HAWK, THE PLAYER, ALMOST LANDED WITH WHITE SOX

UPI story from 1967 details the Hawk Harrelson saga of 1967.
A guaranteed contract for 1968 may have been enough for the offensively-challenged White Sox to win the classic American League pennant race in 1967.

Instead, the Boston Red Sox paid for part of one season and guaranteed another and made their impossible dream season a reality and captured the flag.

The White Sox, meanwhile, wound up fourth in what was the end of the “Go Go” era and their last winning season until 1972.

The player in question is Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, who announced Tuesday he was retiring as White Sox TV announcer after his 33rd season after 2018.

During the thick of the heated 1967 pennant chase, Harrelson and his potent bat suddenly became available.

The Kansas City A’s handed Hawk his walking papers on Aug. 25 after he had made “unflattering” remarks about team owner Charles O. Finley, according to press reports of the day.

Harrelson burst onto the market with a .305 average with six homers and 30 RBI in 61 games for the A’s.

No contending team probably in the history of baseball needed a bat more than manager Eddie Stanky’s 1967 White Sox.

The fact that this pitching-strong team was able to hang with the likes of the muscular Twins, Tigers and Red Sox with an offense whose leading hitters would bat .241 (Ken Berry and Don Buford) is one of the most underrated accomplishments in franchise history.

This team lacked punch, too.

While Pete Ward would lead the team with a respectable 18 homers, the Sox had no regular that had a .400 slugging percentage. Ward paced the Sox with a paltry 62 RBI.

Hawk had power as his 23 homers in 1965 demonstrated and that’s what got him to the bigs.

The White Sox were in a virtual second-place tie with Boston a half game behind Minnesota when Hawk became available.

According to an UPI story of the day, the White Sox made an offer to Harrelson for the remainder of the 1967 season. The Red Sox did the same but guaranteed 1968 so the Hawk flew to Boston and signed with the “carmines” on Aug. 28, 1967.

Harrelson only hit .200 with three homers the rest of the way but he did have some key RBIs  — particularly in a win vs. the White Sox on Sept. 1 and in the pennant clincher on the final day of the season.

The White Sox, meanwhile, continued to struggle offensively especially in the last five games when they lost out while scoring just five runs.

The White Sox, who finished three games back in fourth place, could have used Hawk to put a few on the board for them, yes?

As for 1968, Harrelson had his best year, leading the A.L. with 109 RBI for the Red Sox while the White Sox remained offensively-challenged while ending their streak of 17 consecutive winning seasons and first-division finishes.

It wouldn’t be until 1982 that Hawk would join the Sox as a broadcaster.

@SOXNERD BLOG JUNE 1: THERE GOES THE HAWK

@SoxNerd Blog for June 1: 

*HAWK TALK: Here are a few nuggets, @SoxNerd style, on Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, who announced Wednesday that 2018 will be his last season as the White Sox television announcer:

–EXTENDED FLIGHT: At 32 years (33 when it ends), Hawk is the longest-serving TV announcer in White Sox history.

He assumed that title in his 21st season of  2003 when he surpassed Hall of Famer Jack Brickhouse, who worked from 1948 to 1967.

Hawk will fall just short of Hall of Famer Bob Elson’s overall club record for broadcasting service. “The Commander” was behind the Sox mike — primarily on radio — for 35 years.

–HEY PARDS: During his career in the Sox TV booth, Hawk’s regular partners have been Don Drysdale, Tom Paciorek, Darrin Jackson and Steve Stone.

*SOX STUMPER: This is the trivia question flashed on Sox scoreboard for the team’s last home game on this date in 2014: Who is the only pitcher to appear in the postseason for both the White Sox and the Padres?

Answer below.

–PRE-HAWK: The year before Hawk landed at Comiskey Park, 1981, the Sox TV broadcasters were Harry Caray, Jimmy Piersall and Lou Brock.

–INTERIM HAWK: After serving as Sox GM in 1986, Hawk headed to New York to call Yankees games.

During his time away (1987-1989), Drysdale, Frank Messer, John Rooney, Gary Thorne and Jim Durham sat on Hawk’s perch in the Sox TV booth.

–GM HAWK: The Sox were 72-90 and finished fifth in the A.L. West in his only season as Sox GM in 1986. … In June, Hawk fired Tony LaRussa and hired Jim Fregosi as manager. … His front office acquired Bobby Bonilla from Pittsburgh in the Rule 5 Draft and then Hawk traded Bonilla to Pittsburgh for Jose DeLeon during the season. … Hawk’s best trade may have been prying Ivan Calderon away from Seattle for Scott Bradley … Hawk’s top draft pick in 1986 was Northwestern pitcher Grady Hall, who never played in the bigs. The two of Hawk’s picks who did play for the Sox were left-handed reliever Scott Radinsky and catcher Matt Merullo. … The Hawk regime signed Craig Grebeck out of a free agent tryout camp.

*SOX ALMANAC: On this date in 1937, Bill Dietrich, who was referenced by his nickname “Bullfrog” in the iconic 1983 movie “A Christmas Story,” tossed the first no-hitter by a White Sox pitcher in two seasons.

The righty whitewashed the St. Louis Browns 8-0 before an estimated crowd of 1,500 at Comiskey Park.

Dietrich walked two and struck out five in the 10th “no-no” in club history.

The Sox offense made things easy on Dietrich by scoring three times in the first.

–HAWK’S DEBUT: Harrelson’s debut as a player, which came against the Sox, has a neat link to another Sox broadcaster Ed Farmer.

Here’s an earlier Nerd blog on the subject https://soxnerd.wordpress.com/2017/04/15/the-hawk-and-ed-debut-coincidence/


–CHOOSING THE WRONG COLOR SOX: According to press reports of the day (like the United Press International piece above), the Hawk came close to joining the White Sox in 1967.

After being cut by Charlie Finley and the Kansas City A’s, Hawk chose red over white Sox in August of 1967.

The above syndicated story indicated the Hawk chose the Red Sox over the White Sox and their better short-term offer because they offered a contract for 1968.

The offensively-challenged but pitching rich White Sox probably would have won the ’67 pennant with the Hawk in their flock.

*STUMPER ANSWER: Scott Linebrink

@SOXNERD BLOG FOR MAY 31: HAPPY HOMECOMING!

@SoxNerd Blog for May 31:

*WELCOME BACK! In the wake of Tuesday’s game, here’s a look at some notable returns in White Sox history:

–CHRIS SALE, May 30: The vaunted showdown between Sale, who pitched for the Sox from 2010 to 2016, and Jose Quintana never materialized.

Greeted with a standing ovation as he took the field, Sale did get the win but he was hardly the dominant slinger he was during his time on the south side and so far this season with Boston.

Sale gave up six runs (five earned) on 10 hits with two outs walks and nine strikeouts in five innings to move to 6-2.

Sale’s saving grace was that Quintana really struggled, yielding seven runs on 10 hits in 2.2 innings.

–MARK BUEHRLE: The most popular White Sox player of his era received a no decision in his first trip to the Cell (where he is the all-time leader with 90 wins) bump as a visitor on Aug. 16, 2014 for Toronto.

Pitching for a crowd of 29,420 and against his successor as Sox ace John Danks, Buehrle went 5.1 innings and was touched for three runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and no walks.

Toronto ultimately won, 6-3.

–A.J. PIERZYNSKI: Following eight productive seasons with the Sox, Pierzynski joined Texas and made his USCF homecoming on Aug. 23, 2013.

Pierzynski, greeted overwhelmingly warmly by the 31,891 Sox partisans, was 1-for-4 with a run and an RBI in Texas’ 11-5 win.

He was 0-for-3 vs. Sale, who was tattooed for four homers, singled off Dylan Axelrod and had a sac fly RBI vs. Matt Purcey.

–JIM THOME: The affable slugger was fanned by Tony Pena as a pinch-hitter for Minnesota in his first game at USCF as a visitor on April 9, 2010 after leaving the Sox.

Thome K’d in the 10th inning of Minnesota’s 4-3 win in 11 innings.

*SOX STUMPER: Here is the trivia question submitted for display for the Sox last home game on this date in 2014: Who is the only position player to appear in the postseason for both the White Sox and the Padres?

Answer below.

More Homecoming gems … 

–FRANK THOMAS: It was the best of both worlds when “The Big Hurt” made his triumphant return to the stadium where he blossomed into one of the most dominant right-handed hitters of his era.
On May 22, 2006, the Sox all-time home run leader –resplendent in the kelly green and yellow Oakland uniform — hit two roundtrippers but the defending World Series champions prevailed 5-4.

Thomas, two jacks — the only ones he would hit as a visitor to New Comiskey Park/U.S. Cellular Field, helped the A’s build a 4-0 lead heading into the last of the fifth.

The Sox scored five unanswered runs with Pablo Ozuna driving the decider with an infield single in the ninth before 39,354 fans at 35th and Bill Veeck Drive.

–MAGGLIO ORDONEZ: After establishing himself as an offensive force for the Sox between 1998 and 2003, Ordonez returned to U.S. Cellular Field for the archrival Tigers in 2005.

Shaking off an awkward and uncomfortable leg injury in his final season with the Sox in 2004, “Maggs” had a monster series while being showered with jeers and cheers for Detroit from July 18-20, 2005.

After going 2-for-3 with a walk in his USCF visitor debut, Ordonez then collected five hits in his next seven at bats as the Tigers took two of three from the future World Series champions.


*SOX ALMANAC: A Tommy John appearance on the Guaranteed Rate Field big board recently prompted this Tweet so I’d thought feature the ageless lefty in today’s history lesson 

On this date in 1971, Tommy John outdueled Jim Palmer with a five-hitter in the White Sox 1-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles in Game 1 of a doubleheader split before 19,588 at Comiskey Park.

Ed Herrmann’s sixth inning single scored Rich McKinney with the game’s only run. John gave up five hits and one walk with strikeouts in upping his record to 3-5 in logging the first of three shutouts he would have that season.

John faced the minimum through five and got out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth by striking out Merv Rettemund with the bases loaded.

John stranded Brooks Robinson on third in the seventh and finished by retiring the final seven batters he faced.

–ROBIN VENTURA: In his second New York stop after parting company with the Sox, Ventura was 0-for-4 with an error at third for the Yankees in his New Comiskey Park homecoming.

A Memorial Day crowd of 43,781 watched the Yanks win 10-6.

–OZZIE GUILLEN: After 13 seasons with the Sox and an uncomfortable split, Guillen returned to New Comiskey Park as a visitor for the first time on April 29, 1998.

As a bench player/utilityman, Guillen flew out as a pinch-hitter for the second out in the ninth of a 16-7 Sox win.

Mike Caruso, who supplanted Ozzie as the Sox shortstop was 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI that night.

–HAROLD BAINES: The smooth-swinging lefty was 3-for-3 — all singles — in his Comiskey Park debut as a visitor on Aug. 17, 1989 for Texas.

Baines, traded to Texas 19 days earlier, had all but one of his team’s hits in Greg Hibbard’s complete game effort.

Three days later, the Sox retired Baines’ No. 3.

–LUIS APARICIO: The best fielding shortstop of his generation was 1-for-3 with a walk for Baltimore in his first game as a visitor to Comiskey Park.

The Sox won 7-0 behind Ray Herbert’s complete game.

–MINNIE MINOSO: The Cuban Comet was 0-for-4 for Cleveland in his first game at Comiskey Park after being dealt away by the Sox on May 9, 1958.
The Sox won 5-0.

*STUMPER ANSWER: Geoff Blum

@SOXNERD BLOG MAY 26: THE DOUBLE DIP

@SoxNerd Blog for May 26 …

*MORE HITS? MOREHART! If you hear the names of Ray Morehart or Gus Zernial later today, it’s probably been a good day for the White Sox.

The Sox host the Detroit Tigers in a conventional doubleheader at 4:10 p.m. today.

Morehart and  Zernial fashioned two of the great performances in doubleheaders while  donning Sox yarns.

Morehart set the Major League record with nine hits in a doubleheader in the Sox split with the Tigers at Detroit’s Navin Field on Aug. 31, 1926.

A second baseman, the Texan was 9-for-10 with three runs, two doubles and nine RBI as the Sox won the opener 19-2 before dropping the nightcap 7-6.

Batting second, Morehart was 5-for-6 in Game 1 and 4-for-4 in Game 2.

Including a hit-by-pitch in Game 1 and a walk in Game 2, Morehart reached base an amazing 11 times in 12 plate appearances as the Sox moved to 63-66.

*SOX STUMPER: Here is the trivia question flashed on the Sox scoreboard on this date in 2014 (last home game on this date prior to today): Who assembled a White Sox record 28-game hitting streak in 2004?

Answer below.

zernial

*GUS-POWERED: Zernial muscled his way into the record books by clouting four homers in the Sox season-ending doubleheader vs. the St. Louis Browns at Comiskey Park in 1951.

The burly right-handed hitter socked a two-run homer in the first game as the Sox won 4-3 and then he launched three bombs in the nightcap in the Sox 10-6 loss.

The four-homer performance was part of Zernial’s season in which he set the club record with 29 roundtrippers.

The homers would be the last the outfielder would hit for the Sox. Four games into 1951, Zernial was traded to the Philadelphia A’s as part of a three-team exchange that ultimately landed Minnie Minoso in Chicago.

*SOX ALMANAC: On this date in 1907, the White Sox topped stalling New York 8-1 win in a six-inning rain-shortened game in Chicago.

With a steady drizzle falling, New York began to stall by loading the bases after a pitching change. The Sox countered by trying to hurry the game along when Billy Sullivan waltzed home from third and was tagged out. The umpire then threatened a forfeit if the shenanigans continued.

The Sox scored two in the sixth before rain halted the game giving the good guys the victory.

*SOX DH NUGGETS: Here are a few random notes on Sox doubleheaders:

–The Sox first doubleheader was a sweep of Boston at South Side Park. The Sox capped the sweep with a 5-3 win over Cy Young in the nightcap.

–The Sox first doubleheader vs. Detroit was a split on Sept. 14, 1902 at South Side Park. The Sox took Game 2 4-1 in a game that was halted after eight innings because of darkness.

–The Sox set a still-standing big league record with 44 doubleheaders in 1943.

–The Sox Dave Philley set the American League record with 13 at bats in a doubleheader on May 30, 1950. Philley was 6-for-13 as the Sox swept the Browns in St. Louis.

–The Sox have played a doubleheader in every season except 1994, 2003 and 2006.

–The Sox have played two Opening Day doubleheaders: 1971 at Oakland (scheduled) and 1982 at Yankee Stadium (prompted by postponements).

*STUMPER ANSWER: Carlos Lee

 

 

@SOXNERD MAY 25 BLOG: HEAVY ON HISTORY

@SoxNerd Blog for May 25 …

*HISTORY LESSON: With the White Sox idle today and maintaining their perfect mark on days when they don’t play, what better time to look at the club’s history on this date.

Here is the “Reader’s Digest” version of notable Sox moments that happened on this date with full details below.

–1907: Sox raised their championship banner

–1912: Sox won in 17 innings

–1919: Sox used a triple play to beat Walter Johnson 

–1924: A steal of home helped the Sox prevail 

–1954: Sherm Lollar starred for the Sox at and behind the plate

–1979: Ross Baumgarten flirted with history for the Sox

–1992: Craig Grebeck was tough on the Cubs

–1996: Frank Thomas and Harold Baines reached milestones 

–2007: Luis Terrero!

–2008: CQ did it all for the Sox 

–2012: Jose Quintana and Long John Quinn became forever linked in Sox (Nerd) history.

*SOX STUMPER: Here is the trivia question displayed on the Sox scoreboard during the team’s last home game on this date in 2016 (it was Weather Day, mind you): Which of the following players never appeared in a game for the White Sox? A. Tim Raines; B. Josh Fogg; C. JT Snow; D. Dave Frost

*FULL DISCLOSURE: Here is a look, in detail, at some memorable moments on this date in Sox history:

–On this date in 1907,  the White Sox celebrated the raising of their 1906 World Championship banner with a 3-1 win over New York at South Side Park.
The banner raising was delayed because the original flagpole broke during a ceremony earlier in the homestand.

According to reports of the day, the ceremony was a surprise and was not greeted with the fanfare that accompanied the event where the flagstaff broke some days earlier.

The “immense banner of purple and gold” was raised by the groundskeeper and the fans loved it.

–On this date in 1912,  Ping Bodie’s single scored Harry Lord with the winning run as the White Sox edged Detroit 5-4 in 17 innings.

Frank Lange tossed 10 innings of scoreless relief for the win in what was the longest game at Comiskey Park and the fourth-longest game in club history at the time.

–On this date in 1919, the White Sox got a triple play in the top of the eighth and two runs in the bottom of the eighth to beat Washington and Walter Johnson 6-5 at Comiskey Park.

With the bases loaded in the eighth, center fielder Hap Felsch gloved a deep fly to start the triple play. Felsch got the ball in and eventually third baseman Buck Weaver and Eddie Collins recorded outs to finish off the sixth triple play in franchise history.

–On this date in 1924, Harry Hooper stole home with the go-ahead run in the eighth on the back end of a double steal in the White Sox 10-9 win at Washington.

Ray Schalk caught his 1,500th game but had to leave early after taking a foul tip off the finger.

–On this date in 1954, Sherm Lollar drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth as the White Sox stopped the Indians’ 11-game win streak with a 4-2 victory before 43,059 at Comiskey Park.

The game also featured the last stolen base Lollar would allow all year. From this date until the end of the season, Lollar would throw out the next 18 runners who try to steal.

–On this date in 1979, Ross Baumgarten carried a no-hitter into the seventh in the White Sox 6-1 win at California.

The left-hander went eight innings and yielded an unearned run before giving way to Randy Scarbery, who worked the ninth.

–On this date in 1992, Craig Grebeck went 2-for-2 with two RBI and Dan Pasqua homered in the White Sox 5-0 exhibition win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Larry Thomas started the game and tossed six shutout for the victory while collecting two hits as the Sox upped their record to 7-0-1 since their series with the Northsiders resumed in 1985.

–On this date in 1996, Frank Thomas’ 100th home run at New Comiskey Park and Harold Baines’ 1,300th career RBI helped the White Sox hold off the Brewers 9-7 before 20,585 on the Southside.

–On this date in 2007,  Joe Crede’s sacrifice fly scored Tadahito Iguchi with the winning run in the White Sox 5-4 win over Tampa Bay before 34,538 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Luis Terrero launched a 425-foot homer (which would be the longest at the park in 2007) in the fourth.

The win put the Sox a season-best four games over .500 for the last time. Over the next month, the Sox hit the skids, winning only five of their next 27 games.

–On this date in 2008, Carlos Quentin capped his two-homer game with a walkoff shot leading off the ninth in the White Sox 3-2 win over the Angels before 36,195 at U.S. Cellular Field. Quentin’s two-run homer gave the Sox the lead in the third.

–On this date in 2012, Jose Quintana earned his first big league win in his first big league start in the White Sox 9-3 victory over Cleveland before 21,371 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Quintana became the first Colombian to win a game for the Sox and the first pitcher with a ‘Q’ last name to win a game for the Sox since Jack Quinn won at Philadelphia on Aug. 24, 1918.

*STUMPER ANSWER: JT Snow

@SOXNERD BLOG MAY 24: THE CENTURY MARK!

Link to Abreu’s 100th homer: http://m.mlb.com/video/v1422239183/cwsari-abreu-belts-his-100th-career-homer/?game_pk=490772
@SoxNerd Blog for May 24 …

 *100 HOMERS: Here are a few nuggets … @SoxNerd style … on Jose Abreu’s 100th homer, which came on Tuesday night in Arizona.

–Jose Abreu became the 22nd player to hit 100 home runs for the White Sox.

–Abreu reached the milestone in his 501st game with the club. Only Jim Thome (389), Jermaine Dye (421), Carlos Quentin (427) and Ron Kittle (438) reached 100 Sox homers in fewer games than Abreu.

–The first player to hit 100 home runs for the White Sox was Minnie Minoso on Sept. 23, 1957

–Abreu is the first player to hit his 100th homer for the Sox since Alexei Ramirez accomplished the feat on May 9, 2015 off the Reds’ Johnny Cueto in an interleague game at U.S. Cellular Field.

*SOX STUMPER: Here is the trivia question I flashed on the Sox scoreboard during the franchise’s last home game on this date in 2015: Who was the only right-handed pitcher to lead the White Sox in victories between 1970 and 1981?

Answer below.

*MORE 100: Even more nuggets on Abreu’s milestone …

–Ray Durham used the most games (1,118) to get to 100 Sox home runs

–Abreu is the third player to hit his 100th Sox homer in an interleague game. The others: Carlos Lee at the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 8, 2003 and Ramirez.

–FYI: It took Frank Thomas 505 games to hit his 100th Sox homer (Aug. 31, 1993 vs. Sterling Hitchcock at Yankee Stadium

*TWINBILL TALES: The Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis, N.C., doubleheader today and the Sox two on Friday brings me back to a twinbill that took place 22 years ago today.

On May 24, 1995, the White Sox and Rangers split a doubleheader that totaled a record 7 hours and 39 minutes before 19,368 at Comiskey Park.

The Sox won the first game 10-8 on the strength of a five-run eighth which saw the go-ahead and eventual winning run cross on a bases loaded walk to John Kruk, who was making his White Sox debut.

The Sox dropped the second game 13-6.

The doubleheader featured a combined 49 hits and a big league record tying 32 walks.

At one point during the marathon, White Sox broadcaster Ed Farmer said, “For those of you who have been with us the whole time, God bless you.”


*NEIGHBORS TO THE NORTH: Last night, Mrs. @SoxNerd and I took in the Milwaukee Brewers’ 4-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Miller Park in Milwaukee.

Yes, we are baseball addicts BUT WE FREELY ADMIT IT!

Living in Kenosha, Wis., I know it is easy for me to say this but a trip to that venue is a must.

We paid $6 for our tickets using the Seat Geek ap, parked on the street and utilized a shuttle to the game.

The whole night cost us $30 tops if you factor in the meal at the bar and gas.

Put it on your (scheduling) board!

*SOX ALAMANC: On this date in 1967, Tommy McCraw hit three homers and tied a club record with eight RBI in a 14-1 win at Minnesota.

The first baseman hit a two-run homer in the fourth, a three-run shot in the seventh and another three-run bomb in the ninth.

McCraw’s eight RBIs tied Carl Reynolds’ Sox record first set on July 2, 1930. McCraw’s three homers also tied a Sox record for a nine-inning game.

*STUMPER ANSWER: Steve Stone

 

 

 

@SOXNERD BLOG MAY 23: ON THE CUSP OF 100

@SoxNerd Blog for May 23 …

*CLOSING IN ON 100: Jose Abreu enters tonight’s game in Arizona sitting on 99 White Sox home runs.

Assuming he starts, the Cuban strongman will be playing in his 501st game with the franchise.

Abreu is on the verge of reaching the milestone in fewer games than just four players in club history: Jim Thome (389 games), Jermaine Dye (421 games), Carlos Quentin (427 games) and Ron Kittle (438 games).

*SOX STUMPER: Here is the trivia question flashed on the Sox scoreboard for the team’s last home game on this date in 2016: Who is the only player to amass a 200-hit season for the White Sox and Indians?

Answer below.

*MORE HOMERS: A few homerless games will put Abreu with Frank Thomas, who hit his 100th White Sox homer in his 505th game.

Others in this vicinity are Jose Valentin at 519 games and Bill Melton 546 games.

*SOX ALMANAC: On this date in 2000, Brook Fordyce, Jose Valentin and Ray Durham launched home runs off Roger Clemens as the White Sox ripped the New York Yankees 8-2 before 21,863 at Comiskey Park.
Fordyce, making his 2000 debut after suffering a broken foot in spring training, untied a 2-2 game in the fourth with a three-run homer off Clemens.

Kip Wells, summoned from Triple-A Charlotte earlier in the day, fanned a career-high seven while allowing two runs in 6.2 innings for the win.

*STUMPER ANSWER: Joe Jackson 

White Sox nuggets