COUNTDOWN TO WHITE SOX OPENING DAY: 26 DAYS

26 days until Opening Day, White Sox fans!

The White Sox used pick No. 26 of the 2016 draft to select right-handed pitcher Zack Burdi out of Louisville.

Burdi, a reliever who touches 100 mph, fanned 51 batters in 38 innings at four stops in the Sox system in 2016. He is in camp with the big league and pitching in Cactus League games.

A Downers Grove, Ill., native, Burdi talks about being a Sox fan and his career on the latest White Sox Talk podcast at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/white-sox-talk-podcast/id1162163703?mt=2&i=382297082

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NANCY FAUST: THE FIRST LADY OF SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT

The SoxNerd, Nancy and the SoxNerd’s daughter, Katie, on Nancy’s last day with the Sox in 2010.

One of the most familiar faces in White Sox history belongs to a woman.

On International Women’s Day, I salute the legendary Nancy Faust.

Nancy entertained Sox fans as the Comiskey Park/New Comiskey Park/U.S. Cellular Field organist from 1970 to 2010.

When she was honored at Comiskey Park one time, Sox executive Howard Pizer called Nancy the “Babe Ruth of stadium organists.”

That is underselling Nancy.

There were other power hitters and other baseball superstars and other personalities who would transform their sports or the culture.

There will never be another Nancy Faust.

Aside from being an amazing musician (she literally could play complicated songs on demand), Nancy had a great ear for the game and the fans.

This is how she integrated “Na Na, Hey, Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” into Sox games. That riff has become a standard at events now. Last night, I heard it at a Marquette women’s basketball game.

Based on that alone, Nancy should be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Not featured in an exhibit but honored with a plaque with an induction ceremony with a speech, which should be, of course, from behind an organ.

Nancy was more than an organist, though, to those she touched.

Her reputation as nice, kind, friendly, sincere and interested in you are all 100 percent true.

When you stopped by to see Nancy during a game and she was happy to see you, she was, in fact, happy to see you. There was nothing phony about her.

I should know because I worked with Nancy every day I was at Comiskey Park/New Comiskey Park/U.S. Cellular Field from 1984 to 2010.

In addition to getting an inside look at her genius (the singing along I heard on headsets was great!), she became a great friend to our family. This happened hundreds of times over during her career, I am sure.

She was at our wedding, we exchange Christmas cards and emails and she is genuinely thrilled for all the great things that are happening in our lives. We exchanged emails on the day of our daughter’s wedding.

When she retired in 2010, she mentioned that coming to work at the Cell was not work but being part of a family.

The presence of Nancy Faust was a major reason why that was true.

OTHERS

The Sox have a long history of giving women opportunity.

Mary Shane was hired by Bill Veeck as the first female play-by-play broadcaster in 1976.

Christine O’Reilly-Riordan gave me my start with the Sox in 1984 and she is still with the organization as a vice-president. She gave my name to Liz Burke, who was running the scoreboard, and I was off and running.

Other managers I have come into contact include Bean O’Malley, Nichole Manning and Amy Gullick Sheridan.

On gameday, the Sox scoreboard room features the likes of Laura Marran, Melanie Ramsey Murphy, Meghan Gleason-Vollmer, Jen McMahon, Bianca Alfreres, Lori Moreland, Kedonica Taylor, Kendra Dinkins and Pam Johnson all immersed in production.

Nancy with Mrs. SoxNerd, far right, and two pals at Comiskey Park in 1986.

ON THIS DATE IN 1993: BO DOESN’T KNOW 1ST BASE


Twenty-four years ago today, the White Sox gave Bo Jackson a look-see at first base in a 6-2 Grapefruit League loss to the Texas Rangers in Port Charlotte, Fla.

Three quick errors may have showed the Sox that the Jackson (@BoJackson) was not cut out for first base.

“I knew I stunk out there but I was having fun,” Jackson said in the Chicago Tribune. “I was lucky to get out of there with three errors.”

Bo never played a regular season game at first base in his eight-year big league career.

COUNTDOWN TO WHITE SOX OPENING DAY: 28 DAYS

28 days to Opening Day, White Sox fans!

The great Wilbur Wood wore 28 while tantalizing the American League with his knuckler for the White Sox from 1967 to 1978.

You could argue Wood’s 28 is a good candidate for retirement by the Sox because …

*he won 163 games with a 3.18 ERA in 578 games (286 starts) while playing for mostly sub-.500 Sox teams

*he was durable as both a reliever leading the A.L. in appearances in 1968, 1969 and 1970 AND starts from 1972 to 1975

*he set a still-standing Sox record with 88 appearances in 1968

*he won at least 20 games in each season between 1971 and 1974

*he was a three-time A.L. All-Star

*he finished third, second and fifth, respectively, in the Cy Young voting from 1971 to 1973

There is more but the fact that “Woody” is one of the most popular players in franchise history can’t be overlooked either.

Photo: http://www.si.com/vault/issue/43315/28/2

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