Tag Archives: Chicago White Sox

Minnie Minoso Remembered

Minnie Minoso – Speed, Power and Grace

White Sox outfielder Minnie Minoso scores on a short pop fly hit by Nellie Fox. Kansas City Athletics catcher Haywood Sullivan tries to apply the tag,  The White Sox won this first game of a doubleheader 5-3. (Sept 20, 1961) photo: UPI

White Sox outfielder Minnie Minoso scores on a short pop fly hit by Nellie Fox. Kansas City Athletics catcher Haywood Sullivan tries to apply the tag, The White Sox won this first game of a doubleheader 5-3. (Sept 20, 1961) photo: UPI

Months after the Chicago White Sox acquired Orestes “Minnie” Minoso in a three team trade from the Cleveland Indians in 1951, White Sox manager Paul Richards said, “Technically the deal helped everyone.

Minnie Minoso and Eddie Robinson examine Ted Williams bat

Minnie Minoso and Eddie Robinson examine Ted Williams bat

Actually we got the best of it. I wouldn’t trade Minoso for anyone in the league.”

Minnie Minoso and Castro 1958Minoso was a star in Cuba before coming over to the United States and he never forgot his Cuban roots.

Minoso was signed by Indians owner Bill Veeck after being alerted to his ability by Abe Saperstein, the Harlem Globetrotters impresario, who was always on the lookout for black baseball talent. Minoso had been with the Indians since 1949 but had only gotten into nine games in two years. By 1950 Veeck was out as Indians owner, forced to sell the team to fund his divorce. The new owners considered Minoso expendable. That decision possibly cost the Indians several pennants throughout the 1950’s.

In his rookie season in 1951 Minoso batted .326 and led the league in stolen bases with 31 and triples with 14. In his career Minoso batted over .300 in eight seasons and had one unusual statistic – he led the league in being hit by pitches ten times. Minoso ran the bases with abandon and fielded as gracefully as any player in baseball.

When he retired in 1964 Minnie Minoso’s career average was .298 and he had hit 186 home runs while driving in 1023 runs.

Bill Skowron, Minnie Minoso Nellie Fox and Mickey Mantle July 24 1957 photo: AP

Bill Skowron, Minnie Minoso Nellie Fox and Mickey Mantle July 24 1957 photo: AP

Minoso died Sunday, March 1, 2015 at a gas station in Chicago after suffering a tear in his pulmonary artery, at the age of either 90 or 92. There had always been some doubt to the Cuban star’s actual age.

Continue reading

Nellie Fox, Eddie Robinson and Phil Rizzuto

Before The Game -1951

Nellie Fox Eddie Robinson Phil Rizzuto 1951

Chicago, June 10, 1951 – Scooter Makes Them Laugh — Phil “Scooter” Rizzuto (right), diminutive New York Yankees shortstop, draws a laugh from Chicago White Sox infielders Nelson Fox (left) and Ed Robinson before game in Comiskey Park yesterday. Fox is batting at a healthy .360 clip while Robinson leads the American League in the runs batted in department with 48 and is tied with Ted Williams in homers with 11. Rizzuto drew the laugh when he told Fox not to stand on his toes in an attempt to look taller than he. (AP Wirephoto)

Jack Harshman, New York Giants…Slugger?

Pick A Bat, Any Bat

Jack Harshman NY Giants 3 16 1950

Jack Harshman first came up to the major leagues with the New York Giants for five games in 1948 at the age of 20, with a reputation as a slugging first baseman. In 1949 he spent the entire season at the Giants top AAA farm club in Minneapolis where he clouted 40 home runs and knocked in 111 RBI’s while batting a respectable .270. The Giants had expectations that Harshman was going to be able to translate his minor league success into the majors. This March 16, 1950 photograph’s caption says:

Simply “Bats” About The Game

Phoenix, Ariz: New York Giants’ first baseman Jack Harshman, who has been slamming the ball with great style during exhibition games, might well wind up being “Rookie of the Year.” Here, Harshman selects a bat prior to displaying his “diamond” skill in a game. Credit (Acme) 3/16/50

Harshman ended up playing only nine games with the Giants in 1950. He played all season in the minors in 1951 hitting 47 home runs. He was called up again by the Giants in 1952 for three games and was sent down again to the minors for the entire 1953 season. He had been in the Giants organization for six years and played a grand total of 17 games in the big leagues. His low minor league batting averages (.218, .230 etc.) was a major contributor to preventing his progress with the Giants. On September 19, 1953 Harshman was sold to the Chicago White Sox.

Jack Harshman 1956 ToppsThe White Sox converted Harshman to a pitcher. In his first season with Chicago in 1954, Harshman struck out 16 Red Sox in one game and pitched a 16 inning complete game 1-0 shut-out against the Tigers. In that game, it is estimated that Harshman threw 245 pitches. Thank goodness there were no modern day pitch counts! From 1954 to 1957 with the White Sox, Harshman won 48 games while losing only 34 with a 3.33 ERA.

I never saw Jack Harshman play, but I have a few of his baseball cards, and he always looks happy in them. Maybe it was because he had found success as a pitcher rather than a hitter.

Harahman went on to play for Baltimore, Boston and Cleveland before being released by the Indians in October of 1960 at the young age of 32. His career won and lost record was 69-65. His hitting, which was so hyped when he was breaking into the game, was not a factor in his career. In 521 career at bats, Harshman hit 21 home runs (not bad for a pitcher) drove in 65 runs and batted .179.

As far as the news publicity photo, maybe one bat would have been sufficient instead of nine.

Baseball In A Blizzard – The Detroit Tigers 1911 Snow Game

Snow Doesn’t Stop A Tiger Victory 

In the old days of baseball when there were fewer games and no playoff rounds, the baseball season started in mid-April. In part, the later start date was to try and prevent what happened to the Tigers on Saturday, April 15, 1911. The Tigers were playing their third game of the year at their home field, Bennett Park, against the Chicago White Sox on what started out as a cold and raw day.

One sportswriter said the game was played  in “conditions that were unprecedented.”

Patsy Dougherty triples for the White Sox.

Patsy Dougherty triples for the White Sox.

The snow started to fall in the top of the sixth.  The White Sox had an opportunity to break a scoreless tie when Patsy Dougherty led off the sixth inning with a solid triple. Continue reading

Ty Cobb In Chicago At Southside Park – 1907 And 1908

The “Georgia Peach” Ty Cobb, Plays In The Windy City

Ty Cobb 1907 Southside Park Chicago Daily News

I wonder if baseball fans recognize greatness early on in a player’s career? Ty Cobb started his major league career with the Detroit Tigers in 1905 and had his first breakout season in 1907 at the age of 20 when he led the American League in hits, stolen bases, RBI’s and a .350 batting average.  The photograph above is from 1907, taken at Southside Park in Chicago, home to the White Sox from 1900-1910. So did the fans in Chicago realize they were watching a player who would electrify baseball for the next twenty years?

One thing you notice by looking at Ty Cobb is that he had a unique batting stance. His legs and feet would many times be planted way ahead of home plate and his hands spread apart on the bat. It enabled him to spray balls all over the field and get to the pitch before it could do what the pitcher wanted it to. He hit .366, the highest career batting average ever by a major leaguer.

Ty Cobb 1908 Southside Park Chicago Daily News

Here Cobb plays against the White Sox in 1908 at Southside Park in front of a packed house.  Once again notice how far ahead Cobb is standing in front of the plate. One criticism of Cobb besides his nasty disposition, was that he didn’t hit a lot of home runs like Babe Ruth. Cobb bristled at that comparison, saying anyone could hit home runs, it took talent to be a spray hitter like he was.

On May 5, 1925 visiting St. Louis against the Browns, Cobb told a reporter in the dugout that “today for the first time my career I’m going to go for home runs.” The comment is apocryphal, but that day Cobb went six for six.  Home runs? He hit three.

Nellie Fox In A Strange Pose

Hey Nellie, Will You Please Lay On The Tarpaulin? 

I sometimes wonder if every photo of Nellie Fox shows him with a chaw of chewing tobacco bulging out of his cheek. Was he born with the chewing tobacco permanently attached inside one cheek?  This photograph of Nellie Fox shows that ballplayers were much more accommodating for publicity photographers back in the 1950’s, as Nellie lies on his stomach on a tarpaulin in an empty ballpark.

Nellie was a smooth defensive player and today is mostly forgotten, except by older White Sox fans who saw him patrol the keystone base for 14 of his 19 professional baseball playing years from 1947-1965.

The twelve time all-star hit over .300 six times, had 2663 career hits, won the MVP award in 1959 and struck out only 216 times in his entire career!

You need 75 percent of the vote to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America.  In his final year of eligibility in 1985, Nellie barely missed getting into the Hall by getting 74.7 percent of the vote. Finally in 1997 Nellie was selected to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee.

Nellie Fox died from skin cancer at the young age of 47 on December 1, 1975.

Babe Ruth, Dewayne Wise And Mistakes Umpires Make

Umpires Make Mistakes: See Baseball History 101

Photo Mike Stobe / Getty Images

Everyone is in an unnecessary uproar over the  Dewayne Wise phantom catch of a baseball that disappeared into the crowd at Yankee Stadium on June 26, 2012 during a 6-4 Yankee victory over the Cleveland Indians.

The umpire, Mike DiMuro is human. He made a mistake and admitted it after the game. That was the right thing to do.

Do you want the game to stop every time there is a controversial play? Aren’t the games slow enough?

Mistakes similar to this have been happening since baseball began and have been forgotten unless they affect the pennant race or a World Series game.

One forgotten incident that occurred on August 1, 1920 was whether Joe Jackson of the Chicago White Sox actually caught a baseball Babe Ruth hit into an overflow crowd at Comiskey Park.  The aftermath of that play is shown below.

Babe Ruth & Miller Huggins argue with umpire Tom Connolly, Bob Meusel (with bat) listens © blackbetsy.com

Going into the game against the White Sox, Ruth was on a tear, having hit 37 home runs already, shattering his own record of 29 home runs set the previous year. Continue reading

Baseball Theme Songs

When Baseball Teams Had Their Own Unique Songs

Dodge Dart radioWhen my Dad and I would drive places at night in the 1970’s, my father would put on the Baltimore radio station, WBAL-AM to hear the Orioles games. At night the radio signals were stronger and you could pick up most of the bigger radio station’s broadcasts within a 400 mile range, so he would listen. I vividly remember the upbeat song that used to be played to start the O’s broadcast. I searched the internet and have had no luck finding “Orioles Baseball” which is what I believe the title was. But I have collected a number of baseball theme songs and thought I would share them.

For every baseball fan who can remember…

(click on link to hear the mp3 of the song)

Yankees Theme Song

In the 1970’s when I was listening to the radio, before the start of every ball game, the New York Yankees would have their theme played. The Yankees announcers, Phil Rizutto, Frank Messer and Bill White would eventually talk over the song and it would fade out. At the end of the game they would play the theme again. The Yankees still play a truncated version of the song at the beginning and conclusion of games on the radio, but they rarely play this version with the lyrics.

Mets Theme Song

Musically well constructed and simply the best song ever written for a team with its catchy lyrics. The “Meet The Mets” song still holds up nearly 50 years after the Mets introduction to New York. This version is the original version. (ed note: strangely enough I wrote this article on June 30 and originally scheduled it to be posted on July 5. I moved it up to July 3 after seeing that the writer of the Mets theme song Ruth Roberts passed away Friday, July 1 at age 84.)

Cubs Theme Song

If you grew up in Chicago you may remember “Hey, Hey Holy Mackarel” which was the Chicago Cubs song.

White Sox Theme Song

Now, if you were a Chicago White Sox fan, the song dear to your heart would be “Let’s Go, Go, Go White Sox.”

Tigers Theme Song

In the late 1960’s this is what the Detroit Tigers were playing – “Go Get ‘Um Tigers.” Continue reading

How to Win the World Series – Don’t Hit! Presenting the 1906 White Sox

Nicknamed The “Hitless Wonders”: The 1906 Chicago White Sox.

Portrait White Sox catcher Billy Sullivan 1909 Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Courtesy of Chicago History Museum

This dour looking man shared the team lead for the Chicago White Sox in home runs in 1906. His name was Billy Sullivan. He was the team’s catcher. He batted .218.

Billy Sullivan in 1910 Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Courtesy of Chicago History Museum

Billy Sullivan and Joe Sugden in 1901 Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Courtesy of Chicago History Museum

The other slugger to lead the team in home runs was outfielder / playing manager Fielder Jones. He batted .230.

fielder Jones at South Side Park 1905 Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Courtesy of Chicago History Museum

Fielder Jones & Frank Isbell 1907 Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Courtesy of Chicago History Museum

Fielder Jones Base Hit vs. Cubs Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Courtesy of Chicago History Museum

Sullivan and Jones each had two home runs.  This is the shared record with the 1907 Cubs for fewest amount of home runs for an individual team leader on a modern (post 1903) world championship team. Let’s give the 1907 Cubs some credit they walloped nearly double the number the White Sox did in 1906 by hitting 13 home runs.

The White Sox hit a total of seven home runs in 1906. Count them, seven.

The White Sox batted collectively .230. They did not have one .300 hitter who had more than ten at bats. Pitcher Frank Smith had a higher batting average  (.293)  than any other regular starter. They did finish in first place with a 93-58 record.

In the 1906 World Series against the crosstown rival Chicago Cubs the Sox  hit even lower, batting a collective .198.

1906 World Series West Side Grounds Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Courtesy of Chicago History Museum

1906 World Series fans Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Courtesy of Chicago History Museum

The Cubs had won a record 116 games, which is still the modern National League record for victories.

Yet the White Sox whipped the heavily favored Cubs four games to two and even managed to score eight runs in each of the last two games!