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Viva Medias B's
09-17-2009, 08:01 PM
This post is about Stu Holcomb and his tenure with the White Sox. But first, I want to share a football background.

I am currently reading Jim Dent's latest book, Resurrection, which is about Ara Parseghian's first season at Notre Dame in 1964. Prior to becoming the Fighting Irish head football coach, Ara coached the Northwestern Wildcats from 1956 to 1963. During that span, Ara had some great NU teams including the 1962 team that was ranked No. 1 for a short while. The reason Ara left NU, according to Dent, was due to a falling out with then-Northwestern athletic director Stu Holcomb. After the 1962 season ended, Holcomb leaked a story to the papers that Parsegian would not be retained after the final year of his contract, the '63 season. I think this action by Holcomb sowed the seeds of the abyss that eventually became Northwestern football in the years that followed. It was not until Gary Barnett led the Purple to Pasadena after the 1995 season when the Wildcats recovered from this abyss. And at the same time, we all know what happened at Notre Dame after Ara took over what had then been a program in the abyss.

Now fast forward to when Stu Holcomb was with the White Sox. My question for those of you old enough to remember those days, what was Holcomb's reign with the White Sox like? Even though he was the one who hired Nancy Faust, did Holcomb make the kind of boneheaded moves at Comiskey Park that he made at 1501 Central Street in Evanson?

WhiteSox5187
09-17-2009, 08:39 PM
Lip can and will answer this question far better than I, but I believe Holocomb had a tendency to flat out release players who asked for raises which hurt the club a lot and eventually led to Roland Hemond and Chuck Tannner threatening to resign if this practice didn't stop which led to Allyn firing Holocomb. But I might be wrong...in fact, I could be DEAD wrong.

Johnny Mostil
09-17-2009, 10:31 PM
Lip has an interesting interview with Stan Bahnsen here (http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=11&id=3729) which, among other things, discusses Holcomb's practice of releasing players who wouldn't take Sox contract offers.

Lip Man 1
09-17-2009, 11:39 PM
Viva:

Here you go. Holcomb was a disaster.

July 27, 1973 - Sox vice president Stu Holcomb “retires” under pressure after his ‘hard line’ approach on salaries destroys the 1973 White Sox. When players wouldn’t come to terms with his initial offer, Holcomb ordered, then player personnel director Roland Hemond, to release them. No ‘try to compromise’, no ‘try to trade them’... but release them. The Sox give away Jay Johnstone, Ed Spezio, Mike Andrews and Rick Reichardt. When Holcomb orders Hemond to release 21 game winner Stan Bahnsen, Hemond and Chuck Tanner go to owner John Allyn. Hemond threatens to leave if something isn’t done. Allyn sides with the duo and Holcomb is history. The Sox used the disabled list 37 times in 1973. Because Holcomb ordered the above players released they had absolutely no depth and ability to withstand what happened because of his actions.

Holcomb ran John Allyn's professional soccer team. When that folded, Allyn didn't want to just pay him off per his contract and let him go, he wanted him to earn his money so he moved him to the White Sox. That was a brilliant move.

Look through Roland's interview with WSI, or Chuck's or Stan Bahnsen's, Mike Andrews' etc to see what everyone thought about him.

Lip

TDog
09-18-2009, 01:10 AM
... The Sox give away Jay Johnstone, Ed Spezio, Mike Andrews and Rick Reichardt. When Holcomb orders Hemond to release 21 game winner Stan Bahnsen, Hemond and Chuck Tanner go to owner John Allyn. Hemond threatens to leave if something isnít done. Allyn sides with the duo and Holcomb is history. The Sox used the disabled list 37 times in 1973. Because Holcomb ordered the above players released they had absolutely no depth and ability to withstand what happened because of his actions.
...

Of course, Ed Spiezio, one of the original San Diego Padres, never played another major league game after the White Sox released him. I think he ran a furniture store in Joliet, I think. He came to the Sox in 1972 to play third when Bill Melton went down with a back injury. He didn't hit much, certainly didn't replace Bill Melton's bat, but he played a solid third base. And in September, shortly before the Sox were eliminated from the postseason chase, despite having the second-best record in the league, his wife gave birth to Scott Spiezio, who would play a dozen seasons with the A's, Angels and Cardinals.

Reichardt signed with the Royals, had a dismal year and was released by the Royals the following April, never to play big-league ball again. Johnstone, however, played at least a dozen more years.

Certainly, Johnstone would have added depth for the injury to Ken Henderson, but the big injuries in 1973 that doomed the season were to Dick Allen and Carlos May, who had carried the offense in 1972 and were off to great starts in 1973. (I think Wilbur Wood was 13-3 in early June when Carlos May went down.) Reichardt might have helped at first, but he wasn't very productive at that point.

Regardless, it is mystifying why Holcomb would release players who had any value to a team in 1973. The reserve clause was still in place. Players couldn't become free agents.

jamokes
09-18-2009, 08:46 AM
Boy, the White Sox back then were really a screwed up organization. Dirt poor and total lack of top leadership.

Viva Medias B's
09-18-2009, 09:01 AM
So now Stu Holcomb was responsible for all but wrecking not one but two teams in this city: the 'Cats and the Sox.

Lip Man 1
09-18-2009, 10:31 AM
June 28, 1973 - The ill fortune of the team really came into focus, as by the time the summer ended, a team that was in first place for two months, wound up placing 38 names on the injured list! Among the key injuries were Ken Henderson tearing up his knee sliding into home plate, Bill Melton suffering a groin injury, Carlos May with a bad hamstring, Brian Downing wrenching his knee on his first major league play, catching a foul pop up and Pat Kelly having a bad back. But the most damming injury occurred in Anaheim on the day listed above. Dick Allen suffered a broken leg when Mike Epstein crashed into him on a play at first. Allen was stretching to grab a wild throw from 3rd baseman Bill Melton. Here’s where it really gets strange.....the injury took place just a little over ten years after Sox first baseman Joe Cunningham suffered his broken collarbone against the same team on the same type of play ( i.e. a wild throw) with the Sox in first place!

------------

The chemistry that was building with this club under Tanner was ripped apart by Holcomb's desire to show the players "who's boss..." when the injuries hit the Sox were left to use such "All-Stars"like John Jeter, Buddy Bradford and Chuck Brinkman.

TDog's post implies that the guys Holcomb got rid of weren't a 'big deal'...actually they were a big deal, when you consider what the alternatives were.

Lip

TomBradley72
09-18-2009, 10:43 AM
From the White Sox playing in Milwaukee in the late 60's to Disco Demolition in 1979....our beloved White Sox had to be one of the looniest franchises in MLB history:

Moved games to County Stadium
Installed an astroturf infield in an ancient ballpark,kept the outfield grass
A cavalcade of announcers: Jack Drees, Bud Kelly, Bill Mercer, Bob Waller, Harry Caray, JC Marting, Jimmy Piersall, etc.
Pajama uniforms/Southside Hitmen
Multiple ownership changes, threats to relocate
NO AM radio outlet
Disappearing in UHF- Channel 32 and 44

wilburaga
09-18-2009, 10:52 AM
The chemistry that was building with this club under Tanner was ripped apart by Holcomb's desire to show the players "who's boss..." when the injuries hit the Sox were left to use such "All-Stars"like John Jeter, Buddy Bradford and Chuck Brinkman.


There have been three Jeters to play in the majors, and, lucky us, we trotted out the father/som team of John and Shawn.

W

soxfanreggie
09-18-2009, 01:22 PM
Of course, Ed Spiezio, one of the original San Diego Padres, never played another major league game after the White Sox released him. I think he ran a furniture store in Joliet, I think. He came to the Sox in 1972 to play third when Bill Melton went down with a back injury. He didn't hit much, certainly didn't replace Bill Melton's bat, but he played a solid third base. And in September, shortly before the Sox were eliminated from the postseason chase, despite having the second-best record in the league, his wife gave birth to Scott Spiezio, who would play a dozen seasons with the A's, Angels and Cardinals.


He runs Spiezio's in Morris, IL. He's been a very nice guy when I've talked to him. He was surprised when I had his baseball cards. I can still remember the huge Angels' display he had in his storefront when they made it to the World Series.

TDog
09-18-2009, 01:47 PM
He runs Spiezio's in Morris, IL. He's been a very nice guy when I've talked to him. He was surprised when I had his baseball cards. I can still remember the huge Angels' display he had in his storefront when they made it to the World Series.

He seemed like a good guy. Like many Sox fans, I was bewildered by his release. He was a Joliet native, and he probably enjoyed playing for the White Sox.

LITTLE NELL
09-18-2009, 01:56 PM
From the White Sox playing in Milwaukee in the late 60's to Disco Demolition in 1979....our beloved White Sox had to be one of the looniest franchises in MLB history:
Moved games to County Stadium
Installed an astroturf infield in an ancient ballpark,kept the outfield grass
A cavalcade of announcers: Jack Drees, Bud Kelly, Bill Mercer, Bob Waller, Harry Caray, JC Marting, Jimmy Piersall, etc.
Pajama uniforms/Southside Hitmen
Multiple ownership changes, threats to relocate
NO AM radio outlet
Disappearing in UHF- Channel 32 and 44

I went through it all including 68-69-70 and it was tough to take because I grew up with the 50s and 60s Go-Go Sox in which we had 17 straight years of winning baseball, an AL pennant and Chcago was actually a White Sox town.

FielderJones
09-18-2009, 03:00 PM
I went through it all including 68-69-70 and it was tough to take because I grew up with the 50s and 60s Go-Go Sox in which we had 17 straight years of winning baseball, an AL pennant and Chcago was actually a White Sox town.

Despite all the complaining about Reinsdorf, the Allyn regime was the low point in White Sox ownership. Only the youngsters on this board who didn't live through it like we did wouldn't know that.

LITTLE NELL
09-18-2009, 04:32 PM
Despite all the complaining about Reinsdorf, the Allyn regime was the low point in White Sox ownership. Only the youngsters on this board who didn't live through it like we did wouldn't know that.
I know we should not talk about curses but the curse of the White Sox down through the years has been a lack of money or a willingness to spend it. The Comiskey family did not have tons of money and of course the Old Roman was a cheapskate and I truly believe that Old Comiskey might still be standing if the Comiskey's had more $$, the park was neglected for many years.
I'm not sure how well funded Veeck's group was the first time he had the Sox but he got sick and then the Allyn's took over and in turn Veeck returned and saved the Sox in Dec of 75 from moving but his group was not well funded enough to cope with free agency. That brought us JR and his gang and the jury is still out on them. We will never forget 05 but we had to endure heartache with the threat of a move to Florida, the White Flag trade, Sportsvision and letting Harry migrate to the northside.
It has not been easy being a White Sox fan but I love them like family.

TDog
09-18-2009, 05:26 PM
...

TDog's post implies that the guys Holcomb got rid of weren't a 'big deal'...actually they were a big deal, when you consider what the alternatives were.

Lip

Except for Johnstone, they weren't a big deal in the respect they were players that no one else wanted. The expansion Royals signed Reichardt because he essentially was free, but didn't play him much because he played even worse for the Royals than he had for the White Sox. He was putting on weight after having a kidney removed, and his career was essentially over.

You can't blame the dismal season on Stu Holcomb's moves in that the White Sox would have done no better had they hung onto the players they released. When May went down, the season was in jeopardy. When Allen went down, the season was over. Mike Andrews had no value to anyone. He was toast at that point. He started a game a third one night, fielded a routine grounder and threw a 15-hop strike to first base. The hitter beat it out, and when it was announced as a hit, I'm not sure if the loudest boos were for Andrew or the official scorer or for Chuck Tanner. The A's signed him, but Charlie Finley tried to replace him mid-World Series with Manny Trillo because of his poor play in a controversy that put Andrews on the cover of The Sporting News.

That doesn't change the fact that the releases were mystifying in that in those days players who held out had no leverage. If they didn't sign a contract, the team could set the contract, with a 20-percent pay cut being the lowest they could go. Players who didn't sign couldn't become free agents. They were stuck with the team. There was no economic reason to release them. The Sox had to pay them anyway.

The only release that I recall angering a majority of the fans was Spiezio's.

SI1020
09-18-2009, 06:08 PM
By the end of the 1970 season the Sox franchise appeared terminal. 1972 was such a great surprise and you can never underestimate the effect Dick Allen had on the team. I've always felt that Chuck Tanner did the best job of managing a Sox team in my lifetime in 1972. Hopes were very high at the start of the 1973 season. During that time period a close relative of mine had regular contact with owner John Allyn, who was very optimistic about the team. It was one of the few times in my life I had anything close to insider information. The season got off to a great start and then the bottom fell out little by little. I can still see the play where Dick Allen broke his leg in my mind's eye. The season went from bad to worse to horrific. By the end of 1975 the Tanner era was over, dashed on the rocks and the respected leaders of the AL were doing their best to move the team to Seattle

SI1020
09-18-2009, 07:08 PM
This post is about Stu Holcomb and his tenure with the White Sox. But first, I want to share a football background.

I am currently reading Jim Dent's latest book, Resurrection, which is about Ara Parseghian's first season at Notre Dame in 1964. Prior to becoming the Fighting Irish head football coach, Ara coached the Northwestern Wildcats from 1956 to 1963. During that span, Ara had some great NU teams including the 1962 team that was ranked No. 1 for a short while. The reason Ara left NU, according to Dent, was due to a falling out with then-Northwestern athletic director Stu Holcomb. After the 1962 season ended, Holcomb leaked a story to the papers that Parsegian would not be retained after the final year of his contract, the '63 season. I think this action by Holcomb sowed the seeds of the abyss that eventually became Northwestern football in the years that followed. It was not until Gary Barnett led the Purple to Pasadena after the 1995 season when the Wildcats recovered from this abyss. And at the same time, we all know what happened at Notre Dame after Ara took over what had then been a program in the abyss.

I was big Northwestern and Ara Parseghian fan back then. Parseghian is the last Northwestern football coach to leave the school with a winning record, 36-35-1, barely above .500. Still the era of Ara at Northwestern was very exciting. In 1958 after a 21-0 shellacking of Ohio State the team was poised to take the Big Ten crown and head for Pasadena. Three straight losses ended the season and the dream. 1959 was de ja vu all over again. After starting out 6-0 and being ranked number #2 they lost close games to Wisconsin and Michigan State and were routed by the Illini in the season finale. The 58-60 teams were led by QB/DB Dick Thornton (from Taft High School) who went on to have a great career in the CFL. In 1962 the wildcats had their most exciting year under Parseghian. After going 6-0 and ranked #1 they got slaughtered by Wisconsin and Michigan State in back to back games. They got back on track against the Miami Hurricanes to end the season 7-2, but alas again no Rose Bowl. The 62 team was led by the passing combination of QB Tom Myers to WR Paul Flatley. The Cats were favored to win the Big Ten in 1963 but never could get untracked. They did defeat Ohio State to end the year on a winning note, and deprive the Buckeyes of a trip to the Rose Bowl. The beneficiary was the Illini who went on to defeat Washington in Pasadena on New Year's day 1964. Parseghian was gone after 63 and was an immediate success with Notre Dame, which had been down on its luck for quite a while. Parseghian's Northwestern teams were talented and well coached, but lacked depth and were prone to injuries of key players, particularly Dick Thornton in 1959. Andy Cverko, Ron Burton, Larry Benz, Joe Szczecko, and Larry Onesti among others were also standout players for Ara Parseghian during that time.