COUNTDOWN TO WHITE SOX OPENING DAY: 73 DAYS

73 days to Opening Day, White Sox fans!

Chet Lemon is the only player in White Sox history with exactly 73 home runs.

Here are some Lemon drops on the homers he hit with the Sox … @soxnerd style:

*Lemon hit the 5,000th home run in Sox history on Sept. 2, 1981 off the Tigers Jerry Ujdur at Comiskey Park

*Lemon’s 450-foot blast on May 4, 1977 was the first home run to land in the fountains in Kansas City’s Kaufman Stadium in a 6-3 Sox win. … The Sox Matt Davidson celebrated the 40th anniversary of that homer with a 483-foot shot of his own into the drink.

*Lemon’s first homer was a two-run shot off Frank Tanana on May 17, 1976 that pulled the Sox to within 10-2 in a 10-5 loss to the Angels before 4,567 at Comiskey Park. … Bill Stein was on base in the eighth inning

*The homer was the first of a personal-best six he would club off Tanana

*Lemon hit 40 homers at Comiskey Park (tied with Jorge Orta for 18th all-time. … 37 of those dingers came with the Sox.

*Lemon’s first home run at Comiskey Park not in a Sox uniform was the only one hit by the Tigers in Jack Morris’ no-hitter on April 7, 1984 at Comiskey Park

*Lemon’s second career homer was his only game-starting shot. On July 15, 1976, leadoff man Lemon sent Jim Slaton’s second pitch into the seats in a 5-3 win over Milwaukee in 10 innings before 13,982 at Comiskey Park

*Lemon hit 71 of his Sox homers as a center fielder and two as a designated hitter.

*Lemon’s 19 homers were the fifth-highest output by a Sox centerfielder at the time (still ranks seventh)

*Lemon’s last Sox home run came on Oct. 2, 1981 off Pete Redfern in a 3-2 loss to the Twins at Comiskey Park

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COUNTDOWN TO WHITE SOX OPENING DAY: 81 DAYS

81 days to Opening Day, White Sox fans!

Win No. 81 of Mark Buehrle’s career was an eventful one and … ONE THAT THE @SOXNERD FAMILY WITNESSED.

On Aug. 1, 2005 the left-hander got the win but saw an impressive streak come to an end.

On an unbearably hot and humid day in Baltimore, Buehrle and the first-place Sox beat the Orioles 6-3 before 47,823 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Buehrle’s streak of going at least six innings was halted at 49 when he was inexplicably tossed without warning by plate ump Brian Gorman with two outs in the sixth.

The streak was the longest since Steve Carlton went 69 straight for the Phillies from 1979 to 1982.

Buehrle got the gate for the first time in his career after he plunked B.J. Surhoff with Sammy Sosa (THE TYING RUN) on first base.

The HBP was the latest in a series of plunkings in the four-game set.

Hawk Harrelson was not pleased.

“Oh, come on. What are you doing?” Hawk said on the telecast as reported in the next day’s Tribune. “You’ve got to be kidding me. What are you doing Brian Gorman? Are you nuts?

“Are you nuts? You have got to be. . . . “That is total BS.

“They drill [Tadahito] Iguchi last night … [A.J.] Pierzynski gets drilled . . . aw, I’ll tell you. That is absolutely BS from a veteran umpire.

“I’ll tell you. Some of these umpires have no clue, absolutely no clue. And evidently, he’s one of them. . . .

“The only guy who doesn’t know what’s going on is the guy behind the plate.

“That is so bad. For a veteran umpire . . . that’s so much BS, it’s unbelievable.

“(Buehrle’s 49-game streak of pitching through six innings) was ended by an inept call possibly by an inept umpire.”

By the way, Joe West was the third base ump that day. He would deliver Buehrle his second ejection five years later over a balk call in Cleveland.

Other highlights from that game …

*Prior to the game, the Orioles learned Rafael Palmeiro was suspended for steroids.

*Buehrle improved to 12-4.

*The win completed a four-game sweep, the Sox first in Baltimore in 1954.

COUNTDOWN TO WHITE SOX OPENING DAY: 84 DAYS

84 days to Opening Day, White Sox fans!

Greg Luzinski is the only player to hit exactly 84 home runs.

“The Bull” is currently 29th in team history in homers. When he retired after the ‘84 season, he was seventh behind Melton, Minoso, Lollar, Ward, Allen and May.

Here are some more nuggets on Luzinski … @soxnerd style!

*A product of Notre Dame High School in Niles, Ill., Luzinski was the DH muscle in the White Sox lineup between 1981 and 1984, hitting .265 with 84 home runs and 317 RBI

*After being acquired from the Phillies, Luzinski led the 1981 White Sox with 55 runs, 21 homers and 62 RBI

*Luzinski hit .255 with 32 homers and 95 RBI for the “Winning Ugly” 1983 American League West Division champion White Sox

*Luzinski set a White Sox record for designated hitters with 32 homers and 103 RBI (since broken) for the 1983 A.L. West champions in earning a spot as the DH on The Sporting News’ 1983 All-Star team

*Luzinski landed four home runs on the Comiskey Park roof for the White Sox in 1983 and 1984

*Luzinski tied a big league record by hitting grand slams in consecutive games for the White Sox on June 8-9, 1984 at Comiskey Park

ALL ABOUT A.J.!

In honor of his 42nd birthday, here’s a look at A.J. Pierzynski … @SoxNerd style:

*Signed by the White Sox on Jan. 6, 2005

*First White Sox hit was a seventh inning single off the Indians’ Jake Westbrook on Opening Day 2005

*First White Sox home run was a second inning solo shot off the Indians Cliff Lee on April 7, 2005 at U.S. Cellular Field

*Launched his first game-ending homer, a two-run shot off Yhency Brazoban, in a 5-3 win over the Dodgers at U.S. Cellular Field on June 18, 2005 (wearing the ’59 throwbacks)

*Led American League catchers with a .999 fielding percentage for the 2005 White Sox

*The driving force behind making Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” the battle cry for the 2005 World Series champion White Sox

*Set A.L. record for catchers by handling 962 consecutive chances without an error from April 18 to May 19, 2005

*Hit .262 with three homers and nine RBI in 12 postseason game for the 2005 World Champion White Sox

*Hit .444 (4-for-9) with two homers and four RBI in White Sox three game sweep of Boston the 2005 AL Division Series

*Clubbed two of the White Sox postseason-record tying five homers in a 14-2 win over Boston in Game 1 of the 2005 A.L. Division Series Oct. 4, 2005 at U.S. Cellular Field

*Reached first base on a dropped third strike to ignite the White Sox game-winning rally in Game 2 of the 2005 A.L. Championship Series against the Angels on Oct. 12, 2005 at U.S. Cellular Field

*Homered in the fourth inning of the White Sox 8-2 win over the Angels in Game 4 of the 2005 A.L. Championship Series (Oct. 15, 2005) at Anaheim

*Hit .267 (4-for-15), 0 HR, 3 RBI in the White Sox sweep of Houston in the 2005 World Series

*Hit safely in each of the White Sox four 2005 World Series games in the sweep of Houston

*Two-run double in the fifth capped a five-run fifth inning in the White Sox 7-5 win in Game 3 of the 2005 World Series at Houston on Oct. 25, 2005

*Won the Monster.com A.L. All-Star Final Vote for the 2006 All-Star Game in Pittsburgh (did not play)

*Hit game-winning three-run homer off Ryan Dempster with two outs in the ninth inning vs. Cubs on July 1, 2006 at Wrigley Field

*Went 5-for-5 with a homer and four RBI at Baltimore on July 29, 2006

*Connected for walkoff homer, a two-run shot, vs. Cleveland on Sept. 8, 2006 at U.S. Cellular Field

*Forced in the game-ending run after getting hit by a pitch on April 5, 2007 vs. Cleveland at U.S. Cellular Field

*Caught Mark Buehrle’s no-hitter on April 18, 2007 against Texas at U.S. Cellular Field

*Hit a grand slam at Wrigley Field on May 20, 2007

*Delivered walkoff single vs. the Twins on Sept. 7, 2007 at U.S. Cellular Field

*Capped multi-homer effort with his third career walkoff homer on July 2, 2008 vs. Cleveland

*Recorded White Sox first two-RBI sacrifice fly since 8-19-83 on July 8, 2008 at Kansas City

*Tagged out Michael Cuddyer to complete a double play and end the fifth in keeping the game scoreless in the White Sox 1-0 win over the Twins in the A.L. Central clinching “Black Out” game on Sept. 30, 2008 at U.S. Cellular Field

*Hit .385 (5-for-13) with a double and an RBI for the White Sox in the 2008 A.L. Division Series vs. the Rays

*Set White Sox record for catchers with 150 hits in 2008 and 2009

*Set White Sox record catchers with a .300 average in 2009

*Clubbed his 100th home run on April 29, 2009 vs. Seattle

*Delivered walkoff double in the 13th inning on Sept. 9, 2009 vs Oakland

*Silver Slugger Award winner at catcher for the 2012 White Sox

*Caught at least 1,000 innings in each of his eight seasons with the White Sox

*Hit a career-best 27 homers for the 2012 White Sox

*Caught Philip Humber’s perfect game on April 21, 2012 at Seattle

*Led American League catchers with 26 homers for the 2012 White Sox

*Ranks third in White Sox history behind Ray Schalk (15) and Sherm Lollar (9) with eight Opening Day starts at catcher

*Went 5-for-5 with a double and three RBI vs. Detroit on May 15, 2012

*Launched his 100th homer as a member of the White Sox on June 3, 2012 vs. Seattle at U.S. Cellular Field

*Celebrated his 1,000th game with the White Sox with a multi-homer game on June 29, 2012 vs. Yankees at New York

*Tied a White Sox record by homering in a career-best five consecutive games from July 30 to Aug. 5, 2012

*Caught 1,025 games with the White Sox and made just one trip to the disabled list

HAPPY 50TH SHINGO!

Shingo Takatsu had a super rookie year for the 2004 Sox (Picture: https://goo.gl/images/dcWLg3)

In honor of his 50th birthday Sunday, here’s a look at former White Sox reliever Shingo Takatsu … @SoxNerd style!

*BIO: The native of Hiroshima was signed by the White Sox at age 35 on Jan. 22, 2004 after 13 seasons with the Yakult Swallows of the Japanese Central League

*IN JAPAN: With the Swallows, the sub-marining right-hander saved at least 29 games in each year between 1999 and 2003.

*THE LEGEND: Takatsu was part of four Japanese League titles and earned the nickname “Mr. Zero” because he was unscored upon in 10 championship series games in his career.

*BIG ‘04: Takatsu emerged as the Sox closer and a fan favorite in 2004 when he used his Frisbee-style breaking pitch to log 19 saves a 2.31 ERA in 59 outings.

Shingo, who joins Pete Appleton (1940) and Dave Stieb (1993) as the only pitchers to wear 10 for the Sox, topped big league rookies with 19 saves in 2004

*BALLOT BOX: Takatsu finished second to Oakland’s Bobby Crosby in the 2003 American League Rookie of the Year voting.

Shingo got one first-place vote to rob Crosby of a unanimous win. Crosby had 138 points while Takatsu had 44.

Shingo and Ross Gload were the first Sox to get votes in the A.L. Rookie of the Year voting since reliever Kelly Wunsch took fifth in 2000.

Takatsu was the first Sox pitcher to earn runnerup honors in the A.L. Rookie of the Year voting since James Baldwin in 1995.

The only pitcher to win the award for the Sox was Gary Peters in 1963.

*SOX LISTS: Shingo’s 19 saves were the second best output by a Sox rookie (behind Salome Barojas’ 21 in 1982) at the time … Takatsu is third on that list now after Addison Reed saved a club rookie record 29 games in 2012

*A FIRST: Takatsu became the first native of Japan to appear in a game when he made his big league debut on April 9, 2004 at Yankee Stadium

*DEBUT: Shingo made Derek Jeter his first strikeout victim in his debut but it took him a while to get there.

Shingo gave up a double to the first batter he ever faced fellow Japanese native Hideki Matsui.

Takatsu then yielded a homer to Bubba Crosby before getting back-to-back pop outs to second.

Following a walk to Kenny Lofton, Shingo got Jeter looking to end the Sox 9-3 victory.

*FIRST WIN: A walkoff sac fly by Joe Crede got Takatsu his first big league win.

On May Day 2004, Takatsu pitched a perfect 10th before Crede’s sac fly plated Magglio Ordonez hand Takatsu the W in a 4-3 victory over Toronto.

*FIRST SAVE: Shingo’s first save came in a 10-8 win over Atlanta on June 12, 2004 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Takatsu fashioned a clean ninth in notching the Sox first ever save against the Braves.

Shingo was nearly perfect as the Sox closer in 2004

*NEARLY PERFECT: Shingo converted all but one of his 20 save chances in 2004.

After securing nine consecutive saves, Takatsu blew one by giving up a three-run homer to Matt Lawton in the ninth inning of the Sox 6-5 loss to Cleveland on Aug. 7, 2004 at U.S. Cellular Field.

*THE END: Shingo began the Sox 2005 World Series campaign as the team’s closer.

He tossed a perfect ninth to preserve the first of the White Sox 99 wins in a 1-0 victory over Cleveland on Opening Day 2005

The magic did not last in the magical 2005 season.

When Shingo faltered early in 2005, Dustin Hermanson stepped in as the closer. When Hermanson was hobbled, Bobby Jenks took over and the rest, as they say, was history.

After 31 outings, eight saves (which wound up second on the Sox to Hermanson’s 34) and a whopping 5.97 ERA, the Sox released Takatsu.

*AFTER SOX: Shingo pitched in nine games for the Mets in 2005 but after that he never played in the bigs again.

He returned to Japan for 2006 and 2007 before closing out his career with a season in Korea in 2008 and at Triple-A Fresno in 2009.

Takatsu embarked on a coaching career in Japan following his playing days

JOE MAUER AND THE SOX!

Joe Mauer, the first batter Michael Kopech ever faced and one of the greatest Minnesota Twins ever, has retired.

I’m sure I speak for White Sox fans everywhere when I say (with nothing but respect) … GOOD! YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE THIS YEARS AGO!

With that out of my system, here’s a look at Mauer … @soxnerd style!

*WELCOME TO THE WORLD: Mauer was born early (April 19) in the White Sox “Winning Ugly” campaign of 1983. … On that day, Greg Luzinski hit two homers and drove in five the Sox 13-5 win over the Yankees at Comiskey Park.

*HE’S NO. 1: The Twins made Mauer the top overall pick of the 2001 draft. … The Sox first round pick that year was high school pitcher Kris Honel, who never played in the bigs. The only Sox draftees that year who played for the team were Chris Stewart, Charlie Haeger and Andy Gonzalez

*CAREER VS. SOX: Mauer hit .298 with a .384 on-base percentage and a .438 slugging percentage in 212 games vs. the White Sox. … His top home run victims were the Sox and Tigers (18).

*DEBUT VS. SOX: Mauer singled off Mark Buehrle in his first at bat against the Sox in a 6-2 Sox win at the Metrodome on June 29, 2004. … Mauer batted eighth and also doubled off Shingo Takatsu in the 2 hour and 4 minute affair (this corrects a tweet I sent earlier)

*GOIN’ DEEP: The next day, Mauer connected for his first homer vs. the Sox (a solo shot off Freddy Garcia in the third inning) in the Sox 9-6 win at the Metrodome. … Mauer added a homer off Shingo in the ninth for the first of his four multi-homer games

*SHINGO WAS HIS FAVORITE-O: Mauer probably mourned the day the Sox dumped Shingo. … In three at bats against the Frisbee thrower, Mauer homered twice and doubled.

*VISITOR: Mauer hit .297 with nine home runs and 47 RBI in 101 games at U.S. Cellular Field/Guaranteed Rate Field.

*TWO CAREERS: Mauer was a force at USCF/GRF from 2005 to 2013 before finishing with a fizzle on the Southside. … In his first nine years there, Mauer hit at least .278 in each season while compiling a maddening .351 average in that span. He closed out his career by batting just .195 from 2014 to 2018.

*IN CHI-TOWN: Mauer’s best season at was 2010 when he hit an eye-popping .531 in nine games in 2010. … Mauer’s worst season at USCF/GRF was in 2016 when he was hitless in 16 at bats in five games.

*CHICAGO DEBUT: Mauer drew a first-inning walk off Jose Contreras in his debut in Chicago in the Sox 5-4 win on April 18, 2005 at U.S. Cellular Field. … Mauer collected his first Chicago hit (a bunt single in third off Contreras) and his first Chicago homer (a solo shot in the ninth off Shingo) later in the game

*MORE CHICAGO: Mauer hit .458 (11-for-24) with two homers and 12 RBI in six games (five starts) at Wrigley Field.

*CHICAGO FINALE: There was a huge buzz around Mauer’s final game in Chicago only it wasn’t sparked by Mauer.

On Aug. 22, 2018, the same day as Kopech, the Sox top pitching prospect, made his big league debut, Mauer made the last of his 101 appearances at U.S. Cellular Field/Guaranteed Rate Field.

Mauer was the first batter Kopech ever faced and he singled. Kopech got his revenge in the next inning when he fanned Mauer to end the frame with runners on first and second.

Mauer finished the game 2-for-4 with a run, a walk (intentional) and a strikeout in the Twins 5-2 win before 23,133 on a rainy night on the Southside.

*FIRST AT FIRST: Conceding to concussions from many years at catcher, Mauer made his big league debut at first base in his 864th big league game in the Twins 6-2 win over the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

It didn’t take long for Mauer to get into the action at first base.

On his second play, Mauer speared an Omar Vizquel liner and doubled off Juan Pierre for an unassisted double play.

*LAST AT CATCHER: Aside from his final game, the last time Mauer played catcher against the White Sox was on Aug. 16, 2013.

Before 28,834 at Target Field, Mauer was 3-for-4 with a first inning homer off Jose Quintana in the White Sox 5-2 victory.

The last Sox runner to steal a base on Mauer was Jordan Danks on Aug. 15, 2013 at Target Field. The last Sox runner to get caught stealing by Mauer was Tyler Flowers on April 20, 2013 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

*BLACK OUT: Mauer was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the White Sox 1-0 win in the American League Central Division tiebreaker (aka “The Blackout”) game on Sept. 30, 2008 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Batting third, Mauer struck out twice and bunted into an out against John Danks.

There is no way anyone could see Mauer flopping in that performance.

After all, Mauer was 7-for-10 with an RBI and two walks vs. Danks in their four previous meetings. In addition, Mauer was hitting .370 at U.S. Cellular Field heading into the game.

*LOVED TO FACE: Some pitchers with Sox ties that Mauer loved to face were Danks (.381 in 63 at bats), Gavin Floyd (.396, 3 HR in 48 ABs), Jose Quintana (.340, 2 HR in 47 ABs), Jake Peavy (.314 in 35 ABs), Garcia (.441, 2 HR in 34 ABs), Matt Thornton (.303 in 33 ABs), Hector Santiago (.333 in 21 ABs), Contreras (333 in 21 ABs), Dylan Axelrod (.556, HR in 9 ABs), Joakim Soria (.500 in 18 ABs), Philip Humber (.500 in 8 ABs), El Duque (.429 in 7 ABs), Carlos Rodon (.400 in 10 ABs), Bartolo Colon (.333 in 9 ABs).

*THE END: Mauer played what turned out to be the final game of his career on Sept. 30 vs. the White Sox at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Mauer started the game at first base and then moved behind the plate for the ninth before being removed for an emotional sendoff.

You wonder if Mauer had second thoughts about retiring.

He closed his career with a nine-game hitting streak, including five multi-hit contests. In his final five games against the White Sox, Mauer hit safely in all of them while compiling a .409 average.

WHITE SOX NUGGET A DAY — RYAN CORDELL

Ryan Cordell and Lee Elia are forever linked in White Sox history (@SoxNerd photo)

The latest in my one-nugget-a-day look back at the 2018 White Sox …

TODAY: RYAN CORDELL

When Ryan Cordell homered on Sept. 14 at Baltimore, he became the first White Sox player to go deep wearing the No. 49 since Lee Elia on July 2, 1966 vs. Boston at Comiskey Park. … TAKE THIS NUGGET DOWNTOWN AND PRINT IT!

More Cordell nuggets …

*He was the first position player since Bob Melvin in 1994 to wear No. 49 for the Sox

*Cordell was the 641st player in Sox history to homer

*Cordell’s blast traveled 419 feet with an exit velocity of 107 mph

*Cordell made his big league debut as a pinch-runner and scored the winning run on a Matt Davidson’s walkoff home run in the White Sox 4-2 victory over Detroit on Sept. 3. He was the first Sox player to score a run on a walkoff hit in his debut since Lorenzo Gray (on a Jerry Hairston homer) on July 18, 1982 (Thank you @ckamka)