Tuesday, June 12, 2007


The Chicago White Sox have had a long tradition of weak hitting, but often they have been able to win despite their hitting ineptitude. Here are two examples over the years:


On April 22, 1959, the White Sox offered a glimpse of how they would go on to win their first American League pennant in 40 years. Against the woeful Kansas City A's, the Sox scored 11 runs in the 7th inning despite making only 1 hit, a single, which was the only ball hit out of the infield the whole inning. The inning went like this:

With righthander Tom Gorman pitching for the A's, and the White Sox leading 8-6, Ray Boone grounded to shortstop Joe DeMaestri who threw wild to first base for an error. Al Smith bunted and was safe when third baseman Hal Smith fumbled the ball. John Callison singled to right field, for the only hit, scoring Boone, and when rightfielder Roger Maris fumbled the ball, A. Smith scored also, and Callison went to third base.

Luis Aparicio walked, and quickly stole second base. Bob Shaw, the Sox relief pitcher also walked. The A's replaced pitcher Gorman with Mark Freeman.

Earl Torgeson, pinch hitting for Sammy Esposito greeted Freeman with a walk, forcing in Callison from third base. Nellie Fox walked, forcing in Aparicio. Jim Landis made the first out, by grounding out to the pitcher who forced Shaw at home plate.

Sherman Lollar, the Sox catcher, walked, scoring Torgeson. That was all for Freeman, who was replaced on the mound by Lefthander George Brunet who couldn't find the plate either. Boone walked, forcing in Fox. Smith walked, scoring Landis. Callison didn't walk. However he was hit by a pitch, scoring Lollar. Lou Skizas ran for Callison. Aparicio walked, sending Boone walking home for the 9th run of the inning. Shaw, the pitcher, struck out this time. However, Bubba Phillips, pinch hitting for Torgeson, walked, scoring Smith with the 10th run of the inning. Fox walked for the second time in the inning, scoring Skizas. Finally, Landis grounded out again mercifully ending the inning.

Totals for the inning: 11 runs, 1 hit, 3 errors, 10 walks, 1 hit batsman, and 3 runners left on base. The Sox won the game 20-6. Nellie Fox, a future Hall of Famer drove in 4 runs in the game without getting a hit. The Sox won the pennant while hitting the fewest homers of any team in the league, but they lost in the World Series to the LA Dodgers.

Some of the other names may be familiar. A's right fielder Roger Maris was traded to the NY Yankees the next season and, in 1961, hit 61 homers, eclipsing the long held record set by Babe Ruth. You can check out the Roger Maris exhibit in a shopping mall in Fargo, ND which Dianne and I did. Aparicio also was elected to the Hall of Fame for his brilliant fielding. Al Smith had a glass of beer poured on his head in the 1959 World Series in a famous photograph as he was watching a Dodger homer sail over his head. Ray Boone's son Bob became a major league catcher who holds the record for most games caught. His grandson Aaron hit a homer to win the pennant for the NY Yankees. George Brunet, the A's hapless pitcher, went on to become one of the greatest pitchers in the Mexican League and pitched there into his 50's. He was elected posthumously to the Salon de la Fama, the Mexican Hall of Fame. He also holds the Minor League record for strikeouts with over 3,100 strikeouts.


July 1, 1990 was one of the most unusual games in the history of Chicago's Comiskey Park. The NY Yankees, in most years a dominant team, had their problems that season. Their righthanded pitcher, Andy Hawkins, pitched a no hit game against the Chicago White Sox, but managed to lose 4-0.

For seven innings, Hawkins dominated the Sox, and after he retired the first two batters in the eighth inning. Sammy Sosa (yes, THAT Sammy Sosa) was safe on an error by Yankees third baseman Mike Blowers. Hawkins then got rattled and walked the next two batters, loading the bases. Robin Ventura hit a fly ball to rookie left fielder Jim Leyritz, normally a third baseman, who muffed it, and all three runners scored. The next hitter, Ivan Calderon hit a fly ball to right field where Jesse Barfield lost the ball in the sun and dropped it, scoring Ventura. The bottom line: 4 runs, no hits, 3 errors, 1 man left on base. The Yankees were unable to score in the 9th inning and lost 4-0.

The killjoys at the office of Commissioner Fay Vincent decided not to give Hawkins credit for a no-hitter because the White Sox did not bat in the 9th inning, and so Hawkins pitched only 8 innings.

That's all for now.




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