Note: This is the latest in an occasional series where I identify a random White Sox picture without a date based on what’s in the photo

*The photo: White Sox icon Billy Pierce throws to Sherm Lollar between innings at Comiskey Park as future Hall-of-Famer Ted Williams of Boston observes

*The date: Aug. 23, 1957

*The situation: Pierce is preparing to face Williams to start the sixth inning at Comiskey Park

*What happened: Pierce struck out Williams to start a 1-2-3 sixth as part of a run where he retired 17 of the final 18 hitters he faced in the complete game victory. Pierce finished with a flurry after surrendering a home run to Jackie Jensen in the fourth in the Sox 4-2 win.

*The discovery: This picture — popular on the web because of its beauty — wasn’t as challenging as other pictures I have taken on in this series. I headed to Pierce’s baseball reference page, used the head-to-head matchup with Williams and discovered this moment in time based on the linescore on the scoreboard. I confirmed by cross-checking the games listed on the board as well.

*The matchup: Pierce striking out Williams, arguably the greatest hitter of all-time, was not all that unusual.

The left-handed Pierce was as tough on “Teddy Ballgame” as any pitcher. Williams struck out 14 times against Pierce, tied with Mike Garcia for the most by any hurler. Pierce held “The Splendid Splinter” to a .247 average, which was the lowest among pitchers Williams faced at least 52 times.

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Note: This is the latest in an occasional series where I identify a random White Sox picture without a date based on what’s in the photo

The photo: A nocturnal shot of the Comiskey Park scoreboard from the must-follow Comiskey Crew Twitter account at @ComiskeyCrew https://twitter.com/ComiskeyCrew/status/1483580216589041666?s=20

The date: Sept. 5, 1990

The situation: Ozzie Guillen is set to leadoff the sixth in the White Sox 3-0 win over Kansas City in the 11th-to-last game at Comiskey Park … Guillen flew out as part of a 1-2-3 inning against Mel Stottlemyre decreasing his .293 average a bit

The discovery: I just had a hunch really.

Comiskey Park’s final season was 1990 and the Royals were the opponent.

One of the best games from that season was a Sept. 5 clash with KC so I was just hoping it would be that game and … IT WAS!

I confirmed my hunch by checking the scoreboard linescore and Guillen’s average in the pic against the boxscore and Guillen’s 1990 gamelog at retrosheet.org.

I never get tired of talking about, thinking about or writing about this game, which veered off into so many memorable directions.

This picture is a wonderful microcosm of the evening. If this photo were to be zoomed out, the park would be beautifully lit with the 19,526 on hand comfortably dressed because it was a gorgeous evening.

While the park was in its final days, this was hardly a somber occasion.

In fact, the place was electric. These final moments at “the baseball palace of the world” were more like an Irish wake with fans celebrating the park instead of mourning it.

There was a lot to celebrate this night as manager Jeff Torborg’s upstart collection of emerging talent and accomplished veterans were fighting to keep pace with the big bad Oakland A’s in the American League West.

As the scoreboard depicts, this was pitcher’s duel with Greg Hibbard matching Stottlemyre goose-egg for goose-egg while bobbing and weaving with the likes of George Brett, Bo Jackson, Frank White and Willie Wilson.

This scintillating game reached its peak with two outs in the eighth inning.

With the game still scoreless, the Royals loaded the bases thanks to a Kevin Seitzer double, an intentional walk to Brett and an unintentional walk to Danny Tartabull.

That brought Bo Jackson to the plate.

Torborg had one of the best bullpens in the game that year. Anchored by Bobby Thigpen and his record-setting 57 saves, the Sox relief corps was bolstered by ultimate setup men Barry Jones and Scott Radinsky and the workmanlike Donn Pall, Ken Patterson and Wayne Edwards.

Even with the righty Jackson facing the lefty Hibbard, Torborg did not make a change.

The fact that Thigpen had saved five games in the last six days made Torborg’s decision easier.

No problem.

It took all of three pitches for the slight Hibbard (6-0, 185) to vanquish the great Bo Jackson.

When Jackson, who would become a member of the Sox 210 days later, swung and missed at a Hibbard change for his fourth whiff, the fans went bonkers.

This truly was one of the last great dramatic moments at the oldest active ballpark in the Major Leagues.

After that finish to the top of the eighth, there was no way the Sox were going to lose.

A bases-loaded two-run single by rookie Robin Ventura and an RBI single by Ivan Calderon provided the Sox with their cushion.

The inning started with a walk to Frank Thomas, who was playing in his 33rd game and was already showing the discerning eye that would make him one of the most feared hitters in history. In addition that frame was moved along by a sacrifice bunt from … (scrawny) SAMMY SOSA.

By the way, that first Sox run was scored by pinch-runner Rodney “Scooter” McCray, who would gain immortality a year later when he ran through an wall as a member of the White Sox Triple-A affiliate in Vancouver.

God I loved this game. It had a little bit of everything, didn’t it?

The ninth was almost anti-climactic. Well, Hibbard made it feel that way anyway.

The crafty Mississippian needed just 10 pitches to retire the side in order to complete the four-hitter and the only shutout of his career.

In addition to all the drama, this contest holds tremendous sentimental value for our family.

This was the last game my wife, eight months pregnant with our first, attended at Comiskey Park, a place where we forged some of the most lasting friendships in our relationship.

Exiting the park I remember thinking I am going to tell my daughter she was part of one memorable and beautiful nights in the waning days of one of baseball’s greatest cathedrals.

All that from one picture!

The postscript: The second-place White Sox stayed 6.5-games behind Oakland when this night ended. This was the closest the team would get to first place the rest of the season. … Hibbard’s complete game shutout was the 466th by a Sox pitcher (787th overall) at Comiskey Park and the first by a lefty since Jerry Reuss on May 1, 1989. … The first White Sox shutout at Comiskey Park was by Hall-of-Famer Ed Walsh on Aug. 4, 1910, 35 days after the park opened. Walsh threw 16 zeroes against the A’s but had to settle for a no decision in a scoreless tie. … The first Sox shutout by a lefty at Comiskey Park was by Doc White against Cleveland … Hibbard’s blanking was also the first by a Sox pitcher against the Royals since Tom Seaver’s two-hitter on May 14, 1984. … Prior to Hibbard, the last lefty to whitewash the Royals at Comiskey Park was Jerry Koosman, Seaver’s longtime Mets’ teammate, on June 3, 1983. … Guillen’s average wouldn’t get over the .292 displayed in the photo the rest of the way. .

Note: As always, I am open to discussion and correction on this.

More on this game from me …


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Note: This is the second in an occasional series where I (hopefully) identify a random White Sox picture based on what’s in the photo

*The photo: White Sox icons Carlton Fisk and Ron Kittle posing with Wayne Gretzky

*The date: My best guess is that this photo was taken May 10 or May 11, 1985

*The place: Comiskey Park

*The situation: In town for the NHL’s Western Conference finals, Gretzky spent Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 12 at Comiskey Park where the White Sox were playing Detroit.

Gretzky was visiting his old pal Ron Kittle. The two became friends in Edmonton in 1982 when Kittle was in the midst of one of the great minor league seasons ever (.345, 50 HR, 144 RBI) for the Sox Triple-A affiliate and Gretzky was … well … being Gretzky for the Oilers.

Gretzky was at Comiskey Park after he did not tally a point in the Oilers 5-2 Game 3 loss to the Blackhawks at the Chicago Stadium.

With two off days, as opposed to the customary one, before Game 4, Gretzky spent some of his down time at Comiskey Park, according to the Chicago Tribune.

I was working then and I recall there being quite the buzz when the “Great One” visited the press box. Inundated with well-wishers and because I was working the game, I couldn’t meet Gretzky.

A co-worker did snare an autograph and made a copy for me.

*The aftermath: The trip to Comiskey Park didn’t change Gretzky’s luck immediately. He and the Oilers dropped the next game allowing the Blackhawks to even the series. The Oilers won the next two to take the series en route to the Stanley Cup title.

Previous “Picture This” here https://soxnerd.wordpress.com/2021/02/28/picture-this-sox-vs-yanks-dent-santo-may-27-1974/


Note: This is the first in an occasional series where I identify a random White Sox picture with no date based on what’s in the photo

The photo: White Sox shortstop Bucky Dent throws to first with the Yankees Graig Nettles bearing down on him with teammate Ron Santo in the background

The date: May 27, 1974

The place: Shea Stadium, New York

The play: Nettles is forced at second by Dent on a throw from first baseman Dick Allen on a grounder by Fernando Gonzalez for the second out in the second inning of the White Sox 4-1 win.

The discovery: The date of this photo was easy to pin down through retrosheet.org mainly because of Santo’s presence.

1974 was Santo’s only year with the Sox and the situation can be pinpointed because of the uniforms.

A quick check of retrosheet.org shows that the Sox played the Yankees at Shea (Yankee Stadium was being renovated) in May and August of 1974.

May 27 was the only the game where Santo played second base.

There were two possibilities for this picture: the second or the sixth inning on May 27.

The latter has Nettles out on a second-to-short-to-first double play. Santo’s position told me he was too far away from the bag to have made a throw with Dent in that position. I deducted and Santo was backing up the throw from Allen in the second.

As always, I am open to discussion and correction on this.