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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Deja Vu All Over Again!

by Senor Sock††

The world's foremost playboy, celebrity Sox Fan, and sock, Senor Sock!† The Toast of Argentina is swingin' Hollywood-style for our Pale Hose!

I can understand the White Sox reluctance to keep spring phenom Gordon Beckham on the major league roster and instead send him down to Birmingham for a little seasoning. Really I can. After only a few games of professional experience, Iím sure working on his skills in the minor leagues a little will only improve them. The Sox have other options and besides, if they keep last yearís number 8 overall draft pick in the minors long enough, it will extend the time before heís eligible for arbitration and free agency. This will allow the Sox to save money in the long run and hold on to him longer when heís at the top of his game. Besides, if Getz, Nix, Lillibridge and whomever else they may try at second doesnít work out, they can always bring Beckham up later in the season. †

I can understand that. Really.†

Iím sure Ozzie does as well. Yet something tells me Ozzie remembers another spring when he was the Sox shortstop and another spring phenom was sent down for additional seasoning. †

The year was 1990 and the manager was Jeff Torburg. The rookie in question had been the number 7 overall pick in the 1989 draft and had only 71 games experience, all in the rookie leagues. Torburg saw the way the guy was ripping it up that spring and wanted him on the team. However the manager was vetoed by upper management, who wanted the young hitter to get a little more professional experience. So the hitter was sent to play with the Birmingham Barons.†

That season Booby Thigpen tore it up with 57 saves. Carlton Fisk passed Johnny Bench to set a new career home run mark for catchers. The Sox were no-hit by the Yankees and actually won the game, 4-0!† Less than two weeks later Melido Perez no-hit the Yankees in a rain shorted 6 inning game. On July 2nd, after breathing down the necks of the Aís for weeks, the Sox finally closed in and the teams were tied for first place. Meanwhile the rookie hit .323 at Birmingham while getting 112 walks. Carlos Martinez, the guy playing in his place in the majors hit all of .224 with 4 home runs and 24 rbis. †

Finally on August 2nd while† 3 Ĺ games behind Oakland, the Sox decided to give the rookie a shot. After all, he couldnít do much worse than a guy hitting .224 could he? Of course Chicago wasnít Birmingham and the rookie wasnít expected to hit as well in the majors.†

The new guy hit .330 with 7 home runs and 31 rbi. If you donít think thatís impressive, consider the team leader in average only hit .285, the team leader in home runs hit only 18 and the team leader in rbis knocked in all of 74 over an entire season. The rookie put up his numbers in two months. †

Now it would be nice to say the new guy led the team to a first place finish, but thatís not how the story ended. The Sox went 34-27 the rest of the way and finished 9 games in back of Oakland, who picked up Harold Baines and Willie McGee for the pennant drive. †

But who knows how many more games the Sox might have won earlier that year if Torburg had gotten his wish and been allowed to start him on opening day? By late July the Sox might have had a big enough lead that the Aís might have thrown in the towel and begun a salary dump instead of picking up the extra bats. At the very least, the rookie could have added a few more victories for the fans in Chicago rather than the fans in Birmingham and made that race a LOT closer.†

The name of that rookie was of course, Frank Thomas. Now Iím not suggesting Gordon Beckham is another Frank Thomas butÖ he is someone who could make a difference.† Whether he gets the opportunity is, as the late great Paul Harvey used to say, ďthe rest of the storyĒ.

Editor's Note:† An idol in his native Argentina, Senor Sock became the toast of the entertainment world while a regular on E! Entertainment Television's Emmy-award winning "Talk Soup". He has been romantically linked to many of the world's most beautiful women, including Suzanne Somers, Monica Bellucci, Donna D'Errico, Halle Berry and Peri Gelpin. Visit his NEW WEBSITE at†† He is of course, a lifelong White Sox fan.

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