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WSI News - Season Features

July, 2000.  Sox hero Carlton Fisk gets inducted into baseball's hall of fame, but at least one Sox Fan is left underwhelmed by Fisk's conduct towards the fans that supported him.

Bittersweet Well Wishes, Carlton Fisk

Just one Sox fan's opinion

by George Bova

Carlton Fisk is getting inducted into baseballís Hall of Fame. He richly deserves the honor. He spent thirteen years as the real and figurative anchor to the Chicago White Sox. For Sox fans, his signing with the club in 1981 signaled the end of the teamís decades-long championship famine. His leadership was unquestionably the soul of every Sox club, from the glory year of 1983, to the near-glory of 1981 and 1990. Carlton Fisk was the living embodiment of Chicago White Sox baseball and no true fan of the team should ever dismiss or lightly regard his accomplishments.

Thank you, Carlton Fisk. Congratulations on your induction. You remain a hero to this Sox fan.

There is no bitterness here that youíve chosen to enter the hall wearing a Red Sox cap. Youíre a native of New England, grew up a Red Sox fan, and achieved your greatest glory winning Game Six of the 1975 World Series with a dramatic last at-bat homerun - wearing that same cap. It probably ranks in the top-three of baseballís most-famous moments. Even as a White Sox fan, I respect your choice of the Red Sox cap over my teamís. I think itís totally appropriate, so long as you do.

Iím glad that the Chicago White Sox have buried the hatchet long enough to respect the wishes of Sox fans and retire your number. It was wrong how you were pushed out the door in 1993, regardless of any hard feelings either you or the front office felt back then. You deserved respect, and they didnít show it to you in your last hours with the team. That was wrong. Worse still was how they barred your entry to the clubhouse later that year with the team entering the American League Championship Series. This Sox fan resents how you were treated. Retiring your number was the least they could do.

Sox fans have stood with you, and I count myself in their number. Maybe you donít realize the significance we attach to your allegiance with Chicagoís South Side fans. Maybe you donít understand how slighted we can feel when one of our heroes plays out his frustrations with the Sox front office at our expense. You shouldnít underestimate the way your actions are interpreted.

You received your induction notice over six months ago, and yet you still havenít made an official appearance at Comiskey Park. Why? Are we to believe the Sox front office hasnít been anything less than accommodating? That certainly isnít how theyíve characterized their attempts to reach out to you. What would be difficult about throwing out the first pitch, meeting the broadcast team in the booth, or joining Nancy Faust for the seventh inning stretch? She has been around longer than you have, and most certainly has endured obvious grievances with grace and aplomb.

This Sox fan knows not a single good reason why you havenít made an appearance for us, or of any public explanation why it has taken so long to arrange one. I understand a post-induction ceremony is in the works, but why the delay? More specifically, why clear the calendar for an appearance on Chicagoís North Side before reaching out to the fans that truly stand with you, the ones at 35th and Shields?

Sure, you reached out to fellow teammate Robin Ventura, the Metsí thirdbasemen who happened to be playing the Cubs that day. You did the politically correct thing by singing ďroot, root, root for the HOME teamĒ, rather than the Cubs. I wouldnít take anything away from you for that.

But why should Wrigley Field have been first, rather than Comiskey? And why must White Sox fans be the last of those served on your triumphant parade into Cooperstown, behind even fans of the crosstown Cubs? Carlton Fisk, why is that?

Sox fans are a proud bunch. Weíve shouldered more collective crap than any other group of fans in the entire history of Major League Baseball. We all respect your service to our team, and personally thank you for the thrills you gave us and the honor in which you conducted yourself. How sorry we are to learn our allegiance isnít more valued by you.

Thatís a bittersweet pill for this Sox fan to swallow.

George Bova is editor and founder of White Sox Interactive.

Back to 2000 Champions!


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