth-highest monthly output in Sox history and the highest by a Sox righty in the month
*His 659 slugging pct is the highest output by a rookie in Sox history in the month of March/April
*Meecedes’ 455 on base percentage is the highest ever by Sox rookie in the month of March /April
*Mercedes and Moncada were the first Sox to hit back-to-back homers in a home opener since 1995 (Tim Raines and Frank Thomas)
*Mercedes pitched in a blowout loss in Boston on April 19, 2021 in joining Adam Dunn and Adam LaRoche as the only players to pitch and DH in a game for the Sox
*Mercedes joined Sherm Lollar (April 23, 1955) and Bennie Tate (Aug. 29, 1931) as Sox No. 8 hitters with a 5-hit game
*On April 2, Mercedes recorded a 5-hit game last wearing No. 73 for La Russa. Tony Phillips had LaRussa’s first 5-hit game on May 16, 1986. Phillips later played for the Sox and wore … 73!
*The 5-hit game was the first ever by a Sox DH
*The 5-hit game was the first by a Sox rookie since Jerry Owens on Sept. 22, 2007
*His exit velocity of 116.8 mph on a home run on May 27 was the second-fastest Sox mark of the season (Robert, 117.7 on Oct. 3).
That blast, by the way, was his second of the season on a 3-0 count. Other Sox players with two-plus HR in a season on a 3-0 count (since 1988): Thomas 1995 (4) and 1993 (2), Bo Jackson 1993 (2) and Jim Thome 2007 (2)
*Mercedes hit .500 (18-for-36) while batting in the sixth, seventh and eighth spots in the order (11 games) … He hit .181 (37-for-204) in every other spot in the order
*His .471 average in the ninth inning in 2021 was the highest by a Sox player with at least 20 plate appearances since Brian Anderson hit .600 in 2009
My 2021 alphabetical White Sox player review continues with a look at DANNY MENDICK:
*Danny Mendick became just the eighth player in White Sox history since 1933 to log a 1.000 average in the first inning (minimum two at bats) in 2021.
He is the only player to accomplish with every hit going for extra bases (2-for-2 with a double and a homer).
Mendick joins Miguel Olivo (3-for-3 in 2003), Nick Madrigal (2-for-2 in 2020), Mike LaValliere (2-foe-2 in 1993), Kevin Bell (2-for-2 in 1979), Bill Melton (2-for-2 in 1968), Sammy Esposito (2-for-2 in 1961) and Ron Northey (2-for-2 in 1956) as Sox players with perfect first innings and at least two at bats in a season.
*Mendick and Hall-of-Fame pitcher Red Faber are the only Sox players to collect three walks and score three times in a game while batting ninth.
Mendick did it on June 12, 2021 almost 100 years after Faber accomplished it (June 8, 1921).
*Mendick became the 16th Sox player to drive in five runs in a game from the eighth spot on May 17, 2021 in a 16-4 win at Minnesota.
This was the 20th time this happened in Sox history (Alexei Ramirez, Ron Karkovice, Joe Crede and Ray Schalk did it twice). The Sox are 20-0 in those games with an average margin of victory of 9.1 runs in those routs.
Mendick and Luke Sewell (Aug. 20, 1935) are the only players to do this with one hit.
*Speaking of one hit …
Mendick, Sewell, Pete Ward (July 12, 1964), Frank Thomas (April 26, 2000 and July 31, 1998), Steve Kemp (June 19, 1982), Julio Franco (Aug. 6, 1994), Welington Castro (Sept. 15, 2019), Mike Cameron (July 31, 1997) and Jose Abreu (April 6, 2021) as the only Sox players to log five RBI in a game with just one hit.
*On April 8, 2021, Mendick became the first No. 9 hitter to record three hits in a White Sox home opener.
*Mendick fired a scoreless inning in his professional pitching debut in the White Sox 11-4 loss on Patriots Day 2021 at Fenway Park.
Mendick is one of 34 pitchers in Sox history with a 0.00 ERA.