“I didn’t think, I never dreamed/That I would be around to see it all come true” –1985, Paul McCartney
12 years ago today, I worked (and attended) a World Series game for the first time as the White Sox returned to the Fall Classic for the first time in 46 seasons.
To deal with the gravity of it all, I told myself to treat it like any other game.
That plan went out the window when the message board on the WISCONSIN SIDE of I-94 said “Good luck White Sox.”
Luck was appreciated but not needed for the White Sox, their fans and the scoreboard crew of which I was (and still am) a proud member.
It was an unbelievable experience not only because of the game, the Sox, the fans but because I worked it with true professionals and people I love and love working with: Jeff, Hubble, Gene Honda, Jennifer, Kellett, Rocco Fusco, the late great Andy Lock, the Taylors, Nancy Faust, Ray Kramer, Justin Tuazon, Roman Farias, Mike Dijulio, Pam, Serge, Dan, Alton, all the Pats and everyone else.
The Sox celebrated their first World Series tilt since the Eisenhower administration by defeating the Houston Astros 5-3 before 41,206 delirious fans at U.S. Cellular Field.
There were plenty of heroes as the Sox won their fifth consecutive postseason game and eighth in nine outings.
Starter Jose Contreras got the win with seven solid innings; Neal Cotts struck out two in the eighth with runners on second and third; Bobby Jenks earned the save with three strikeouts in 1.1 innings and Joe Crede clubbed the go-ahead homer in the fourth inning.
The biggest and most dramatic play of the game occurred when Jenks fanned pinch-hitter and future Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell with the tying run on second to end the eighth, setting the park into the latest of many postseason frenzies.
The Sox took the lead on Jermaine Dye’s two-out home run in the first.
Houston retaliated with a Jason Lamb homer in the second but the Sox regained the lead on RBIs by AJ Pierzynski (fielder’s choice) and Juan Uribe (double) in the bottom of the frame.
Feisty Houston pulled even in the next half but the Sox finally took the lead for good on Crede’s blast in the fourth.
The Sox added a run in the eighth after Jenks’ showdown with Bagwell.
When Adam Everett fanned to end it, I knew I had experienced the greatest workday of my life … FOR ONE DAY.
A belated happy Friday the 13th to you, White Sox fans!
Or was it?
Here are some nuggets on the White Sox and the most superstitious day on the calendar (Warning: some of these may not be suitable for those with triskaidekaphobia):
*The @WhiteSox are 46-38-2 on Friday the 13th. … The Sox have lost their last three on the date but prior to that they had won five in a row and eight of their last nine on Friday the 13th
*The Sox have been at or above .500 on the date since July 13, 1973 when Eddie Leon’s RBI single capped a three-run ninth in a 3-2 win over Baltimore at Comiskey Park. That improved the Sox to 22-22-2 on Friday the 13th.
*The Sox last game on Friday the 13th was in 2016 and that game proved to be a huge jinx.
On that day in New York, Chris Sale improved to 8-0 with a complete game as the Sox whipped the Yankees 7-1.
The win, which also included a homer from Jimmy Rollins, improved to the Sox to 24-12 and enabled them to keep their five-game lead in the Central.
That, though, was the high point of the season.
From Saturday the 14th of May until the end of that season, the Sox went 54-72 and plummeted into fourth place in the Central.
*The Sox greatest win on Friday’ the 13th was one of the greatest games in their history.
On Aug. 13, 1954, Jack Harshman WENT THE DISTANCE in the Sox 1-0 win over Detroit in 16 INNINGS. Harshman fanned 12 and gave up nine hits and seven walks and got the win when Minnie Minoso’s triple drove in Nellie Fox with one out in the 16th.
*The Sox first Friday the 13th game was a 5-3 loss to Milwaukee in September of the franchise’s inaugural year of 1901.
*The Sox first win on Friday the 13th was a 9-0 win over Boston in June of 1902
*The Sox Friday the 13th ties were in April of 1928 (1-1 with Cleveland) and in June of 1958 (5-5 with Baltimore)
*Fittingly, 13 are the most runs the Sox have scored in a Friday the 13th game.
In September of 2002, Magglio Ordonez was 3-for-3 with three runs and three RBI in the Sox 13-2 win over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
That really was a freaky Friday because Rocky Biddle got the win over Mike Mussina.
*The Sox played their inaugural interleague game on a Friday the 13th.
On June 13, 1997, Wilson Alvarez went the distance as the Sox won 3-1 at Cincinnati.
*Ozzie Guillen, wearing No. 13, homered on Friday the 13th in June of 1986 in an 11-10 loss at Seattle. … Ozzie was 6-for-24 with that homer on Friday the 13th.
*In the only game between the Chicago teams on a Friday the 13th, the Sox beat the Cubs at Wrigley Field in July of 2001. Paul Konerko and Jose Valentin homered as the Sox won for the fourth time in their last five Friday the 13th tilts.
*I can not tell a lie: George Washington hit a homer for the Sox in their Friday the 13th loss to Philadelphia in September of 1935.
*Joe De Sa hit the second pinch-hit grand slam on a Friday the 13th. In September of 1985, De Sa victimized the Mariners in Seattle in the a 6-1 win.
*The White Sox last complete game shutout on Friday the 13th was in September of 1991 in Anaheim. Outdueling Jim Abbott, Jack McDowell used a Bo Jackson RBI in fashioning a four-hitter in a 1-0 win.
*White Sox infielder Hal Chase experienced a bit of bad luck on Friday the 13th in March of 1914.
Chase, a veteran, did not play in the Sox 4-0 exhibition win over the host San Francisco Seals because he left his uniform at the hotel in Oakland.
That nugget came from the Tribune.
*This isn’t the last you have heard from me on this subject.
I’ll be back on Friday, April 13th when the Sox play at Minnesota.
“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.
We send our condolences to the family of former White Sox center fielder, Jim Landis, who has passed away at age 83.
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
*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!
Today is the White Sox anniversary of the final game at Comiskey Park and the “Black Out Game.”
While those are the highlights of this day in @WhiteSox anniversary (and will be detailed later), there have been many other big moments in franchise history, there have been many others.
Such as …
*1904, THE DOCTOR IS IN: Doc White pitched his White Sox record fifth consecutive shutout by defeating New York 4-0 in Chicago. The streak began on Sept. 12 when the Sox and White beat Cleveland and Addie Joss 1-0. The good Doctor then whitewashed St. Louis Sept. 16, Detroit Sept. 19 and Philadelphia Sept. 25 before he blanked New York and Jack Chesboro on three hits with seven strikeouts. White’s scoreless inning streak would stop at 45 two days later against New York.
*1916, AN INSIDE JOB: Happy Felsch hit the first inside-the-park grand slam in club history during the White Sox doubleheader sweep at Cleveland. Felsch victimized the Indians’ Pop-Boy Smith. The Sox won the first game 7-2 and took the nightcap 7-3.
*1921, STRONG-ARMED RAY: White Sox catcher Ray Schalk tied a big league record by picking off three runners in an inning in a 3-2 loss to Cleveland at Comiskey Park. Schalk picked off Charlie Jamieson, Joe Wood and Elmer Smith at first base in the eighth to become the second A.L. backstop to accomplish the feat.
*1928, NICE DEBUT: Chicago native Bob Wieland fired a seven-hitter in his big league debut in the White Sox 1-0 win over the A’s in the season-finale at Comiskey Park. The 22-year-old Wieland gave up five walks while striking out nine while pitching in and out of trouble all game. The second-place A’s wound up stranding 12 runners.
*1934, A LOT GOING ON: Al Simmons went 5-for-5 and Ted Lyons was the winner in the White Sox 9-5 win over Cleveland in the first game of a season-ending doubleheader at Cleveland. In between games, Cy Young’s “Antiques” took on Walter Johnson’s “Has Beens” in a two-inning exhibition which ends in a near-riot. The day also featured field events where Simmons hit a fungo 428-feet, 6-inches.
*1939, WORKHORSE BROWN: White Sox pitcher Clint Brown set the big league record by making his 61st relief appearance during a doubleheader split at St. Louis. The White Sox lost the first game 5-1 and took the nightcap 7-5.
*1956, SWEET SIXTEEN: At age 16, the White Sox Jim Derrington became the youngest pitcher in modern history to start a game and the youngest person in the 20th Century to hit safely in a 7-6 loss to Kansas City. Derrington, a $50,000 bonus baby, gave up six runs (five earned) on nine hits with six walks and three strikeouts in six innings in taking the loss just 18 days after he was signed by the White Sox.
*1962, HAVE A DAY BRIAN MCCALL! In his first big league start, Brian McCall hit two home runs and drove in three in the White Sox 8-4 win over the Yankees in the season-finale at New York. The 19-year-old McCall, who led off and played center field, hit a go-ahead homer – his second big league hit — in the third and added a solo shot in the seventh. The homer in the seventh turned out to be his last hit. McCall concluded his career by playing in three late September games for the Sox the next year.
*1971, MELTON WEARS THE CROWN: Bill Melton became the first Sox player to win the American League home run crown when he connected off Milwaukee’s Bill Parsons on the final day of the season in the White Sox 2-1 win before 2,814 at Comiskey Park. Melton’s homer, his 33rd of the year, came in the third inning and put the Sox up 2-0. Manager Chuck Tanner batted Melton leadoff this day in hopes of getting him an extra at bat. …. Melton talks of a This and other things in this podcast https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/white-sox-talk-podcast/id1162163703?mt=2&i=1000392459385
*1973, STONE BRILLIANT: Victorious Steve Stone limited the defending World Series champion A’s to three hits and struck out 12 in nine shutout innings in the White Sox 1-0 win in the season-finale at Oakland. Stone was pulled with the lead and two on in the 10th. Cy Acosta came on and got a force out, a fly out and another force out for his team-leading 18th save. The Sox took the lead in the 10th when Bucky Dent walked with the bases loaded. After giving up a hit in each of the first two innings, Stone retired 21 in a row before running into trouble in the 10th. This was Stone’s last start in his first stint with the Sox. He was traded to the Cubs in the Ron Santo deal the following November. Stone rejoined the Sox as a free agent for the 1977 season.
*1976, A BIZZARE DAY: Using a lineup in numerical order by field position and capped by 53-year old Minnie Minoso, the White Sox lost to the Angels 7-3 in California. From top to bottom, manager Paul Richards batted catcher Brian Downing (2), first baseman Lamar Johnson (3), second baseman Bill Stein (4), third baseman Kevin Bell (5), shortstop Bucky Dent (6), left fielder Alan Bannister (7), center fielder Chet Lemon (8) and right fielder Jerry Hairston (9) before Minoso’s spot. Minoso, playing in his fourth decade, was 0-for-2 in his second appearance of the year.
*1983, CHAMPS POWER BY MARINER: The American League West Division champion White Sox got home runs from Greg Luzinski, Aurelio Rodriguez, Carlton Fisk and Harold Baines in thumping the Mariners 9-4 at Seattle. LaMarr Hoyt turned in seven innings for his 24th victory.
*1990, SO LONG, COMISKEY: The White Sox sent Comiskey Park out in style with a 2-1 win over the Seattle Mariners before an emotional gathering of 42,849. Dan Pasqua’s bad-hop RBI triple in the sixth keyed the win. For the record, Jack McDowell earned the final win, Bobby Thigpen earned the final save and Steve Lyons made the final putout at the old park. In addition, Seattle’s Scott Bradley had the final hit, Seattle’s Harold Reynolds was the final batter and Frank Thomas had the final Sox hit at the old park. After the game, the Sox players took a victory lap around the park to thank the fans for their support.
*2000, JOSE FROM BOTH SIDES: Jose Valentin became just the fourth player in club history to homer from both sides of the plate as the A.L. Central champs hammered Kansas City 9-1 before 29,962 at Comiskey Park. Valentin joined Brian Simmons, Tim Raines and Ken Henderson in that elite club. Valentin’s second homer was his 25th of the season but just his first from the right side of the plate. Jerry Manuel notched his 250th win as Sox manager in the game that saw Carlton Fisk, inducted into the Hall of Fame in August, throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
*2005, CHAMPS KEEP WINNING: A day after clinching the American League Central title, the White Sox scored two in the 13th on a double by Ross Gload in dumping the Indians 3-2 in Cleveland. Cliff Politte, the seventh of eighth White Sox pitchers, got the win to improve to 7-1.
*2008,BLACK OUT: Behind a homer from Jim Thome and eight strong innings from John Danks, the White Sox won the A.L. Central with a 1-0 win over Minnesota in a division tiebreaker game before 40,354 “blacked out” fans at U.S. Cellular Field. Thome’s 461-foot blast came in the seventh, two innings after A.J. Pierzynski absorbed a hit from Michael Cuddyer on a throw from center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. on an inning-ended double play. Brian Anderson secured the Sox fifth division title with a diving catch to end the game.
*2010, PAULIE SLAMS LESTER: Paul Konerko’s fourth-inning grand slam off Jon Lester sent the White Sox to an 8-2 win over Boston before 30,854 at U.S. Cellular Field. John Danks went six innings for his 15th win.
A recent item from my bottomless files of White Sox almanacs really drove home how much two things that I love and have “made me” to some extent have changed over the years.
The date was Sept. 20, 1928 and baseball and newspapers ruled the world.
You could argue that baseball — an industry that has employed me for 34 years — is still king but newspapers — an industry that employed me for 29 years — have long been dethroned.
They made beautiful music together through the years.
I’m sure there are many of us who had (or have) newspaper clippings on our favorite baseball teams and players taped to our bedroom walls.
Heck, I “posted” so often, my parents bought me a bulletin board for my bedroom to hold my many clips.
This item from 1928 featured a White Sox win over the Yankees — NO THAT’S NOT ONE OF THE TWO THINGS ADDRESSED HERE — at Comiskey Park.
The performance of the Sox starting pitcher that day demonstrates how much the game has “evolved.”
Future Hall of Famer Red Faber pitched 12 innings and was rewarded with a victory in the White Sox 4-3 win over the team that won the World Series the previous year as “Murder’s Row.”
There is no way anything close to this would be allowed in today’s game.
The last Sox pitcher I can recall going past the ninth inning was Alex Fernandez on the final day of the 1995 season.
“Kid K” went 10 and gave up one run but could not get the win as the Sox prevailed for Roberto Hernandez when Robin Ventura’s walkoff single in the 11th plated Mike Cameron to victoriously send the Sox into the winter.
Maybe the most amazing thing about Faber’s outing was how commonplace it was for the day. It was as frequent — I would guess — as a seven-plus inning start in today’s game.
This effort was one of 32 outings of at least 10 innings in Faber’s career.
Fellow Hall of Famer Ted Lyons had 35 of those performances including a Sox-record 21-inning output in a 6-5 LOSS to Detroit on May 24, 1929 at Comiskey Park.
Faber kept the Yankees of Ruth and Gehrig in check before 26,000 on a Thursday afternoon.
The “Sultan of Swat” and the “Iron Horse” were a combined 1-for-8 with a strikeout as the Sox help whittle the Yankees first-place lead to one game.
Maybe it was the fact that the powerhouse Yanks were fading which set the tone for the account of the game which appeared in the next day’s New York Times.
The first sentence (or lede as members of the Fourth Estate call it) shows how much the writing style in baseball game stories has changed since then.
Old morose, wistful Richard Vidmer really spun some poetry in getting into his article:
“The Yanks went down with the setting sun. As the golden globe sank behind the towers of the Windy City here today the champions of the world sank to defeat at the hands of the White Sox.”
Dickie Vidmer went all Dickie Dunn on us and really captured the spirit of the thing, didn’t he?
As a former sports writer and sports editor for 30 years and a voracious newspaper reader for 45 years, I can say with certainty I have never seen anything closely resembling that in a daily newspaper.
It may be tough for me to even approach anything like that nowadays because it is 40 some characters over Twitter’s limit!
*DREAM THEME: I know they have nothing to do with the actual game but I LOVE White Sox theme nights.
Those “specials” give a lot of gifted people the opportunity to show off their talents.
In addition to the above graphic, which was part of Friday’s Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day, here are some other theme highlights:
Grateful Dead Night …
Star Wars Night …
Christmas in July …
Theme nights also give me the opportunity to tie most anything to the White Sox …
Rock and Roll Night …
Beatles Night …
Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day …
Halfway to Mardi Gras Night …
Christmas in July Night …
And, of course, Grandparents Day …
*VOLSTAD! Kris Volstad’s finished off the White Sox win on Sunday in his first appearance at U.S. Cellular Field/Guaranteed Rate Field in seven years.
The big right-hander was the starting and losing pitcher for the Marlins in the Sox 4-1 win on May 22, 2010.
The Sox big blow was a three-run homer by Alex Rios in the sixth inning. Those were the only runs Volstad gave up in six innings.
*THANK YOU! Comcast stat guru Chris Kamka (@ckamka) had a great weekend breaking down the Sox Saturday home run barrage and Jose Abreu’s cycle.
I made great use of it on the scoreboard.
*SPEAKING OF THANKS: I received this direct message from follower Bryce Wanemacher (@bwane14) on two recent Sox hurlers:
“Here’s a stat that I just discovered. In 2015, our rotation consisted of Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija in the 1 and 2 slots. 2 years later, they returned to Chicago to face their former team for the first time.
“5/30/17: Chris Sale’s line: 5.0 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO, 1 HR (9.00 ERA & 2.40 WHIP)
“9/9/17: Jeff Samardzija’s line: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO, 4 HR (9.53 ERA & 1.59 WHIP)
“Combined: 10.2 IP, 18 H, 12 R, 11 ER, 3 BB, 15 SO, 5 HR (9.28 ERA & 1.97 WHIP)”
I can’t wait for the Sox to face Tyler Clippard this week in Houston!
*HE’S NO. 48! On Sept. 4, Rymer Liriano became the first Sox player to homer wearing No. 48 since Nelson Santovenia went deep in his first at bat with the club on July 11, 1992. … Liriano became the first Sox 48 to homer at home since Ralph Garr — “The Roadrunner” — touched ’em all on July 14, 1979 off Detroit’s Milt Wilcox at Comiskey Park.