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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

1972 Sox:  Where are they now

by Mark Liptak

The 1972 White Sox were a team that came along at a time when the franchise, the fans and the city needed them badly. It's not a stretch to say that because of the season they had and the way the fans responded the franchise was saved from moving to Seattle, Denver, New Orleans, Toronto or parts unknown. That season the team drew almost 1,200,000 fans, they also were able to get a new radio contract for the 1973 season with WMAQ, a legit AM station, bringing in additional revenue (as opposed to the pair of low powered FM, stations they were on for 1971 and 1972.)

That revenue kept the franchise going when owner John Allyn nearly went bankrupt because of bad outside business investments. The Sox were able to hang around long enough for Bill Veeck to buy them in December 1975 and then eventually to sell to Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn in January 1981.

Without the 1972 White Sox, led by Dick Allen, Wilbur Wood, Carlos May, Bill Melton, Tom Bradley, Stan Bahnsen, Terry Forster and "Goose" Gossage you wouldn't have had the 1977 "South Side Hit Men," the "Winnin' Ugly" 1983 club, the 1990 "Doin' The Little Things" team or the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox. The players and the season they had literally "saved" the White Sox for Chicago. lists 40 players who participated in at least one game that season. Thanks to the efforts of myself, Paul Ladewski of the Chicago Baseball Museum and Bob Grim of the White Sox, here is what happened to many of those players in the ensuing 40 years:

Cy Acosta, pitcher. The reliever spent three of his four major league seasons in a White Sox uniform. Won the second game of a double header the first day he was in the major leagues with the Sox on June 4, 1972 vs. New York. In 1973, his 18 saves ranked fifth in the league. That same year he became the first American League pitcher to bat in the designated hitter era. The 65-year-old lives in Mexico.

April 30, 1972. Dick Allen has just hit a two run, game winning home run in the 10th inning off Ed Farmer as the Sox came from behind to beat Cleveland 7-5. From left to right, that's Bill Melton, Chuck Tanner behind him, Rich Morales, Dick, Walt Williams and Steve Kealey (with glasses.)

Dick Allen, first base. He was the runaway winner in the 1972 American League Most Valuable Player vote, as he set career-highs in RBI (113), bases on balls (99) and on-base percentage (.420). The career .292 hitter played for five teams in 15 seasons, after which he served as an advisor and instructor for several years. Now 70 years old, he resides in western Pennsylvania. Was the A.L. home run champion in both 1972 and 1974 and was named to three All-Star Teams representing the franchise. Hit two inside the park home runs in the same game at Minnesota on July 31, 1972 and became the first Sox player to homer into the original center field bleacher seats below the scoreboard on August 23, 1972.

Luis Alvarado, shortstop. In 1972, the Puerto Rican utility man took part in a career-high 102 games. Two years earlier, the former International League Most Valuable Player was acquired in the trade that sent shortstop Luis Aparicio to the Boston Red Sox. Died at age 52 on March 20, 2001.

Mike Andrews, second base. Also a part of the Aparicio trade, he started 143 games in the 1972 season, his last as an everyday player. Was the Sox first DH when he manned that spot on April 7, 1973 in Texas. A member of two World Series teams, he spent more than 30 years as chairman of the "Jimmy Fund" charity in the Boston area, where the 68-year-old resides currently.

Stan Bahnsen, pitcher. Acquired from New York Yankees prior to the 1972 campaign, the one-time Rookie of the Year posted 21 victories in his first of three seasons with the team. Had one of baseball's most unusual shutouts when on June 21, 1973 he allowed 12 hits and walked a batter yet still beat the A's 2-0. The 67-year-old resides in the Palm Beach, Fla., were he works for MSC Cruises, for whom he recruits former major leaguers to interact with patrons.

Tom Bradley, pitcher. The right-hander was a 15-game winner in each of his two seasons with the team with over 200 strikeout each time. He also gave roommate Rich (Goose) Gossage his nickname. The University of Maryland product spent two decades as a coach at the college, minor league and major league levels. Currently, the 64-year-old assists his son Andy with the Gonzaga College High School team in Washington, D.C.

Harry Caray, radio announcer. After one forgettable season with the Oakland Athletics, the Prince of Palindromes moved to Chicago in 1971 and his career took off again. He was the Sox main announcer through the 1981 season. In 1989, the St. Louis native received the Ford Frick Award. He passed away on Feb. 18, 1998, at 83 years of age.

Rory Clark, home team batboy. The St. Ignatius High School and Northwestern University graduate served as Allen's caretaker among other responsibilities. The 57-year-old lives in Gilbert, Ariz., where he is president of The Impact Corporation consultant firm.

Jack Drees, television announcer. Before the former Austin High School basketball star returned to Chicago in 1968, he worked for every major network and covered the Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby, Masters and NCAA basketball tournament among other events. He was 71 years old when he died on July 27, 1988. Was the Sox TV announcer in 1971 and 1972.

Tom Egan, catcher. In 1971, the ex-bonus baby became the fifth White Sox player to reach the roof in Comiskey Park history. Three years later, he caught the third no-hitter in pitcher Nolan Ryan's career. A beanball limited the vision in his right eye and a career that once had much promise. Currently vice president for a trucking company, the Tempe, Ariz., resident will turn 66 years old next month.

Ralph Faucher, radio announcer. For three decades, he was the voice of WTAQ Radio, where he was often heard on high school basketball broadcasts. Before his retirement, he was a weekend disc jockey for WERL in Eagle River, Wis., where the 86-year-old still resides. Worked with Harry Caray on the radio for the team in 1971 and 1972.

Terry Forster, pitcher. In 1972, one year after 19-year-old fireballer made the jump from Class A ball, he saved 20 games to rank second in the league. The next season the second-round draft pick led the league in the category (24) before he encountered arm problems. Was a tremendous hitter going 12-24 with a double and three RBI's in the two seasons pitchers were still batting in the A.L. He turned 60 years old earlier this year. Resides in Montreal.

August 23, 1972. Photo snapped at the moment that Allen's center field bleacher shot was dropping into the seats below the scoreboard. Harry Caray is with the net. Sox would win over the Yankees 5-2. Yours truly is at the top left wearing a white shirt just below the bottom of the scoreboard.

Rich Gossage, pitcher. Posted a 7-1 record in 1972 , his rookie season. Three years later, he led the league in saves (26) for the first of three times in his career. Still known as Rick to family and friends. A member of the 2008 Hall of Fame class, he resides in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he promotes youth sports. Made the 1975 All Star Team with the White Sox.

Roland Hemond, director of player personnel. In little more than two seasons at the controls, he turned the White Sox inside out and was named Executive of the Year for his efforts. In 1970 the Sox had lost 106 games, by the time the strike shortened 1972 season ended they won 87. He spent 16 years in their front office. The 82-year-old resides in Phoenix, where he is Arizona Diamondbacks special assistant.

Ed Herrmann, catcher. In five consecutive seasons (1970-74) with the team, he reached double figures in home runs. In 1972, he gunned down a league-high 50 percent of would-be base-stealers. Tied a major league record for catchers on July 4, 1972 when he was a part of three double plays against Baltimore. On June 24, 1973 in the second game of a DH with Oakland he drove in seven RBI's. At 65, the former Kansas City Royals scout remains active in youth baseball in the San Diego area.

Stu Holcomb, general manager. Known best for his work as Purdue University football coach and Northwestern athletic director. He was general manager of the ill-fated Chicago Mustangs soccer team before he replaced Ed Short in the White Sox front office. Was reassigned by owner John Allyn midway through the 1973 season after his 'take it or get released' attitude in contract negotiations caused the Sox to lose players for nothing. Died on Jan. 11, 1977, at 66 years of age.

Bart Johnson, pitcher. After a brilliant 1971 rookie campaign, the right-hander sustained a knee injury in an off-season basketball game and was limited to nine appearances in the 1972 season. Went 10-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 1974 for the Sox. Later he became a White Sox and Washington Nationals scout. As a freshman at BYU was a member of the All-America basketball team averaging 26 points per game. The 62-year-old makes his home in Oak Lawn, Ill.

Jay Johnstone, outfield. Acquired with Bradley and Egan from the Angels after the 1970 season, the free spirit had a pair of up-and-down seasons with the team. his best year was 1971 with 16 home runs. The 66-year-old Pasadena, Calif., resident spent three seasons with the Cubs later in his career. He owns two World Series rings – one with the Yankees and one with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Steve Kealey, pitcher. He and Johnson were teammates at Torrance (Calif.) High School, which produced several major league players. He slammed a three-run homer on September 6, 1971 against the Minnesota Twins becoming the last Sox pitcher to ever hit one at home. Now 65 years old, he makes his home in Abilene, Kan.

Bud Kelly, television announcer. Spent two seasons 1971 - 1972 with Drees in the TV booth. He also filled in on Blackhawks telecasts for two seasons. He last worked for KLIV radio in San Jose, Calif., before his retirement in 2008 after 60 years on the air. He resides in Arizona.

Pat Kelly, outfield. The fleet right fielder set the wheels in motion with 32 stolen bases, which ranked fourth in the league. Later he served as an ordained minister in Maryland. He passed away on Oct. 2, 2005, at 61 years of age. His brother Leroy is a former Cleveland Browns halfback and Pro Football Hall of Fame member.

Dave Lemonds, pitcher. He's the answer to this trivia question: In 1972, which White Sox pitcher was the fourth starter in their three-man rotation? The Cubs drafted him first overall in the 1968 draft, one spot ahead of Johnson, his future teammate. Arm problems cut short his career. The Matthews, N.C., resident will turn 64 years old next month.

Joe Lonnett, third base coach. In 15 seasons, the former catcher was manager Chuck Tanner's first lieutenant with the White Sox, Oakland Athletics and Pittsburgh Pirates. The World War II and Korean War veteran died on Dec. 5, 2011, at 84 years of age.

Carlos May, outfield. The 1972 season was the best of his nine with the club – .308 batting average, 23 stolen bases and he was named to the All Star Team for the second time. He's the only player to wear his birthday (MAY 17) on the back of his uniform. Now the 63-year-old serves as Schaumburg Boomers first base coach and White Sox community relations representative. Worked for the U.S. Postal Service before retiring. Resides in Country Club Hills.

April 1973. Before a game at Comiskey Park, longtime reporter Edgar Munzel presents Allen with his 1972 A.L. MVP Award.

Bill Melton, third baseman. On the heels of consecutive 33-home run seasons, the 1971 All Star, sustained a herniated disc and was never quite the same. Remains in the game as an analyst on White Sox telecasts. The 66-year-old also does community work for the organization. Has dual residences in Chicago and southern California.

Al Monchak, first base coach. At 95, he is on the short list of oldest living former major leaguers. He played briefly with the Philadelphia Phillies before World War II interrupted his career. As a manager, he guided four minor league teams to championships. Like Lonnett, he followed Tanner from team to team later in his career.

Rich Morales, shortstop. Nine years after the White Sox signed him as a free agent, he had a career-high 71 starts at the unsettled shortstop position. Later in his career, he was a manager in the Cubs farm system among others. The 68-year-old makes his home in Pacifica, Calif.

Tony Muser, first base. Recalled midway through the 1972 season, he was primarily a defensive replacement in the late innings. He went on to become Royals manager for four seasons and parts of two others. Currently, the 63-year-old is a roving instructor in the San Diego Padres organization. Lives in Los Alamitos, Calif.

Jorge Orta, shortstop. Purchased from the Mexican League after the 1971 season, the 21-year-old made his major league debut five months later. He moved to second base and totaled 1,002 hits in nine seasons with the team. Was a member of the 1985 Royals team that won the World Series in seven games. At 61, he makes his home in Flossmoor, Ill.

Rick Reichardt, outfield. A left fielder by trade, he split time with Johnstone in center field out of necessity. In 1964, the University of Wisconsin star touched off a bidding war that resulted in a then record $200,000 bonus and the establishment of the draft a short time later. Played in the 1963 Rose Bowl for the Badgers. Coined the 1972 White Sox battle cry, "outhouse to penthouse..." The 69-year-old is a part-time financial planner in Gainesville, Fla.

Vicente Romo, pitcher. Widely regarded as the greatest pitcher in Mexican League history, he was acquired with Muser from the Boston Red Sox before the 1971 campaign. Played for five teams in eight years. His older bother Enrique also was a major league pitcher. Listed at 69 years old, he lives in Mexico.

Johnny Sain, pitching coach. The Arkansas native was a rarity: An accomplished pitcher who went on to become an equally successful instructor. He coached nine 20-game winners and for five pennant-winners. A four-time 20-game winner himself, he totaled 139 victories despite a three-year Navy stint. Died on Nov. 7, 2006. He was 89 years old.

Ed Spiezio, third base. The Joliet native filled in for Melton in the last three months of the 1972 season, after which he retired at 30 years of age. Hit a dramatic 11th inning home run off Rollie Fingers in Oakland to win the game and move the Sox into first place on August 12, 1972. He played for the 1967 St. Louis Cardinals championship team and hit the first home run in San Diego Padres history. The Lewis University (then College) product lives in Morris, Ill., where his family is in the furniture business. His son Scott also played in the major leagues.

Chuck Tanner, manager. His unbridled optimism and infectious enthusiasm played no small role in the success of the team, which showed a 35-game improvement in his first two full seasons. Managed the Sox through the 1975 season. The ex-outfielder later had stints with the Athletics and Pirates, who won the 1979 World Series under his direction. Was named A.L. Manager of the Year for his job handling the 1972 White Sox. He passed away on Feb. 11, 2011, at 82 years of age.

Walt Williams,
outfield. Known as "No Neck" because of his short, compact build, the popular reserve filled in for Kelly against some left-handed starters. Was traded to the Cleveland Indians shortly after the 1972 season. Broke up former teammate Stan Bahnsen's bid for a no hitter on August 21, 1973 when he singled with two outs in the 9th inning at Cleveland. The 68-year-old lives in the Brownsville, Tex., where he was director of a youth recreational center after he left professional baseball.

Wilbur Wood, pitcher. The Hoyt Wilhelm disciple won 24 games in 49 starts that covered 376 2/3 innings. Finished second in the Cy Young Award and seventh in the Most Valuable Player votes. A four time 20 game winner with the Sox and a three time All Star. Led the A.L. in relief appearances in 1968. The 70-year-old lives in the Boston area. Before his retirement, he was a pharmaceutical sales representative.


All comments and corrections (with source) are welcome. Please e-mail Mark at 

Editor's Note:  Mark Liptak is an experienced sports journalist, holding several awards for both his electronic and print media work.  He has held numerous sports reporting positions for various TV and newspaper organizations, including Director of Sports for KNOE-TV (Monroe, Louisiana) and KPVI-TV (Pocatello, Idaho), and sports writer for the Idaho Falls Free Press, where his column "Lip Service" has appeared for for a number of years.  "Lip", his wife, and cats presently live in Chubbuck, Idaho, where they collectively comprise 100 percent of the Pocatello River Valley's long-time Sox Fan population.  


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