Tag: Shoeless Joe Jackson

Shoeless Joe Jackson Won’t Be Reinstated by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred

Major League Baseball won’t reinstate “Shoeless” Joe Jackson despite an appeal from the former outfielder’s museum nearly a century after the Black Sox scandal. Commissioner Rob Manfred stated there isn’t enough evidence to overturn the previous decisions.

The operators of the South Carolina-based museum sent two letters to the league’s new chief executive earlier in the year. ESPN.com reported Tuesday that Manfred sent a response dated July 20 and decided it “would not be appropriate for me to reopen this matter.”

“The results of this work demonstrate to me that it is not possible now, over 95 years since those events took place and were considered by Commissioner [Kenesaw Mountain] Landis, to be certain enough of the truth to overrule Commissioner Landis’ determinations,” Manfred wrote.

Manfred also cited a review done by former Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti in 1989, which reached the conclusion the situation is “now best given to historical analysis and debate as opposed to a present-day review with an eye to reinstatement.” Manfred agreed with that outlook.

Here’s the complete reply from Manfred, per the museum’s Facebook page:

As seen in the letter, he also notes the Hall of Fame voters during Jackson’s eligibility gave him just four total votes. Manfred believes those individuals, who had a better sense of the situation at the time, were more qualified to rule on it than he is.

Jackson finished his 13-year MLB career with a .356 batting average, which ranks third all time behind Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby, and he won a World Series with the Chicago White Sox in 1917.

The Fall Classic two years later will forever shape his legacy, however. The Black Sox scandal arose when eight players, including Jackson, were accused of throwing games against the Cincinnati Reds. The players were later found not guilty of conspiracy but were still banned from baseball.

Exactly how involved Jackson was in the scandal has become a source of debate. He hit .375 in the series, but he was alleged to have received $5,000 to throw games, per ESPN.com.

Ultimately, Manfred decided there simply wasn’t enough new evidence to take a large step like allowing Jackson, who died in 1951, to come off the ineligible list after so many years.

That means a dark cloud will continue to hover over any debate about Jackson’s place in baseball history.


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Mike Trout Still Has a Lot to Prove to Major League Baseball, but Not by Choice

Mike Trout is going to be the 2012 American League Rookie of the Year, but before anyone jumps the gun, keep in mind that Trout isn’t the first ROY, and won’t be the last. He still has a lot to work on before being mentioned in the same breath as Mickey Mantle or Ken Griffey Jr. 

Don’t get me wrong, Trout is a five-tooler. He runs like the wind (first in the bigs with 36 stolen bases), hits for power (21 homers), hits for average (tops in the A.L. with .345 avg.), wows us with his defensive skills (this explains it all) and has a cannon for an arm (I don’t have a video, but trust me on this one).

But regardless of those numbers, Mike Trout still hasn’t proven himself to be one of the best players ever. That’s not his fault, though. He hasn’t had the opportunity to play a fruitful 15-20 year career, yet.

Is he one of the best rookies of all time? Maybe. But it’s up for debate if he’s THE best rookie. If it were up to me, that honor would go to “Shoeless” Joe Jackson in his 1911 rookie campaign.

Jackson had a 9.9 WAR (via fangraphs), batted .408/.468./.590, finishing fourth in MVP voting, behind Hall of Famers Eddie Collins, “Big” Ed Walsh and Ty Cobb. And he did it at a respectable 24 years old. 

But alas, this isn’t a history lesson; just food for thought.

Mike Trout has been compared to the likes of Mickey Mantle, and being mentioned in the same sentence as the legend is remarkable on itself, but let me remind you of one thing: He has yet to complete a full season in the majors. 

In 90 games, Trout has proven to us that he can pad his stats in a very short amount of time, but at the end of the day, having one great season doesn’t mean you’ll have ten more just like it. 

What will really make him a superstar is whether or not he can maintain consistency at the MLB level for years to come. The bar has been set very high for Trout, because no one is thinking about this season anymore, but instead, they’re thinking about the impact he’ll have on baseball in the future. 

There is a possibility that Trout steamrolls opposing pitchers in his rookie season, then falls off the truck and never lives up to it again; he wouldn’t be the first.

In 2008, Geovany Soto was the National League rookie of the year, batting .285/.364/.504 (not Mike Trout numbers, but bear with me). He has yet to come close to those numbers again, ultimately resulting in his trade in 2012.

This is a small example, but all I’m saying is don’t be surprised if pitchers figure out Trout’s tendencies in 2013, forcing him to make adjustments and testing his mental capacity. 

From a physical standpoint, he could be a 10-year all-star if he keeps this up, but in reality there is one major difference between major and minor leaguers. Major league ballplayers are consistent.

Minor leaguers might have the talent, more talent than their major league counterparts, but they can’t make adjustments and stay consistent enough, ultimately forcing them to ride buses for the remainder of their careers. 

A lot of people are asking, “is there anything Mike Trout hasn’t done?”. Well, it’s the one thing he has no control over: have an illustrious career.

There is no way to predict a home run king, or an all-time hits leader, or someone breaking the stolen base record, because although the talent might be there, it’s not all that’s required. To be a legend, you need to have mental grit, you need to stay healthy, you need to be smart and you have to, above all, stay consistent and let your playing do the talking. 

Joe Jackson batted .300 every season following his rookie year except for once (.272), going out with a .382/.444/.589 slash line in his final season of baseball in 1920, after being banned in the 1919 Black Sox World Series scandal (where he batted .375 with 12 hits, the best of the series’ and committed no errors).

If Mike Trout can play stellar baseball for years upon years to come, I’ll eat my words. But for now let’s enjoy the Mike Trout show, because just like everything else he does, this may never happen again.

For him, or anyone else. 

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MLB: Why Isn’t Shoeless Joe Jackson Listed Among Batting Leaders at MLB.com?

USA Today is polling its readers with respect to each team’s greatest player. Five “finalists” are selected and fans select the one they consider the best.

The Chicago White Sox have had many great stars. The five finalists for the greatest White Sox player are Luke Appling (.310/.399/.398),  Eddie Collins (.333/.424/.429), Nellie Fox (.288/.348/.363), Frank Thomas (.301/.419/.555) and Ted Lyons (26.-230, 3.67 ERA).

Conspicuous by his absence is the greatest of all Chicago White Sox players, Shoeless Joe Jackson (.356/.423/.517).

Why was Jackson not included? One can only speculate.

It is probably as simple as the fact that he played for the White Sox for only four complete season in his six years with team.

Jackson was accused of not doing his best during during the 1919 World Series, which is a gentle way of stating that he was brought to trial for helping to fix that Series.

In 1921, a Chicago jury acquitted Jackson and his seven “conspirators” of any wrongdoing, but that was not good enough for baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

Landis banned all eight acquitted players from baseball for life, claiming that the game had to clean up its image.

His position was that baseball’s image took precedence over legal judgments. Doesn’t that sound a lot like the American government today? You betcha.

I think that I have just made what a consider an extremely disturbing discovery. If I am wrong, please, please correct me.

MLB.com does not list Joe Jackson among the all-time career leaders in batting. Is MLB rewriting history? 

Jackson is listed as the White Sox career batting leader (.340/.407/.499) when one filters the statistics at MLB.com according to team leaders.

Barry Bonds, the disgraced and generally despised all-time home run leader is listed as are all the players who used performance enhancing substances. Gambler Pete Rose is listed as the career hits leader.

The other seven acquitted White Sox players are also listed on MLB.

If not listing Jackson is an oversight, it is as egregious an error as possible for any statistical baseball site, especially for MLB.

When one reads baseball articles and books, Bonds is referred to as the all-time home run leader. Pete Rose is referred to as the career hits leader. Joe Jackson is credited with the third highest batting average behind Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby.

Joe Jackson has been honored with the Joe Jackson Museum in Greenville, South Carolina. He was respected by some of the greatest players of all time.

Ty Cobb once told Jackson “Whenever I got the idea I was a good hitter, I’d stop and take a look at you. Then I knew I could stand some improvement.”

Ted Williams and Bob Feller supported Jackson’s reinstatement fiercely. They stated, quite logically, that Jackson’s ban should have ended when his life ended.

The issue is not if Jackson took part in fixing the 1919 World Series. The point is that his accomplishments must be acknowledged, and in almost all instances, they are.

Check the MLB.com site. Go to statistics, batting statistics and all-time leaders. It is believed that a correction must be made.

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Field of Dreams: Shoeless Joe Jackson and the 1919 Black Sox Scandal

The 1919 Black Sox scandal is unarguably one of the worst moments in all of baseball history. It ended the careers of many all-time great players—players who would have been first ballot Hall of Famers who were forced to retire from the game.

The mastermind behind this was first baseman Chick Gandil, helped by professional gambler Joseph Sullivan.

This incident included the great “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, a baseball legend and an icon. For those of you who do not know of that sad time in baseball, let me give you a breakdown.

In 1919, after the war-shortened 1918 season, the White Sox were about to bounce back from a terrible 57-67 season that saw them 17 games behind the AL leaders, the Boston Red Sox, and without many of their players including their star, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.

With all their players back, they were ready to make an impact. The team would end up with an AL best 88-52 record. They entered the World Series against the 96-44 Reds and despite the Reds’ better record, were predicted as the clear favorites to win.

However, not too long before the series began, reports began coming in that gamblers were betting heavily against the White Sox.

This caused a big stir and many began to suspect that there was foul play and that the series was fixed. However, there was no conclusive evidence and no public accusations or statements on the subject were issued.

For the first time, the World Series would be in the best-of-nine format to earn more money. The format would not change back until the 1922 World Series.

The first game of the series featured the Sox ace Eddie “Knuckles” Cicotte, who had won 29 games that year (he also took $10,000 dollars the night before this game). Cicotte only pitched four innings, but gave up six runs in the process, including a five-run fourth inning.

The game would end up being a complete blowout as the Reds defeated the White Sox 9-1.

Game two would also be a Reds win and they would now have a 2-0 lead in the series and well on their way to their first World Series Championship.

The only other game worth mentioning would be the third game in which White Sox pitcher Dickie Kerr pitched a complete game shutout for a 3-0 win.

The next games went “back and forth” in an attempt to make the fix less obvious and because the players weren’t receiving the money promised to them.

Eventually, however, the Reds would win the series in eight games following a 10-5 blowout in the final game.

The rumours of the fix would run wild through the baseball world and a grand jury was called to investigate in September of the following year.

The first to admit involvement were “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and Eddie Cicotte. Ultimately, eight players on the White Sox would be banned from the professional game of baseball.

Later on, many of the involved players would speak up and defend “Shoeless” Joe and admit that he was never at any of their meetings and had no part in the fix. This is further supported by the fact that he was illiterate and only took money when his family was threatened.

Nonetheless, most of you are wondering why I am bringing this up now, all these years after it happened. Well, because, we often talk about steroids and how many players had their careers ruined by them and how they should not be allowed into the Hall of Fame.

Well, I wanted to bring this scandal up because two all-time greats in Eddie Cicotte and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson were affected by this series and denied from playing the game ever again as well as their places in the Hall of Fame.

To give perspective, Jackson is third all time in batting average with .356 and Cicotte is 98th all time in wins for a pitcher after only 15 years in the league, many of which were shortened seasons.

All of the players involved are now deceased and it is doubtful any of them will ever see the Hall of Fame.

I don’t want you to think I am defending men like Cicotte because what they did to the game tarnished it for many years. Although it is rarely talked about now, this was most likely the worst moment in the history of America’s pastime.

Comments and feedback are appreciated.

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Gambler or Steroid User: Which Is Worse?

Since it’s been revealed that several Major League stars have used steroids, I’ve started to ponder what the difference is between players who have received bans for gambling and those who have received bans for steroid use.

The penalties for steroid use are:

  • First offense: 50-game suspension
  • Second offense: 100-game suspension
  • Third Offense: Lifetime ban

The penalties for gambling are:

  • First offensse: Ban for life (or whatever penalty the commissioner in office deems appropriate).

There are 27 players, coaches, and an umpire that have been banned for gambling or throwing games since 1865.

There are 117 players that have been implicated, admitted to, tested positive, or listed in the Mitchell Report for using steroids.

Here is a bit of irony for you. Steroid use and gambling have one common denominator: both have a direct affect on the game’s outcome.

There has been much talk about whether players such as Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, and Alex Rodriguez should be eligible for the Hall of Fame. Of these three players, only Rodriguez has admitted to steroid use while with the Texas Rangers. McGuire refuses to answer any questions regarding steroid use and Bonds is in a state of denial about the whole issue.

Personally, I feel that any user, whether he admits to it or tests positive at any time during his career, should not be eligible for the Hall of Fame.

Harsh you say?

Consider two players banned for throwing games or gambling, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and Pete Rose.

The lifetime ban handed down to by Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis to the 1918 White Sox was perhaps the harshest punishment ever. Despite the fact that all players were acquitted by a federal grand jury, Landis banned the eight White Sox players, stating:

“Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player who throws a ball game, no player who undertakes or promises to throw a ball game, no player who sits in confidence with a bunch of crooked ballplayers and gamblers, where the ways and means of throwing a game are discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball.”

Landis covered all contingencies, including players who overhear discussions about gambling or throwing a game.

However, there is evidence that casts some doubt about Jackson’s involvement. Jackson initially refused the $5,000, only to have Lefty Williams throw it on the floor. Jackson attempted to contact then Sox owner Charles Comiskey but Comiskey refused to meet with him.

Team attorney Alfred Austrian coached Jackson’s grand jury testimony, which might be considered illegal by current standards. He attempted to get Jackson to admit to the payoff by getting him drunk on whiskey. He also got Jackson, who was barely literate, to sign a waiver of immunity.

Years later, the other seven players implicated in the scandal confirmed that Jackson was never at any of the meetings to discuss throwing the games and said they included Jackson’s name to give their plot credibility.

And let’s not forget the most obvious claim to his innocence—his play during the 1918 World Series, batting almost .400 and committing no errors.

Here was a player that had the talent and capability to re-write the record books. If he had played as long as Ty Cobb, there could have been a very real chance that Pete Rose would have been chasing Jackson for the hit record instead of Cobb.

Pete Rose, three years after he retired as an active player, was placed on the permanent ineligibility list from baseball amid accusations that he gambled on games while he played and managed the Cincinnati Reds.

In 2004, Rose admitted to betting on baseball games but never against his own team.The Baseball Hall of Fame bans players on the “permanently ineligible” list from induction. Rose’s possible reinstatement and election to the Hall have been topics of many debates.

As to the players who have admitted to steroid use, why do they get the opportunity to “rehabilitate” themselves and still be allowed to earn millions of dollars to play a game?

Neither Jackson nor Rose had second or third chances offered to them.

The rules don’t allow players caught gambling to be suspended. And yet, the use of steroids has run rampant for years before someone finally cried, “enough!”

There had to be a reason why players all of a sudden were hitting 40-60 home runs a season instead of 20-35.

There had to be a reason why a player who for most of his career could never hit above .250 all of a sudden was leading the league in batting average at .345.

There had to be a reason why over one offseason, players who previously weighed in at 185-225 lbs. shot up to 230-250 lbs. and actually gained speed, bat speed, and strength.

Aren’t these players cheaters as well? Didn’t they change the outcome of games?

There has been a spate of no-hitters thrown this year. A lot of people seem to think that it’s the age of the pitchers again. I don’t think it’s ability of the pitchers, it’s just that now the players don’t have the bat speed and strength to hit it out of the park like they used to.

Both Jackson and Rose were phenomenal players who achieved their accomplishments without the use of chemicals.

Did they cheat?

For Jackson, I doubt that we’ll ever find out the truth, but I put him in the same light as Jim Thorpe who had his Olympic medals taken away because someone took advantage of him.

Jackson should have his ban lifted and be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

He was one of the best hitters of his time (a career .356 hitter over 12 years) and if he had played as long as Cobb did (23 years) he could have easily had almost 3,400 hits.

As for Rose, the majority of his accomplishments were achieved far before his gambling ever took place. His style of play got him the nickname “Charlie Hustle.” Would that indicate to anyone that he was throwing games? 

Remember, this was the guy that blasted Ray Fosse in an All-Star Game because he was so bent on winning.

Here’s a question for you: Why do steroid users get second and third chances and gamblers get none?

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The Chicago White Sox All-Time Starting Rotation

The Chicago White Sox All-time Starting Rotation

Imagine you are the lucky individual chosen to select the Chicago White Sox all-time starting rotation for a special fantasy league. 

Your rotation would then have to face off against every other team’s rotation to determine a champion.  Whom would you select?  Who would back up your top five starters and close out games?

The rules are simple.  You may select anyone from the entire history of the White Sox.  Starters need to have pitched 1,000 innings for your team.  Relievers chosen need to have logged 250 games for the White Sox.


The origins of the team

Chicago already had a rich baseball history before the founding of the American League White Sox.  Al Spalding and Cap Anson had acted as owner and player/manager for the history rich White Stockings of the National League. 

They had won consecutive titles back in the 1880s before Spalding had sold or traded all the star players away for going out for a “pint” after the game.

The NL Chicago team seemed to have abandoned the White Stockings name by the 1890s, going by the “Colts” and “Orphans” before landing on the “Cubs” by 1903.

The White Sox original team came from the Western League, a minor league, and more specifically a team which Charles Comiskey had bought and moved to St. Paul. 

When the NL gave the new American League permission to put a team in Chicago in 1900, Comiskey moved his St. Paul team to the near south side of the city and named them the White Stockings, taking the old name from the then-named Orphans.

The White Stockings won the Western League title in 1900, and the following year, the American League withdrew from the national charter for minor leagues and called themselves a major league, with Ban Johnson as the president, (a friend of Charles Comiskey from his days as manger of the Cincinnati Reds.)

Ban Johnson and Charles Comiskey were clearly the major driving forces of the newly formed league.

Comiskey brought in some players to give the new team a successful debut.  His lead pitcher was Clark Griffith (later owner of the Washington Senators), and long time friend and premier centerfielder of the 19th century, deaf lead-off hitter, Dummy Hoy. 

Comiskey had been involved with the initial use of signs for Hoy when he played for him in St. Louis and Cincinnati, signaling balls and strikes with the right and left hands. 

I’m sure Comiskey was also involved getting signs used for Hoy when he ran the bases as well. 

Now Comiskey had convinced Hoy, at the disbanding of the Louisville team in 1899, not to go with Honus Wagner, Fred Clarke, Tommy Leach, and Rube Waddell to Pittsbugh, but to come help him inaugurate the new American League in Chicago.

Hoy led off for the new White Sox, leading the league in BB, and the team in 2B, and OPS and OPS+ with a .407 OBP. 

Griffith did his part, winning 24 games, and the White Sox were the initial champions of the American League!  Next to Hoy in RF was rookie Fielder Jones.

Over the next few years the team developed a strong defensive attitude and rallied behind the pitching of Ed Walsh, Doc White and Nick Altrock. 

By 1906, the team surprised the baseball world by winning the World Series, defeating the juggernaut Cubs from across town for the title. 

The team was known as the “No-hit Sox,” as the top batter hit .279 and they were led by Fielder Jones’ 2 HRs!

In 1910, Comiskey Park was built.  They had consulted with leading pitcher Ed Walsh in designing the stadium, and it became known as one of the great pitching havens in baseball lore. 

Walsh had pitched the peak of his career before the stadium was built.  He was a spit ball artist of the highest level. 

Batters had complained that his spitball would just disappear at the plate.  Ed Walsh was so adept at preventing runs that he established the lowest career ERA (1.82) in the history of modern baseball.

Just as Walsh’s career was winding down, the White Sox developed star players Eddie Collins and Shoeless Joe Jackson, and pitching star Eddie Ciccotte.

The White Sox won the pennant and World Series in 1917 behind the pitching of Ciccotte, Red Faber, and Reb Russell.

The White Sox again won the pennant in 1919 and were favored to win the World Series against the upstart Cincinnati Reds. 

This is when “the fix’ is to have been made, throwing the series to the Reds, and forever marring the team as “the Black Sox.” 

Eight players, including stars Ciccotte and Jackson, were given lifetime bans from the game by newly appointed commissioner Landis by the end of the following season.

Landis was determined to get the game “clean.”  There was no wavering in his decisions.  This put an end to a potential HOF career by Eddie Ciccotte. 

His credentials are actually strong enough for HOF consideration, having won 209 games.  But he is ineligible because of this somewhat self-induced tragedy.

The Sox were not the same after the scandal. Whether from guilt or just a lack of the right players, they rarely produced even .500 baseball for the next two decades. 

The team had stars like Luke Appling and pitcher Ted Lyons, but not much success to go along with them.

Ted Lyons became a local hero of sorts, pitching seemingly forever…the last few seasons only on Sundays! 

He was able to stretch out his long career, garnering success as a once-a-week starting pitcher through 1942.  He ended up with 260 wins and a place at Cooperstown for his efforts.


The Early Rotation –

1 – Ed Walsh – 1904-1916 – 195W; 57 SHO; ERA+ 147 – the master of the spitball shut down opposing teams with remarkable efficiency for six incredible years.

2 – Red Faber – 1914-1933 – 254W; 29 SHO; ERA+ 119 – Faber also featured the spitball and was one of 17 pitchers “grandfathered” in to allow him to continue to throw it after the rules changed.  He remained remarkably successful throughout the 20s, pitching his entire career for the White Sox, and is in the HOF.

3 – Ted Lyons – 1923-1946 – 260W; 27 WHO; ERA+ 118 – another career White Sox pitcher, Lyons won 20 games three times.  Later in his career, manager Jimmy Dykes decided to pitch Lyons only on Sunday afternoons.  He gained the nickname “Sunday Teddy” and was very popular among the Chicago faithful.  Lyons pitched his way into the hearts of the HOF voters as well.

4 – Doc White – 1903-1913 – 159W; 42 SHO; ERA+ 114 – White was a slow ball specialist who led the league in ERA (1.56) in ’06 and wins (27) in ’07.  He held the scoreless-inning streak record until broken by Don Drysdale in 1968!  His 42 SHO are something to write home about as well.

5 – Ed Ciccotte – 1912-1920 – 156W; 28 SHO; ERA+ 133 Ciccotte was a battler on the mound.  He was widely successful until derailing in the 1919 postseason.

Spot Starters – Reb Russell, Thornton Lee (1940s – 104W)


Renewed success

When motivational manager Paul Richards took over the team in the early ’50s, things began to change.  Richards was highly into player development, especially developing young pitchers and young defensive experts.

Richards groomed young Billy Pierce, who the Tigers had cast off, and by ’53 had developed the next White Sox ace. 

The dominant team in the league, the Yankees featured a young Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and their young ace Whitey Ford.  It was the most powerful team baseball had seen since the Yankees and Tigers of the 30s.

The other leading team of the day was the Cleveland Indians with their incredible pitching staff, featuring Bob Lemon, Bob Feller, Mike Garcia, and Early Wynn.  The Indians set an American league record for wins in ’54 with 111.

But the White Sox had their own mojo.  The team and their fans seemed to have an insatiable drive to win each year.  They brought in Latin American favorites and stars Minnie Minoso and shortstop Luis Aparicio.  They teamed up with defensive whiz Nellie Fox to make a great up the middle defense for the team. 

Paul Richards and new manager Al Lopez were the architects of this pitching and defensive oriented team.  They became known as the “Go-go Sox” in the late 50s for their base stealing as well. 

From ’55-’60 the rivalry between the White Sox and the Yankees grew very intense.  Both teams would hold back their best pitcher to face the other team.

Billy Pierce became the face of White Sox for these rivalries.  He faced down the Yankees 42 times during those years and came away with a 21-21 record.

He pitched many low scoring gems, leaving without a win.  Sportswriters marveled how he could pitch on even terms against the far superior offense the Yankees possessed.

Particularly, his duels with Whitey Ford were legendary.  He came away with a 15-15 record against Ford which was finally broken by shutting out the Yankees and Ford in Game 5 of the 1962 World Series, while pitching for the Giants.

The White Sox brought in Early Wynn, who won 20 games for the ’59 season.  Things started to break the right way for the Sox that year, and they won the pennant for the first time since the 1919 scandal. 

They featured running, pitching and defense against the LA Dodgers who had surprised the NL as well that year.

The White Sox won two games in the series, but strangely, manager Al Lopez failed to start Billy Pierce even once in the series. 

This was the pitcher who had been tested in the fire of facing big game after big game, and had won the game that put the Sox in first place for good in August of that year.  But Lopez refused to start Pierce, and his teammates remained quiet.

The next several seasons witnessed some more great pitching in Comiskey Park.  The team often led the league in ERA, but just couldn’t score enough runs to top the Yankees.  In 1964, they won 98 games but fell short by one game!

New star pitchers came along, giving the fans hope of future success.  Gary Peters won two ERA crowns and a rookie of the year award in ’63.  Joe Horlen won the ERA title in ’67, and Tommy John was putting up great stats as well. 

If your team wasn’t shut down by Peters, Horlen, or John, then you had to face one of the stingiest bullpens ever assembled, with the likes of Hoyt Wilhelm, Ed McMahon, Eddie Fisher, and Bob Locker.

Wilbur Wood came along just as the rest of the team was starting to fade back to mediocrity.

Since the Sixties, the White Sox have featured pitchers like Jack McDowell (not Sam), and more recently their sometimes ace, Mark Buehrle.

The team finally won a World Series, breaking their long drought one year after the Red Sox broke their alleged curse in 2004! 

In 2005, they hired Venezuelan=born manager Ozzie Guillen.  Guillen wanted to emphasize, of all things, pitching and defense, and the ability to move the runner along the bases without the reliance on the home run.  This became known as “small ball.”

The baseball gods must have been smiling at the throwback to the “Go-go Sox” style of play and reliance now on Latin leadership for the team.

The White Sox dominated baseball as the best team for most of the year with their pitching and defense which could win 6-5 or 1-0 just as comfortably.

Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Jose Contreras, Freddy Garcia, and Orlando Hernandez won 72 games and were supported by a deep and versatile bullpen. 

It was a gritty, diverse, and motivated team.  They were led on the field by hard-nosed catcher AJ Pierzynski, offensive sources Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye, speedy Scott Podsednik, and defensive standouts Tadahito Iguchi at 2B, and Aaron Rowand in CF.


The Modern Rotation –

1 – Billy Pierce – 1949-1961 – 186W; 35 SHO; ERA+ 123 – Billy “The Kid” Pierce was slight of build, but big of heart.  He was twice pitcher of the year (’56, ’57), and started 3 All-Star games for the AL.  He was the face of the Yankees – White Sox rivalry of the 1950s, and his size bespoke of the “David vs. Goliath” mentality many White Sox fans held at the time.

2 – Wilbur Wood – 1967-1978 – 163W; 24 SHO; ERA+116 – Wood threw a knuckleball he obviously learned during his days in the Chicago bullpen from Hoyt Wilhelm. It served him well as he moved from White Sox closer to ace in the early 70s, pitching as many as 376 innings, and winning 20 games four times.

3 – Mark Buehrle – 2000-2010 – 141W; 8 SHO; ERA+ 121 – Buehrle has been an important part of the White Sox success this past decade.  He has been a constant presence for the team, and the author of two no-hitters, one a perfect game last year.

4 – Gary Peters – 1959 – 1969 – 91W; 18 SHO; ERA+ 115 – Peters was the ace of the White Sox staff of the middle ’60s.  This was one of the stingiest pitching staffs in history and he won the ERA title twice.

5 – Jack McDowell – 1987-1994 – 91W; 10 SHO; ERA+ 117 – “Black Jack” enjoyed his peak with the White Sox from 1991-’93.  He won the Cy Young award in ’93.

Spot Starters – Joe Horlen, Tommy John, Alex Fernandez


The Relievers –

The top two relievers in White Sox history are Roberto Hernandez – 345 games, 161 saves, and ERA+ 154, and Hoyt Wilhelm – 1.92 ERA, 361 games, 98 saves, and ERA+ 171. 

The White Sox have been rich in relievers throughout their modern history with closers like Bobby Thigpen, Bobby Jenks, and Keith Foulke. Setting up they have had standouts like Eddie Fisher, Bob Locker, and Damaso Marte.


The All-Time White Sox Starting Rotation and Pitching Staff –

1 – Ed Walsh – lowest career ERA in modern baseball history and 57 SHO to boot!

2 – Billy “The Kid” Pierce – 5’ 10 “ and 160 lbs. dripping wet, he was ready for any showdown against any pitcher!

3 – Red Faber – show me that spitter one more time!

4 – Ted Lyons – ages like fine wine – on Sundays only!

5 – Doc White – holder of the scoreless streak record for over 50 years.

Filling in during the week when Lyons can’t make his scheduled start – Eddie Ciccotte – just make sure it isn’t the post season, and your team isn’t favored; Wilbur Wood – just in case your opponent haven’t seen enough junk yet!!  He excelled starting and relieving.

Closers – Roberto Hernandez – led the White Sox resurgence in the early 90s along with Frank Thomas and Jack McDowell.

Hoyt Wilhelm – Hoyt was at his stingiest best while with the White Sox – virtually unhittable! From ’64-’68 his ERAs ranged from 1.31 to 1.99, and his H/9 marks ranged from 5.5-6.6 – unbelievable!  It is no wonder he is the first reliever in the HOF.


In Conclusion

Chicago pitchers must have loved to pitch for the White Sox.  Many of them stayed their whole careers if they could.  Old Comiskey Park was the home to many a pitcher’s duel, whether it was at the hands of Ed Walsh, Doc White, Red Faber, Billy Pierce, against the Yankees, or a gem from modern-day Mark Buehrle.

The White Sox have always been at their best when they emphasized their pitching, defense and “small ball.” 

Today’s deep bullpen of Jenks, Thornton, Putz, and Co. belies the great pens of ’05 and the 60s.  The White Sox certainly have storied pitching careers and exploits to mark the way for the next generation of pitching success.

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Who Remembers the 1917 Chicago White Sox?

The Chicago White Sox won the World Series in 2005 for the first time since 1917.

The 1917 White Sox won 100 games and defeated the New York Giants to become World Champions, but with the passage of time, the Pale Hose have become an afterthought.

A major reason is that many associated with baseball prefer that the 1919 World Series, which was fixed, be mentioned as little as possible. Bad memories should be repressed.

Many players on the 1917 World Champion White Sox were members of the 1919 American League Champion White Sox.

Charles Comiskey owned the White Stockings in 1901 when they became a charter member of the upstart American League. They became the first American League pennant winners.

To accommodate the newspapers, the team’s name was changed from the White Stockings to the White Sox to better fit the headlines.

Baseball in 1917 was quite different from baseball in today.

Pitching, defense, speed, bunting, and playing for one run at a time were emphasized. There weren’t many home run hitters.

Happy Felsch led the 1917 White Sox with six home runs, Wally Pipp led the American League with nine  home runs, and Ty Cobb won the batting title with a .383 batting average. 

The 1917 White Sox led the majors in runs scored (656), stolen bases (219), on base average (.323) and ERA (2.16).

Three Hall of Famers

The 1917 White Sox had a few great stars and some important role players.

Catcher Ray Schalk, second baseman Eddie Collins, and pitcher Red Faber became Hall of Famers. Outfielder Joe Jackson, one of the greatest players in the history of the game, made a mistake and has paid for it even after death.

Eddie Cicotte and Lefty Williams were outstanding starting pitchers on an outstanding pitching staff.

The Sox offense had extra base power and could break open games with adept hit and run plays, hitting behind the runner, moving runners along, and stealing bases.

The defense, especially the outfield defense in spacious Comiskey Park, helped the pitchers immensely. Joe Jackson and Happy Felsch were among the best defensive outfielders to ever have played the game.

The White Sox Beat New York in the World Series

The World Series was a “pick-‘em” affair.

New York fans thought the Giants had greater drive and desire than the Sox, but the White Sox won the first two games in Chicago by scores of 2-1 and 7-2.

When the Series shifted to New York, Al Benton and Ferdie Schupp each shut out the White Sox, but the Sox won the next two games for the championship.

The Only White Sox Team to Win 100 Games

The only White Sox team to ever win 100 games in a season, the 1917 Sox were a colorful, well-balanced unit.

They failed to repeat as champions in the war-shortened 1918 season as the great Boston Red Sox won the World Series, but the White Sox won the 1919 pennant and became the Black Sox.

It is interesting that the Red Sox’ won World Championships in 1918 and 2004, and the White Sox’ last two championships were 1917 and 2005. Just like a pair of bookends with so many Yankees in between.


1917 Chicago White Sox at Baseball Bullpen

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