Category Archives: Go Go White Sox

COUNTDOWN TO WHITE SOX OPENING DAY: 79 DAYS

79 days to Opening Day, White Sox fans!

“Shoeless” Joe Jackson and Minnie Minoso — two icons of mythic proportions — are tied for sixth in White Sox history with 79 triples.

NOTE — I covered Jose Abreu, the White Sox No. 79, in last year’s countdown post:

https://soxnerd.wordpress.com/2018/01/09/countdown-to-white-sox-opening-day-79-days-2/

By the way, the Marlins’ Isaac Galloway joined Abreu as the only 79s in big league history to hit safely

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TODAY (NOV. 10) IN SOX HISTORY: WELCOME PAULIE & BILLY, CONGRATS FRANK

Billy Pierce and Paul Konerko acquired … Frank Thomas voted MVP … Nov. 10 May be the greatest day in the off-season history of the Chicago White Sox.

And this isn’t even counting the birthday of Jimmy Dkyes in 1899.

Dykes was the greatest third baseman in Sox history until Robin Ventura came along and went on to manage and win more games than any other bench boss in franchise history.

Because Konerko led the White Sox to a World Series, I rank his acquisition as the most signficant event on this date followed by the Pierce pickup and Frank’s MVP.

The only thing that could make this day any more noteworthy was that if we all opened our newsfeeds to “Sox sign …”

Here’s a look at this day in White Sox history in my order of significance …

1998: PAULIE ARRIVES

On this date in 1998, the White Sox picked up Konerko from the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Mike Cameron.

This deal started out as an exchange of emerging and somewhat puzzling prospects but soon morphed into one of the greatest trades in the 118-year history of the White Sox. This despite the fact that Cameron did evolve into one of he more exciting players in the game for a time.

However, it took another trade for Cameron to blossom while Konerko became a fixture and a legend on the Southside.

“Paulie” immediately endeared himself to Sox fans by homering in his debut with the club on Opening Day 1999 in Seattle.

Konerko steadily won the respect of the Sox faithful until he became an all-out icon in 2005 when he led the team to its first World Series title since 1917. He played a huge part in that run with a stellar regular season, the MVP Award in the American League Championship Series and, of course, the grand slam in Game 2 of the World Series sweep of Houston.

His career with the Sox culminated when his No. 14 was retired by the Sox in 2015.

On Konerko Day, Paulie referred to Sox fans as his “friends” thus cementing his spot on the franchise’s Mount Rushmore for eternity.

Billy Pierce never turned down a request for an autograph

1948: PIERCE COMES ABOARD

On this date in 1948, the Sox executed one of the great trades in franchise history when they grabbed Pierce (along with $10,000), a left-handed pitcher, from the Detroit Tigers for catcher Aaron Robinson.

It was the first trade executed by general manager Frank Lane and it couldn’t have gone any better.

Pierce went on to become one of the best White Sox pitchers ever and was honored as such when his No. 19 was retired in 1987. Robinson, meanwhile, was a regular for only two seasons and his non-descript career ended after the 1951 campaign.

Pierce was a rock during the White Sox’s “Go Go” era, winning 186 games with a club-record 1,796 strikeouts between 1949 and 1961.

A four-time All-Star (and three-time starter), the Detroit native was a two-time 20-game winner, led the A.L. in strikeouts in 1953 and in complete games in each season between 1956 and 1958 and ERA in 1955 (1.97).

The class act is also remembered for his rivalry with the Yankees’ Whitey Ford during the 1950s. The aces went head-to-head frequently between 1953 and 1960 many times in front of packed houses in the Bronx or at Comiskey Park. Pierce went 8-6 against Ford and was victorious in his last three matchups against the future Hall of Famer.

Pierce’s best game may have come June 27, 1958 when he retired 26 consecutive Washington Senators before 11,300 at Comiskey Park. Pinch-hitter Ed Fitzgerald ruined Pierce’s date with destiny and denied him just the second perfect game in Sox annals by delivering a double to right field. Pierce struck out the next batter to notch the 3-0 complete game victory.

Following the 1961 season, Pierce was shipped to San Francisco in a six-player deal. He pitched three years with the Giants before retiring after the 1964 season.

One of the nicest people ever to don the Sox yarns, Pierce, who died in 2015, remained one of the most popular figures at Comiskey Park in retirement.

1993: IT’S UNANIMOUS … FRANK IS THE BEST!

Frank Thomas put a capper on his monster 1993 campaign when he was unanimously voted the American League’s Most Valuable Player in results released on this date by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Thomas  joined Nellie Fox (1959) and Dick Allen (1972) as the only Sox players to win this award.

The “Big Hurt” became just the 10th big leaguer to win the award unanimously and the first since the A’s Jose Canseco did it in 1988.

Let’s face it, this award was a signal to the world that Thomas was one of the elite performers in the game.

It was an amazing season for the disciplined Thomas, who played 150 games at first base in leading the White Sox to the American League West Division title.

Thomas hit .317 with a club-record 41 home runs and 128 RBIs and logged an amazing 112 walks against just 54 strikeouts. Thomas finished sixth in the A.L. in average, third and home runs and second in RBIs.

THIS DATE IN SOX HISTORY: OCT. 1

On this date in 1959, Ted Kluszewski had a huge day for the Sox in the World Series (photo from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/567805465489666027/)

THERE IS NO OFF-SEASON FOR THE NERD!

On the first day of White Sox winter, are you missing the “Good Guys?”

No worries!

Here’s a look back at Oct. 1 in White Sox history … @SoxNerd style:

1906, INCHING CLOSER: Thanks to Lee Tannehill’s RBI single, the White Sox moved closer to their first American League pennant with a 1-0 win in 13 innings at St. Louis. The first-place White Sox picked up a half game over idle New York. Two days later, the Sox clinched the pennant. … Lee Tannehill, if I have my genealogy right, is related to WSCR’s Chris Tannehill

1915, ED’S SWAN SONG: Ed Walsh won his last game, going the distance in the White Sox 8-0 win over St. Louis at Comiskey Park. “The Big Reel” posted the 195th victory and 57th shutout of his Hall of Fame career in the Sox 90th win of the year. Walsh pitched in two games for the 1916 White Sox and four games for the 1917 Red Sox but went winless in ending his career with a 1.82 ERA.

1919, THE FIX BEGINS: The heavily-favored White Sox dropped the first game of the ill-fated 1919 World Series to the Reds 9-1 in Cincinnati. In secret negotiations with gamblers begun in midseason, Sox players Joe Jackson, Ed Cicotte, Lefty Williams, Happy Felsch, Chick Gandil, Swede Risberg and Fred McMullin agreed to dump the Series for $100,000. Buck Weaver knew of the fix, had sat in on some meetings but refused to go in on the deal. The fact that he did not bring the fix to light before it went down will forever link him in this scandal. Cicotte hit the first Cincinnati batter of the game to indicate the fix was on and the Sox went to lose the Series 5-3 (the Series was expanded to a best-of-nine from 1919 to 1921 because of heightened interest in the event). The eight Sox players in on the fix were eventually banned from baseball for life by Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis in 1920.

1921, YAM IT UP: Rookie Yam Yaryan went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs in the White Sox 8-5 win at Comiskey Park. Sox manager Kid Gleason inserted Yaryan into the lineup for regular catcher Ray Schalk after it was learned Cleveland was eliminated from the race.

1922, TRIPLE PLAY!: With future Hall of Fame second baseman Eddie Collins recording two of the outs, the White Sox executed the ninth triple play in franchise history in a season-ending 2-1 loss at St. Louis. Collins could have pulled off an unassisted triple play but opted to throw to first to complete the rarity after grabbing a liner and stepping on second base. Accounts of the day had Collins close enough to tag the runner from first for the unassisted triple play but he decided to throw to first baseman Earl Sheely for the sure out.

1950, NO. 2,749 FOR LUKE: Luke Appling connected for the final hit of a career that spanned 20 seasons and 2,422 games — all in a White Sox uniform in the second game of a doubleheader against St. Louis at Comiskey Park. The hit – a single off Stubby Overmire — was the 2,749th of his career. Appling, a Hall of Famer, is still the club’s all-time hits leader. Also, Gus Zernial hit four home runs in the doubleheader to tie a big league record. After hitting a homer in the first game – a 4-3 win — Zernial hit three homers in the second game – a 10-6 season-ending loss.

1959, GAME 1 DRUBBING: With Ted Kluszewski hitting two homers, the White Sox made their first World Series appearance in 40 years a memorable one with an 11-0 win over the Dodgers before 48,013 at Comiskey Park. Kluszewski gave the Sox the lead for good with an RBI single that highlighted a two-run first inning. Cy Young winner Early Wynn got the win over Roger Craig. The Dodgers came back to win the series in six games.  It would be the Sox last post-season victory for the team at Old Comiskey Park.

1965, INTENTIONAL SUCCESS: The White Sox used a record five intentional walks in a five-run eighth inning in dispatching the Kansas City Athletics 6-1 before 5,029 at Comiskey Park. In the eighth, Don Buford, Smoky Burgess, John Romano and Bill Voss were walked on purpose. Three of those four walks scored with Pete Ward’s single driving in the go-ahead runs.

1974, NO. 21 FOR KAAT: Jim Kaat notched his 21st victory of the season in the White Sox 2-1 win over the Kansas City Royals before 4,430 at Comiskey Park. The left-hander did not allow an earned run while giving up six hits in the complete-game effort that lasted just 1 hour and 40 minutes. Tony Muser’s RBI in the sixth proved to be the difference.

1977, 90 WINS! The White Sox reached the 90-win plateau for the first time since 1965 behind Lamar Johnson’s three-run homer in the first of a 6-1 win over the Seattle Mariners before 5,778 at Comiskey Park.

1983, NO. 98: Ron Kittle added to his club rookie record with his 35th homer as the A.L. West champs won their 98th game of the season with a 9-3 win at Seattle. Floyd Bannister fired seven shutout innings for his 16th victory. The left-hander finished off a stretch in which he went 13-1 in playing a key role in the Sox pulling away from the field in the A.L. West.

1987, JACK AGAIN: Rookie Jack McDowell, the Sox first round pick in the June draft, won his third consecutive decision in a 6-2 win over the Angels 6-2 before 7,431 at Comiskey Park. Ozzie Guillen’s single scored Kenny Williams with the tying run and Harold Baines sac fly gave the Sox the lead in a four-run fifth. McDowell pitched into the eighth as the Sox ran their winning streak to a season-long seven games.

1988, MAGNIFICENT MELIDO: Melido Perez fanned a season-high 10 in the White Sox 3-0 win at Kansas City. Perez limited the Royals, his former team, to a season-low two hits. Perez posted the Sox first October shutout since Bruce Howard blanked the A’s on Oct. 2, 1965 at Comiskey Park. Mike Diaz went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI to pace the Sox offense.

1993, GOODBYE CLEVELAND: Bo Jackson went 3-for-4 with a second-inning home run as the White Sox doubled over the Indians 4-2 in front of 72,454 in the first game of the final series at Cleveland Stadium. Alex Fernandez improved to 18-9 and Roberto Hernandez posted his 38th save by fanning four in 1.2 innings.

1995, ONE DOG HIT WONDER: Lance Johnson collected two hits in a 2-1 home win over the Twins to finish with 186 in becoming the first White Sox player to lead the A.L. in the category since Minnie Minoso in 1960.

2005, CHAMPS KEEP GOING: Tadahito Iguchi’s three-run homer helped the American League Central Division champion White Sox win 4-3 at Cleveland. Iguchi’s blast came in a four-run fourth as the Sox won their fifth straight. Jon Garland earned his 18th win. Bobby Jenks notched his sixth save in the White Sox 98th victory.

2012, BIG WIN: Dayan Viciedo’s ninth-inning grand slam capped the White Sox 11-0 win at Cleveland. Hector Santiago fanned 10 in seven one-hit innings for his fourth victory.

COUNTDOWN TO WHITE SOX OPENING DAY: 92 DAYS (Part II)

92 days until Opening Day, White Sox fans!

The Sox used their victory No. 92 of the season to clinch the American League pennant on Sept. 22, 1959 in Cleveland.

Here manager Al Lopez celebrates the flag in the dugout in Cleveland https://goo.gl/images/E8jwNk

NOTE: I added a second countdown stat after discovering the one I posted today was the same as last year’s!

RIP JIM LANDIS: TRIBUTE TO A GO-GO LEGEND

“In the learned opinion of Minnie Minoso, who patrolled left field alongside Jimmy for three of those years, Landis was the very best at his position.” … Rich Lindberg, White Sox historian, on Jim Landis in his book ‘Total White Sox’

Jim Landis, arguably the greatest defensive outfielder in White Sox history, died Saturday at age 83, according to the club’s Twitter feed.

Landis was one of the players who put some of the ‘go’ in the franchise’s “Go Go” era.

The Californian could hit a little bit, run and play defense — all hallmarks (along with stellar pitching) which defined the Sox of the 1950s and 1960s.

The Sox used that combination to fashion 17 consecutive winning seasons and first-division finishes between 1951 and 1967. Landis was a part of that run from 1957 to 1964 and was one of the key components of the 1959 American League pennant winners.

Here’s a @SoxNerd look at Landis (with help from Lindberg, Baseball Reference and Retrosheet):

*The five-time Gold Glove winner in the outfield was voted to the franchise’s Team of the (20th) Century after hitting .250 with 83 homers and 398 RBIs for the Sox from 1957 to 1964

*By my count, Landis is the 28th member of the Sox 1959 pennant winners to pass away. Still living are Rudy Arias, Sam Esposito, Joe Hicks, Barry Latman, J.C. Martin, Ken McBride, Gary Peters, Claude Raymond, Jim Rivera, John Romano, Lou Skizas and Joe Stanka.

At age 96, Rivera, aka “Jungle Jim,” is one of the oldest living big leaguers.

*Landis is third in Sox history (behind Minnie Minoso at 1,262 and Fielder Jones at 1,158) with 1,035 games in the outfield

*According to Lindberg, Landis was signed by Sox scout “Sloppy” Thurston, who owns the only “immaculate inning” in Sox history (https://soxnerd.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/why-i-love-sloppy-thurston/), and tutored by franchise great Johnny Mostil. … Per Lindberg, Landis got $2,500 to sign in 1952 and another $5,000 if he made the bigs.

*That bonus was realized when Landis made his big league debut on April 16, 1957 in the Sox Opening Day win at Cleveland.

*Speaking of Opening Day … Only Jones, Lance Johnson, Hap Felsch and Chet Lemon started more Sox Opening Days in center field than Landis’ five 

*Landis led the American League 20 times in fielding categories during his Sox career

*Landis and Johnson wore No. 1 the longest for the Sox (eight years)

*Landis is the Sox all-time leader among outfielders with five Gold Gloves

*Landis led the 1959 American League champion White Sox with seven triples, 78 walks, 13 sacrifices and nine sacrifice flies … Landis topped the A.L. with 13 sacs and led league center fielders in games, starts, complete games, innings and putouts in 1959

*Landis finished seventh in the 1959 A.L. MVP voting with teammates Nellie Fox, Luis Aparicio and Early Wynn placing first, second and third respectively.

​*Landis hit .292 with a still-standing franchise postseason record six runs while hitting safely in five of six games for the Sox in the 1959 World Series

*Landis was 3-for-4 with three runs and an RBI in the Sox 11-0 win vs. the Dodgers in Game 1 of 1959 World Series at Comiskey Park

*Landis recorded the first postseason hit in California with a first inning single for the Sox in Game 3 of the 1959 World Series at the Los Angeles Coliseum

*Landis hit third in five games and leadoff once for the Sox in the 1959 World Series

*Landis joins Frank Isbell (1906), Eddie Collins (1917), Buck Weaver (1919), Fox (1959) and Jermaine Dye (2005) to bat third in the World Series for the Sox

*Landis joins Ed Hahn (1906), Shano Collins (1917, 1919), Nemo Leibold (1919), Aparicio (1959) and Scott Podsednik (2005) to hit leadoff for the Sox in the World Series

*Landis and Aparicio represented the Sox at both All-Star Games in 1962. That marked the first time since 1952 the Sox didn’t send a pitcher to game. … Landis was 0-for-1 with strikeout against ex-teammate Bob Shaw after taking over for Roger Maris in the seventh in the season’s first All-Star Game in Washington D.C.  Landis did not play in that season’s second All-Star Game.

*Landis is the only Sox player to homer in two 1-0 wins in a season. He turned the trick in 1962 on May 3 vs. the Yankees and on Aug. 12 at Kansas City.

*Landis became the second player in Sox history to hit two extra-inning homers in a season in 1960 (Al Smith was the first in 1959)

*More from Lindberg and Total White Sox: Landis was originally a third baseman but was switched to center field by manager Al Lopez. … Landis came into his own as a hitter when a second-half spurt raised his average by over 100 points. … Lopez benched Landis in 1964. That and other moves prompted Chicago sports writer Bill Gleason to stage his own “Jim Landis Night” where Landis fans hung the manager in effigy. YIKES!

More on Landis:

https://chicago.suntimes.com/sports/jim-landis-white-sox-gold-glove-center-fielder-dies-at-83/

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/whitesox/ct-white-sox-jim-landis-dies-spt-1008-20171007-story.html

http://www.dailyherald.com/sports/20171007/former-chicago-white-sox-star-jim-landis-dies-at-83

http://m.sfgate.com/athletics/article/Jim-Landis-World-Series-outfielder-who-grew-up-12261451.php

http://napavalleyregister.com/sports/baseball-legend-jim-landis-passes-away-at/article_99d18805-29ce-57a9-8bf8-0e90390f8fdf.html

http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/e6ab29ab

Picture: https://tinyurl.com/y892nu6y