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WSI News - Season Features

The Reinsdorf Years

Part Four.
Expect the Unexpected: A Sox History.

Go-Go Era
Wild 70's
Reinsdorf Years

by Mark Liptak

††† January 29, 1981- Jerry Reinsdorf gains control of the White Sox. Eddie Einhorn becomes a limited partner after the original investor William Farley drops out because the Sox went out and signed free agents Ron LeFlore and Jim Essian. Farley didnít approve of the team spending three million dollars for both.

††† March 10, 1981- Free agent Carlton Fisk signs a contract with the White Sox providing instant respectability for the franchise. Two weeks later, the Sox pick up Chicago native Greg Luzinski.

††† April 10, 1981- On Opening Day, Fisk slams a three run 8th inning home run off the Red Sox Bob Stanley giving the Sox a 5-3 win.

††† April 14, 1981- The Sox home opener before almost fifty thousand fans sees Fisk belt a grand slam off the Brewers Pete Vukovich in a 9-3 win.

††† June 12, 1981- A players strike wipes out almost two months of the season. When both sides agree to resume the season the owners come up with a bizarre "split season" format. Sox manager Tony LaRussa, a certified lawyer, quickly finds a major flaw in the plan and suggests that if it would help the Sox get the second best record and a spot in the post season, they would throw a late season series to the Aís. Later Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog says the same thing for his club.

††† August 25, 1981- Sox pitcher Dennis Lamp carries a no hitter into the 9th inning against the Brewers in Milwaukee. Robin Yount leads off the 9th with a bloop double breaking it up. The Sox win the game 5-1.

††† September 6, 1981- Jimmy Piersallís days with the Sox end after he makes a series of comments on the Mike Royko TV show on WLS. The comments are about baseball wives.

††† October 4, 1981- Jerry Hairstonís grand slam beats the Twins 13-12 setting off Bill Veeckís original exploding scoreboard for the last time. The game also marks the end of Harry Carayís association with the Sox after eleven seasons.

††† April 1982- A major blizzard snows out the season opener in Chicago and blankets the entire Midwest and East Coast. The Sox are forced to open the season in New York where they beat the Yankees in a double header. The Sox go on to open the season by winning eight straight from the gate.

††† December 14, 1982- The Sox sign the top free agent pitcher in the off season, Floyd Bannister to a five year, 4.5 million dollar contract. The Sox outbid 16 other teams for his services. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner is infuriated and calls the tandem of Reinsdorf and Einhorn, the "Katzenjammer Kids" who are out to ruin baseball. Steinbrenner also expresses regret that he voted against allowing Bill Veeck to sell the team to Eddie DeBartolo.

††† December 1982- The Sox and General Manager Roland Hemond embarrass the Cubs by hinting that the Sox may select pitcher Fergie Jenkins after the Cubs leave him unprotected in the free agent draft. The Sox were entitled to compensation after losing outfielder Steve Kemp to the Yankees. The Cubs are forced to trade Scott Fletcher, Dick Tidrow, Randy Martz and Pat Tabler to the Sox for a promise not to take Jenkins who was looking for his 300th win along with Steve Trout and Warren Brusstar. The Sox then trade Tabler for Jerry Dybzinski.

††† April 15, 1983- Jerry Hairstonís single with two outs in the 9th inning ruins the no hitter being thrown by former Cub Milt Wilcox, who was pitching for Detroit.

††† June 22, 1983- Noted team prankster Jerry Koosman somehow "discovers" Gaylord Perryís false teeth on the mound at Comiskey Park during a game against the Mariners. He offers to return them but Perry declines. Oh by the way, the Sox won the game 6-3.

††† June 26, August 1, August 28, 1983- Greg Luzinski becomes the first player in the history of Comiskey Park to hammer three rooftop home runs in a single season. The pitchers of record were Brian Oelkers, Ray Fontenot and Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd.

††† July 6, 1983- The Golden Anniversary All Star Game is held at Comiskey Park. The A.L.mangles the N.L.13-3 stopping their long losing streak. Chicago native Fred Lynn of the Angels gets the gameís first grand slam off the Giants Atlee Hammaker.

††† August 14, 1983- Carlton Fisk appeared to hit a go ahead home run off the Orioles Scott McGregor only to have umpire Greg Kosc overrule it and say it was a ground rule double because a fan appeared to have leaned over the wall to catch it. The Sox wind up losing 2-1. That fan then called Jimmy Piersallís radio show afterwards to give his side of the story. TV replays showed he was not leaning over the wall when he caught the ball. Just another in a series of bizarre plays that took place against Baltimore down through the years.

††† September 9, 1983- The Sox express roars on crushing former Sox great Tommy John and the Angels 11-0. Whatís significant in this one is for the first time in memory the Sox hammer back to back to back home runs. Theyíre courtesy of Carlton Fisk, Tom Paciorek, and Greg Luzinski. In the same game Britt Burns throws a one hitter.

††† September 17, 1983- Before a packed house at Comiskey Park, Harold Baines hits a sacrifice fly driving in Julio Cruz with the run that wins the American League West title for the Sox. The Sox go to the playoffs for the first time in 24 years, draw a record season attendance of over two million fans and have the best record in baseball at 99-63.

††† October 5, 1983- Cy Young Award winner LaMarr Hoyt pitches a brilliant complete game, six hitter in beating the Orioles 2-1 in Game #1 of the A.L.C.S.

††† October 8, 1983- With the Sox down two games to one in the playoffs, Jerry Dybzinski overruns second base after a single by Julio Cruz. In the ensuing rundown Vance Law is thrown out trying to score what would have been the go ahead run in a scoreless tie in the 8th inning. The Sox wind up losing the game and the series on a home run by Tito Landrum in the 10th inning.

††† November 1983- A la 1959, the Sox virtually sweep the post season awards. Tony LaRussa is Manager Of The Year, Ron Kittle, Rookie Of The Year, Greg Luzinski, D.H. Of The Year, and LaMarr Hoyt grabs the Cy Young Award.

††† January 23, 1984- Once again Roland Hemond uses the free agent compensation rule to the White Sox advantage, plucking future Hall Of Famer Tom Seaver from the Mets. In his two years with the Sox, Seaver would win 32 games, including his 300th one overall.

††† May 8-9, 1984- Harold Baines ends the longest game inning wise in American League history blasting a home run in the 25th inning to give the Sox a 7-6 win over Milwaukee. The 8:06 length of the game set a Major League record.. Tom Seaver got the win in relief in the marathon contest then came back and won the regularly scheduled game later that same evening.

††† April 29, 1985- A new yearly tradition is established in the first annual "Crosstown Classic" charity game matching the Sox and Cubs. Down through the years both teams played each other on and off in Spring training or during an open date in the regular season. This is the first time both teams agree to play on a yearly basis with a corporate sponsor (Busch Beer). The game alternates between Comiskey Park and Wrigley Field and is played every year through 1995 (Because of the labor impasse the teams played two games that season.) The Sox win the opener at Comiskey Park 7-4 but itís only the start of a remarkable run. The two teams play a total of 12 games and the Sox never lose!!!!! They go 10-0-2 during that time period. After 1995, the series is dropped. Itís never publicly explained why, but reports persisted that the cancellation of the series was at the Cubs request.

††† June 1, 1985- Carlton Fisk slams his 5th home run in four games when he hits a two run shot off the Royals Bret Saberhagen in a game the Sox win 8-7. Fisk drove in a dozen runs in that stretch and served notice that 1985 was going to be his best year in a Chicago uniform. Heíd finish the year with 37 homers and 112 RBIís.

††† August 2, 1985- An incredible weekend in New York starts with perhaps the most unusual play in White Sox history. With Britt Burns on the mound, Rickey Henderson slams a double to left center over the head of Luis Salazar. Yankee base runners Bobby Meacham and Dale Berra get confused because it looked like Salazar might have been able to make the catch. Meacham stumbles running the bases and is nearly passed by Berra. Both runners get hung up and attempt to score as Salazarís relay throw is caught by Ozzie Guillen and fired to Carlton Fisk at the plate. Fisk then tags out and knocks down BOTH Meacham and Berra one / two as they attempt to score. Thatís two for the price of one at home plate! To cap things off the Sox win the game 6-5 in 11 innings.

††† August 4, 1985- On the same day Rod Carew got his 3,000th hit in Anaheim, Sox pitcher Tom Seaver wins his 300th career game. Seaver beats the Yankees 4-1. He gets late inning defensive help when Harold Baines climbs the right field wall to rob Dave Winfield of an extra base hit with men on base. Seaver retires current Cub manager Don Baylor, on a fly to left for the final out of the game.

††† May 28, 1986- In a game against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas, Sox pitcher Joe Cowley strikes out the first seven men he faces which sets an American League record. However, Cowley winds up pitching only four plus innings and takes the loss.

††† September 19, 1986- Cowley makes the record books again by no hitting the Angels in Anaheim 7-1. It is an unusual no hitter. Cowley walked seven, including three straight in the 6th inning, when California got their run.

††† April 4, 1988- Sox outfielder, now current General Manager, Ken Williams has his one moment in the sun. Williams slams an upper deck three run home run off the Angels Mike Witt to help lead the Sox to an 8-5 win.

††† June 30, 1988- After years of saying that the original Comiskey Park is outdated, Sox owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn come very close to moving the team to the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg, Florida area. At the stroke of midnight the Illinois General Assembly passes a bill allowing the construction of a new stadium, thus saving the Sox.. Meanwhile Florida baseball fans are stunned as they realize they have been used as a pawn to extort a new facility by Sox owners.

††† April 2, 1990- Itís the last season opener at old Comiskey Park and the Sox use a sacrifice fly from Scott Fletcher to beat the Brewers 2-1. Barry Jones gets the win in relief of starter Melido Perez.

††† July 1, 1990- On the 80th anniversary of the opening of Comiskey Park, the Yankees Andy Hawkins throws a no hitter. Except for one small problem....he LOSES the game 4-0! The Sox get all their runs thanks to back to back fly ball errors courtesy of Jim Leyritz and Danny Tartabull. The Sox Greg Hibbard matches Hawkins pitch for pitch in the early going as he also has a no hitter through the first five innings.

††† July 11,1990- During a series with the Brewers the Sox have a promotion that actually works. Rob Gallas is the driving force behind "Turn Back The Clock" day. The promotion recreates the scene as it would have been during the 1917 season. Sox players were replicas of those uniforms, the scoreboard is turned off and operated by hand, vendors and stadium personnel are dressed in period clothes and photographers are allowed on the field. The promotion is copied by teams in all sports and an offshoot promo comes to pass in coming years, itís called "Turn Ahead The Clock."

††† August 2, 1990- Frank Thomas makes his Major League debut in Milwaukee as part of a twin bill with the Brewers. Big Frank narrowly misses a home run in his first at bat when his line shot hits the top of the wall in right field and goes for a triple. Later in the game, Thomas would beat out a slowly hit ground ball down the third base line. Power AND speed, and a taste of things to come.

††† August 12, 1990- The Sox set what is believed to be the longest wait in baseball history before calling a game because of rain. The Sox were slated to play the Rangers at Comiskey Park in an afternoon contest. Persistent rains cause a delay before the first pitch was even thrown. Because this was the last trip into Chicago by Texas, the Sox waited until the mid evening before "officially" calling the game. The wait lasted over eight hours! As it turned out the Sox had to play the make up game in Arlington as part of a double header.

††† August 17, 1990- In the second game of a double header at Texas, Carlton Fisk becomes baseballís all time home run leader by a catcher, as he nails a Charlie Hough offering. Itís his 328th career shot as a backstop and also establishes himself as the White Sox all time career home run champ.

††† September 15, 1990- Owner Jerry Reinsdorf fires G.M. Larry Himes citing "personality differences." Himes drafted and signed Sox future stars like Frank Thomas, Jack McDowell, Robin Ventura, and Alex Fernandez. During the press conference announcing the hiring of Ron Schueler as new G.M. Reinsdorf issues his famous "point A to point B to point C" comment.

††† September 29, 1990- The last night game ever played at "old" Comiskey Park is won by the Sox 4-2. Frank Thomas slaps a two run single up the middle off Mariners starter Matt Young to drive in the go ahead runs.

††† September 30, 1990- Eighty years of baseball history ends as the "original" Comiskey Park closes with a 2-1 win over the Mariners. An emotional and capacity crowd, including politicians, musicians, sports and Hollywood figures are in attendance. Among the celebrities in the park are Governor Jim Thompson, Major Richard M. Daley, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, George Wendt, John Candy and Maureen Oí Hara. The Oak Ridge Boys sing the National Anthem and the rock group Styx sings "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" during the 7th inning. Bobby Thigpen gets his 57th save in the game, still the MLB record.

††† November 1990- Sox skipper Jeff Torborg is named Manager Of The Year

††† April 3, 1991- The Sox sign former two sport All Star Bo Jackson to a contract. Jackson would have hip replacement surgery and not make an impact until 1993, but the move was a masterful stroke from a public relations standpoint.

††† April 8, 1991- The Sox spoil the last home opener in old Memorial Stadium by ripping the Orioles 9-1. Sammy Sosa clubs two home runs off Jeff Ballard to lead the rout.

††† April 18, 1991- The Sox open the new Comiskey Park in less then resounding fashion getting murdered by the Tigers 16-0.

††† May 7, 1991- Sammy Sosa becomes the first Sox player with a "walk off" home run at new Comiskey Park when he beats Milwaukee with a blast in the 12th inning.

††† July 22, 1991- Bill Veeck is enshrined into the Baseball Hall Of Fame.

††† July 31, 1991- The white hot White Sox cap off a sizzling month with one of the most dramatic moments in team history. The Sox trail the Rangers 8-6 going into the bottom of the 9th inning. Texas brings in former Sox pitcher "Goose" Gossage to close things out. But the goose gets cooked on this night as with two out, Robin Ventura hammers a grand slam into the right field stands winning the game 10-8. A full house, which included noted Cub fan Bill Murray, goes wild as Ventura is lifted up bodily by massive Frank Thomas in a celebration hug at home plate.

††† August 11, 1991- In only his second Major League start, the Sox Wilson Alvarez tosses a no hitter against the Orioles in Baltimore. Alvarez is handed a big lead early on and makes the most of it, shutting down the Birds. Lance Johnson makes a saving catch in right center field late in the game as Alvarez has his greatest moment in winning 7-0.

††† January 10, 1992- The Sox trade starting pitcher Melido Perez and future All Star relief pitcher Bob Wickman to the Yankees for Steve Sax. Sax is gone from the team by the midpoint of the 1993 season.

††† March 1992- In a move that turned out well in the short term, the Sox deal Sammy Sosa to the Cubs for George Bell. Bell would lead the team with 112 RBIís in 1992 but by the end of the 1993 season would become a cancer in the clubhouse. Sosa meanwhile became a superstar, becoming the first man in baseball history to hit sixty or more home runs three years in a row. The Sox dealt Sosa even though he was the only player in baseball in 1990 to have double figures in doubles, triples, home runs, stolen bases and outfield assists because of a personality conflict with hitting coach Walt Hriniak who would later be fired.

††† April 9, 1993- During the home opener with the Yankees, Bo Jackson shows that the human spirit is simply amazing. Jackson, playing with an artificial hip, hammers a Neal Heaton pitch into the right field seats for a home run. Itís Jacksonís first at bat since the hip surgery caused by an injury he suffered during his days as an All Pro running back for the Raiders.

††† June 22, 1993- On "Carlton Fisk Night", Fisk sets the major league record for games caught at 2,226. He breaks the old record held by Bob Boone. Teammates surround Fisk on the field for pre game ceremonies and present him with a motorcycle that they chipped in a bought him. The cycle is driven to home plate by Bo Jackson.

††† June 28, 1993- In the first of what would become a series of major public relations disasters, the White Sox release Carlton Fisk on the road in Cleveland. Fisk accompanied the team to Ohio only to be told of his release before the game. No question, Fisk was finished as a player but the fans and media were outraged at the way the Sox handled the situation. In fact, the Sox sent faxes to the media announcing the move not even having the courtesy to hold a press conference. Fisk had to say his goodbyes to his former teammates from the stands at Municipal Stadium before returning to Chicago.

††† July 13, 1993- Sox ace Jack McDowell is the winning pitcher as the American League beats the national League in the All Star Game at Camden Yards, Baltimore.

††† August 4, 1993- After years of getting brush back pitches thrown at Sox hitters from Nolan Ryan, Robin Ventura snaps during a game in Texas and charges the mound. Ryan gets the better of the fight but Ventura and his teammates find strength from the brawl and use it during the stretch run.

††† September 27, 1993- In front of a capacity crowd the Sox win the Western Division by beating Seattle 4-2. Itís Bo Jackson who clubs a towering three run blast that just drops over the wall in left thatís the difference in the game. The homer caps off an incredible comeback season for one of the finest natural athletes in history.

††† October 3, 1993- The Sox ring down the curtain at old Municipal Stadium in Cleveland by beating the Indians 4-0. Jason Bere gets the last win in the cavernous stadium which is replaced in 1994 by Jacobs Field.

††† October 5, 1993- Game #1 of the A.L.C.S. is a complete unmitigated disaster both on and off the field for the Sox. On the field, Toronto rips the Sox 7-3 but by the middle of the game, not one fan cares. Michael Jordan who threw out the ceremonial first pitch confirms reports that he is holding a press conference the next morning to announce his retirement from the Bulls. Fans at the game and around the city are in shock. Adding insult to injury, future Hall Of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk and Chicago native and former Sox pitcher Donn Pall are turned away by security guards when they attempt to wish the team "good luck" before play started. The White Sox claim the rules were set by Major League Baseball but no fan or media member is fooled by that comment. Most media members feel Fisk was turned away on explicit orders from Jerry Reinsdorf. Itís an insult Fisk never forgets. Reinsdorf then takes an unprecedented step of apologizing to the team before the start of Game #2 saying he had no wish to take away their spotlight because of the Jordan situation.

††† October 8, 1993- With the Sox down two games to none in the A.L.C.S. Wilson Alvarez pitches a gem and beats the Blue Jays 6-1. The complete game victory is badly needed and gives Sox fans a reason to keep hoping

††† October 9, 1993- That hope turns into a roaring fire as the Sox win again in Game #4 7-4 to tie things up. Tim Belcher who was acquired in a July trade, gets the win in relief of Jason Bere. Unfortunately this is the last great moment for the "good guys who wear black" as Toronto closes out the series winning Game #5 in Toronto and Game #6 at Comiskey Park. A few years later Toronto manager Cito Gaston revealed that the Jays knew exactly what pitches were coming from both Sox aces Jack McDowell and Alex Fernandez something the Sox coaching staff never picked up on. In fact Toronto beat those pitchers four times while losing all the other games.

††† November 10, 1993-Frank Thomas wins his first MVP award on the strength of a .317 batting average with 41 home runs and 128 RBIís. That same month Jack McDowell wins the Cy Young Award and Gene Lamont takes home the Manager Of The Year honor in late October

††† April 1994- Michael Jordan performs another miracle only this time itís in a baseball uniform. Jordanís double in the 9th inning of the annual "Crosstown Classic" between the Sox and Cubs ties the game and prevents the Sox from suffering their first ever loss in the series. The game would end in a tie.

††† July 12, 1994- At the All Star Game in Pittsburgh, Sox slugger Frank Thomas slams some of the longest home runs ever seen into the upper, upper deck at Three Rivers Stadium during the home run hitting contest. As far as the actual game itself, Sox hurler Jason Bere gets tagged with the loss as Moises Alou gets him for an RBI double to win the game in extra innings.

††† August 11, 1994- The unthinkable finally happens as Major League players strike the rest of the season because of the unwillingness by owners to negotiate fairly in a new contract. (A charge later upheld by the Federal Courts.) At the time of the strike, the Sox are leading the division, have the second best record in the A.L. and the third best in all of baseball. They were on their way to back to back playoff appearances for the first time in franchise history. Sox fans blame owner Jerry Reinsdorf for forcing the strike, being a hard line owner and sabotaging his own teams chance to get to that elusive World Series. Frank Thomas ends the season very close to the Triple Crown, hitting .353 with 38 home runs and 101 RBIís. He does get his second consecutive MVP award though.

††† August 1994- Frank Thomas appears on "Late Night With David Letterman".The two discuss the on going labor dispute that has shut down baseball. Later, Letterman has Thomas hit different sized fruit off batting tees!

††† December 14, 1994- The Sox trade former Cy Young Award winner Jack McDowell to the Yankees for a trio of minor league players. The move leaves the Sox pitching staff without its leader, proves very costly during the 1996 collapse and is done purely for "financial" reasons related to the labor situation that costs the team the last two months of the 1994 season

††† July 11, 1995- At the All Star Game in Texas, Frank Thomas turns a special double play. Thomas wins the home run hitting contest before the actual game then becomes the first Sox player to ever homer in the game itself when he connects off John Smiley.

††† September 4, 1995- Robin Ventura hits a pair of grand slams in a win over Texas. Heís the eight player in history to do so.

††† September 23, 1995- Lance Johnson gets six hits in a game at Minnesota. Three are triples.

††† July 31, 1996- The White Sox infuriate their fans and anger their own players by refusing to make any significant trade moves at the deadline, settling for Tony Castillo to try to help a bullpen thatís among the worst in baseball. The Sox were in the midst of blowing a substantial lead in the Wild Card race at the time. The following week, Sox players Roberto Hernandez and Tony Phillips rip the organization in The Sporting News. It has always been my contention that if the Sox made the 1996 playoffs, there never would have been the "White Flag" trade in 1997.

††† November 20, 1996- The Sox shock the baseball world when Jerry Reinsdorf announces that he has signed slugger Albert Belle to the largest contract in baseball history. Sox fans are torn between being happy the Sox spent money on a star and being worried because of Belleís sullen, moody reputation. Other baseball owners are furious with Reinsdorf feeling that he deliberately signed Belle to the large contract to "pay them back" for agreeing to settle the 1994 strike. (Reinsdorf was the only owner who voted against ending the dispute.)

††† December 11, 1996- After losing star pitcher Alex Fernandez to free agency and claiming that starting pitcher Kevin Tapani was "faking" an injury to his pitching hand (an injury that would force Tapani to miss the first half of the 1997 season with the Cubs), the Sox sign pitcher Jamie Navarro to a four year, twenty million dollar deal. Navarro is a complete bust. Making matters worse is General Manager Ron Schuelerís refusal to talk with the agents for Roger Clemens after he expressed an interest in the team. Schueler offers this infamous comment, "Roger Clemens is over the hill."

††† March 1997- The Sox suffer a major blow to their hopes for a championship when star 3rd baseman Robin Ventura destroys his leg on a slide at home plate in a Spring game against the Red Sox. The injury is so horrific that a woman sitting in the stands passed out when she saw the result. The injury takes place only two days before the season opener and the Sox are left in a state of shock. Management does nothing to replace Ventura and the Sox stumble out of the gate with an 8-18 start.

††† June 16, 1997- After numerous charity and exhibition games, the Sox and Cubs play for real for the first time. The overall record through the end of the 2002 Spring training season has the Sox ahead 137-91-6.

††† July 31, 1997- Perhaps the lowest point in the history of the Chicago White Sox franchise as owner Jerry Reinsdorf issues his "anybody who thinks this club can catch Cleveland is crazy" comment and guts the team. Reinsdorf allows General Manager Ron Schueler to trade Wilson Alvarez, Roberto Hernandez and Danny Darwin to the Giants with the Sox only 3 Ĺ games out of first. The "White Flag" trade results in catastrophic consequences for the team from a public relations standpoint both locally and nationally. No team before had ever traded their top pitchers when they were only a few games off the lead. Joe Morgan goes on ESPNís Baseball Tonight and angrily denounces Sox management saying how sorry he felt "for the fans and the season ticket holders." Dave Campbell echoes those remarks. Sports Illustrated has the Sox "surrender" as their feature story and quotes both Alvarez and Hernandez as stating that when manager Terry Bevington told them they were traded he was "laughing." Many Sox fans never forgive Reinsdorf and refuse to attend games in person. Sox star Robin Ventura issues his famous "I didnít know the season ended in August"quote.

††† August 3, 1997- Nellie Fox finally enters the Baseball Hall Of Fame.

††† September 28, 1997- Frank Thomas wins the batting championship with a .347 average. He joins Luke Appling as the only Sox players to do this.

††† November 1997- Sox 3rd base coach Doug Rader quits in disgust citing communication problems, executive meddling and G.M. Ron Schuelerís control of pitching decisions. Rader says, "it seemed like the whole place revolved around silly little games and politics."

††† August 28, 1998- The Sox and Rangers combine for 14 home runs in a double header tying the American League mark.

††† December 1998- Sox management refuses to increase Albert Belleís salary and allow him to leave as a free agent. The Sox also refuse to negotiate with annual fan favorite Robin Ventura, who worked hard to come back from a serious leg injury and let him go after ten seasons.

††† July 6, 1999- Chris Singleton becomes the first Sox rookie to ever hit for the cycle when he turns this trick against Kansas City.

††† April 23, 2000- The Sox and Tigers have a brawl which reminded many long time Sox fans of the fights from the 50's with New York. This one lasts for almost thirty minutes and sees a record number of players fined and subsequently suspended. One of the more lingering memories is Sox relief pitcher Keith Foulke suffering a gash on his face courtesy of a sucker punch from the side. The Sox win the game 9-4 and use it as a rallying point for the rest of the season.

††† April 27, 2000- Jose Valentin produces the extremely rare "natural cycle" against the Orioles. He singles in the first, doubles in the second, triples in the third and homers in the eight inning.

††† June 12-18, 2000- The Sox go 7-0 on a road trip through Cleveland and New York establishing themselves as the team to beat in the division.

††† July 11, 2000- Sox starting pitcher James Baldwin wins the All Star game for the American League in Atlanta.

††† July 15, 2000- The "curse" strikes the Sox again. In the midst of a tremendous first half of the season with seemingly all the pieces in place for a run to a championship, pitcher Cal Eldred has to take himself out of a game with a bad elbow. Eldredís career is basically ruined. Coupled with the loss for a long period of time of James Baldwin, the Sox pitchers are forced into a heavier work load which caused the rash of bad arms the following season.

††† August 4, 2000- Carlton Fisk is inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. Even though Fisk played more games and for more years with the White Sox, he goes in wearing the colors of the Red Sox. Fisk explains to the Chicago media, that his choice in no way reflected any animosity towards White Sox fans but was based in part on his treatment by the organization.

††† September 24, 2000- Despite losing to the Twins, the Sox clinch the Central Division Championship and would go on to finish the season with 95 wins. Jrry Reinsdorf shows up in the locker room and says that "he's sure all Sox fans are now happy they made the White Flag deal."

††† October 2000- Another dramatic and fantastic season is ruined as the Sox fall apart and lose the divisional series in three straight games to the Mariners. In the process the Sox run their home post season losing streak to nine games in a row, dating back to the 1959 World Series. The all time big league record for home postseason futility is ten straight, set by the Phillies.

††† October 24, 2000- Ken Williams is named the new G.M. replacing the retiring Ron Schueler.

††† November 8, 2000- Jerry Manuel takes home the Manager Of the Year award

††† January 14, 2001- The Sox acquire David Wells from Toronto basically for Mike Sirotka. Over the coming weeks and months, Sirotka and the Blue Jays claim the Sox knew that Sirotka had a bad arm and couldnít pitch. Commissioner Bud Selig rules in late March that the trade will stand. The whole episode becomes known as "shouldergate" coupled with the holdout by Frank Thomas it leads to a very eventful and chaotic Spring training.

††† April 2, 2001- Wells beats the Indians on opening day but numerous injuries, dissension in the clubhouse and managerial blunders cause the Sox to fall to fifteen games under .500. To their credit the team rebounds and winds up with 83 wins.

††† July 10, 2001- Magglio Ordonez homers of the Cubs John Lieber at the All Star Game. Heís the second Sox player to homer in the annual classic.

††† So thatís it...some of the best, worst and strangest moments in the 100 plus year history of the Chicago White Sox. Like I said, the Sox have been a lot of things, but never dull! I close with a passage from Rich Lindbergís book, "Whoís On 3rd - The Chicago White Sox Story". "Someday there will be another World Series in Chicago. The day will be crisp, but not unpleasant. There will be no garbage strewn on the warning track, and the Bears will be finally crowded out of the October spotlight. It will be a day much like that July afternoon in 1910, when the Ďbaseball capitol of the worldí opened its doors. A day when Charles Comiskey was riding the crest of his popularity. He did not suspect that there were any limits to a manís good fortune. The Chicago Tribune summarized the dayís events with a headline that in its own peculiar way spelled future Sox history: "The Unwished For, Happens Quite As Frequently As The Unexpected."

Go-Go Era
Wild 70's
Reinsdorf Years

Note:† Sox historian Rich Lindberg, author of "Whoís On 3rd?" and "The White Sox Encyclopedia".† Additional inspiration came from the work of Sox author Bob Vanderberg, including "'59: Summer of the Sox" and "Minnie and the Mick".

As always comments, questions or insults are always welcomed. Contact me at

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The internet's largest FREE Sox news database, sorted by month.

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Season Features

Top Ten WSI Features at Ten Years!

Johnny Sain Remembered

Al Lopez Remembered

70th Birthday Tribute to Luis Aparicio

Ivan Calderon Remembered

Earl Battey Remembered

2003 Sox Prospects Wrap-up

Sox & Cubs All-Time Records

Crossword Puzzler Answers

Crossword Puzzler

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