THE HAWK AND ED DEBUT COINCIDENCE

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I had Hawk sign this card of young Hawk at Comiskey Park in the mid-1980s.

“Hawk” Harrelson referenced his Major League debut during Friday night’s White Sox-Twins telecast.

Hawk made his big league debut on June 9, 1963 for the Kansas City Athletics and was whiffed by Juan Pizarro for the second-to-last out in the White Sox 4-3 win before 14,289 at Comiskey Park.

Exactly eight years later, the White Sox lost to the Indians 3-1 in Cleveland with Ed Farmer earning the save in his big league debut for the Indians.

After uncorking a wild pitch, the 21-year old Farmer nailed down the win for Cleveland by fanning Tom Egan, the only man he faced, with a run in and men on second and third.

Cleveland’s starting left fielder in that game? Ken Harrelson!

Hawk, though, wasn’t on the field when Farmer saved the day for the Tribe. Following three hitless at bats, Harrelson was replaced by Ted Uhlaender, who finished out the game.

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THROWBACK THURSDAY: MEMORIES COME FLOODING BACK!

25 years ago today I was sporting this badge when the White Sox posted their first win in a home opener in their new home and … the Loop flooded.

It was an absolutely miserable day in Chicago on April 13, 1992. The biting cold was outdone only by annoying mist and a pestering wind.

About five miles to the south as the White Sox were preparing to host Seattle in New Comiskey Park’s second curtain-raiser, Chicago’s historic Loop was flooding.

The glee that usually accompanied the Sox opener gave way to the barrage of news reports of water pouring into iconic buildings such as the Merchandise Mart.

While I don’t recall any serious talk of postponing the game, this South Side opener would be different because Mayor Richard Daly would not be attending.

I remember seeing Daly on the news that morning and thinking a small part of his aggravation had to be over this crises getting in the way of the time-honored Bridgeport tradition of the Sox opener.

“I wait all winter … This couldn’t have happened yesterday or tomorrow?,” I imagined the hard-hatted Daly muttering to himself ankle deep in Loop flood water that day.

Richie missed a good one.

The Sox prevailed 1-0 thanks to a third-inning RBI triple with two outs from Frank Thomas, which scored Robin Ventura, who had walked with two outs.

42,290 soggy fans then watched starter Greg Hibbard protect the lead — which began resulted in Gene Lamont’s first home win as Sox skipper — through eight innings. The crafty lefty handed the ball to a fading Bobby Thigpen, who got through the ninth for what I believe was the last significant save of his career.

For the record, the 1992 Sox went on to finish 86-76, which was a disappointment but not as disappointing as the $1 billion final price tag on the Loop flood!

THROWBACK THURSDAY: MEMORIES COME FLOODING BACK!

25 years ago today I was sporting this badge when the White Sox posted their first win in a home opener in their new home and … the Loop flooded.

It was an absolutely miserable day in Chicago on April 13, 1992. The biting cold was outdone only by annoying mist and a pestering wind.

About five miles to the south as the White Sox were preparing to host Seattle in New Comiskey Park’s second curtain-raiser, Chicago’s historic Loop was flooding.

The glee that usually accompanied the Sox opener gave way to the barrage of news reports of water pouring into iconic buildings such as the Merchandise Mart.

While I don’t recall any serious talk of postponing the game, this South Side opener would be different because Mayor Richard Daly would not be attending.

I remember seeing Daly on the news that morning and thinking a small part of his aggravation had to be over this crises getting in the way of the time-honored Bridgeport tradition of the Sox opener.

“I wait all winter … This couldn’t have happened yesterday or tomorrow?,” I imagined the hard-hatted Daly muttering to himself ankle deep in Loop flood water that day.

Richie missed a good one.

The Sox prevailed 1-0 thanks to a third-inning RBI triple with two outs from Frank Thomas, which scored Robin Ventura, who had walked with two outs.

42,290 soggy fans then watched starter Greg Hibbard protect the lead — which began resulted in Gene Lamont’s first home win as Sox skipper — through eight innings. The crafty lefty handed the ball to a fading Bobby Thigpen, who got through the ninth for what I believe was the last significant save of his career.

For the record, the 1992 Sox went on to finish 86-76, which was a disappointment but not as disappointing as the $1 billion final price tag on the Loop flood!

@SOXNERD NOTES: SHIELDS INTENTIONALLY WALKS INTO SOX HISTORY

SHIELDS

A few Tuesday White Sox notes … @SoxNerd style!

*“HISTORY:” Let it be known that James Shields “issued” the first “pitch-less” intentional walk in White Sox history.

On Monday, the Indians’ Francisco Lindor was awarded first base with Shields on the mound in the sixth inning for an international walk, which are going without pitches beginning this season.

For the record, David Robertson issued the last traditional intentional walk in Sox history on Aug. 10, 2016 to the Royals Alcides Escobar in Kansas City.

*MATT UPDATE: Matt Davidson doubled on Monday to boost his White Sox career average to .400 (4-for-10).

Only Terry Forster — yes, David Letterman’s “Big Tub o’ Goo” — has a higher White Sox career average with more at bats than Davidson.

Forster, a fireballing left-handed reliever, hit .480 (12-for-25) for the Sox from 1971 to 1976.

*MORE MATT: Davidson’s 442-foot homer on April 6 at Guaranteed Rate Field was the longest by a White Sox player in April since Carlos Quentin’s 444-foot shot on April 16, 2011 vs. Anaheim at U.S. Cellular Field.

*CLEVELAND ROCKS! Don’t call Cleveland the “mistake by the lake” to Derek Holland.

The left-hander starts for the White Sox tonight in Cleveland sporting a sterling record in Progressive Field.

An Ohio native, Holland is 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA in four starts in Cleveland.

Holland gave a good indicator that he would be great in this park with a five-hit shutout on June 4, 2011 in his debut there.

Overall, the  30-year-old is 5-1 with a 2.60 ERA in nine starts against the Tribe. Holland certainly didn’t make the Indians’ road to the 2016 World Series any easier. He was 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in two starts against Terry Francona’s crew last season.

*CENTRAL POWER: Holland has dominated the winners of the last six A.L. Central titles, which obviously includes the Indians.

Facing the Tigers, Royals and Indians — winners of the last six Central titles — Holland is 8-2 with a 3.14 ERA (21 appearances/19 starts).

*WAY BACK MACHINE: Boone Logan faced one batter for the Indians against the White Sox on Tuesday for Cleveland.

Logan made his big league debut for White Sox against Cleveland on April 4, 2006 at U.S. Cellular Field with two shutout innings.

*GEM: According to Elias this is only the second time in history that both reigning pennant winners logged a walkoff win in their home openers.

The Cubs executed one on Monday while the Indians did it on Tuesday.

The only other time it happened? 1960 and the Sox were one of the victors.

On April 19, 1960, the Sox began defense of their American League pennant with a 10-9 walkoff win over Kansas City at Comiskey Park thanks to a Minnie Minoso homer.

That roundtripper capped a huge day for Minoso, who also launched a grand slam and finished with six RBI.

 

@SOXNERD NOTES: SWINGING SOTO!

A few notes … @SoxNerd style!

*POWER SURGE: Catcher Geovany Soto has three home runs in four games. He hit four in 26 games for the Angels last season.

*NUMBERS GAME: Soto’s multi-homer game was the first by a White Sox player wearing No. 18 since Orlando Cabrera.

On May 18, 2008, Cabrera hit homers No. 99 and 100 of his career in the White Sox 13-8 win at San Francisco.

Since then Brent Lillibridge, Jose Lopez, Blake Tekotte and Tyler Saladino have worn 18 but never recorded a multi-homer game for the Sox.

*NEAR MISS: Despite David Robertson’s best efforts, Hollis (Hollie) “Sloppy” Thurston is still the ONLY White Sox pitcher to strike out the side on nine pitches. He accomplished the feat on Aug. 22, 1923 vs. Philadelphia at Comiskey Park. It 

Robertson came oh-so-close in Sunday’s loss to Minnesota at Guaranteed Rate Field.In his season debut, the right-hander recorded consecutive strikeouts on six pitches and had K-machine Byron Buxton 0-2 but it wasn’t meant to be.

Buxton kept Sloppy’s legacy in tact with a flyout to left.

FLASHBACK: The White Sox held Ty Cobb hitless in three at bats but lost at Detroit 2-0 on April 15, 1909, which was the last time the Cubs opened as World Series champs.

Here’s the Tribune box from that game:



MATT’S BAT:
While Matt Davidson has cooled a little, he is still in rare air in Sox history.

Only Terry Forster at .525 (10-for-14) has a higher average than Davidson’s .400 of Sox players with at least 10 at bats.

DAVIDSON OFF TO A HISTORICAL START

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This is the Matt Davidson stat I flashed during his fifth career White Sox at bat on Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field. Thanks to @SoxNerd Facebook friend Barry Antoniazzi for posting it.

A look back at the hot start to Matt Davidson’s White Sox career … @SoxNerd style!

*He’s hot: After going 2-for-3 on Thursday, Davidson has emerged as one of the great hitters in White Sox history.

That is for players with at least six plate appearances!

As of this exact moment in time, Davidson’s .600 average (3-for-5) is the highest for any White Sox player with at least six plate appearances.

The DH followed up his 1-for-2 Sox debut in 2016 with his monster effort in Thursday’s 11-2 win over the Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field. Davidson’s 2017 debut featured a triple and a 428-foot home run.

Davidson is tied with Stan Goletz for the Sox all-time lead in average for those players with at least five at bats. Goletz was 3-for-5 used exclusively as a pinch-hitter in September of 1941 for the White Sox.

Of course, one out tonight will send Davidson plummeting down the White Sox hitting charts.

Regardless of at bats, Davidson and Goletz are tied for 11th in Sox history in average. The top 10 are all 1.000 hitters with only Al Worthington (1960) going for 2-for-2. The rest — Matt Albers, Neal Cotts, Don Eddy, Gus Keriazakos, Billy Meyer, Cliff Politte, Phil Regan and Bob Rush — are all 1-for-1.

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*Nerd trademark: Of course, the Nerd has fun with “high average” White Sox as the above picture from last season demonstrates.

One of my earliest ventures into these waters was when Dallas McPherson debuted with a pinch-single in the Sox 4-3 home win over the Angels on May 17, 2011.

*Happy anniversary! Davidson had his big game as a DH on the 44th anniversary of the birth DH. 

On April 6, 1973, future White Sox Ron Blomberg inaugurated the DH era for the Yankees in Boston.

Today is the 44th anniversary of the Sox foray into the DH era. On this date in 1973, Mike Andrews served as the first DH in Sox history, going 1-for-3 (single) in a 3-1 win on Opening Day in Texas.

*More Matt: Davidson’s 1.600 slugging percentage is tops in Sox history for players with at least two at bats. … Davidson is tied for the American League with one triple. … Davidson’s White Sox career features one single, one triple, one home run, one walk and two strikeouts.

*Other bits: The Sox have won six of their last seven Game 2s of a season. … The last time the Sox scored more than 11 runs in a Game 2 was in a 12-4 win at Oakland in the nightcap of a scheduled Opening Day doubleheader. … The 11 runs were the most ever scored by the Sox in a second game of the season which was a home game.

 

 

OPENING DAY NUGGETS … @SOXNERD STYLE!

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Rick Renteria managed his first game for the White Sox on Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

In the wake of Tuesday’s loss, here are some White Sox Opening Day nuggets … @SoxNerd style:

*Skipper report: Rick Renteria became the first man to manage an Opening Day game for both Chicago franchises on Tuesday.

Johnny Evers, the first baseman of the famed double play combination,  is the only other man to skipper the Cubs and the Sox.

After managing the Cubs in 1913 and 1921, Evers was hired to guide the Sox in 1924 but didn’t start until May because of illness.  

*Skipper report II: Renteria is 0-2 in openers. The Cubs dropped his managerial debut 1-0 in Pittsburgh in 2014. … The last Sox full-time manager to win his first game with the club was Jerry Manuel in 1998. Robin Ventura lost his debut in 2012 while Ozzie Guillen dropped his in 2004.

*Tyler talk: Tyler Saladino was 2-for-4 with a run and a walk leading off and playing second base in his first big league Opening Day assignment.

Counting his minor league days, Saladino boosted his average to .444 (8-for-18) in Opening Day games.

Saladino singled and eventually scored to lead off the game and the season. The last time that happened for the Sox was in 2015 with Juan Pierre ina 15-10 win at Cleveland. Prior to Saladino, the last time a Sox player led off the season with a hit and scored in Chicago was Pablo Ozuna, who doubled and crossed on Darin Erstad’s homer, in 2007.

*Hail Colombia: Jose Quintana joined Julio Teheran as the only Colombian pitchers to start an Opening Day game.

Quintana made his first start in an Opener for the Sox on Tuesday while Teheran made his fifth Opening Day start for the Braves on Monday.

*On ‘Q:’ Quintana became just the second pitcher in big league history whose last name starts with ‘Q’ to start an Opening Day game.

The other? “Long” John Quinn for the Boston Red Sox in 1922 and for the Brooklyn Robbins in 1931.

*Abreu file: Jose Abreu was 2-for-4 with an RBI on Tuesday, jacking his Opening Day average to .429 (6-for-14).

Abreu has hit safely in all four of his big league season premieres with a home run and three RBI.

*New guys: The White Sox had six players starting in their first Opening Day game for the club on Tuesday: Saladino, Tim Anderson, Omar Narvaez, Quintana, Jacob May and Cody Asche.

The previous two times that happened, in 2005 and 2000, the Sox reached the postseason.

The last time the Sox had more than six starters making their first Opening Day start for the club was in 1981, the first year of the current ownership.

*May day: Jacob May, the Sox third round pick in the June 2013 draft, made his big league debut in Tuesday’s Opener.

He is the nephew of Carlos May, who was the first Sox draftee (1966) to make an Opening Day start for the club in 1969.

Also Tuesday, May joined Daryl Boston (1985), John Cangelosi (1986), Mike Cameron (1998), Aaron Rowand (2003-05) and Brian Anderson (2006) as the only Sox draftees to make an Opening Day start for the club.

*One for Skilling: Monday marked just the 10th time the White Sox scheduled Opening Day game was “weathered out.”

The last time the Sox lost their starter to Mother Nature was in 2009 when the forecast of high winds, cold, rain and snow prompted the team to call off the game vs. the Royals early and reschedule (and play) it the next day.

*Draft class: Anderson joined Lee “BB” Richard (1971), Bucky Dent (1974-76) and Harry Chappas (1978) as the only players drafted and signed by the Sox to make an Opening Day start at shortstop for the club.

Anderson was the Sox first round pick in 2013.

*Catching on … not: J.C. Martin is still the only catcher to start an Opening Day for the Sox and the Cubs.

Geovany Soto had a chance to do it but he did not start for the Sox on Tuesday. Soto was the Cubs Opening Day backstop from 2008 to 2012.

Martin started Sox curtain-raisers behind the plate in 1963 and 1964 and for the Cubs in 1970.

*Historical link: Melky Cabrera did not homer for the Sox on Opening Day but he has in the past.

Cabrera hit the final Opening Day home run in the original Yankee Stadium in his first Opening Day game in 2008. The first Opening Day home run in the “House that Ruth Built” was hit by … Babe Ruth, of course! The Babe went deep against the A’s in the 1923 inaugural in Yankee Stadium.

White Sox nuggets