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View Full Version : The Florida White Sox? Ummm..No


Lip Man 1
06-29-2009, 10:15 PM
A very important date for the franchise as they narrowly avoid moving for the 4th time in franchise history. I remember listening to WMAQ radio in Monroe, Louisina this night (I worked for KNOE-TV) wondering if the Sox were about to become the Florida White Sox. WMAQ was live from Springfield covering the vote and the legislative session.

June 30, 1988 - After years of saying that the original Comiskey Park was outdated, Sox owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn come very close to moving the team to the Tampa Bay / St. Petersburg, Florida area. At 11:59 PM 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 get a new facility by the power brokers and politicians of Chicago. The story behind the vote is pure Illinois politics. The law stated no bill could be passed after midnight on the final day of the session, so then Govenor Jim Thompson turned off the clock on the floor, twisted arms, called in favors and got the needed votes.

Lip

doublem23
06-29-2009, 10:18 PM
Pardon my ignorance, but I only count 2 moves in franchise history; Sioux City to St. Paul and then St. Paul to Chicago.

Which one am I missing?

TornLabrum
06-29-2009, 10:32 PM
Pardon my ignorance, but I only count 2 moves in franchise history; Sioux City to St. Paul and then St. Paul to Chicago.

Which one am I missing?

Chicago to Milwaukee.

doublem23
06-29-2009, 10:37 PM
Chicago to Milwaukee.

They just played some games there, they never moved operations.

kingpin_rcs
06-29-2009, 11:43 PM
Pardon my ignorance, but I only count 2 moves in franchise history; Sioux City to St. Paul and then St. Paul to Chicago.

Which one am I missing?

Actually, I think he is saying that they almost moved 3 other times. I believe Veeck wanted (threatened?) to move the team to Seattle and there may be other times that I can't recall.

Zisk77
06-30-2009, 12:05 AM
Denver was a possibility too.

tebman
06-30-2009, 08:11 AM
Actually, I think he is saying that they almost moved 3 other times. I believe Veeck wanted (threatened?) to move the team to Seattle and there may be other times that I can't recall.

Seattle is where MLB wanted to move the Sox at the end of the 1975 season. The Sox were broke and at the same time MLB was facing a lawsuit from Seattle for pulling the Pilots out of there after one season in 1969 (they became Bud Selig's Milwaukee Brewers in 1970).

MLB thought it had several problems solved: move the near-bankrupt White Sox to Seattle, thereby defusing the lawsuit, and creating an AL vacancy in Chicago that would allow Charlie Finley to move the A's from Oakland to Chicago, as he'd always wanted to do.

But Bill Veeck showed up to buy the White Sox in December of '75 and that upset the owners' plans. After unsuccessfully trying to prevent Veeck from buying the Sox, the AL expanded two years later and added the Seattle Mariners. That got the unhappy Seattle poobahs off their backs.

So yeah, the Sox have almost gone to Milwaukee, Seattle, St. Petersburg, and reportedly Veeck had talked about Denver. But the White Sox are still in Chicago. As Michael Corleone said, "Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in."

mccoydp
06-30-2009, 09:08 AM
The knowledge of White Sox history on this site astounds me. Thanks for making me smart. :cool:

Max Power
06-30-2009, 10:15 AM
I wonder if there is any other franchise in professional sports that has been on the verge of moving to another city without ever actually moving as many times as the White Sox. Thanks to Jim Thompson, Bill Veeck, and others the Sox have played in the same neighborhood for 109 consecutive seasons, which, ironically, might be the record for longest tenure by a team in one area.

kba
06-30-2009, 10:56 AM
I wonder if there is any other franchise in professional sports that has been on the verge of moving to another city without ever actually moving as many times as the White Sox.

Oakland? I can remember Finley's efforts to move them to Chicago and Denver, as well as the more recent talk of Sacramento and Las Vegas.

Lip Man 1
06-30-2009, 11:29 AM
Tebman has it correct.

The Sox almost moved to Milwaukee in the late 60's / early 70's. To Seattle in 1975. Veeck was talking with Denver in the late 70's and then current ownership to Florida in the mid / late 80's.

Lip

C-Dawg
06-30-2009, 11:31 AM
Meanwhile Florida baseball fans are stunned as they realize they have been used as a pawn to get a new facility by the power brokers and politicians of Chicago.

That's the part I always found confusing. Was the threatened move to Florida a bluff on the part of Reinsdorf and Einhorn to get the state to fund the new ballpark? It sure seemed real at the time but years later the rumors were that Jerry or someone had said it was just "something they had to do" to force the state's hand.

LoveYourSuit
06-30-2009, 11:38 AM
Wasn't Tropicana Field already built in anticipation of this move?


Then it remained vacant for a few years until MLB expanded and gave them the Rays?


I have to check on that.

TomBradley72
06-30-2009, 11:47 AM
I remember a friend of mine at the time buying me a Florida White Sox t-shirt...green/white team colors.

Never wore it.

DSpivack
06-30-2009, 12:03 PM
Wasn't Tropicana Field already built in anticipation of this move?

Then it remained vacant for a few years until MLB expanded and gave them the Rays?

I have to check on that.

The Florida Suncoast Dome [as it was originally known] was built to lure an MLB team, first the Sox, then the Mariners, then the Giants. Finally they got one with the Rays.

The NHL's Lightning also played there for three seasons, the 1999 NCAA Final Four was played there, and it hosted a college bowl game last December. Thus, it has hosted hockey, baseball, basketball, and football. Not many stadiums can say that.

doublem23
06-30-2009, 12:04 PM
Wasn't Tropicana Field already built in anticipation of this move?


Then it remained vacant for a few years until MLB expanded and gave them the Rays?


I have to check on that.

Yes, the Trop was built in 1990, and St. Petersburg tried to lure the White Sox, Giants, and Mariners all to the Gulf Coast. From 1993-1997 the Tampa Bay Lightning played there, before MLB awarded Tampa an expansion MLB team and the Lighting opened a hockey-only arena in downtown St. Petersburg.

LoveYourSuit
06-30-2009, 12:08 PM
Yes, the Trop was built in 1990, and St. Petersburg tried to lure the White Sox, Giants, and Mariners all to the Gulf Coast. From 1993-1997 the Tampa Bay Lightning played there, before MLB awarded Tampa an expansion MLB team and the Lighting opened a hockey-only arena in downtown St. Petersburg.



A bit OT:

There is no way a team can play outdoor baseball in Tampa with the extreme heat. People dog Tropicana Field but it fits the climate out there.

mcm3312
06-30-2009, 01:11 PM
Lets say that hypothetically tommorrow JR moved the team to Florida/Vegas/insert city here. But that new ownership came through and moved one of baseballs struggling teams attendence wise to play in The Cell. Where is everyones loyalties? The organization in the new city? The new team in the old stadium? Or hate to say it but who becomes Cub fans...

I think it's a difficult question and luckily youngsters like myself from chicago have never had to deal with a moral dilemna of that type (like many other cities have).
I for one would be furious at ownership but would probobly root for the current team in whatever new city they moved to.

mccoydp
06-30-2009, 01:53 PM
I remember a friend of mine at the time buying me a Florida White Sox t-shirt...green/white team colors.

Never wore it.

Do you have a picture of it you can post?

DSpivack
06-30-2009, 01:56 PM
Lets say that hypothetically tommorrow JR moved the team to Florida/Vegas/insert city here. But that new ownership came through and moved one of baseballs struggling teams attendence wise to play in The Cell. Where is everyones loyalties? The organization in the new city? The new team in the old stadium? Or hate to say it but who becomes Cub fans...

I think it's a difficult question and luckily youngsters like myself from chicago have never had to deal with a moral dilemna of that type (like many other cities have).
I for one would be furious at ownership but would probobly root for the current team in whatever new city they moved to.

Well, the gap in time between the teams was considerable, but a friend of mine from Baltimore can't stand the Colts for that reason. And they moved away a year before she was born.

doublem23
06-30-2009, 02:34 PM
A bit OT:

There is no way a team can play outdoor baseball in Tampa with the extreme heat. People dog Tropicana Field but it fits the climate out there.

I don't know where they are at with the project, but the renderings of the new baseball stadium proposed to be built for the Rays is open air, but has a "fabric" roof that can be opened and closed. I know the heat can be pretty brutal down there, but what I think they are more worried about is the rain.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/7f/Rays-ballpark-concept.jpg

DSpivack
06-30-2009, 02:39 PM
I don't know where they are at with the project, but the renderings of the new baseball stadium proposed to be built for the Rays is open air, but has a "fabric" roof that can be opened and closed. I know the heat can be pretty brutal down there, but what I think they are more worried about is the rain.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/7f/Rays-ballpark-concept.jpg

I'm pretty sure that project is on hold right now.

comet2k
06-30-2009, 02:59 PM
At the time JR was threatening to move to Florida, I thought it was the right idea from a business standpoint. I didn't want them to move, but I thought as the first MLB team in baseball-crazy Florida it would be a gold mine for the Sox, and they would play to full houses even when they weren't winning. Man, was I wrong.

Good thing I didn't own the Sox then (or now, for that matter).

Hitmen77
06-30-2009, 03:02 PM
A very important date for the franchise as they narrowly avoid moving for the 4th time in franchise history. I remember listening to WMAQ radio in Monroe, Louisina this night (I worked for KNOE-TV) wondering if the Sox were about to become the Florida White Sox. WMAQ was live from Springfield covering the vote and the legislative session.

June 30, 1988 - After years of saying that the original Comiskey Park was outdated, Sox owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn come very close to moving the team to the Tampa Bay / St. Petersburg, Florida area. At 11:59 PM 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 get a new facility by the power brokers and politicians of Chicago. The story behind the vote is pure Illinois politics. The law stated no bill could be passed after midnight on the final day of the session, so then Govenor Jim Thompson turned off the clock on the floor, twisted arms, called in favors and got the needed votes.

Lip

I remember going to bed that night convinced that the Sox stadium deal was dead. I was pleasantly shocked to find out the next morning that Gov. Thompson was able to push the deal through. WHEW!!

Leading up to June 30, 1988, many Cub fans I knew were practically giddy with delight about the Sox apparently immenent demise in Chicago. Thank God we didn't get stuck with the Cubs as the only baseball team in town for the last 20 years and forever more. No Thomas, no Ventura, no renovated Cell, no Buehrle, Konerko, Ozzie...no 2005. Nothing but more "wait til next beer" at Clark and Addison.

A common notion at the time was that we should just let the Sox move because Chicago would simply just land another AL team (I'm talking about 1988, not the proposed A's move in the mid 70s). That, IMO, was just pure fantasy. If Chicago lost the Sox in the late 80s, there is no way in hell another AL team would move into a crumbling Comiskey Park with little to no chance of getting a new stadium deal. Chicago would just go the way it did for the NFL and become a one team town.

I have to wonder how long the Sox would have lasted in Tampa. As it is now, Tampa can't seem to support the Rays and the Rays can't get a stadium deal to get out of the very unpopular dome.

ewokpelts
06-30-2009, 03:10 PM
I wonder if there is any other franchise in professional sports that has been on the verge of moving to another city without ever actually moving as many times as the White Sox. Thanks to Jim Thompson, Bill Veeck, and others the Sox have played in the same neighborhood for 109 consecutive seasons, which, ironically, might be the record for longest tenure by a team in one area.the tigers played on the same intersection for over 100 years.

and 2010 will be the 100th consecutive year opening day is at 35th/shields(sox opened old comiskey in july 1910)

ewokpelts
06-30-2009, 03:11 PM
That's the part I always found confusing. Was the threatened move to Florida a bluff on the part of Reinsdorf and Einhorn to get the state to fund the new ballpark? It sure seemed real at the time but years later the rumors were that Jerry or someone had said it was just "something they had to do" to force the state's hand.Jerry admits it was a Thompson-suggested move to force the hands of lawmakers.

ewokpelts
06-30-2009, 03:13 PM
Wasn't Tropicana Field already built in anticipation of this move?


Then it remained vacant for a few years until MLB expanded and gave them the Rays?


I have to check on that.yes. it was under construction when the vote was passed for new comiskey.

then tampa lost out to nl expansion in 1993(the ******* owner of the dolphins made a better pitch to the nl president) AND they almost lured the Giants but that was squashed when the team was sold.

ewokpelts
06-30-2009, 03:16 PM
Lets say that hypothetically tommorrow JR moved the team to Florida/Vegas/insert city here. But that new ownership came through and moved one of baseballs struggling teams attendence wise to play in The Cell. Where is everyones loyalties? The organization in the new city? The new team in the old stadium? Or hate to say it but who becomes Cub fans...

I think it's a difficult question and luckily youngsters like myself from chicago have never had to deal with a moral dilemna of that type (like many other cities have).
I for one would be furious at ownership but would probobly root for the current team in whatever new city they moved to.the original baltimore orioles are the new york yankees. the new orioles were teh st. louis browns, who were the original milwaukee brewers.

Lip Man 1
06-30-2009, 03:19 PM
MCM:

If the Sox were to move tomorrow, when an expansion club was brought in or a franchise moved, my loyalties would be with the new organization. Till then I wouldn't follow anyone in baseball.

I root for Chicago first (save for the Cubs of course...)

And if the Sox were to leave I think the A.L. would find a way to bring another club in, they aren't going to ceed the 3rd biggest market in the country to the N.L.

The A.L. has enough smaller market teams as it is, they aren't going to blow a 100 year inroad in a large one.

Lip

areilly
06-30-2009, 03:21 PM
Lets say that hypothetically tommorrow JR moved the team to Florida/Vegas/insert city here. But that new ownership came through and moved one of baseballs struggling teams attendence wise to play in The Cell. Where is everyones loyalties? The organization in the new city? The new team in the old stadium? Or hate to say it but who becomes Cub fans...

The closest comparison I can think of is the Cleveland Browns. Art Modell turned them into the Baltimore Ravens, but the league later gave Cleveland a non-expansive expansion team in 1998 with the same name as the old team. The fans seem to have embraced them well enough, and I don't know of anyone who jumped ship to the Bengals, Steelers or Colts (and I doubt Art Modell will ever be safe in that city again!).

Desert Rat
06-30-2009, 05:33 PM
I recall having a Trib paper with the headline declaring the team was sold to the DeBartolo group. Was that the Florida deal or another failed attempt? I can't remember.

DSpivack
06-30-2009, 06:50 PM
The closest comparison I can think of is the Cleveland Browns. Art Modell turned them into the Baltimore Ravens, but the league later gave Cleveland a non-expansive expansion team in 1998 with the same name as the old team. The fans seem to have embraced them well enough, and I don't know of anyone who jumped ship to the Bengals, Steelers or Colts (and I doubt Art Modell will ever be safe in that city again!).

It's somewhat ironic that the Browns moved to Baltimore, who saw the Colts leave literally overnight in the early 80's.

WhiteSox5187
06-30-2009, 08:52 PM
Jerry admits it was a Thompson-suggested move to force the hands of lawmakers.

Jerry had little intention of moving (his memory of the Dodgers moving apparently prevented it) but Einhorn was in love with the idea of moving. He even went to a city council meeting in a Florida White Sox shirt. Einhorn has, or at least had no love for the south side and the south side had no love for him. In fact a PR firm told him to basically shut up and go into hiding in the mid 1990s to make the Sox more popular.

WhiteSox5187
06-30-2009, 08:53 PM
I recall having a Trib paper with the headline declaring the team was sold to the DeBartolo group. Was that the Florida deal or another failed attempt? I can't remember.

DeBartolo had no interest in moving them. DeBartolo's people also weren't that interested in a new ball park, had he bought them and kept them (unlikely as he was later indicted I believe) we might still be playing at Old Comiskey.

Lip Man 1
06-30-2009, 09:23 PM
Veeck originally sold the team to DeBartolo. The A.L. owners and Bowie Kuhn nixed the deal citing DeBartolo's outside residence (not said was they were concerned he was associated with mobsters). The Reinsdorf-Einhorn group was an afterthought and moved in when DeBartolo was refeused.

Reinsdorf was part of a group trying to get the Mets, Einhorn the Padres.

Lip

Viva Medias B's
06-30-2009, 10:22 PM
Veeck originally sold the team to DeBartolo. The A.L. owners and Bowie Kuhn nixed the deal citing DeBartolo's outside residence (not said was they were concerned he was associated with mobsters). The Reinsdorf-Einhorn group was an afterthought and moved in when DeBartolo was refeused.

Reinsdorf was part of a group trying to get the Mets, Einhorn the Padres.

Lip

I think the real reason the DeBartolo purchase was killed was because George Steinbrenner was afraid DeBartolo would use his money to prop up the Sox and, hence, seriously threaten the dominance of the Yankees at that time. IIRC, George claimed that he was afraid DeBartolo's horse racing interests would be "problematic" for baseball. This despite the fact that George is also involved in horse racing and that George is a convicted felon who was later pardoned.

DSpivack
06-30-2009, 10:27 PM
I think the real reason the DeBartolo purchase was killed was because George Steinbrenner was afraid DeBartolo would use his money to prop up the Sox and, hence, seriously threaten the dominance of the Yankees at that time. IIRC, George claimed that he was afraid DeBartolo's horse racing interests would be "problematic" for baseball. This despite the fact that George is also involved in horse racing and that George is a convicted felon who was later pardoned.

I always forget that Steinbrenner was banned from the game for a year [two?].

Lip Man 1
06-30-2009, 10:31 PM
Viva:

Every source I've ever seen (Helyar, Lindberg, Vanderberg) has never mentioned Steinbrenner or the Yankees. They all mention the fact that DeBartolo lived in New Orleans and supposedly had mob connections.

In fact after the league said no, Vincent DeBartima, DeBartolo's lawyer threated legal action claiming the league was "anti-Italien."

Take it for what it's worth.

Lip

MiamiSpartan
07-02-2009, 10:13 PM
You all forget about the potential move to Addison!:D:

kingpin_rcs
07-03-2009, 12:02 AM
Jerry had little intention of moving (his memory of the Dodgers moving apparently prevented it) but Einhorn was in love with the idea of moving. He even went to a city council meeting in a Florida White Sox shirt. Einhorn has, or at least had no love for the south side and the south side had no love for him. In fact a PR firm told him to basically shut up and go into hiding in the mid 1990s to make the Sox more popular.

Now that you mention it, where is that guy? Should he not have been there to receive the trophy along side JR in 2005? When was the last time he said anything in public? I know he has had health problems but he's over those now isn't he?

I just looked him up on wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Einhorn) . He used to be the head of CBS Sports? The NCAA Tournament is a big deal because of him? Who knew?

I want Mags back
07-03-2009, 07:31 AM
And if the Sox were to leave I think the A.L. would find a way to bring another club in, they aren't going to ceed the 3rd biggest market in the country to the N.L.

The A.L. has enough smaller market teams as it is, they aren't going to blow a 100 year inroad in a large one.

I'm a bit confused.
The AL and what office? MLB operates as 1 now, so saying the AL would try to get back to Chicago makes little sense to me. Can you explain further, as obviously you have more knowledge on the topic than I do.

Brian26
07-03-2009, 08:27 AM
Now that you mention it, where is that guy? Should he not have been there to receive the trophy along side JR in 2005? When was the last time he said anything in public? I know he has had health problems but he's over those now isn't he?

He was on the field at Comerica in 2005 for the division clincher (along with Hemond). He's been around, but not as visible on camera.

TommyJohn
07-03-2009, 08:51 AM
MCM:

If the Sox were to move tomorrow, when an expansion club was brought in or a franchise moved, my loyalties would be with the new organization. Till then I wouldn't follow anyone in baseball.

I root for Chicago first (save for the Cubs of course...)

And if the Sox were to leave I think the A.L. would find a way to bring another club in, they aren't going to ceed the 3rd biggest market in the country to the N.L.

The A.L. has enough smaller market teams as it is, they aren't going to blow a 100 year inroad in a large one.

Lip


I'm not so sure about that, Lip. They were ready to do it in 1988. "Chicago has the Cubs" was Peter Ueberroth's quote after the league voted to approve a potential move to Florida. Besides, is there any owner out there that would want to challenge what baseball probably sees as a "Cub juggernaut"? If a team with a 110 year history would fail here, the thinking might might be that there is no way to beat the Cubs in Chi.

Then again, they moved the Expos to Washington after two separate franchises bombed there, so who knows, they just might try again.

WhiteSox5187
07-03-2009, 01:12 PM
Now that you mention it, where is that guy? Should he not have been there to receive the trophy along side JR in 2005? When was the last time he said anything in public? I know he has had health problems but he's over those now isn't he?

I just looked him up on wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Einhorn) . He used to be the head of CBS Sports? The NCAA Tournament is a big deal because of him? Who knew?

He was interviewed by NBC 5 after the black out game last year. He was sick for awhile too. But he's followed that PR firm's advice and stayed out of sight.