REMEMBERING JULIO CRUZ, THE JUICE OF THE 1983 ‘WINNING UGLY’ WHITE SOX

Mixed emotions greeted the news that Julio Cruz had passed.

Of course, I couldn’t help but feel sadness for the death of the man. Cruz succumbed to cancer at the age of 67 on Tuesday.

I smiled, too because the way Cruz played made a lot of people happy, including myself and legions of White Sox fans.

The news brought me back to that wonderful night of September 17, 1983 at Comiskey Park.

The game was delayed 38 minutes at the outset and lowly Seattle was putting up a fight, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the 45,646 on hand. After all, a win would clinch the Sox the West Division title and their first postseason berth since 1959.

It was only fitting that Cruz, the player who invigorated the team, scored the winning run on Harold Baines’ walkoff sacrifice fly.

Cruz gleefully crossing the plate with his fists raised in triumph with that historic run is one of the most iconic pictures in White Sox history.

Nicknamed “Juice,” he certainly juiced the White Sox after he was acquired from Seattle for Tony Bernazard on June 15.

The Sox were 28-32 when he arrived. The Sox finished the season 99-63. You do the math.

Sadly, the run Cruz scored was the peak for him with the Sox and the “Winning Ugly” Sox for that matter.

But if you need one moment to encapsulate who Julio Cruz was, look no further than that picture of him crossing the plate on Sept. 17, 1983.

Some @SoxNerd tidbits on Cruz:

*Cruz made his big league debut for the Mariners against the White Sox on July 4, 1977 in the Seattle Kingdome. That game was the first the Sox played indoors and Oscar Gamble’s homer was the franchise’s first under a roof.

*Cruz’s first hit was a single off Francisco Barrios. He was thrown out trying to steal by Jim Essian shortly thereafter.

*A switch-hitter, Cruz slashed .251/.311/.311 in 99 games for the 1983 “Winning Ugly” White Sox. He stole 24 bases in 30 attempts.

*Cruz’s first homer in Seattle was an in-the-park shot off the White Sox Ron Scheuler on June 26, 1978 at the Kingdome. … Cruz also homered off Sox pitchers Steve Trout and Jerry Koosman

*Cruz began the 1983 American League Championship Series vs. Baltimore 1-for-9. He did his best in that heartbreaking Game 4, going 3-for-3 with a walk and two steals in the 3-0 loss in 10 innings at Comiskey Park. … Cruz was the last player to steal a base in the postseason at Comiskey.

*Cruz’s only home run at Comiskey Park was a grand slam off Boston’s Bob Ojeda on April 28, 1984.

*Ed Sherman, a former Chicago Tribune White Sox beat writer, had poignant recollections of Cruz on his Facebook page. It’s public so check it out!

JOE WEST: HE GONE AND WHITE SOX FANS ARE SO HAPPY

Major League Baseball revealed Friday that umpire Joe West is retiring.

And Sox fans couldn’t be happier.

Wow.

I re-tweted MLB’s picture of West with the news of his retirement accompanied by the quote: HE GONE.

The piling on began immediately.

Here’s a sampling of the comments to my tweet (which at last look had 597 likes, 13 quote tweets and 26 retweets, which is a lot for me). Subtitle this virtual booing …

For more visit my timeline at @soxnerd.

A @SOXNERD LOOK AT THE RETIRING FRANCISCO LIRIANO

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).

2021 WHITE SOX PLAYER REVIEW: GAVIN SHEETS

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

NEXT: Jonathan Stiever

A FEW NUGGETS ON WHITE SOX HALL-OF-FAMERS MINOSO AND KAAT

A few items, @soxnerd style, on recently-elected White Sox Hall-of-Famers Minnie Minoso and Jim Kaat:

*Minoso and Kaat give the Sox 37 Hall-of-Famers (38 if you count Jocko Conlan who played for the Sox before embarking on a HOF umpire career)

*Minoso broke the White Sox color barrier on May 1, 1951 against the Yankees at Comiskey Park. In an 8-3 loss to the Yankees, Minnie launched the first of his 135 Sox homers. That game, witnessed by 14,776 fans, also featured the first of Mickey Mantle’s 536 homers.

*Kaat was the last left-hander to post a 20-win season for the White Sox (20-14 in 1975)

*Minnie became the only player post-1900 to appear in five decades when he pinch-hit for the White Sox on Oct. 4, 1980

*A member of the franchise’s All-20th Century team, Minoso had his No. 9 retired by the White Sox in 1983

*Kaat was the last Sox pitcher to throw 300 innings in a season (303.2 in 1975)

*Minoso was a two-time Gold Glove (1957, 1960) winner in the outfield for the White Sox

*Kaat won three of his record (since broken) 16 Gold Gloves (1973, 1974, 1975) with the White Sox

*Nicknamed the “Cuban Comet,” Minoso led the A.L. in steals from 1951 and 1953 and never hit below .280 in any of his nine full seasons with the Sox

*Known for being a quick worker, Kaat was on the losing end of a 2-0 decision in Detroit that took just 1 hour and 35 minutes on Memorial Day 1975. … Kaat’s fastest nine-inning complete game was a 2-1 win over Kansas City in 1:40 on Oct. 1, 1974 at Comiskey Park

*Minoso hit .400 with two doubles and two RBIs while representing the White Sox in seven All-Star Games

*Kaat represented the Sox at the 1975 All-Star Game in Milwaukee and pitched two perfect innings with no walks or strikeouts. … He entered the game in the fifth and retired future Hall of Famers Lou Brock (ground out), Joe Morgan (pop out) and Johnny Bench (line out). In the sixth, he retired Steve Garvey (fly out), Reggie Smith (fly out) and Ron Cey (ground out) .

*Minnie turned in the greatest Opening Day performance in Sox history in 1960. In his return to the team after a two-year hiatus in Cleveland, Minoso hit a grand slam and a walkoff homer in a 10-9 win over Kansas City before 41,600 at Comiskey Park. Minnie’s slam came in the fourth and his walkoff came a half inning after Kansas City had tied it.

*While pitching for the Yankees, Kaat gave up Harold Baines’ first big league hit (a single) on April 17, 1980 at Comiskey Park

*Minnie hit .250 (7-for-28) with three doubles. A homer and three RBI vs. Kaat. Minoso never struck out in 33 plate appearances against Kaat.

*Minoso started at DH and collected as a single at age 53 in the Sox 2-1 win over the Angels in the first game of a doubleheader on Sept. 12, 1976 at Comiskey Park.

*Minoso and Zack Collins are the White Sox all-time leaders among DHs with three starts in the ninth spot

A @SOXNERD LOOK AT THE NEW GUY — KENDALL GRAVEMAN

Here’s a look — @soxnerd style — at impending signee pitcher Kendall Graveman:

*The right-hander will join the Sox after going 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA in the postseason for the 2021 Astros. Included in that run were three outings against the Sox in the American League Division Series where he logged a 3.00 ERA

*Graveman ranked fifth in the American League in opponent batting average (.180), third in
opponent OPS (.536), third in ERA (1.77) and 12th in WHIP (0.98) for the Astros and Mariners in 2021.

*Graveman’s eighth and ninth inning numbers in 2021 are a little concerning considering he won’t be the closer and in light of the Craig Kimbrel debacle.

Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers ever, joined the White Sox in 2021 with a 2.35 career ERA in the eighth inning. Good? Yes but it’s not even close to the dominating numbers he posted in the ninth throughout his career. The Sox would have taken that 2.35 ERA. Kimbrel posted a 4.42 ERA in the eighth in 2021.

Graveman’s eighth-inning ERA (3.12 in 27 games) was over two runs higher than his ninth-inning ERA (1.02 in 18 appearances) in 2021.

The good news here, though, is that Graveman’s 2021 ERA in the seventh was a nifty 0.96 in 12 outings.

*This will mark the second consecutive year the Sox plucked a reliever from the team that ousted them in the postseason. Last year the Sox got closer Liam Hendriks after he finished them off for Oakland in the first round of the playoffs

*Graveman wore No. 31 for Houston last season. That won’t fly in Chicago because Hendriks wears 31.

*Graveman will be the first Mississippi State product to play for the Sox since pitcher Matt Ginter in 2003. … His teammates at MSU included Adam Frazier, Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Woodruff.

*Graveman spent a majority of his first few seasons as a starter. Between 2014 and 2018 all but five of his 83 appearances were starts. He made 78 consecutive starts between 2015 and 2018.

*Graveman’s only shutout came at Guaranteed Rate Field.

On Aug. 19, 2016, Graveman faced one over the minimum in the A’s 9-0 win over the on-the-brink of tearing it down White Sox.

Making his 45th start (54th appearance), Graveman yielded singles to Jose Abreu in the second and Adam Eaton in the seventh. Both hits led off innings and both runners were erased on line drive double plays.

Facing a lineup that featured the likes of Todd Frazier, Tim Anderson, Melky Cabrera and Justin Morneau, Graveman struck out five with no walks while throwing 69 of his 98 pitches for strikes.

That was the last of Graveman’s three career complete games.

*The switch to the pen has been career-changing for Graveman. After going 23-31 with a 4.26 ERA as starter, the soon-to-be 31-year old has gone 6-2 with a 2.17 ERA and 10 saves in 67 relief outings.

As a reliever, Graveman has allowed just 45 hits in 70.2 innings with 70 strikeouts and 23 walks. Hitters are slashing just .184/.274/.261 against Graveman when he comes out of the pen.

*Other Graveman starter highlights: Oakland’s Opening Day starter in 2017 and 2018 … Joined Kenny Rogers (1998) and Todd Burns (1988) as the only Oakland pitchers to go unbeaten at home with five-or-more decisions

*Graveman hails from Alexander City, Ala. The only other big leaguer from the town in eastern Alabama is outfielder-first baseman Johnny Watwood, who began his six-year career with four seasons with the Sox from 1929 to 1932

*Graveman had 10 saves for the Mariners before being dealt to Houston this season. He entered with no saves as a pro or in college.

*Graveman made just two minor league appearances in the Cubs’ system in 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2018. The Cubs signed Graveman knowing that he was on the mend but they allowed him to become a free agent on Nov. 4, 2019.

The surgery meant that Graveman once went 807 days (May 11, 2018 to July 27, 2020) between Major League appearances.

WHITE SOX 2021 PLAYER REVIEW: GARRETT CROCHET

My alphabetical review — @SoxNerd style — of the 2021 White Sox forges on with a look at pitcher GARRETT CROCHET:

*Only six other Sox rookies — Reb Russell (1.90 in 1913), Terry Forster (2.25 in 1972), Shingo Takatsu (2.31 in 2004), Nate Jones (2.39 in 2012), Bobby Thigpen (2.73 in 1987) and Chris Sale (2.79 in 2011) — had a lower ERA than Crochet’s 2.82 in 2021 (minimum 50 appearances).

*Crochet’s average of 10.77 strikeouts per nine innings in 2021 was the fourth-highest output by a Sox rookie (minimum 30 outings) … The only pitcher with a higher K/9IP average and more appearances was Jace Fry in 2018 (12.27 in 59 games).

*His average of 0.33 homers allowed per nine innings in 2021 was the seventh-lowest in Sox history by a rookie (minimum 30 games) behind Vic Frasier (0.38 in 1931), Jake Petricka (0.37 in 2014), Chico Escarrega (0.37 in 1982), Roy Wilkinson (0.37 in 1920), Jack Harshman (0.36 in 1954) and Sergio Santos (0.35 in 2010).

*Crochet limited opposing cleanup hitters to a .095 average in 2021. That is the 10th-lowest output in Sox history (at least 20 at bats). The record holder? Dallas Keuchel who limited fourth-place hitters to a .036 average in 2020.

*In my last entry, I highlighted how well MIchael Kopech pitched when Zack Collins was behind the plate.

Today it’s Crochet and Seby Zavala.

Crochet was unscored upon in 11 games covering 11.1 innings while throwing to Zavala in 2021. Hitters slashed just .111/.200/.111 against the Crochet-Zavala combo with no extra-base hits and 13 strikeouts.

Next: Adam Eaton

2021 WHITE SOX PLAYER REVIEW: ZACK COLLINS (KOPECH’S CATCHER!)

My alphabetical review — @SoxNerd style — of the 2021 White Sox rolls on with a look at catcher ZACK COLLINS;

Steve Carlton had Tim McCarver.

Mark Fidrych had Bruce Kimm.

Lucas Giolito had James McCann.

The stats say Michael Kopech needs Zack Collins as his personal catcher.

The biggest positive takeaway from Collins’ 2021, where he struggled at the plate, was how he caught Kopech.

In 13 games covering 24.2 innings Kopech recorded a 1.82 ERA while teaming with Collins. Batters hit just .163 with a .201 on-base percentage and .233 slugging percentage with Kopech tossing to Collins. In addition, Kopech had a 7-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio with Collins behind the plate.

Kopech was most effective in tandem with Collins and it really wasn’t close.

With Grandal at catcher, Kopech had a 3.03 ERA while hitters slashed .235/.299/.391 in 19 games covering 29.2 innings (4.2:1 K-to-BB ratio). With Seby Zavala behind the plate, Kopech posted a 7.20 ERA in 13 games (15 innings) with an opponent’s slashline of .232/.328/.464.

Some other Collins nuggets:

*Ryan Tepera logged a 0.00 ERA in five outings covering 4.1 innings covering five outings this season with Collins behind the plate. Hitters slashed .133/.188/.133 while Tepera was throwing to Collins.

*Collins top moment of 2021 was his catching of Carlos Rodon’s no-hitter of the Cleveland Indians on April 14th at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Collins joined A.J. Pierzynski (who caught Mark Buehrle’s first no-hitter and Philip Humber’s perfect game) as the only left-handed hitters to catch a Sox no-hitter.

*Ron Karkovice (Joe Cowley and Wilson Alvarez) are the only Sox No. 1 picks to catch a no-hitter for the club.

*NEXT: Garrett Crochet

2021 WHITE SOX PLAYER REVIEW: RYAN BURR (MR. JUNE)

My alphabetical review — @soxnerd style — of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at pitcher RYAN BURR.

It may be hard to believe but by some statistical standards Ryan Burr had the best month ever by a White Sox pitcher in June of 2021.

The right-hander gave up just one hit in 10.2 innings covering eight scoreless outings in the month.

No Sox pitcher had ever thrown that many shutout frames while allowing just one hit in a month. The next closest to this is Bobby Jenks, who also yielded one hit but it was in 10.1 innings in August of 2007

Next: Dylan Cease

WHITE SOX 2021 PLAYER REVIEW: ZACK BURDI

My latest alphabetical review — @soxnerd style — of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at pitcher ZACK BURDI, who was waived on Aug. 18:

*What would Burdi’s career trajectory been like if he could have mastered pitching at Guaranteed Rate Field?

The Downers Grove, Ill., native departed the Sox 0-1 with a 12.96 ERA in eight outings in home assignments. In 8.1 innings, the right-hander allowed 16 hits, including a whopping six home runs. Opponents slashed .400/.442/.875 off Burdi at 35th and Shields.

On the road, Burdi was much better for the Sox. In six road appearances, Burdi logged a 3.38 ERA while allowing just one home run in eight innings. Opponents slugged just .387 when Burdi pitched as a visitor for the Sox.

*Burdi is the only pitcher from the University of Louisville to play for the White Sox.

*Next: Jake Burger

2021 WHITE SOX PLAYER REVIEW: AARON BUMMER

My latest alphabetical look — @SoxNerd style — on the 2021 White Sox focuses on AARON BUMMER …

*Bummer’s average of 6.88 hits allowed per nine innings pitched is the fourth-lowest in Sox history among pitchers with at least 187 innings

*Bummer’s save on May 31st was the first by a Sox lefty in Cleveland since Hector Santiago on April 9, 2012.

*Bummer emerged from 2021 with three Sox saves in 196 appearances, all in relief. The only pitcher in Sox history with more pure relief appearances and fewer saves than Bummer is Kelly Wunsch. Also a lefty, Wunsch saved just one game in 212 outings for the Sox from 2000 to 2004.

Next: Zack Burdi

WHITE SOX 2021 PLAYER REVIEW: JOSE ABREU

My @soxnerd style alphabetical nugget(s)-a-day review of the 2021 White Sox starts with a look at JOSE ABREU.

*Abreu reached double figures in home runs in both the third (20) and fourth (10) spots in the batting order for a Sox-record third time in his career in 2021. Only one other Sox player — Magglio Ordonez in 2001 — has accomplished this.

*Abreu led the Sox in RBI (117) for a club-record eighth consecutive season in 2021. He entered the campaign tied with at seven with Frank Thomas (1991-1997).

*I fell down a deep rabbit hole on Abreu’s hit-by-pitches on this Twitter thread https://twitter.com/soxnerd/status/1448676481870270466?s=21

*I got this exercise going with this historical tribute to David Aardsma https://soxnerd.wordpress.com/2021/10/20/white-sox-historical-player-review-bonus-david-aardsma/

*Next: Tim Anderson

THE TOP 18 WHITE SOX GAMES OF SEPT. 6

There are no off days for the @soxnerd!

Taking into account a reward for found glasses, big hits from pitchers, roof shots and walkoffs galore, here’s a look at the top 18 White Sox games of Sept. 6:

18. 1930, KEEP SWINGING: The White Sox split a doubleheader with Cleveland at Comiskey Park with the teams tying an 18-year old record by drawing just two walks in the twinbill. The Sox won the first game 2-1 behind Ted Lyons but dropped the nightcap 4-2. The Indians had both of the walks in the double-dip.

17. 2008, WELL WORTH THE WAIT: Jim Thome’s homer in the 15th walked the White Sox off with a 7-6 win over the Angels before 31,046 at U.S. Cellular Field. Thome’s homer enabled the first-place White Sox to boost their lead to 2.5-games in the A.L. Central.

16. 2006, NO. 40 FOR DYE: Jermaine Dye became just the fourth Sox player to reach the 40-homer plateau in an 8-1 win at Boston. Dye’s homer came in the fourth as he joined Paul Konerko, Albert Belle and Frank Thomas (who had 5 40-HR seasons for the Sox) in the Sox 40-home run club. Thome, who was 4-for-4 led off a four-run second with his 39th blast of the season as the Sox stopped a three-game skid.

15. 1919: RUNNING BUCK: Buck Weaver tied a big league record by stealing second, third and home in the White Sox 11-2 loss to Cleveland at Comiskey Park.

14. 1985, 7 RIBS FOR PUDGE: Carlton Fisk, starting at the DH spot, drove in career-high tying seven runs as the White Sox ran away from the Rangers 12-1 in Arlington. Fisk hit a three-run homer in the first, a three-run homer in the fourth and finished his day with a run-scoring single in the ninth. Fisk’s other seven RBI game came on Sept. 6, 1977 for the Red Sox at Toronto.

13. 2005, EARLY LEAD HOLDS: Paul Konerko had an RBI in each frame as the first-place White Sox scored five times in the first two innings and held off the Royals for a 6-5 win before 14,571 at U.S. Cellular Field. Orlando Hernandez tossed 6.1 innings for the victory as the Sox extended their winning streak to six. The game wasn’t settled until Dustin Hermanson threw a perfect ninth for his 33rd save.

12. 1951, FOUR HITS … FOR THE PITCHER! Randy Gumpert was 4-for-5 with three RBI and went the distance in the White Sox 9-4 win at St. Louis. Gumpert fanned three in earning his ninth win while being backed by a 17-hit attack.

11. 1967, CLUTCH WIN: The White Sox pulled out a dramatic 3-2 win in 13 on Ken Berry’s RBI double before 12,103 at Comiskey Park to create a four-way tie atop the American League. The game was scoreless until the 11th when the Angels scored twice. The Sox retaliated with two in their 11th on a pinch-RBI double by Smoky Burgess and a passed ball. The Sox ended it in a hurry in the 13th when Duane Josephson singled with one out and scored when Berry, the next batter, doubled.

10. 1975, NO. 20 FOR KAAT: Jim Kaat notched his 20th victory in the White Sox 5-2 win over the Twins before 7,078 at Comiskey Park. Kaat gave up two runs on six hits with four strikeouts in reaching the coveted 20-win plateau for the second consecutive year. Deron Johnson (3) and Jorge Orta (2) accounted for all of the Sox RBIs.

9. 1965, WALKOFF SWEEP: Ken Berry scored on a wild pitch with one out in the ninth to give the White Sox a 4-3 win over the Angels in Game 2 of a doubleheader at Comiskey Park where the Sox won both games on walkoffs. In the opener, pinch-hitter extraordinaire Smoky Burgess singled home Danny Cater with the winning run in the 10th for a 2-1 win.

8. 1920, NICE START FOR SHOVEL: Shovel Hodge fired a two-hitter in his big league debut as the White Sox capped a doubleheader sweep of the Tigers with a 6-2 win at Comiskey Park. Red Faber started and won the first game, a 6-2 Sox triumph.

7. 1903, DR. ONE-HITTER: Doc White came within two outs of a no-hitter in firing the first of his six one-hitters as the White Sox bested Cleveland 1-0 in 10 innings at the 39th Street Grounds. Bill Bradley ruined the no-no with a one-out double in the ninth. Billy Sullivan, who had two of the Sox three hits, reached on an error in the 10th and eventually scored the winning run.

6. 2000, SHELDON PLAYS ‘EM ALL: The White Sox exploded for 10 runs in their first two at bats in trashing the Texas Rangers, who had Scott Sheldon play every position, 13-1 before 15,622 at Comiskey Park. Frank Thomas got things going in the first by clouting his 41st home run of the season, which tied his 1993 career-high. The blast was also the 79th of Thomas’ career in the first inning. Magglio Ordonez followed Thomas’ shot with a homer of his own, marking the 15th time the Sox slugging duo had hit back-to-back dingers in 2000. Greg Norton and Charles Johnson later homered as the White Sox reached double figures in runs for the 25th time and raised their Comiskey Park home run total to a club-record 109. Sheldon became just the third player in the Major League history to play all nine positions in one game.

Ron Kittle hit his first roofshot homer on this date in 1983.

5, 1983: UP ON THE ROOF FOR KITTY: Ron Kittle blasted his first of his record seven career roof shot home runs at Comiskey Park in the White Sox 7-6 win over Oakland before 18,742 fans. Kittle victimized Chris Codiroli in the third inning. Rudy Law went 4-for-5 with a homer and LaMarr Hoyt earned his 19th win as the first-place Sox increased their lead atop the A.L. West to 14 games.

4. 1905 FIRST FRANK NO-HITTER: Frank Smith tossed the first of his two club-record no-hitters in the White Sox 15-0 win at Detroit. The White Sox made things easy on Smith by scoring eight in the first inning. Smith fanned eight and walked three. The “no-no” was the second in White Sox history and part of the first doubleheader sweep in franchise history (the White Sox won the opener 2-0 behind Doc White). Smith’s other no-hitter would come Sept. 20, 1908 at the 39th Street Grounds.

3. 1971, KEALEY GOES DEEP: Steve Kealey became the last White Sox pitcher to homer in the pre-DH era in the White Sox 6-3 win over Minnesota in the first game of a doubleheader before 16,197 at Comiskey Park. Kealey’s blast was a three-run shot off Ray Corbin in the eighth inning and came after Rich Morales was issued an intentional walk. The next homer by a Sox pitcher wouldn’t be hit until Jon Garland went deep at Cincinnati in an interleague game on June 18, 2006.

2. 1936; ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL: Moose Haas paid off a reward of a new glove to a boy for the return of his lost mitt and glasses before the White Sox 6-3 sweep-completing win over Cleveland in the second game a doubleheader at Comiskey Park. Haas left his glove and glasses on the field after being ejected the previous day. Before the first game, an announcement was made offering a reward of a new glove for the old one’s safe return to Haaas. On the field, Rip Radcliff was 4-for-6 with a double and five RBI and Tony Piet scored four times in the White Sox 15-1 win in the first game.

Reliever Dixie Howell was a White Sox walkoff hero on this date in 1957.

1. 1957, WALKOFF HOMER … BY A PITCHER: Pitcher Dixie Howell made himself the winner when he launched a game-ending homer in the White Sox 4-3 win over Kansas City before 11,216 at Comiskey Park. Howell entered the game in the eighth and tossed two shutout innings before coming to bat with one out in the ninth. Howell’s third homer of the season and fifth of his career got the second place White Sox to within 4.5-games of first place.

I’M 18 AND I LIKE IT! THE SOX AND 18 HITS

I met Alice Cooper at the park in 1996. The Sox paid tribute to “The Coop” with 18 hits on Tuesday.

To paraphrase Alice Cooper: EIGHTEEN HITS AND I LIKE IT! LIKE IT! LOVE IT! LIKE IT! LOVE IT! EIGHTEEN, EIGHTEEN, EIGHTEEN HITS AND I LIKE IT!

The Sox pounded out 18 hits in downing the Blue Jays 5-2 on Tuesday night.

Here are a few nuggets … @soxnerd style … on games when the Sox tally EXACTLY 18 hits (I’m partial to Alice because I met him at the park in 1996 — the pic is proof — and it was glorious):

*Tuesday was the 117th time the Sox had 18 hits in a game.

The Sox are 105-12 in those games.

*The five runs the Sox registered were the fewest they scored in a victory where they had 18 hits.

The other five-run 18-hit output was a 6-5 loss to Detroit at Comiskey Park on May 24, 1929. Bill Hunnefield was 1-for-10 for the Sox in the game.

*The most runs the Sox scored in an 18-hit game was 20 on April 30, 1934 against Cleveland at Comiskey Park.

ZEKE BONURA got the Sox on the board in the 10-run victory with a two-run homer in the first.

*Tuesday marked the Sox first 18-hit effort since a 16-4 win at Minnesota on May 17. That was the infamous Yermin Mercedes 3-0 home run game.

This is the first season since 2017 that the Sox have had two 18-hit games in the same season.

The 2006, 2000, 1999 and 1933 teams each had a franchise-best four 18-hit games in a season.

*Jose Abreu is a monster in 18-hit games.

The Sox legend-in-the making played in his sixth 18-hit game on Tuesday and lifted his average to .548 (17-for-31) with five home runs and 18 RBI in those tilts.

The Sox are 6-0 in those games, by the way.

Tuesday was not Abreu’s biggest game in an 18-hit contest even though he was 3-for-5 with a homer and four important RBI.

Abreu hit for the cycle in the Sox 18-hit attack in a 13-1 home win over the Giants on Sept. 9, 2017.

*Liam Hendriks is the first Sox pitcher to earn a save in an 18-hit effort since Matt Thornton closed out a 10-8 home win over Cleveland on Sept. 9, 2006.

*No. 18 Brian Goodwin had one of the 18 hits on Tuesday night.

*The Sox are 3-0 in 18-hit games vs. Toronto.

They also prevailed 12-5 on April 18, 1979 and Aug. 30, 1996 in Toronto.

*Tony La Russa is 5-0 in 18-hit games.

In addition to the two games this season, La Russa’s Sox won 18-hit games on April 13, 1979; April 18, 1979; and July 21, 1982.

*The Sox have won 12 consecutive games when they have collected 18 hits.

The Sox last loss in a 18-hit effort was a 20-14 setback to Minnesota in the second game of a doubleheader on July 6, 2007 at U.S. Cellular Field.

The Sox longest 18-hit win streak was a 25-gamer from June 4, 1933 to June 28, 1953.

The 1932 Sox were 0-3 in games where they had 18 hits.

*The Sox first 18-hit game was a 15-4 win over Washington in the franchise’s 38th contest on June 7, 1901.

ON LOU GEHRIG DAY: THE ‘IRON HORSE’ AND THE WHITE SOX

On MLB’s “Lou Gehrig Day,” here’s a look — @SoxNerd style — at the White Sox and the “Iron Horse:”

*Gehrig hit .350 with a .446 on-base percentage, and a .660 slugging percentage with 77 homers and 299 RBI in 303 games (302 starts) against the Sox.

*Gehrig collected more hits (405) vs. the Sox than against any other team.

*Gehrig’s 84 strikeouts against the Sox were the fewest by any club he faced.

*Gehrig hit a record .380 (minimum 65 plate appearances) with a .480 on-base percentage and a .687 slugging percentage (also a record) with 37 homers and 154 RBI in 151 games (150 starts) at Comiskey Park.

*The 37 homers rank third among Sox foes at Comiskey Park behind Babe Ruth’s 45 and Jimmy Foxx’s 38.

*Gehrig posted more hits at Comiskey Park (226) than in any of the nine road stadiums in which he played.

*The 226 hits were the second-highest total by an opponent at Comiskey Park. Only Ty Cobb, at 227, had more.

*Ted Lyons was the Sox pitcher Gehrig faced the most at 231 plate appearances and 204 at bats (second most vs any pitcher). Gehrig hit .303 with seven homers (the most off a Sox pitcher), 38 RBI and 22 strikeouts (third-most vs. any pitcher) off Lyons.

*Which Sox pitcher handled “Larrupin’ Lou” the best? How about Sarge Connally? In the absolute prime of his career between 1925 and 1929, Connally limited Gehrig to a .125 average (2-for-16) with 0 homers, three RBI, two extra-base hits and two strikeouts.

*Gehrig played his first game against the Sox on Sept. 13, 1924. Pinch-hitting for Wally Pipp, Gehrig flew out to Bibb Falk in left to end the ninth in the Yankees 16-1 win before 15,000 at Comiskey Park. It was his first appearance in Chicago since he hit a ninth-inning grand slam out of Wrigley Field in a New York vs. Chicago high school title game on June 26, 1920.

*Gehrig was retired three times by Mike Cvengros in his first contest against the Sox during his record 2.130 consecutive games streak. On June 19, 1925, Gehrig fouled out and flied out twice before being lifted for pinch-hitter Ernie Johnson in the 20th game of his amazing streak. The host Yankees prevailed 4-3 in 10 innings.

*Gehrig’s first hit vs. the Sox came the next day when he led off the second with a triple off Charlie Robertson in the Yankees 12-2 win at Yankee Stadium on June 20, 1925.

*Gehrig was 3-for-4 with a double and a run in his first start at Comiskey Park in a 5-3 Yankees win on July 11, 1925.

*The first homer Gehrig hit against the Sox was a two-run shot to left in the fourth off fellow future Hall-of-Famer Red Faber that scored Babe Ruth in an 8-4 Sox win on July 13, 1925.

*Gehrig hit his first homer vs. the Sox at Yankee Stadium was a second-inning solo blast off Sloppy Thurston in a 4-3 loss on Aug. 9, 1925.

*On May 7, 1927, Gehrig landed the first home run into the new pavilion of the recently-expanded Comiskey Park in the Yankees’ 8-0 win before 37,000 on the Southside. Changes to the park, including the new pavilion, were made primarily to handle the popularity of the Yankees. The grand slam was hit off Sox pitcher Ted Lyons.

*On May 4, 1929, Gehrig launched the second roof shot home run as part of the first three-homer game at Comiskey Park in the Yankees 11-9 win before 35,000 in Bridgeport. Gehrig victimized Faber as part of a 4-for-4, three homer day. The other roofer was hit by Ruth on Aug. 16, 1927 off Tommy Thomas.

*Gehrig was 0-for-2 with two walks and a strikeout as the American League’s starting first baseman and cleanup hitter in the inaugural All-Star Game at Comiskey Park on July 6, 1933. Gehrig went the distance in the A.L.’s 4-2 win.

*On Aug. 27, 1935, the Sox walked Gehrig an American League-record five times in a 4-3 win in the second game of a doubleheader split at Comiskey Park.

*Gehrig was 1-for-4 with a run and a double in what turned out to be his final game at Comiskey Park on Sept. 22, 1938. His last at bat at 35th and Shields was an RBI double off Johnny Rigney that scored Joe DiMaggio to account first the final in a 7-4 win. The double was the 534th and last of his career.

*The previous day, Gehrig hit the last of his 242 road homers at Comiskey Park. The roundtripper, the second-to-last of his 493 bombs, was a leadoff clout in the seventh off Thornton Lee in a 5-2 Sox win.

17 FACTS ON MAY 17 BIRTHDAY BOY AND SOX ICON CARLOS MAY

Here are 17 facts — @SoxNerd style — on Carlos May, the White Sox icon and ambassador who is celebrating his birthday today:

*1. UNIQUE GUY: Born on May 17 in Birmingham Ala., Carlos is the only player in big league history to wear his birthday on his back.

*2. THE STATS: May hit .275 with 85 homers and 479 RBI in 1,002 games for the White Sox between 1968 and 1976.

*3. HIS MONTH: May hit .286 with 15 homers and 91 RBI in the month of May. The only month in which he had a higher average was April (.296)

*4. THE DRAFT: May was the White Sox first round pick (18th overall) in the June 1966 amateur draft out of Parker High School in Birmingham, Ala.

*5. YOUNG GUY: At age 20, May made his big league debut for the White Sox on Sept. 6, 1968 in Baltimore. Starting in left field, May batted THIRD behind future Hall-of-Famer Luis Aparicio and was 0-for-4 with a strikeout. The left-handed hitter was the first position player drafted by the Sox to play in the bigs (pitchers Danny Lazar and Fred Rath debuted earlier in the season). May was just ninth player in Sox history to make a big league debut in the third spot and the first since Val Heim in 1942. Since then, Wayne Nordhagen, Jeff Abbott and Mario Valdez have accomplished the feat.

*6. THE FIRST: May became the first player drafted by the White Sox to record a big league hit when he singled off Baltimore’s Tom Phoebus on Sept. 7, 1968 in Baltimore. He was the first player drafted by the Sox to homer when he went deep for the first time on April 9, 1969 at Oakland. He victimized Jim Nash with the first of his two homers that game. May recorded another multi-hit game later that month, giving him two of those efforts in his first 22 big league contests. At that point, no White Sox had player done that. Since then, Jose Abreu notched a pair of multi-homer games in his first 10 contests and Nicky Delmonico did it in his first 15 games.

7. COMEBACK FOR THE AGES: Shortly after his big league debut, May lost part of his thumb in a mortar accident while he was in the Marine reserves in 1968. The left-handed hitting outfielder/first baseman overcame that adversity and went on to have a stellar career.

8. RATED ROOKIE: May was named The Sporting News’ American League Rookie of the Year in 1969 and finished third in the writers poll behind winner Lou Piniella of Kansas City and Mike Nagy of Boston. May hit .281 with 18 homers and 62 RBI that season.

9. HE’S A STAR: May became the first White Sox draftee (and the youngest player) to represent the team at the All-Star Game in the 1969 classic in Washington, DC. With his brother Lee perched at first base for the National League, Carlos pinch-hit for Johnny Roseboro and was struck out by Atlanta’s Phil Niekro, a future Hall-of-Famer and 300-game winner, to end the National League’s 9-3 win.

10. LEADER: May led the 1971 White Sox with 147 hits, 21 doubles, seven triples, 16 steals and a .294 average. He was the first lefty to lead the team in average since Floyd Robinson hit .301 in 1964. He also led the Sox with 21 doubles that season. The last time time a lower total led the Sox was when Chick Gandil and Shano Collins each led the 1918 club with 18 doubles.

11. 1972, A GREAT YEAR: May’s best season was the White Sox renaissance campaign of 1972 when the club battled for the West Division title with the eventual World Series champion Oakland A’s well into the season. Playing in the enormous shadow of Dick Allen, that season’s AL MVP, May slashed .308/.405/.438 while hitting 12 homers with 68 RBI and 23 steals. He finished 21st in the AL MVP voting that year. May represented the Sox at the 1972 All-Star Game in Atlanta. He did not play in the American League’s 4-3 loss.

12. 1973, PRETTY GOOD: While 1972 was a banner year for May, 1973 wasn’t bad either. May hit 20 homers with 96 RBI (both career and team highs) in finishing 29th in the MVP voting.

13. DH POWER: May was the first designated hitter to hit two homers in a game for the White Sox. On Aug. 26, 1973, he hit two bombs off Detroit’s Joe Coleman in a 4-1 win at Comiskey Park.

14. THE END: Carlos played his final game for the White Sox on May 15, 1976 when he went 1-for-4 batting cleanup in a 4-3 win at Kansas City. Three days later he was traded to the Yankees for pitcher Ken Brett and Rich Coggins.

15. BEYOND THE SOX: May played for the Yankees in 1976, appearing in the American League Championship Series and World Series, and part of 1977 before closing out his career with the Angels in 1977.

16. THE LASTS: May hit the last of his 90 big league home runs on June 5, 1977 for the Yankees at Comiskey Park. May went deep off Steve Stone in the second inning of the “Bronx Bombers’ ” 8-6 win before 23,688 on a Sunday afternoon. In September of that season, May made his Angels debut at Comiskey Park and singled off Francisco Barriors in his first at bat. Fifteen days later, May singled in what turned out to be his final big league at bat as a pinch-hitter at Kansas City.

17. UNCLE CARLOS: May’s nephew, Jacob, played briefly for the 2017 White Sox, hitting just .056 (2-for-36) in 15 games. He last played in the minors in 2018 for the Sox Triple-A Charlotte affiliate.

MYSTERY SOLVED: SOX HISTORIC NIGHT GAME WAS MARCH 21, 1931

On this date in 1931, the White Sox defeated the New York Giants 11-6 in the first night game between two Major League teams.

Or as the Chicago Tribune called it, “the first after dinner struggle staged between two major league teams.”

Yes, it happened at Houston’s Buffs Stadium, home of a Texas League St. Louis minor league affiliate, on March 21 and NOT Feb. 21, 1931 as I have tweeted and blogged for years.

More on my lengthy quest to nail down the specifics of this historic clash later.

According to the New York Times, this exhibition came together 11 days earlier. That item seemed to indicate the Sox were first to agree to play the nocturnal affair.

“(Buffs president Fred) Ankenman was advised by Harry Grabiner, secretary of the White Sox, that John McGraw, manager of the Giants, had consented to play the game at night,” the Times wrote.

The Tribune confirmed this in its March 11, 1931 edition.

The White Sox won the historic clash in 10 innings “under the glare of 245-kilowatt lamps and the gaze of 2,500 onlookers,” according to the New York Times report of the game.

The NYT said the light came from six steel towers 120-feet high. In addition, the electrical equipment at the stadium “is considered one of the finest of its kind, giving an effect that leaves little to be desired mechanically,” the Times wrote.

How good were these lights?

“So nearly perfect is the equipment that so far no ball has ever been lost sight within the confines of the park, for the ceiling height is estimated at 200 feet,” the Times said. “The light at home plate is extremely intense.”

Under those lights, the Sox took control of the clash with five runs in the 10th. Bill Cissell’s RBI single, which scored Willie Kamm, gave the Sox the lead for good. Luke Appling capped the outburst with a two-run double.

This game has been a research “white whale” of mine for at least a decade.

I stumbled upon it while expanding my “White Sox Almanac” feature for the scoreboard. I really wanted at least one Sox event for every day of the year because … well … I’m the @SoxNerd!

For the baseball season, that is not a difficult task. Most dates between April and October have multiple — sometimes dozens — of entries. Truth be told (and here’s a little trade secret), I limit my choices to White Sox wins or only the most significant or noteworthy events in losses.

Unearthing Sox events from Nov. 1 to March 31 is a bit of a challenge.

In the fledgling days of the internet, I relied heavily on baseballlibrary.com, todayinbaseball.com and other sites for off-season events.

For Feb. 21, I came across this gem: “1931: The Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants become the first major league teams to meet in a night game. They collect 23 hits in a 10-inning exhibition game played at Buffs Stadium in Houston, TX.”

Well-versed in Sox history, this was news to me so I checked other websites. Sure enough, on baseballreference.com and the two aforementioned sites, there it was.

The entry was woefully incomplete which wasn’t unusual, especially the items from the early part of the 20th century. I wanted the score and I wanted details, so I started digging … and digging and digging and digging and digging to no avail.

Other than the websites I originally found it on, I couldn’t find anything on that game anywhere.

Regardless, it was such a watershed moment that I included in my “This Date in White Sox History”  February master list. Afterall, meaty February items are tough to find. I figured the entry was legit because the date was close enough to the start of spring training that the game could have been part of some barnstorming tour or early exhibition games.

Here’s what I originally logged:

“THE SOX AT NIGHT, SHINE BIG & BRIGHT,
DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS

“1931: The White Sox were part of history when they played the New York Giants in the first night game between two big league teams at Buffs Stadium in Houston, Texas. The teams combined to collected 23 hits in the 10-inning exhibition. The Sox wouldn’t play their first night game at Comiskey Park until Aug. 14, 1939.”

I checked everywhere: newspapers, libraries, websites, books, nothing. I consulted my go-to Sox sources, nothing.

Every February I would revisit this entry as I started posting historical items to blogs and later Twitter, and every February I would be thwarted. 

In my frustration, I later added “Despite countless searches, I was unable to find the score of the game” to my master list.

It got to the point where I was resigned to the fact that this game was going to a White Sox “unsolved mystery.”

This February, I opened the file and as the frustration of Feb. 21, 1931 started to boil, a name came to me: Gary Price.

Gary Price solved a mystery that has been dogging me for years.

This pandemic has been the worst, but some extremely positive things have come out of it.

Reconnecting with one of my dear childhood friends Gary Price has been one of those extremely positive and healthy things.

In our frequent conversations, we would reference different things and, lo and behold, I’d get a link on the subject texted to me.

Gary has been one of the most distinguished research librarians for years. So distinguished is Gary that when I told the librarian who worked with me at the newspaper I was at in the 1990s, she shrieked, “YOU KNOW GARY PRICE?”

I put Gary on the case of the “White Sox Night Game” and he came through … in a hurry.

I will always remember where I was when I got the call.

The date was Feb. 21, 2021 — on the assumed 90th anniversary of the game — and my wife, daughter Ellie and her boyfriend Peach and I were pulling into the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen, Minn., as part of a getaway visit.

My phone buzzed. I answered. I was greeted with two words:

“SOX WIN!”

Gary found it.

And that made us all happy as this photo shows.

At that point, it became clear how this mistake was made.

When life was being shifted from paper to cyberspace, that March 21st became a February 21st. Most likely, a sloppily handwritten “3” for March became a “2” for February and it was embedded on-line and in history.

Until now.

I was overjoyed. The decade-long quest was over. I knew the score. I knew the details.

My youngest daughter, Ellie, knew the euphoria I was experiencing.

In 2008, I dragged her into a branch of the Kenosha Public Library while I looked up a stat on Stan Jok, an obscure Sox infielder of the mid-1950s.

When my stat was confirmed, I dropped to the floor of the KPL and — only half-jokingly to embarrass a 15-year old — gave thanks and praise to SoxGod.

I gave thanks and praise again … only this time it was to Gary! 

IS THIS HEAVEN? … THE WHITE SOX AND IOWA

If you reschedule it, the White Sox will come.

With the recent rescheduling of the “Field of Dreams” game and with National Iowa Day on Monday, what better time to check out the White Sox links to Iowa … @soxnerd style!

*THE OVERVIEW: The “Field of Dreams” game — aka “MLB at Field of Dreams presented by GEICO” — is tentatively scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 12.

The contest will pit the White Sox against the Yankees in Dyersville, Iowa — the site of the iconic 1989 movie “Field of Dreams.”

The truncated 2020 season robbed the White Sox of the originally-scheduled “Field of Dreams” game, which was slated for Aug. 13 at a makeshift 8,000-seat stadium adjacent to the site of where much of the movie was filmed.

The Sox original 2020 opponent were the Yankees and then the Cardinals before the pandemic scotched the showcase.

*A FIRST! The game will be the first Major League contest in Iowa.

*HE’S BACK!: And managing the Sox will be Tony La Russa.

Iowa was where La Russa was managing when he was appointed Sox skipper the first time on Aug. 2, 1979.

La Russa’s Triple-A Iowa Oaks, based in Des Moines, were 54-51 and in third place in the American Association’s East Division upon his promotion to the Sox bench.

*HAR-OLD! Among La Russa’s charges that season was a 20-year old outfielder by the name of Harold Baines.

Baines hit .298 with 22 homers and 87 RBI in his last full minor league season in 1979.

Others at Iowa in 1979 included Britt Burns, Steve Trout, Bob Molinaro and LaMarr Hoyt.

*ANOTHER LINK: Former White Sox executive Dan Evans is playing a big role in the “Field Of Dreams” game.

The Chicago native is a consultant with “Go The Distance Baseball,” which owns the “Field of Dreams” movie site.

Evans talks in-depth about this (and other things) and tells a touching story about the event in this White Sox Talk podcast https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/white-sox-talk-podcast/id1162163703?i=1000502446029

*NEW DIGS: The game at the Field of Dreams site will be the 75th venue where they’ve played an official game.

*SMALL CROWD: Best I can tell, the 8,000-seat “Field of Dreams” venue will be tied for the smallest stadium to host a White Sox game.

The other 8,000-seat facility in which the Sox played was 8,000-seat Oriole Park in 1901 (8) and 1902 (10).

Every other one of the 74 venues the Sox have played seated or seats at least 9,500 fans.

*THE LAST TIME: The Sox will be playing their first game in Iowa since a 4-1 win over their Triple-A Iowa farm team on May 1, 1978.

Ron Schueler started and got the win while Wayne Nordhagen, his batterymate for a few frames, homered.

Rich Hinton and Lerrin LaGrow also pitched for the Sox.

Veteran Bruce Dal Canton started, went three innings and took the loss for the Oaks, who were managed by Joe Sparks.

After future Sox pitching coach Mike Pazik threw three innings, Stan Butkus put in two frames for Iowa.

Butkus?

A cousin of the legendary Bears middle linebacker, 27-year old Stan was 2-2 with a 5.34 ERA in 15 appearances (all in relief) for Iowa in 1979.

The stop in Iowa was the last in the states fior the Elgin, Ill., native. After Iowa, Butkus pitched for two seasons in Mexico before his pro career ended.

Thanks to some digging by Twitter friend Jacob Pomrenke aka @buckweaver, I learned Stan wasn’t close to Dick Butkus but his dad was … Stan was raised in Florida after his family moved from Elgin when he was two months old … he pitched at Miami Dade Junior College and at the University of South Alabama … At USA, Butkus played for former White Sox manager Eddie “The Brat” Stanky

*DEEP IOWA ROOTS: Before they were the Chicago White Sox, they were the Sioux City (Iowa) Cornhuskers.

Charles Comiskey purchased the Cornhuskers after they won the 1894 Western League crown, moved them to St. Paul, Minn., where they became the Saints.

When the American League was formed in 1900, Comiskey was awarded the Chicago franchise and the Saints became the White Stockings and then the White Sox.

*IOWA ICON: Sox legend Red Faber of Cascade is the all-time leader among Iowans with 4,086.2 innings, 669 pitching appearances, 213 losses, 4,106 hits allowed, 103 HBP and 17,104 batters faced.

Faber’s 254 wins are second among Iowans to Bob Feller’s 266. Of the 34 Iowans who have played for the Sox, Faber played in the most games (670).

All but one of Faber’s appearances cane as a pitcher with the other coming as a pinch-runner in 1923.

*THE FIRST: The first Iowan to play for the Sox was Des Moines’ Herm McFarland on April 30 in the team’s inaugural campaign of 1901.

The next day McFarland’s grand slam — the first in franchise history — was the first Sox homer by an Iowa native.

*CORN POWER: Carroll’s Ken Henderson is the Sox all-time leader among Iowans with 35 homers.

Norway’s Hal Trosky, the career leader among Iowans with 228 homers, is tied for second in Sox annals with New Hampton’s Duane Josephson with 12 dingers.

Henderson is the Sox career leader among position players from Iowa with 375 games.

*MORE CORN POWER: Iowans to go deep for the Sox are Henderson, Josephson, Sioux City’s Bobby Knoop (11), Boone’s Jerry McNertney (9), Red Oak’s Dick Kentworthy (4), McFarland (4), Faber (3), Knowlton’s Yam Yarian (2), Cedar Rapids’ Ryan Sweeney (1), and Des Moines’ Ducky Holmes (1).

Sweeney was the last Iowan to homer for the Sox (May 12, 2007).

*FIRST PITCHER: Lou Fiene of Fort Dodge was the first Iowan to pitch (April 21, 1906) and the first to get a win (Oct. 4, 1906) for the Sox.

*LAST PITCHER: The last pitcher from Iowa to play for the Sox was Cedar Rapids’ Cal Eldred on April 11, 2001.

His win on June 22, 2000 vs. Minnesota at Comiskey Park was the last by an Iowan for the Sox.

Eldred’s shutout of the Twins on June 28, 2000 was the last by a Sox pitcher from the Hawkeye State.

*IOWA WHITEWASHERS: Eldred, Council Bluffs’ Stan Bahnsen (6), Logan’s Hal McKain (1), Sumner’s Les Tietje (2) and Faber (29) are Iowans who own shutouts for the Sox.

*HOT TIME: Tietje was the winning pitcher in what could have been the hottest game in White Sox history.

With temperatures in Chicago reaching a record 105, the right-hander turned in a complete game in the Sox 4-1 win over Washington at Comiskey Park.

*SECOND SEASON: The only native of Iowa to appear in the postseason for the Sox was Coon Rapids’ Babe Towne.

A rookie, Towne flew out to center as a pinch-hitter for Doc White in the bottom of the third in the Sox 7-1 loss to the Cubs in Game 2 of the 1906 World Series.

*TRIPLE-A HISTORY: The Sox Triple-A team was in Des Moines in 1973 and 1974 and from 1976 to 1980.

Sparks managed the team in 1973, 1974, 1977 and 1978 and after La Russa in 1979, while Loren Babe was the skipper in 1976.

Sox icon Pete Ward began as the Iowa manager in 1980 before being dismissed by the locally-owned team (and not Sox owner Bill Veeck per reports of the day) on June 30.

The Oaks were 32-42 and in third place in the America Association East, 14.5-games behind Springfield when Ward was replaced by player-manager Sam Ewing.

*DOWN ON THE FARM: The Sox last minor league affiliate in Iowa were the Burlington Bees of the Class-A Midwest League in 1999 and 2000.

The Sox return to Iowa came on April 10, 1999 when host Burlington lost to Quad Cities 4-3 before 602 fans at Community Field.

Iowa native Mitch Wylie was Burlington’s starting pitcher. The right-hander fired five shutout frames in commencing his second year of pro ball.

Wylie was originally scheduled to start the Bees’ second game vs. QC in his hometown of Davenport but was moved up because of a postponement.

“I would have liked to have started … at home against Quad Cities but I’m sure I’ll get my chance sometime,” Wylie said in the Quad Cities Times. “This was a pretty good start for me.”

Said manager Nick Capra, “I know he wanted to pitch at home but this was opening night, and he was excited about that, too.”

Quad Cities, a Twins affiliate, got all it needed with a four-run sixth.

While the premiere was a bummer, the season was not.

Burlington (71-68 overall) won the Midwest League championship after qualifying for the playoffs by claiming the West Division’s second-half title by one game at 40-30.

Capra’s crew opened the playoffs by taking out Clinton in three games.

In the semifinals, it took some Herculean heroics from Eric Battersby to get the Bees past Kane County.

A right-handed hitting outfielder, Battersby clubbed four home runs and drove in six in getting the Bees a 9-6 victory in the final game and a spot in the championship series.

Burlington went on to dispatch Wisconsin in five games for the crown.

This was the last championship for a Sox full-season low Class-A affiliate.

*BIG NAME BEE! The most prominent Burlington Bee was a budding Mark Buehrle.

At age 20, Buehrle went 7-4 with a 4.10 ERA in 20 games after signing on May 21.

Buehrle was the Sox 38th round pick (1,139th overall) in the June 1998 draft out of Jefferson (Mo.) Junior College. Under the rules of the day, Buehrle was a “draft-and-follow” where teans could select a high school or junior college player and hold their rights until a week before the next draft.

The St. Charles, Mo., native earned a save in his pro debut with two shutout innings on June 8, 1999 vs. Cedar Rapids in Burlington.

Buehrle would log two more saves that season. After that, his next and last pro save would come in the White Sox epic Game 3 victory in the 2005 World Series.

The lefty’s best start came Aug. 2 when he fired a six-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts at Cedar Rapids. Five days later, Buehrle went eight innings for the win vs. Clinton at home. The two outings earned him the Midwest League’s Pitcher of the Week Award.

Less than a year after playing for the Bees, Buehrle made his big league debut for the Sox on July 16, 2000.

*BIG LEAGUE BEES: Other Burlington Bees to advance to the Sox were Lorenzo Barcelo, Matt Ginter, Gary Majewski, Josh Stewart, Dan Wright and Arnie Munoz.

*BURLINGTON FINALE: The Sox minor stint in the “Hawkeye State” ended on Sept. 3, 2000 when Burlington lost to the West Michigan (Tigers) Whitecaps 7-6 in Burlington.

Similar to the Bees’ inaugural game, none of the Burlington players in this contest made it to the Majors.

However, one of the stars for the Bees in this one was Chad Durham, whose brother, Ray was playing for the White Sox 243 miles away in Chicago.

In a striking coincidence both Durham brothers led off, both went 3-for-5, both scored two runs, both had at least one steal and both had a double.

Ray, a second baseman, also had an RBI as the eventual American League Central Division champions outlasted the Angels 13-12 before 22,020 at Comiskey Park.

Chad, a center fielder, also had a triple, another steal and an error as the Bees finished 51-88 under manager Jerry Terrell.

Note: Thanks to David Malamut and the Midwest League archives (@mwlarchives) for his assistance here.

*MINOR REPORT: Other Iowa towns that have hosted Sox farm teams include Clinton, Davenport, Dubuque, and Waterloo.

In 1962, 18-year old Denny McLain, MLB’s last 30-game winner (1968), finished his first pro season at the Sox Clinton affiliate of the Class D Midwest League.

Playing for manager Ian Hutchinson, like McLain a Chicago native, the right-hander went 4-7 with a 3.56 ERA in 16 games (13 starts) at Clinton.

In 91 innings, McLain gave up 92 hits with 93 strikeouts.

His performance in Iowa was just months removed from his days at Chicago’s Mt. Carmel High School and a month removed two-game stint at low Class D Harlan where he debuted with a 16-strikeout no-hitter.

McLain spent some of his time in Clinton exploring the roads between the Midwest League city and Chicago.

According to McLain’s SABR biography, “In Clinton he went AWOL on the team several times, costing himself several hundred dollars.”

Prior the next season, the Sox did not elevate McLain to the big league roster, leaving him exposed in a draft of players with one year of minor league service.

The Tigers claimed McLain but that wasn’t the last time he would toil for a Sox farm team in Iowa.

The two-time Cy Young winner was with the Sox Triple-A Iowa affiliate from April 24 to July 9, 1973 after he was cut by the Braves in spring training.

McLain was not on the Sox 40-man roster and wasn’t even remotely in their plans.

“As of right now, we have no plans for Denny McLain,” Sox manager Chuck Tanner said in the Tribune at the time. “He should draw the people to Des Moines. If he does real well, I’m sure (Iowa) will give us the first opportunity to bring him up.”

McLain was optioned to Double-A after he went 1-4 with a 7.55 in eight games (four starts) for Iowa, which also employed the likes of Bucky Dent, Steve Swisher, Brian Downing and Goose Gossage that season.

McLain went 6-4 for Shreveport (AA) in what turned out to be, at age 28, his last professional stop.

*DRAFT DAY: The Sox made Larry O’Brien and his 100 mph fastball the highest drafted player out of Iowa in 1971.

The Sox used the second overall pick of the now-defunct January draft on the right-handed pitcher out of Indian Hills Community College in Centerville, Iowa.

A native of Nebraska, O’Brien spurned the Sox and returned to school. He was drafted by Montreal the following summer but did not sign. O’Brien finally signed with the Reds after being taken in the second round in 1972.

O’Brien pitched until 1974 in the low minors.

He later served as a scout for the White Sox and other clubs and coached at Iowa Western Community College and in the American Legion ranks.

*HAWKEYE BATTLE: Let it be known that the first opponent in Bill Veeck’s second go-round as Sox owner was against … the University of Iowa!

With no union players in camp because of labor issues, the Sox were scrambling for foes to fill their spring home of Payne Park for games against their minor leaguers and non-roster players.

Finally, the Sox found Iowa Hawkeyes who were in Florida for their spring trip and they played the Sox played in a hastily-arranged exhibition game on March 10, 1976 in Sarasota, Fla.

According to the Tribune, the Sox treated this game as their spring opener with “speeches, baton twirlers, a marching band, Harry Caray and yes, believe it or not, the mayor throwing out the first ball.”

Because of the labor strife, this was the only game in Florida, per the Tribune. The tilt attracted 750 paying customers with tickets going for $1.

The aluminum-bat wielding Hawkeyes scored four in the top of the first off “Bugs” Moran.

The Sox rallied for a 12-6 win thanks to two homers and six RBI from Kevin Bell and a homer and four RBI from Cleo Kirkpatrick.

*COLLEGE BOYS: Iowa Hawkeyes who played for the Sox include Eldred, Gene Ford, and Jack Bruner. … Iowa State Cyclones who played for the Sox include Mike Myers, Bob Locker and McNertney

A @SOXNERD LOOK AT NEW WHITE SOX CLOSER LIAM HENDRIKS

A look — @SoxNerd style — new White Sox closer Liam Hendriks:

*FROM FOE TO FRIEND: Best I can tell, Hendricks will be the first player to join the Sox after facing them in the previous season’s playoffs.

Hendriks posted one save with a 6.75 ERA in two appearances for the A’s vs. the Sox in the 2020 American League Wild Card round.

After giving up two runs on four hits in 1.2 innings in Game 2, Hendriks closed out the series with a scoreless inning in the decisive third contest.

*DOWN UNDER: The native of Perth will join fellow pitcher Melbourne’s Shane Lindsay as the only Australians to play for the Sox. … Lindsay, a right-hander, logged a 12.00 ERA in four games for the 2011 Sox.

*DOWN UNDER II: Hendriks is second all-time to Grant Balfour (84) among Australians with 40 big league saves. … He is also second to Balfour (571) among Aussies with 526 strikeouts. … Hendriks is the only Australian with a big league complete game (1-0 loss to Seattle for Minnesota on Aug. 27, 2012).

*BIG K: Hendriks and Edwin Diaz are the only pitchers to average at least 13 strikeouts per nine innings while making at least 20 appearances in each of the last two seasons.

*AWARD WINNER: Hendriks joins the Sox as the reigning Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year Award winner.

He is the first pitcher to be acquired by the Sox immediately after winning a top award for relief pitchers.

Pitchers who have played for the Sox with any reliever of the year award on their resumes are Phil Regan (The Sporting News NL Fireman of the Year 1966 and 1968), Clay Carroll (TSN NL 1972), Sparky Lyle (TSN AL 1972), Goose Gossage (TSN, Rolaids Relief Man Award AL 1978), Jim Kern (TSN and Rolaids AL 1979), Dave Righetti (TSN and Rolaids AL 1986 and 1987), Jeff Shaw (TSN and Rolaids NL 1997), Tom Gordon (TSN and Rolaids AL 1998), Billy Koch (TSN and Rolaids AL 2002), Keith Foulke (TSN and Rolaids AL 2003), and J.J. Putz (Rolaids AL 1997).

*FRIEND NOW: Jose Abreu has to be ecstatic that Hendriks is his teammate.

Abreu is 0-for-8 with three RBI and four strikeouts vs. Hendriks in the regular season.

In the 2020 Wild Card Series, Abreu singled and grounded out (to end it) vs. Hendriks in Game 1.

*UH OH: Hendriks has struggled mightily at Guaranteed Rate Field.

His ERA of 9.20 is the highest of any venue where he has appeared at least 10 times.

The right-hander has given up 15 earned runs in 14.2 innings covering 10 appearances at 35th and Shields.

However, three outings resulted in a whopping 13 earned runs in 2.1 innings.

Minus those three shellackings, Hendriks totes a 1.46 ERA in his new home.

That’s the really bad news.

The not-so-bad news is that Hendriks won’t be facing the Sox, who have hung a 7.45 ERA on him in 20 appearances.

*CENTRAL ISSUES: Aside from his White Sox woes, Hendriks has struggled against A.L Central foes Cleveland (5.59 ERA in 14 appearances) and Kansas City (5.02 ERA in 24 appearances).

On the other hand, Hendriks has owned Minnesota (1.66 ERA in 13 outings) and fared well vs. Detroit (2.55 in 13 outings).

*DEBUTED VS. SOX: Hendriks made and lost his Major League debut for the Twins vs. the White Sox on Sept. 6, 2011.

The first man he faced was Juan Pierre, his first strikeout victim was A.J. Pierzynski and his first gopher ball was served up to Alex Rios.

*NUMBERS GAME: As @SoxNerd friend @WinningUgly8 points out, Hendriks can’t wear the number 16 he wore last season in Oakland because the Sox have retired it in honor of Hall-of-Fame pitcher Ted Lyons.

According to WhiteSox.com, Hendriks will wear the No. 31 he donned for the 2015 Blue Jays and for the A’s from 2016 to 2018.

Steve Cishek wore 31 for the Sox last season.

Other notables to don 31 for the Sox are Dewayne Wise (2008-2009), Jose Canseco (2001), Scott Radinsky (1990-1995), Lamarr Hoyt (1980-1984), and Hoyt Wilhelm (1963-1968).

*GOPHER BALL: Hendriks gave up as many homers to Yasmani Grandal in Game 2 of the Wild Card series as he did the entire 2020 season.

Hendriks gave up a homer on his seventh pitch of the season to a catcher hitting left-handed in Jason Castro.

He wouldn’t give up another homer until Grandal, a catcher batting lefty, went deep in the Wild Card series. Hendriks threw 349 pitches between homers.

*A’S SAVER: Hendriks led the A’s with 14 saves in 2020. The last pitcher to join the Sox after leading the A’s in saves was Billy Koch.

Koch led the 2002 A’s with 44 saves and then was dealt to the Sox with players to be named later (Neal Cotts and Daylan Holt) for Keith Foulke, Mark Johnson, Joe Valentine and cash on Dec. 3, 2002.

Koch led the 2003 Sox with 11 saves as part of a forgettable not quite two year career in Chicago.

*FAMILIAR FACE: The catcher whom Hendriks has thrown to the most? It’s Josh Phegley (78 innings (and a nifty 2.08 ERA).

*FAMILIAR FACES: Other teammates of Hendriks include Mark Buehrle, Chris Getz, Jim Thome, Bruce Chen, Sergio Santos, Melky Cabrera, Dan “He’s on the team for next year!” Johnson, James Shields, Michael Cuddyer, Yonder Alonso, Brett Lawrie, and Edwin Encarnacion

*THE ONLY: Hendriks is the only Liam to and the only Hendriks to play in the Majors

A @SOXNERD GLANCE AT BIRTHDAY BOY RICHARD DOTSON

On his birthday, here’s a @SoxNerd look at former White Sox pitcher Richard Dotson:

*Won a career-high 22 games for the 1983 A.L. West Division champion White Sox

*Right-hander finished fourth in the Cy Young voting and 20th in the MVP balloting after winning a career-best 22 games for the 1983 A.L. West champion Sox

*Tied for the American League lead with a career-best four shutouts for the 1981 White Sox

*Compiled a 25-6 record for the White Sox between the 1983 and 1984 All-Star Games

*At age 24, the right-hander became the youngest the Sox pitcher to log a 20-win season since 24-year old Reb Russell in 1913

*Struck out Mike Schmidt and Bob Brenly in two scoreless innings of relief representing the White Sox at the 1984 All-Star Game in San Francisco

*Fashioned the Sox first complete game of the 1980s on April 11, 1980 and started the franchise’s final game of the decade on Oct. 1, 1989