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Lip Man 1
05-07-2012, 05:12 PM
If the 1977 White Sox were "not a good team" as someone pontificated earlier in this thread, then I guess winning 90 games doesn't mean anything anymore.

I'd happily take that for most seasons for the Sox. And that 77 team was entertaining as hell to boot.

They might not have been a good team to baseball purists (i.e. snobs) but they figured out a way to win 90 games..I guess they simply lucked out all those times.

:rolleyes:

Please.

Lip

DumpJerry
05-07-2012, 05:15 PM
If the 1977 White Sox were "not a good team" as someone pontificated earlier in this thread, then I guess winning 90 games doesn't mean anything anymore.

I'd happily take that for most seasons for the Sox. And that 77 team was entertaining as hell to boot.

They might not have been a good team to baseball purists (i.e. snobs) but they figured out a way to win 90 games..I guess they simply lucked out all those times.

:rolleyes:

Please.

Lip
1977 was one of the most exciting years to be a White Sox fan. Pure joy.

TDog
05-07-2012, 05:20 PM
I suggested they're a lousy team before one game was played.

And lots of teams have gone 19-9 over a 28-game stretch. Doesn't make them good in the end, necessarily.

Of course, the 1977 White Sox are an example of a bad team (poor pitching, poor defense, poor fundamentals, a manager literally falling asleep in the dugout, a couple of former players have said) that won a lot of games before starting to play bad baseball in August. And the current White Sox are in a position that championship teams have been in in the past.

Suggesting, though, that the White Sox are a lousy team right now because they couldn't beat the Orioles at home is pretty much like saying the American League is lousy because it can't beat the Orioles. It would be incorrect to call the current Orioles garbage and whine about lost opportunities for easy wins.

For that matter, there are championship teams that have gotten off to the sort of starts the current White Sox team has and have. That doesn't inspire less pessimism around here.

For that matter, the Indians are coming off a series win against the Ranger, an the A's are coming off a series win on the road against the Rays. I wouldn't call any American League teams garbage right now.

LITTLE NELL
05-07-2012, 05:32 PM
1977 was one of the most exciting years to be a White Sox fan. Pure joy.

April, May, June and July of 77 might have been the 4 most joyful months in Sox history. I did not say best but as Harry loved saying ''You can't beat fun at the old ballpark'' and thats what we had for those 4 months.

TDog
05-07-2012, 06:12 PM
If the 1977 White Sox were "not a good team" as someone pontificated earlier in this thread, then I guess winning 90 games doesn't mean anything anymore.

I'd happily take that for most seasons for the Sox. And that 77 team was entertaining as hell to boot.

They might not have been a good team to baseball purists (i.e. snobs) but they figured out a way to win 90 games..I guess they simply lucked out all those times.

:rolleyes:

Please.


Lip

It's off-topic, but if you take out the first 100 games of the 1977 season, the White Sox in the first three years of Bill Veeck's second stint as owner, 1976-78, played to a 131-221 record. Through July of 1977, they played to a 62-38 record. And they played nine of their last 12 1977 games against the two teams in the AL West that finished the season with 98 losses. They didn't finish with a killer schedule.

The first 100 games (actually 99 because they lost No. 100, dropping their first place lead to 6 games) were so much fun, people forgot how poorly they played from then on, losing 18.5 games in the standings to the Royals in just 62 games. Between a 96-loss and a 90-loss season they maybe they had a very good 90-win team that got unlucky for the last two months of the season. It is also possible that between losing two of three to the expansion Blue Jays in the first American League games ever played in Canada to splitting a Sunday doubleheader at the end of July, everything that could possibly have gone right to win games fell into place, including players hitting better than they ever had before or since. Jim Spencer, Jim Spencer had two eight-RBI games.

Of course it was a fun season. During those first four months, even when they lost it could be fun. In a one-run loss in Minnesota, Ralph Garr passed Jim Essian on the bases after hitting a fair ball out of play. What most teams would have converted into a home run turned into a two-run single and an out.

But as Bill Gleason wrote, this was not a good team. They couldn't pitch. They couldn't catch. They couldn't throw. They ran the bases like something out of the Middle Ages, when people didn't have baseball and htey just ran through forests. But they could hit. Unfortunately they stopped hitting after four months.

SI1020
05-07-2012, 06:17 PM
Of course, the 1977 White Sox are an example of a bad team (poor pitching, poor defense, poor fundamentals, a manager literally falling asleep in the dugout, a couple of former players have said) that won a lot of games before starting to play bad baseball in August. And the current White Sox are in a position that championship teams have been in in the past.

Suggesting, though, that the White Sox are a lousy team right now because they couldn't beat the Orioles at home is pretty much like saying the American League is lousy because it can't beat the Orioles. It would be incorrect to call the current Orioles garbage and whine about lost opportunities for easy wins.

For that matter, there are championship teams that have gotten off to the sort of starts the current White Sox team has and have. That doesn't inspire less pessimism around here.

For that matter, the Indians are coming off a series win against the Ranger, an the A's are coming off a series win on the road against the Rays. I wouldn't call any American League teams garbage right now. Wasn't that an aged Paul Richards who fell asleep in the dugout in 1976? I liked Bob Lemon and thought he was pretty sharp in 1977. He did all right with the Yankees after the Sox gave him the boot in 78.

asindc
05-07-2012, 06:19 PM
April, May, June and July of 77 might have been the 4 most joyful months in Sox history. I did not say best but as Harry loved saying ''You can't beat fun at the old ballpark'' and thats what we had for those 4 months.

Yes, it was. If only every season was as fun as that one.

Lip Man 1
05-07-2012, 07:03 PM
SI:

From my interview with Eric Soderholm:

"It was well known that Bob (Lemon) liked to have a cold one now and again. I remember we had a bat rack that kind of stuck out into the dugout. One time I put my bat back in the rack and Bob was behind it and he was asleep! Bob may have been out to three or four in the morning and was just catching up on some things (laughing)."

The bottom line though is that I wish every Sox team was as "bad" as the 1977 Sox. I don't know about anybody else but I'd kill to win 90 games a year. If that's "bad" baseball then please can I have a bushel full of it every season? That team had their shortcoming (what team doesn't) but they somehow got it done enough to have a great season by the only number that matters at all wins and losses. Was it a championship season? NO...was it a winning season? Yes. Was it a memorable season? Yes.

There are a ton of franchises out there who'd love to have that kind of "bad" season included the much discussed woe-be-gone Orioles who haven't had even a semblance of a winning season since 1997.

Now that's really "bad" baseball.

What upsets me is that the record shows that the Sox have lost a lot of games to teams like that and the record also shows those teams go on to lose 90, 95, sometimes 100 games in a season. That's what's so upsetting and frustrating. Every now and again they are going to beat you. Over the course of 162 games that happens but there is simply no excuse considering the record the Sox have had say since 2000 for it to happen as often as it seems to do to them. And there have been some years (example 2006) where losing games like that to those type clubs has cost them very, very dearly.

There's a reason those clubs actually lose 90, 95, 100 games a year and have consistently done so. It's because they are garbage. If that word offends some then I'll be happy to use another suggested adjective to describe a team and organization that loses as often, can't seem to even put together a winning season and hasn't made the postseason in ages.

Lip

KingXerxes
05-07-2012, 07:41 PM
1977 was one of the most fun years ever at 35th & Shields.

SI1020
05-07-2012, 08:02 PM
SI:

From my interview with Eric Soderholm:

"It was well known that Bob (Lemon) liked to have a cold one now and again. I remember we had a bat rack that kind of stuck out into the dugout. One time I put my bat back in the rack and Bob was behind it and he was asleep! Bob may have been out to three or four in the morning and was just catching up on some things (laughing)."

The bottom line though is that I wish every Sox team was as "bad" as the 1977 Sox. I don't know about anybody else but I'd kill to win 90 games a year. If that's "bad" baseball then please can I have a bushel full of it every season? That team had their shortcoming (what team doesn't) but they somehow got it done enough to have a great season by the only number that matters at all wins and losses. Was it a championship season? NO...was it a winning season? Yes. Was it a memorable season? Yes.

There are a ton of franchises out there who'd love to have that kind of "bad" season included the much discussed woe-be-gone Orioles who haven't had even a semblance of a winning season since 1997.

Now that's really "bad" baseball.

What upsets me is that the record shows that the Sox have lost a lot of games to teams like that and the record also shows those teams go on to lose 90, 95, sometimes 100 games in a season. That's what's so upsetting and frustrating. Every now and again they are going to beat you. Over the course of 162 games that happens but there is simply no excuse considering the record the Sox have had say since 2000 for it to happen as often as it seems to do to them. And there have been some years (example 2006) where losing games like that to those type clubs has cost them very, very dearly.

There's a reason those clubs actually lose 90, 95, 100 games a year and have consistently done so. It's because they are garbage. If that word offends some then I'll be happy to use another suggested adjective to describe a team and organization that loses as often, can't seem to even put together a winning season and hasn't made the postseason in ages.

Lip Thanks for the info. However did I "misremember" Richards falling asleep in the dugout in 76? Of course I agree with you about the 77 team. It was all so unexpected and fun at the same time. The old ball park was a madhouse.

TDog
05-07-2012, 09:21 PM
1977 was one of the most fun years ever at 35th & Shields.

And "Plan 9 From Outer Space" is a fun movie to watch.

The White Sox won a 14-inning game in Detroit by a score of 10-7 despite losing 6-2 after 7. They had a 9-5 12-inning win against the Twins in which they were losing 2-1 after 6 and took a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth. They weren't involved in a shutout until the middle of July and ended up setting a record for fewest shutouts (wins and losses combined) in a season. They won games on errors. They lost games on errors, and of course, because of wacky baserunning.

It was a matter of players having the best months of their careers together at the right time. Richie Zisk hit 30 home runs, although he never hit more than 22 in any other season. Oscar Gamble hit 31 home runs, although he never hit more than 20 before and never hit as many as 20 after. Eric Soderholm hit 25 home runs, and excluding the 20 he hit for the Sox in 1978, that was about twice as many as he would ever hit in his career. Prior to that season, only Bill Melton and Dick Allen had 30-homer seasons for the White Sox, so of course this was fun. It was a wild season where you never felt the White Sox were out of the game. Come August and September, however, expectations went unfulfilled.

Of course it was fun, but the White Sox weren't good enough to keep winning. Put those four months in the context of a franchise that averaged 91 losses a year every other year from 1976 through 1980.
In large part, 1977 was fun because of the hitting, although that disappeared in August. Fans like teams that hit, but many more teams win championships with strong pitching and minimal hitting than with strong hitting and minimal pitching.

I loved 1977. I was in summer sessions down in Bloomington, driving up I-65 to see the Sox play weekends when they were home. During the week, I could get the night games on the radio. July in particular was a fun month. But I'm under no delusion that this was a good team. It clearly defined "abberation."

Noneck
05-07-2012, 10:07 PM
One of the big reasons why we are so fond of the hit men is because they were not expected to do much that year. Then they win 90 for the 1st time since 65. A Sox team that wins 90 is a good team , no matter the way they won or if the majority of players had career years.

DSpivack
05-07-2012, 10:10 PM
One of the big reasons why we are so fond of the hit men is because they were not expected to do much that year. Then they win 90 for the 1st time since 65. A Sox team that wins 90 is a good team , no matter the way they won or if the majority of players had career years.

I'm too young to have seen that Sox team, but I remember the 2000 Sox fondly in a similar way.

Lip Man 1
05-07-2012, 10:22 PM
Noneck:

Well said. VERY well said. Who cares what the shortcomings were, 'just win baby...' and they did 90 times.

Lip

doublem23
05-07-2012, 11:36 PM
I'm too young to have seen that Sox team, but I remember the 2000 Sox fondly in a similar way.

Yep. Nothing wrong with enjoying those occasional fluke seasons.

TDog
05-08-2012, 05:25 PM
Noneck:

Well said. VERY well said. Who cares what the shortcomings were, 'just win baby...' and they did 90 times.

Lip

So, you're arguing that the 1977 White Sox were a good team because they won 90 games while playing sloppy baseball, passing runners on the basepaths (actually only once in a dead-ball situation), routinely missing cutoff men blowing big leads etc. until they played dismal corpseball in August and September for which you forgive them, despite the fact that the 1976 White Sox and 1978 White Sox were 90-loss teams, BUT the Orioles are a garbage" team that other teams should be ashamed to lose to because they have lost in the past and you believe they will be a losing team again before the season is out.

I'm not arguing that the 1977 White Sox were a garbage team. I don't believe major league baseball has garbage teams, and I have too much respect for the skills of major league players to do so. I will say, though, that the 1977 White Sox weren't assembled to be a winning team and only played well for four months. They had the sixth best record in a 14-team league in an expansion year with a balanced schedule. That team began the season by losing two out of three to a team that would only win 52 more games over the next six months. That White Sox team was four games behind the fifth best team. It isn't like you could moan about the absence of a wild card in those days. The 1972 White Sox had a better winning percentage, the second-best record in a 12-team league and played better baseball, and don't get nearly the same love, but that really isn't irrelevant.

What is relevant is your inconsistency. Considering your position on the 1977 White Sox, your position on the 2012 Orioles is bogus.

KingXerxes
05-08-2012, 05:37 PM
I don't wish to delve into the 2012 Baltimore Orioles vs. 1977 White Sox argument, but I do want to defend the 1977 White Sox just a bit.

Did they fall apart late in the year? Sure. And it goes without saying they didn't win a division or pennant.

They did, however, manage to draw something like 750,000 more fans than the 1976 White Sox did, and they did so because this team had a real collective personality on the roster and in the media. They were fun to watch, and you never really knew what was going to happen next. They were a good team, and a great draw and they helped keep the White Sox franchise on the baseball map.

Brian26
05-08-2012, 07:40 PM
If the 1977 White Sox were "not a good team" as someone pontificated earlier in this thread, then I guess winning 90 games doesn't mean anything anymore.

I couldn't find the original post that started this discussion (unless I misunderstood your statement above), but this is a good discussion and worthy of its own thread.

Brian26
05-08-2012, 07:44 PM
I'm too young to have seen that Sox team, but I remember the 2000 Sox fondly in a similar way.

It's funny how every generation (or half-generation) has their one favorite team, and it seems like it's usually from their teenage years. I'm about halfway between you/Doub and Lip/TDog in age, and my team was the '90 Sox. The difference being that the '90 Sox weren't so much a fluke as the harbinger of a nice five year run of very good teams, but the turnaround from '89 was so remarkable that it stands out just as much to me as probably the '77 Hitmen for others.

Noneck
05-08-2012, 07:49 PM
Way too early to compare a team that had a good month to start a season, to a team with a 90 win season.

DSpivack
05-08-2012, 07:59 PM
It's funny how every generation (or half-generation) has their one favorite team, and it seems like it's usually from their teenage years. I'm about halfway between you/Doub and Lip/TDog in age, and my team was the '90 Sox. The difference being that the '90 Sox weren't so much a fluke as the harbinger of a nice five year run of very good teams, but the turnaround from '89 was so remarkable that it stands out just as much to me as probably the '77 Hitmen for others.

That sounds quite similar to 2000, although the post-white flag trade years weren't exactly bad enough to be dark years for the franchise. But 2000 seemed to really launch one of the most successful decades in franchise history. I thought of the comparison to '77, though, because the team was not great defensively and the pitching seemed rather patchwork, devoid of any real starters that were good. But, as you say, it's also personal: 2000 I started going to quite a few games for the first time, especially in doing so with friends, as I was 16. I have many found memories of that season: that opening night, an unusually beautiful night in early April and Durham's catch going back in RF; the amazing winning streak in June and the spontaneous standing overture before the team took the field; the "get-up" guy; and a whole lineup just smacking the crap out of the ball, with Big Hurt's MVP-quality year, Maggs, El Caballo, Paulie, Valenstache at SS, and slow-swing out in CF.

What 1990 and 2000 had in common, unlike 1977, is that they both launched good years to come with young prospects coming in to their own, even if it took 3 or 5 years to get (or return to) the postseason. And, to this day, 1993 and 2000 remain the only postseason games I have attended, in any sport.

TDog
05-08-2012, 09:25 PM
I couldn't find the original post that started this discussion (unless I misunderstood your statement above), but this is a good discussion and worthy of its own thread.

That is because my pontification that set off this furious debate was an aside in a different thread, I think where I argued that Bill Veeck wasn't a very good owner in his second go-around with the White Sox.

Thank you for breaking it out.

My favorite White Sox team until 2005 and then 2005 was 1972. I was in high school at the time. It was my last summer before I went to work in the family business. Dick Allen and Wilbur Wood. Carlos May's best season. Rich Gossage's rookie season. Those wild games with the A's -- a 19-inning loss that knocked the Sox out of first in August and a 15-inning win as the Sox tried to hang on in the race. It was the last season before the DH, so there was the game that Wilbur Wood batted for himself in the scoreless eighth and knocked in the game's only run.

But every season has different memories. For me 1977 was about college and American literature; 2000 was about driving from Wisconsin after taking a job there, getting postseason tickets and dealing with defeat; 2005 was about following the games from Alaska with the help of WSI chat.

I even have pleasant memories of 1970, although they are far less abundant than my memories of 2005.

TomBradley72
05-08-2012, 10:17 PM
August killed them (11-18)- the bottom completely fell out of a very thin pitching staff. They had a decent September- but the Royals were on a ridiculous run.

What a rag tag, incredible season.

The intensity of the Old Comiskey fan base really was at it's peak that year- knowledgable, intense, raucous south sider crowds- the birth of "Na Na" and all those curtain calls after homers- and all of the banners- "We're Loyal to Royle", "Play Nordy Before He Turns 40", "Pitch at Risk to Zisk", Soderholm wrote a poem about the team that was printed in the Trib, Downing hit a homer slipping in the mud at Fenway to win one of the old "Monday Night Baseball" games- the series vs. the Royals in late August...

What a summer.

https://tribune.licensestream.com/LicenseStream/Store/Content#search=&Filter.SearchString=1977+White+Sox

FielderJones
05-08-2012, 10:39 PM
until they played dismal corpseball in August and September

That's not how I remember it, and that's not how Retrosheet (http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1977/VCHA01977.htm) remembers it. Scoring 6, 8, 10 runs in losses is not corpseball. It might be bad pitching, but it's hardly corpseball.

In August, September, and October Kansas City had 16 losses. Sixteen. Losses. 46 - 16, .742 ball for the final two months. The 1927 Yankees (http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1927/VNYA01927.htm) started out 46-20. They were 92-40, so they kept that pace. This is the kind of greatness the Sox were up against in the last two months of 1977.

Lamp81
05-08-2012, 11:06 PM
The great thing about 1977, 1990, and 2000, were the low expectations coming out sf Spring Training. When you are not expecting much, a surprising season is fantastic. If the Sox were to take off this year, I'd have that same feeling.

OTOH, there are seasons when big things are expected, and the seasons were such big letdowns, like 1984, 1995, 2001, and 2007. Those years can be miserable.

Now the 2005 team, I felt they were real close in 2003 and 2004, and by May 1st, I was seriously believing this could be the season of my lifetime, which it was.

DSpivack
05-08-2012, 11:17 PM
The great thing about 1977, 1990, and 2000, were the low expectations coming out sf Spring Training. When you are not expecting much, a surprising season is fantastic. If the Sox were to take off this year, I'd have that same feeling.

OTOH, there are seasons when big things are expected, and the seasons were such big letdowns, like 1984, 1995, 2001, and 2007. Those years can be miserable.

Now the 2005 team, I felt they were real close in 2003 and 2004, and by May 1st, I was seriously believing this could be the season of my lifetime, which it was.

Expectations weren't that high going into 2005, either. The team had moved on from the 2003-2004 squads by letting Maggs walk in free agency after his injury and trading El Caballo.

TDog
05-09-2012, 12:55 AM
That's not how I remember it, and that's not how Retrosheet (http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1977/VCHA01977.htm) remembers it. Scoring 6, 8, 10 runs in losses is not corpseball. It might be bad pitching, but it's hardly corpseball.

In August, September, and October Kansas City had 16 losses. Sixteen. Losses. 46 - 16, .742 ball for the final two months. The 1927 Yankees (http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1927/VNYA01927.htm) started out 46-20. They were 92-40, so they kept that pace. This is the kind of greatness the Sox were up against in the last two months of 1977.

My intent wasn't to destroy a cherished myth but to argue the logic of calling the Orioles a garbage team because they have been coming off losing seasons despite winning this year.

Still, everything is relative. The White Sox were a dismal team by September. And it wasn't just because the Royals were playing so well. They finished behind the Rangers. Zisk pretty much stopped hitting by September -- I think his average for the month was below .200 -- and the rest of the team wasn't picking him up. They played about .500 after a bad August, but after September 6, they only played games against teams below them in the West.

People remember the wins, but forget how strange the year was with the expansion team and an A's team that had had dismantled a dynasty and wasn't going to get involved in anything resembling free agency. There was a shortage of quality pitchers. The Sox won 90 games, but there was only one other above .500 team in the American League that year. People hear 90 wins and think postseason, but the league had two teams with more than 100, two teams with 97. The Rangers finished four games ahead of the Sox, and they were a distant second behind the Royals. Two teams in the West had 98 losses. The expansion Blue Jays had 107 losses.

It wasn't just that the Royals went on an incredible hot streak. The American League had a balanced schedule, so the divisions were pretty much arbitrary. On July 31, the White Sox had the best record in the American League by 4.5 games. They led division rivals Kansas City by 5.5 and Texas by 7.5. They had an overall 5.5-game lead on the Yankees. After losing to the 98-loss Seattle Mariners 3-2 on October 2, just 62 games later, the White Sox had lost 17.5 games in the standings to the Royals, 11.5 to the Rangers and 15.5 games to the Yankees. They lost 11.5 games in the standings to the Orioles. And if you go by opponents' wins and losses, the White Sox had the easiest schedule.

White Sox fans used to scoff at Cubs fans who had cherished memoiries of 1969, but that 90-win team finished a distant second in a two-team race. The 1977 White Sox played so poorly in August and September that five teams passed them up in the overall standings.

I loved that summer. I had photo passes for a few games, and I have a great picture of Harry Caray with kids clamouring for his autograph at the old park that has hung in a gallery. It was a fun time. But it didn't come close to being the best White Sox team of the decade.

Moses_Scurry
05-09-2012, 03:45 AM
It's funny how every generation (or half-generation) has their one favorite team, and it seems like it's usually from their teenage years. I'm about halfway between you/Doub and Lip/TDog in age, and my team was the '90 Sox. The difference being that the '90 Sox weren't so much a fluke as the harbinger of a nice five year run of very good teams, but the turnaround from '89 was so remarkable that it stands out just as much to me as probably the '77 Hitmen for others.

Yup. '90 for me all the way. I was between sophomore and junior year of high school. I listened to probably 95% of the games on WMAQ. I just kept waiting and waiting for the wheels to come off, and it really never happened. Oakland was just too good. McDowell has always been one of my favorites.

TomBradley72
05-09-2012, 06:57 AM
I loved that summer. I had photo passes for a few games, and I have a great picture of Harry Caray with kids clamouring for his autograph at the old park that has hung in a gallery. It was a fun time. But it didn't come close to being the best White Sox team of the decade.

2nd best team (after 1972) of the decade isn't "close"?

Zisk77
05-09-2012, 09:03 AM
I was 7 in '77 and its probably why I am a sox fan. Richie Zisk was obviously my 1st hero ( Baines # 2).

LITTLE NELL
05-09-2012, 09:17 AM
My intent wasn't to destroy a cherished myth but to argue the logic of calling the Orioles a garbage team because they have been coming off losing seasons despite winning this year.

Still, everything is relative. The White Sox were a dismal team by September. And it wasn't just because the Royals were playing so well. They finished behind the Rangers. Zisk pretty much stopped hitting by September -- I think his average for the month was below .200 -- and the rest of the team wasn't picking him up. They played about .500 after a bad August, but after September 6, they only played games against teams below them in the West.

People remember the wins, but forget how strange the year was with the expansion team and an A's team that had had dismantled a dynasty and wasn't going to get involved in anything resembling free agency. There was a shortage of quality pitchers. The Sox won 90 games, but there was only one other above .500 team in the American League that year. People hear 90 wins and think postseason, but the league had two teams with more than 100, two teams with 97. The Rangers finished four games ahead of the Sox, and they were a distant second behind the Royals. Two teams in the West had 98 losses. The expansion Blue Jays had 107 losses.

It wasn't just that the Royals went on an incredible hot streak. The American League had a balanced schedule, so the divisions were pretty much arbitrary. On July 31, the White Sox had the best record in the American League by 4.5 games. They led division rivals Kansas City by 5.5 and Texas by 7.5. They had an overall 5.5-game lead on the Yankees. After losing to the 98-loss Seattle Mariners 3-2 on October 2, just 62 games later, the White Sox had lost 17.5 games in the standings to the Royals, 11.5 to the Rangers and 15.5 games to the Yankees. They lost 11.5 games in the standings to the Orioles. And if you go by opponents' wins and losses, the White Sox had the easiest schedule.

White Sox fans used to scoff at Cubs fans who had cherished memoiries of 1969, but that 90-win team finished a distant second in a two-team race. The 1977 White Sox played so poorly in August and September that five teams passed them up in the overall standings.

I loved that summer. I had photo passes for a few games, and I have a great picture of Harry Caray with kids clamouring for his autograph at the old park that has hung in a gallery. It was a fun time. But it didn't come close to being the best White Sox team of the decade.


Considering there were only 2 winning seasons in that decade it comes pretty damn close to being the best.
Let me add that 1971 was a very special year. It was the first year of the Hemond-Tanner regime and also Harry's first year. That team improved by by 23 games over the 1970 team which was the worst Sox team ever. That team laid the groundwork for the 72 team and attendance almost doubled as excitement returned to the Southside.

palehosepub
05-09-2012, 09:48 AM
I was a high school freshman in 77 and other than the 2005 and 1990 seasons it was the most enjoyable season I had as a Sox fan. The unexpected success was one big reason. The thing that I remember most was the crowds / the fans – they were unbelievable. There were no scoreboards telling you when to cheer, it was spontaneous and in unison, as if the crowd was one single fan voice. I remember the stamping of the feet being so loud that the ballpark sounded and felt like an earthquake. “NA NA Hey Hey” was the ultimate “salute” to a pitcher who was knocked out of the game. Nancy was at her very best that year. Players from other teams were actually intimidated by that raucous crowd. On area that Veeck never skimped on was fireworks, the ballpark and the neighborhood shook after a Sox home run. It would take an inning for the smoke to clear. There were frequent spontaneous and heartfelt standing ovations from the fans.
The team and the fans definitely had the “underdog” persona. Richie Zisk had been struggling before the Sox picked him up and he was tremendously popular in a city which had a very large Polish population. Oscar gamble, a “retread” having the season of his career. Solderholm was basically washed up with injuries but had his career year in 1977. The fans connected with this team, the players played hard and celebrated too. The team had passion and it translated to the fans and maybe vice versa too.

PaleHoser
05-09-2012, 10:04 AM
Can you imagine how WSI would light up if we had a shortstop make 40 errors in a season? That was Alan Bannister for the '77 Sox.

Pitching was thin, defense was awful. But they could flat out mash. Ten Sox players had 10 or more home runs that season.

I'd still take the 1990 club over them. The last season at "The Baseball Palace of the World" was pure magic. You want proof - they were no-hit and still won 4-0.

That club never quit. I don't recall exact numbers, but that club and the '91 club won double-digit games in their last at-bats. You never left a game or tuned out early because you never felt it was over.

If only the Wild Card existed then. I'd take that club over the A's in a five game or seven game series. A World Series win over the Reds would have been the perfect ending for Comiskey Park.

sox1970
05-09-2012, 10:46 AM
I'm a 1990 guy too. I was 19. Went to a bunch of games. Last season of Comiskey. Young, fun team. Great manager. Thiggy saved 57. Barry Jones was an excellent setup guy. There was a different hero every day--nobody had more than 70-some RBI's, but everyone had over 50 it seems. Frank and Alex Fernandez came up in August. Plus it was the first year of not being bad in about 5 years. It was just a fun season to be a Sox fan. Unfortunately, being the second best team in the league wasn't good enough.

Lip Man 1
05-09-2012, 11:28 AM
The Sox went 28-34 combined in August / September 1977. In my book that's far from being a "dismal team by September..."

Just sayin'...

Lip

TomBradley72
05-09-2012, 11:30 AM
The posts about this team's defense are right on- the double play combo of Bannister to Orta to Lamar Johnson might just be one of the worst ever. :)

Zisk77
05-09-2012, 11:38 AM
The posts about this team's defense are right on- the double play combo of Bannister to Orta to Lamar Johnson might just be one of the worst ever. :)
Yep and Ralph Garr made Soriano look like a gold glover by comparison.

TomBradley72
05-09-2012, 11:52 AM
The Sox went 28-34 combined in August / September 1977. In my book that's far from being a "dismal team by September..."

Just sayin'...

Lip

I remember the losing Zisk for a few weeks when he got hit with a liner in Detroit (?)- as someone else mentioned- they were still scoring runs- but the thin pitching just gave out.

They lost 3 in a row vs. TEX when they scored 8 runs/game...ran into some very good pitching vs. KC, lost 2/3 vs. TEX when they scored 7 runs/game, lost a real back breaker to the Yankees 11-10 when Randy Wiles let up a HR to Chambliss-

FielderJones
05-09-2012, 12:35 PM
The posts about this team's defense are right on- the double play combo of Bannister to Orta to Lamar Johnson might just be one of the worst ever.

Alan Bannister made me pine for Bee Bee Richard. Bannister might be the worst shortstop the Sox have ever had.

That said, that 1977 team made for a very fun summer. I lived at the park that year.

TDog
05-09-2012, 04:19 PM
The Sox went 28-34 combined in August / September 1977. In my book that's far from being a "dismal team by September..."

Just sayin'...

Lip

By your definition, I would think it would be dismal, considering that the team had only 11 wins in August, a month they entered the month with the best record in the league by 4.5 games and ended it in third place in their division. I apologize in advance for the following if you aren't interested in my point.

September/October was a little better than .500, but the only .500 team they played after September 4 was the only .500 team in the league that year not to win 90 games -- the Twins who won 84. The rest of the September/October schedule after they lost two out of three at home to the Orioles (97 wins that season and tied for second in the East) consisted of the Angels (88 losses in 1977), Oakland (98 losses) and Seattle (98 losses).

Five teams gained more than 10 games against the White Sox in the last 62 games. Had the season begun that way, Old Comiskey wouldn't have drawn more than 1.6 million, which I think was a record at the time.

It wasn't just the Royals getting red hot. WSI was blowing up during the great White Sox collapse of 2005, a season that ended with the White Sox holding the best regular-season American League record and an 11-1 playoff run.

It was a fun year certainly. It isn't regarded as one of the great collapse/choke jobs in Chicago sports because the team lost 96 games the year before, and honestly, that might be because people knew the team was at best a middle-of-the pack team, which 90 AL wins ended up being that year. Also, the Cubs were doing almost as well for much of the year. They were 2.5 games in first at the end of July with a 60-40 record. They ended up finishing the season at .500.

People remember the fun of winning all those games after losing 96 the year before, especially after losing 90 the year after. They remember it wasn't baseball as usual, not just with the White Sox winning, but with the way they were winning, and sometimes losing.

A couple of nights ago, there was a WSI discussion of the need for a total rebuild after the White Sox lost a one-run game because they failed to score two runners from third with one out. We are less than a month away from the 35th anniversary of a one-run loss that dropped the White Sox two games out of first -- a game when Ralph Garr passed Jim Essian on the bases while in his home-run trot.

That season wouldn't stand up to the scrutiny of a contemporaneous discussion board. It looks much better from a distance. It wasn't built to win, and in the end, it didn't come close. But today as WSI posters whine about how the current Sox team can't win and about how they would rather be watching the Bulls or Black Hawks or can't wait for football season to start, they forget the joy of following your baseball team. This current White Sox team is better than the 1977 team and has a better chance of winning its division.

As Michael Palin once erroneously quoted G.K. Chesterton for comic effect, the follies of our youth are, in retrospect, glorious compared to the follies of our old age.

DumpJerry
05-09-2012, 04:38 PM
Another thing that made '77 so fun was that while the Sox were in first for more days than any other AL team (just not on the right day :whiner:), the Cubs were also in first for more days than any other NL that year (again, not on the right day :D:). During the heat of the summer, we were all looking forward to the World Series to once and for all settle the "which team is best?" argument since interleague play was still years away and the only meaningful White Sox/Cub matchup was in 1906.

EdHerman12
05-09-2012, 04:47 PM
I too was a Freshman going into high school that summer, and I loved this team. They never seemed to be out of a game at least through most of the season. When they started out that August losing 3 of 4 to Texas, and then getting swept in KC that started them on the downward spiral that they couldn't recover from and soon went from 5 and 1/2 up in 1st place to 5 and 1/2 back by September..A lot of memorable players from '77 the biggest of course being Zisk, Gamble, Downing. Lemon and the Roadrunner Ralph Garr...Remember the speed-o-meter? 192 home runs in a 162 game season meant someone was pretty much jacking a ball out every game! The pitching was nothing spectacular with the team ERA at 4.25. Francisco Barrios and Steve Stone each pictched over 200 innings. I will always remember this team though. It was a breath of fresh air after some dismal seasons prior to it..however the next few seasons to come would not be good.... until we secured the services of a free agent catcher from Boston....

DumpJerry
05-09-2012, 04:52 PM
The four game sweep of the Twins to start July which took us from being one game out to being up three was something else to experience.:D:

Lip Man 1
05-09-2012, 06:36 PM
Was there for the Sunday doubleheader and am listening to the Saturday game where Jim Spencer had eight RBI's.

SI had a big story on the 77 Sox that July:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1092624/index.htm

Lip

eastchicagosoxfan
05-09-2012, 07:47 PM
Was there for the Sunday doubleheader and am listening to the Saturday game where Jim Spencer had eight RBI's.

SI had a big story on the 77 Sox that July:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1092624/index.htm

Lip
I was at that game! I was 8 years old. I had been to games before that, but the Spencer game is the first I can recall any details. I remember there was a buzz about the team during the bus ride to the park.

Lip Man 1
05-09-2012, 09:22 PM
Bannister also hit .275 and drove in 57 runs. That made up somewhat for all the errors.

Lip

tlebar318
05-09-2012, 09:35 PM
One of the big reasons why we are so fond of the hit men is because they were not expected to do much that year. Then they win 90 for the 1st time since 65. A Sox team that wins 90 is a good team , no matter the way they won or if the majority of players had career years.

god I loved that team! I used to imitate Oscar Gamble's swing all the time...no shortage of great memories from that year. Winning Ugly in 1983 was also a great year and not expected by the way!
:tongue:

Noneck
05-09-2012, 09:43 PM
I used to imitate Oscar Gamble's swing all the time..

Like a coiled cobra.

Lamp81
05-10-2012, 12:07 AM
god I loved that team! I used to imitate Oscar Gamble's swing all the time...no shortage of great memories from that year. Winning Ugly in 1983 was also a great year and not expected by the way!
:tongue:

I disagree with you 1983 statement. I think it was clear the Sox were making strides, especially with their pitching in 1981 and 1982. TLR was under a lot of pressure to win with that team. Everything started clicking after the Bernazard/Cruz trade. Maybe you didn't expect the dominance in the Western Division, but the 1983 Sox were certainly picked to contend.

TDog
05-10-2012, 12:24 AM
Bannister also hit .275 and drove in 57 runs. That made up somewhat for all the errors.

Lip


He was hitting .304 at the end of July. He hit only .219 in August and .182 in September/October.

As a point of comparison, last year's White Sox leadoff hitter, Juan Pierre, hit .275 with 47 RBIs.

TomBradley72
05-10-2012, 07:01 AM
He was hitting .304 at the end of July. He hit only .219 in August and .182 in September/October.

As a point of comparison, last year's White Sox leadoff hitter, Juan Pierre, hit .275 with 47 RBIs.

But the standards for offense and especially offense from shortstops was different in 1977 than it is today- during their run- Bannister was one of the better hitting shortstops in the AL- then he tailed off- he was clearly playing over his head (like Bill Almon in 1981)-

Lip Man 1
05-10-2012, 11:33 AM
The 83 Sox were absolutely considered a contender by the media and pundits before that season. Still remember a big story in Sport Magazine talking about all the talent the Sox had put together up and down the lineup.

Lip

Chez
05-10-2012, 11:50 AM
The '77 team and season was a blast. Ironically, it was the season I attended the fewest Sox games of my life -- I think I only made it to three games at Comiskey that summer and two more in Milwaukee. I was a senior in high school and had my first serious girlfriend. She wasn't a baseball fan, but had many other fine attributes. So for the first (and last) time, the Sox took a back seat for the entire summer. I left for my freshman year at U. of I. in August where you needed both a transistor radio and a clear night to follow the team.

"Pitch to Zisk at your Risk."

tebman
05-10-2012, 01:09 PM
The four game sweep of the Twins to start July which took us from being one game out to being up three was something else to experience.:D:

:thumbsup: That weekend was a thing of beauty. We were at the Friday night game (July 1 (http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHA/CHA197707010.shtml)) when the Sox moved back into a tie for first. Zisk hit two homers that night, signs and smoke were everywhere, and the old joint was rockin'. The attendance that night was 35,709, and I believe it -- people were everywhere and the ballpark was a huge living organism.

Bannister was a lousy shortstop. Ralph Garr often seemed asleep in left field (one of the chants out the left-field seats was, "Good Morning, Ralph!"). Overall defense was terrible; I remember a Tribune story after one of those high-scoring Sox wins that compared the team to a sub sandwich with too much mayonnaise. But man, what a ride it was those summer months!

I'll remember 2005 forever, of course, but for sheer, rollicking fun I'd go back to 1977 in a heartbeat. I don't know if any of us realistically expected that leaky team to go into October but after so many lean years we found ourselves at a months-long party and didn't want to let it go.

downstairs
05-10-2012, 01:19 PM
I'm too young to have seen that Sox team, but I remember the 2000 Sox fondly in a similar way.

Same here.

SI1020
05-10-2012, 01:45 PM
Yes the pitching and the defense left a lot to be desired. After 17 straight winning seasons the Sox had exactly winning 2 teams between 1968-1980, with the 74 team coming in even at .500. I can't fathom any Sox fan from that era disparaging the 77 team. Damn the lineup and the lifetime stats, for 4 months they were the most fun in town.

TDog
05-10-2012, 02:22 PM
But the standards for offense and especially offense from shortstops was different in 1977 than it is today- during their run- Bannister was one of the better hitting shortstops in the AL- then he tailed off- he was clearly playing over his head (like Bill Almon in 1981)-

Bannister was considered a potential future star as a strong offensive shortstop, certainly, although he turned out not to be much of a shortstop. He was twice a first-round draft pick out of Arizona State (which honors him in their Hall of Fame alongside Barry Bonds). The White Sox picked him up in trading Jim Kaat. But, Bannister hit below .250 both in 1976 and 1978 and hit close to .200 in the last two months of 1977. His best offensive season for the White Sox was in 1979 when he played five positions and DHed but didn't play an inning at shortstop. The White Sox ended up trading him when he was hitting below .200 in June 1980 (what was then close to the trading deadline) to Cleveland for Ron Pruitt.

Overall, 1977 in the American League was virtually the same offensively as it was in 2011. The batting averages were the same to three places. There were more than 100 more runs scored in 1977, but not enough for a statistical difference with 14 teams playing 162 games. There were a couple hundred more home runs hit in 2011, but thousands more strikeouts. And the White Sox in 2011 had a better offensive and defensive shortstop.

LITTLE NELL
05-10-2012, 03:11 PM
[QUOTE=tebman;2928352]:thumbsup: That weekend was a thing of beauty. We were at the Friday night game (July 1 (http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHA/CHA197707010.shtml)) when the Sox moved back into a tie for first. Zisk hit two homers that night, signs and smoke were everywhere, and the old joint was rockin'. The attendance that night was 35,709, and I believe it -- people were everywhere and the ballpark was a huge living organism.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHA/CHA197707311.shtml
This game is to me one of the greatest regular season games in Sox history. 1 run down in the 9th, we tie it up. Royals get 2 in the top of the tenth but Lemon ties it up with a 2 run homer and Garr singles home Soderholm to win the game and 50,000 people went bonkers. We go up 5.5 games on KC but they come back to win the nightcap. If we won that 2nd game which would have swept the 4 game series and put KC 6.5 games out it might have been a different story with KC in depresssion after watching all the curtain calls that weekend. That 2nd game loss was probably the beginning of the end but what a great run we had.

TomBradley72
05-10-2012, 03:15 PM
[QUOTE=tebman;2928352]:thumbsup: That weekend was a thing of beauty. We were at the Friday night game (July 1 (http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHA/CHA197707010.shtml)) when the Sox moved back into a tie for first. Zisk hit two homers that night, signs and smoke were everywhere, and the old joint was rockin'. The attendance that night was 35,709, and I believe it -- people were everywhere and the ballpark was a huge living organism.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHA/CHA197707311.shtml
This game is to me one of the greatest regular season games in Sox history. 1 run down in the 9th, we tie it up. Royals get 2 in the top of the tenth but Lemon ties it up with a 2 run homer and Garr singles home Soderholm to win the game and 50,000 people went bonkers. We go up 5.5 games on KC but they come back to win the nightcap. If we won that 2nd game which would have swept the 4 game series and put KC 6.5 games out it might have been a different story with KC in depresssion after watching all the curtain calls that weekend. That 2nd game loss was probably the beginning of the end but what a great run we had.

The thing I remember most about that nightcap was when McRae hit a home run and did his own "curtain call"- mocking the White Sox and their fans- that 2nd game seemed to really boost the Royals.

TomBradley72
05-10-2012, 03:25 PM
Bannister was considered a potential future star as a strong offensive shortstop, certainly, although he turned out not to be much of a shortstop. He was twice a first-round draft pick out of Arizona State (which honors him in their Hall of Fame alongside Barry Bonds). The White Sox picked him up in trading Jim Kaat. But, Bannister hit below .250 both in 1976 and 1978 and hit close to .200 in the last two months of 1977. His best offensive season for the White Sox was in 1979 when he played five positions and DHed but didn't play an inning at shortstop. The White Sox ended up trading him when he was hitting below .200 in June 1980 (what was then close to the trading deadline) to Cleveland for Ron Pruitt.

Overall, 1977 in the American League was virtually the same offensively as it was in 2011. The batting averages were the same to three places. There were more than 100 more runs scored in 1977, but not enough for a statistical difference with 14 teams playing 162 games. There were a couple hundred more home runs hit in 2011, but thousands more strikeouts. And the White Sox in 2011 had a better offensive and defensive shortstop.

My point was specific to Bannister's production on offense vs. other shortstops that year in the AL.

He had a .275 batting average with a .672 OPS.

He had the 4th highest batting average (after Burleson/Yount/Blanks) of any regular AL shortstop and 6th highest OPS (after Harrah/Blanks/Burleson/Yount/Patek)

TDog
05-10-2012, 03:55 PM
My point was specific to Bannister's production on offense vs. other shortstops that year in the AL.

He had a .275 batting average with a .672 OPS.

He had the 4th highest batting average (after Burleson/Yount/Blanks) of any regular AL shortstop and 6th highest OPS (after Harrah/Blanks/Burleson/Yount/Patek)

My point was that Bannister, like the White Sox in general, disappeared the last two months of the season. He only produced for the first four months and never before or since produced in any comparable way as a White Sox shortstop. The fact that Bannister ended up hitting .275 as a shortstop when Tom Burleson was hitting .293 and Robin Yount was hitting .288, both playing appreciably better defense, doesn't really iimpress me.

My point has been that the 1977 White Sox were an abberation for the first four months of the season. When you look at the season overall, they were a middle-of-the pack team, a distant sixth out of 14 teams in the league and a distant third in a division of seven.

SportsPg
05-10-2012, 10:33 PM
I'm a White Sox fan because of the 1977 South Side Hitmen. I was born and raised in Evanston in 1970. Almost all of my friends growing up were Cubs fans. I don't know the original reason why, but I decided in 1977 that two players were extremely cool.

Chet Lemon and Richie Zisk.

I watched the White Sox originally to watch them. I gradually started loving all of them...Ralph Garr, Oscar Gamble, Eric Soderholm, Alan Bannister, Jorge Orta...I loved all those guys by August...

Stoney, Kravec and Barrios as starters...well they weren't that good, but hell they won 40 games between the three of them that year.

90 wins, third place and a White Sox fan for life. I'll take it...2005 was glorious - attending game one with my other good Evanston friend who was a White Sox fan like me was simply fantastic...cheers :gulp:

DSpivack
05-10-2012, 10:41 PM
I'm a White Sox fan because of the 1977 South Side Hitmen. I was born and raised in Evanston in 1970. Almost all of my friends growing up were Cubs fans. I don't know the original reason why, but I decided in 1977 that two players were extremely cool.

90 wins, third place and a White Sox fan for life. I'll take it...2005 was glorious - attending game one with my other good Evanston friend who was a White Sox fan like me was simply fantastic...cheers :gulp:

I was born in 1984 and raised in Evanston. Oddly enough, quite a few of my friends growing up were Sox fans; about split evenly between Sox & Cubs amongst baseball fans.

And I became a Sox fan because I liked the team and the players; in the early 90s, the Sox just seemed so much cooler, and they had the best player in baseball.

LITTLE NELL
05-11-2012, 06:14 AM
I was born in 1984 and raised in Evanston. Oddly enough, quite a few of my friends growing up were Sox fans; about split evenly between Sox & Cubs amongst baseball fans.

And I became a Sox fan because I liked the team and the players; in the early 90s, the Sox just seemed so much cooler, and they had the best player in baseball.

Growing up in Rogers Park in the 50s and 60s most everybody I knew was a Sox fan. If you were a Cubs fan back then you were an outcast. In 1965 I joined the USAF, by the time I was discharged in Feb of 1969 everything had changed and if you were a Sox fan you were the outcast. I remember listening to Larry Lujack as I drove home from work and all he talked about was the Addison St. Miracle, not once that summer of 1969 did he mention the White Sox. I was in a state of depression that lasted until 1971.

TomBradley72
05-11-2012, 07:00 AM
My point was that Bannister, like the White Sox in general, disappeared the last two months of the season. He only produced for the first four months and never before or since produced in any comparable way as a White Sox shortstop. The fact that Bannister ended up hitting .275 as a shortstop when Tom Burleson was hitting .293 and Robin Yount was hitting .288, both playing appreciably better defense, doesn't really iimpress me.

My point has been that the 1977 White Sox were an abberation for the first four months of the season. When you look at the season overall, they were a middle-of-the pack team, a distant sixth out of 14 teams in the league and a distant third in a division of seven.

I've never remotely advocated that Bannister was a great overall SS-just one of the better on offense that year.

Retrosheet and stats just don't tell the whole story.

Your data is accurate- but your assessment is not.

Lip Man 1
05-11-2012, 11:08 AM
Tom:

Don't you wish all "middle of the pack" teams could win 90 games? LOL.

Sounds like it's so easy to do...it isn't or a lot more teams would be doing so.

Lip

DSpivack
05-11-2012, 12:55 PM
Growing up in Rogers Park in the 50s and 60s most everybody I knew was a Sox fan. If you were a Cubs fan back then you were an outcast. In 1965 I joined the USAF, by the time I was discharged in Feb of 1969 everything had changed and if you were a Sox fan you were the outcast. I remember listening to Larry Lujack as I drove home from work and all he talked about was the Addison St. Miracle, not once that summer of 1969 did he mention the White Sox. I was in a state of depression that lasted until 1971.

Both of my parents grew up in Rogers Park around the same time. My mom had two older brothers who would quiz her and have her memorize the starting lineups for both teams. My dad grew up going to games at both parks. They really didn't think of themselves as Cubs or Sox fans, just huge baseball fans who went to plenty of games at both parks.

LITTLE NELL
05-11-2012, 01:33 PM
Both of my parents grew up in Rogers Park around the same time. My mom had two older brothers who would quiz her and have her memorize the starting lineups for both teams. My dad grew up going to games at both parks. They really didn't think of themselves as Cubs or Sox fans, just huge baseball fans who went to plenty of games at both parks.

I went to a lot of Cubs games in those days because it was close by and they played in the day and I was not old enough to go to Sox Park at night.
1.00 for General Admission, 25 cents for a Smokey Link and 15 cents for a small Coke. 50 cents round trip on the el. Total 1.90.
Some of the players I was lucky enough to see; Aaron, Mathews, Spahn, Burdette, Mays, Cepeda, Snider, Drysdale, Roberts, Ashburn, Clemente, Musial, Big Klu, F. Robinson and of course Mr. Cub. Got most of their autographs also.
Not once did I ever root for the Cubs and always wore my Sox cap to Wrigley, in fact my NL team was the Milwaukee Braves and watched those championship teams of 57 and 58 more than a few times at Wrigley. First time I made it down to Sox park with my friends and without the parents was when I was 13 years old in 1959 when we saw the Yankees and the Sox on a Saturday afternoon.

PS. Forgot to mention that if you were willing to stay around after the game you could pick up seat cushions that the Cubs rented out to fans but they remained on the seats. If you picked up I think it was 10 you got a free General Admission ticket for any game that season. I did that a couple of times.

DSpivack
05-11-2012, 01:59 PM
I went to a lot of Cubs games in those days because it was close by and they played in the day and I was not old enough to go to Sox Park at night.
1.00 for General Admission, 25 cents for a Smokey Link and 15 cents for a small Coke. 50 cents round trip on the el. Total 1.90.
Some of the players I was lucky enough to see; Aaron, Mathews, Spahn, Burdette, Mays, Cepeda, Snider, Drysdale, Roberts, Ashburn, Clemente, Musial, Big Klu, F. Robinson and of course Mr. Cub. Got most of their autographs also.
Not once did I ever root for the Cubs and always wore my Sox cap to Wrigley, in fact my NL team was the Milwaukee Braves and watched those championship teams of 57 and 58 more than a few times at Wrigley. First time I made it down to Sox park with my friends and without the parents was when I was 13 years old in 1959 when we saw the Yankees and the Sox on a Saturday afternoon.

PS. Forgot to mention that if you were willing to stay around after the game you could pick up seat cushions that the Cubs rented out to fans but they remained on the seats. If you picked up I think it was 10 you got a free General Admission ticket for any game that season. I did that a couple of times.

What schools did you go to? My mom went to Gale, Field and Sullivan for a year before moving to Evanston (and this year she is finally retiring from Kilmer). My dad was part of the first graduating class at Mather.

LITTLE NELL
05-11-2012, 02:02 PM
What schools did you go to? My mom went to Gale, Field and Sullivan for a year before moving to Evanston (and this year she is finally retiring from Kilmer). My dad was part of the first graduating class at Mather.

Grade school: Armstrong
High school: Sullivan, class of 1964

TDog
05-11-2012, 02:04 PM
Tom:

Don't you wish all "middle of the pack" teams could win 90 games? LOL.

Sounds like it's so easy to do...it isn't or a lot more teams would be doing so.

Lip

Yet you call a team who wins games as consistently as anyone in baseball this year "garbage."

How many 90 win teams finish a distant sixth place out of 14 teams? That is what the White Sox did because in 1977 the schedules were balanced and the divisions were arbitrary. This was a team that lost more than 10 games in the standings to five teams over the last 62 games of the season despite playing the easiest schedue.

You won't even concede that they weren't very good in August and September. The 1954 White Sox won 94 games in a 154-schedule, finished third out of eight teams and 17 games behind the Indians. They weren't even tied for first after the middle of June, but they didn't collapse and play from August like the 1977 team. They had a 21-8 August. Yet, I didn't grow up hearing about the magic of 1954 White Sox. Of course, the 94 wins five seasons later meant something.

The 96-loss 1976 White Sox weren't at all good, except when they were winning 10 straight games. The 1978 White Sox obviously weren't good because they lost 90 games. The 1977 White Sox lost 35 of their last 62 games. Using criteria you have applied them to other teams in the American League, that doesn't qualitify the 1977 White Sox as a good team.

As some who labels teams as "garbage" when they win, you should be consistent.

LITTLE NELL
05-11-2012, 02:14 PM
Yet you call a team who wins games as consistently as anyone in baseball this year "garbage."

How many 90 win teams finish a distant sixth place out of 14 teams? That is what the White Sox did because in 1977 the schedules were balanced and the divisions were arbitrary. This was a team that lost more than 10 games in the standings to five teams over the last 62 games of the season despite playing the easiest schedue.

You won't even concede that they weren't very good in August and September. The 1954 White Sox won 94 games in a 154-schedule, finished third out of eight teams and 17 games behind the Indians. They weren't even tied for first after the middle of June, but they didn't collapse and play from August like the 1977 team. They had a 21-8 August. Yet, I didn't grow up hearing about the magic of 1954 White Sox. Of course, the 94 wins five seasons later meant something.

The 96-loss 1976 White Sox weren't at all good, except when they were winning 10 straight games. The 1978 White Sox obviously weren't good because they lost 90 games. The 1977 White Sox lost 35 of their last 62 games. Using criteria you have applied them to other teams in the American League, that doesn't qualitify the 1977 White Sox as a good team.

As some who labels teams as "garbage" when they win, you should be consistent.

One of the reasons the Sox who were the 6th best team in the AL and yet won 90 games was that it was an expansion team year with Seattle and Toronto joining the AL. One thing Veeck remembered from 1961 is that pitching would be watered down with the expansion and he built that 77 team to hit HRs. 1961 was also an expansion year(Angels and the new Senators) and was the year that Maris and Mantle went after Ruth's record and HRs were flying out of parks all over the AL.

Check out this chart and with only 2 new teams the AL almost doubled the HR totals from 1976 to 1977. 1122 in 76, 2013 in 77. Thats amazing.
http://www.baseball-almanac.com/hitting/hihr6.shtml

DSpivack
05-11-2012, 02:25 PM
Grade school: Armstrong
High school: Sullivan, class of 1964

You might have went to school with some of my mom's cousins, I think they graduated around the same time.

Bucky F. Dent
05-11-2012, 02:54 PM
1977 was one of the most exciting years to be a White Sox fan. Pure joy.


I was ten years old when that team was playing. What an AWESOME summer that was. Just incredible!:)

Lip Man 1
05-11-2012, 03:14 PM
The 1977 White Sox won 90 games. Let me repeat that since some don't seem to understand that concept.

The 1977 White Sox won 90 games.

Finishing 18 games above .500 isn't garbage, not by anyone's conception (save for an iconoclast or two who refuses to accept this because it doesn't fit their criteria)

Finishing with 90 losses however as the Sox did the following season and as the Orioles have done since 1997 (since they haven't had a winning season since then) or the Pirates since 1992 (since they haven't had a winning season since then) does qualify as garbage in my book.

Seems pretty consistent to me.

One thing I did discover however, it's just to bad that Nate Schierholtz wasn't born in 1954 instead of 1984. That way he might have been in the outfield for the 77 Sox.

Man with him there, who knows? The sky could have been the limit...they might have won 92 games and been a 'great' team instead of 90 wins and a 'middle of the pack' one.

:cool:

And Nell that's a valid point about expansion however I don't know myself of any comments that Veeck delibrately went for offense that year because of it (i.e. expansion) Not saying that wasn't the case but I've never read or heard such a comment specific to that season even from guys that I've interviewed off that club. Now I have heard Steve Stone say in an interview that Veeck's philosophy was that if you had to choose between offense or defense you err on the side of offense because that generally brings more fans into the seats (and as we all know putting fans in the seats was pretty basic to Bill.)

Lip

doublem23
05-11-2012, 03:23 PM
As some who labels teams as "garbage" when they win, you should be consistent.



One thing I did discover however, it's just to bad that Nate Schierholtz wasn't born in 1954 instead of 1984. That way he might have been in the outfield for the 77 Sox.

Man with him there, who knows? The sky could have been the limit...they might have won 92 games and been a 'great' team instead of 90 wins and a 'middle of the pack' one.

:rolleyes:

Good heavens, listen kids, grow up and play nicely or you're both going to find yourselves in Naughty Time Out Land and you won't get your binkies and jammy jams first.

LITTLE NELL
05-11-2012, 04:08 PM
The 1977 White Sox won 90 games. Let me repeat that since some don't seem to understand that concept.

The 1977 White Sox won 90 games.

Finishing 18 games above .500 isn't garbage, not by anyone's conception (save for an iconoclast or two who refuses to accept this because it doesn't fit their criteria)

Finishing with 90 losses however as the Sox did the following season and as the Orioles have done since 1997 (since they haven't had a winning season since then) or the Pirates since 1992 (since they haven't had a winning season since then) does qualify as garbage in my book.

Seems pretty consistent to me.

One thing I did discover however, it's just to bad that Nate Schierholtz wasn't born in 1954 instead of 1984. That way he might have been in the outfield for the 77 Sox.

Man with him there, who knows? The sky could have been the limit...they might have won 92 games and been a 'great' team instead of 90 wins and a 'middle of the pack' one.

:cool:

And Nell that's a valid point about expansion however I don't know myself of any comments that Veeck delibrately went for offense that year because of it (i.e. expansion) Not saying that wasn't the case but I've never read or heard such a comment specific to that season even from guys that I've interviewed off that club. Now I have heard Steve Stone say in an interview that Veeck's philosophy was that if you had to choose between offense or defense you err on the side of offense because that generally brings more fans into the seats (and as we all know putting fans in the seats was pretty basic to Bill.)

Lip

Lip, I can't remember when or where I read it by I do remember reading it.
I was still living up in Chicago when I read it and that was 19 years ago.
I will try to hunt down the statement.

Lip Man 1
05-11-2012, 04:20 PM
Double:

That's a fair warning and I'll oblige.

Lip

300bowler
05-11-2012, 06:42 PM
I was 10 in 1990 between 4th and 5th grade and remember that year's Sox team well. With perfect attendance/straight program through school I went to many games. Everyone thought it would the Cubs would be the better team in 1990.:gulp:"MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMm Beer" Homer Simpson.

TDog
05-11-2012, 07:30 PM
One of the reasons the Sox who were the 6th best team in the AL and yet won 90 games was that it was an expansion team year with Seattle and Toronto joining the AL. One thing Veeck remembered from 1961 is that pitching would be watered down with the expansion and he built that 77 team to hit HRs. 1961 was also an expansion year(Angels and the new Senators) and was the year that Maris and Mantle went after Ruth's record and HRs were flying out of parks all over the AL.

Check out this chart and with only 2 new teams the AL almost doubled the HR totals from 1976 to 1977. 1122 in 76, 2013 in 77. Thats amazing.
http://www.baseball-almanac.com/hitting/hihr6.shtml

I touched on this in a previous post. The win totals of the above-.500 teams were inflated (all but one of the seven above-.500 teams in the AL that year won at least 90 games and and all but two of the seven AL teams to finish above .500 won at least 94 games) because expansion and the demolition of the A's created an AL base of very weak teams that doesn't exist in most years.

This is rather like the argument over whether England's Henry I was a bad king. It's a matter of opinion, and arguments are not likely to change views because they are based more on emotional memories than fact. And in the end, it really isn't all that important.

Still, the White Sox of 1972 team was by far the better team, and its achievements are more heroic, if the term can be applied to baseball. I wish it got more respect. Just ask Ed Herrmann what made that team special. The 1972 team won fewer games, although labor problems lopped a couple of weeks off the beginning of the schedule, and the 1972 team actually had a higher winning percentage. But the way you can tell is that they had the second best record in the league. That's not definitive because of that year's truly unbalanced schedule, but you have to grade baseball teams based on the context of their competition. The White Sox finished second to a team that won three straight World Series titles, playing them 15 times during the season (including a 15-inning win and a 19-inning loss). Wins were inflated in 1977. Wins were deflated in 1972. And yet many White Sox fans will prefer the 90-win 1977 White Sox.

I think there have been many White Sox teams since 1977 that have played much better baseball and even that have had better seasons that fans have given up on. The content of the baseball hasn't been so unusual. In those years there hasn't been as much hitting by either the White Sox or their opponents.

I find it hard to believe fans don't appreciate the 2008 season, talking about "backing in" to the postseason and only managing one ALDS win while getting misty-eyed over the 1977 team because it won 90 games and finished a distant third in its division. The 2008 White Sox had a better team and played better baseball.

BigKlu59
05-11-2012, 08:11 PM
I touched on this in a previous post. The win totals of the above-.500 teams were inflated (all but one of the seven above-.500 teams in the AL that year won at least 90 games and and all but two of the seven AL teams to finish above .500 won at least 94 games) because expansion and the demolition of the A's created an AL base of very weak teams that doesn't exist in most years.

This is rather like the argument over whether England's Henry I was a bad king. It's a matter of opinion, and arguments are not likely to change views because they are based more on emotional memories than fact. And in the end, it really isn't all that important.

Still, the White Sox of 1972 team was by far the better team, and its achievements are more heroic, if the term can be applied to baseball. I wish it got more respect. Just ask Ed Herrmann what made that team special. The 1972 team won fewer games, although labor problems lopped a couple of weeks off the beginning of the schedule, and the 1972 team actually had a higher winning percentage. But the way you can tell is that they had the second best record in the league. That's not definitive because of that year's truly unbalanced schedule, but you have to grade baseball teams based on the context of their competition. The White Sox finished second to a team that won three straight World Series titles, playing them 15 times during the season (including a 15-inning win and a 19-inning loss). Wins were inflated in 1977. Wins were deflated in 1972. And yet many White Sox fans will prefer the 90-win 1977 White Sox.

I think there have been many White Sox teams since 1977 that have played much better baseball and even that have had better seasons that fans have given up on. The content of the baseball hasn't been so unusual. In those years there hasn't been as much hitting by either the White Sox or their opponents.

I find it hard to believe fans don't appreciate the 2008 season, talking about "backing in" to the postseason and only managing one ALDS win while getting misty-eyed over the 1977 team because it won 90 games and finished a distant third in its division. The 2008 White Sox had a better team and played better baseball.


You hit the nail on the head here. When we all wax nostalgic we can pick out that wonderous season that captivated and renewed our faith and hope or crushed the dream by the All Star break. Being spoiled as most old timers on here, the Reniasance in 72 was a welcome departure from those dreadful late 60's teams that had you wondering what the **** had happened to a class winning organization..

1977 was a magical year. $$$$ was spent for the first time in a long time and the rate of return showed up in spades right off of the bat. As was alluded to earlier here, the scoreboard got a work out it had never seen and the smell of salt peter overcame the stockyards as the aroma of choice..Too bad the Royals came of age that season and the Yankees investment portfolio came up aces for them.. Our horses faded in the stretch run.. Bill did the best he could to bring baseball back to the South Side and in hindsight he did pull it off. 90 wins inflated or not, was a respectable showing.

I guess each team has its own character. The best part about this whole conversation is we are talking about WINNING Sox baseball and the enjoyment it brought all of us,no matter what decade.

BK59

Lip Man 1
05-11-2012, 08:22 PM
I can't speak for anyone else but I expected the 2008 White Sox to "win" from the standpoint that the organization in the previous eight seasons had six winning seasons, a .500 season and an under .500 season.

That's a pretty damn good rate of return if you will.

There were no such expectations in 1977, the previous nine seasons saw the franchise have one winning season, one .500 season and almost get moved at least three times that I know of.

Ergo the fact that they won 90 games equates to me a damn good team and a damn good season. The hitting overcame a lot of shortcomings.

And unlike the 08 team which had a lot of established players with a track record of success, the 77 team was basically made up of clowns, castoffs, injured guys dropped by previous organizations and bargin basement free agents.

To say they weren't a good team because the statistical data doesn't measure up to certain standards belittles that team and the players who did what they did in my book.

Lip

SI1020
05-11-2012, 09:15 PM
As Sox fans we don't have a heck of a lot to hang our hats on. We're toughened by adversity and disappointment and still hang in there, as loyal as any baseball fans anywhere. I too will agree that the 72 season was more successful than the 77 season was. However, you look at that lineup and there is only one bona fide super star, a few solid performers, and not a whole lot of depth. I would say that IMHO Chuck Tanner did the best job managing the Sox in 1972, the best in my lifetime. His team damn near stole the division and actually might have succeeded if not for Bill Melton's injury. Expectations were sky high in 1973. A business associate of John Allyn at the time told me that he was confident in the team at the start of the 73 season. They did perform well early and then came the most hideous sequence of injuries you'd ever want to see, The Tanner era for all of its promise had peaked early and would never recover. By 1975 the team was struggling on the field and at the gate. The Lords of the American League had ticketed the team to Seattle. Enter Bill Veeck. We were saved but still had to watch a team in short pants that won a grand total of 64 games. The 77 team was such a welcome relief. The ball park was a big happy party. I can't for the life of me understand the joyless criticism of this team that gave us so many thrills and breathed life into a franchise that desperately needed it. Just to one up another poster and prove how smart you are? Both the 72 and 77 teams will always be near and dear to my heart no matter what the stats or the experts say.

Lip Man 1
05-11-2012, 10:13 PM
SI:

You hit it right on the nose in a lot of areas.

Well done.

:cheers:

Lip

TommyJohn
05-12-2012, 01:55 AM
As Sox fans we don't have a heck of a lot to hang our hats on. We're toughened by adversity and disappointment and still hang in there, as loyal as any baseball fans anywhere. I too will agree that the 72 season was more successful than the 77 season was. However, you look at that lineup and there is only one bona fide super star, a few solid performers, and not a whole lot of depth. I would say that IMHO Chuck Tanner did the best job managing the Sox in 1972, the best in my lifetime. His team damn near stole the division and actually might have succeeded if not for Bill Melton's injury. Expectations were sky high in 1973. A business associate of John Allyn at the time told me that he was confident in the team at the start of the 73 season. They did perform well early and then came the most hideous sequence of injuries you'd ever want to see, The Tanner era for all of its promise had peaked early and would never recover. By 1975 the team was struggling on the field and at the gate. The Lords of the American League had ticketed the team to Seattle. Enter Bill Veeck. We were saved but still had to watch a team in short pants that won a grand total of 64 games. The 77 team was such a welcome relief. The ball park was a big happy party. I can't for the life of me understand the joyless criticism of this team that gave us so many thrills and breathed life into a franchise that desperately needed it. Just to one up another poster and prove how smart you are? Both the 72 and 77 teams will always be near and dear to my heart no matter what the stats or the experts say.

:Rocker::yup::worship:

TomBradley72
05-12-2012, 11:45 AM
As Sox fans we don't have a heck of a lot to hang our hats on. We're toughened by adversity and disappointment and still hang in there, as loyal as any baseball fans anywhere. I too will agree that the 72 season was more successful than the 77 season was. However, you look at that lineup and there is only one bona fide super star, a few solid performers, and not a whole lot of depth. I would say that IMHO Chuck Tanner did the best job managing the Sox in 1972, the best in my lifetime. His team damn near stole the division and actually might have succeeded if not for Bill Melton's injury. Expectations were sky high in 1973. A business associate of John Allyn at the time told me that he was confident in the team at the start of the 73 season. They did perform well early and then came the most hideous sequence of injuries you'd ever want to see, The Tanner era for all of its promise had peaked early and would never recover. By 1975 the team was struggling on the field and at the gate. The Lords of the American League had ticketed the team to Seattle. Enter Bill Veeck. We were saved but still had to watch a team in short pants that won a grand total of 64 games. The 77 team was such a welcome relief. The ball park was a big happy party. I can't for the life of me understand the joyless criticism of this team that gave us so many thrills and breathed life into a franchise that desperately needed it. Just to one up another poster and prove how smart you are? Both the 72 and 77 teams will always be near and dear to my heart no matter what the stats or the experts say.

:thumbsup::thumbsup:

fram40
05-12-2012, 12:26 PM
[QUOTE=tebman;2928352]:thumbsup: That weekend was a thing of beauty. We were at the Friday night game (July 1 (http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHA/CHA197707010.shtml)) when the Sox moved back into a tie for first. Zisk hit two homers that night, signs and smoke were everywhere, and the old joint was rockin'. The attendance that night was 35,709, and I believe it -- people were everywhere and the ballpark was a huge living organism.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHA/CHA197707311.shtml
This game is to me one of the greatest regular season games in Sox history. 1 run down in the 9th, we tie it up. Royals get 2 in the top of the tenth but Lemon ties it up with a 2 run homer and Garr singles home Soderholm to win the game and 50,000 people went bonkers. We go up 5.5 games on KC but they come back to win the nightcap. If we won that 2nd game which would have swept the 4 game series and put KC 6.5 games out it might have been a different story with KC in depresssion after watching all the curtain calls that weekend. That 2nd game loss was probably the beginning of the end but what a great run we had.

Just before my senior year of high school started, that double-header split is my most vivid memory of the '77 Hit Men. I watched the game one comback in the Gleneagles' clubhouse after a round with my older brother and his friends, enjoying some under-age libations.

The second game loss was the beginning of the end for the Hit Men. Also the begiining of one of the great two-month finishes in baseball history - as previously mentioned, the Royals went 47 - 17 (.743 clip) after the game one loss.

fram40
05-12-2012, 12:40 PM
as sox fans we don't have a heck of a lot to hang our hats on. We're toughened by adversity and disappointment and still hang in there, as loyal as any baseball fans anywhere. I too will agree that the 72 season was more successful than the 77 season was. However, you look at that lineup and there is only one bona fide super star, a few solid performers, and not a whole lot of depth. I would say that imho chuck tanner did the best job managing the sox in 1972, the best in my lifetime. His team damn near stole the division and actually might have succeeded if not for bill melton's injury. Expectations were sky high in 1973. A business associate of john allyn at the time told me that he was confident in the team at the start of the 73 season. They did perform well early and then came the most hideous sequence of injuries you'd ever want to see, the tanner era for all of its promise had peaked early and would never recover. By 1975 the team was struggling on the field and at the gate. The lords of the american league had ticketed the team to seattle. Enter bill veeck. We were saved but still had to watch a team in short pants that won a grand total of 64 games. The 77 team was such a welcome relief. The ball park was a big happy party. I can't for the life of me understand the joyless criticism of this team that gave us so many thrills and breathed life into a franchise that desperately needed it. Just to one up another poster and prove how smart you are? Both the 72 and 77 teams will always be near and dear to my heart no matter what the stats or the experts say.

+1 (#4)

TDog
05-13-2012, 01:47 AM
...
1977 was a magical year. $$$$ was spent for the first time in a long time and the rate of return showed up in spades right off of the bat. As was alluded to earlier here, the scoreboard got a work out it had never seen and the smell of salt peter overcame the stockyards as the aroma of choice..Too bad the Royals came of age that season and the Yankees investment portfolio came up aces for them.. Our horses faded in the stretch run.. Bill did the best he could to bring baseball back to the South Side and in hindsight he did pull it off. 90 wins inflated or not, was a respectable showing.

I guess each team has its own character. The best part about this whole conversation is we are talking about WINNING Sox baseball and the enjoyment it brought all of us,no matter what decade.

BK59

I believe that after 35 years, there is nothing wrong with examining 1977 from the standpoint of what it means to White Sox fans and even how White Sox fans look at baseball differently today.

And seriously, winning 90 games isn't that impressive when four five teams in the league win at least 94. Forget about 1972. In 1990 the White Sox won 94 games and had the league's second best record with a team much, much better at baseball with more legitimate stars than 1977. In 1990, as in 1972, if there is a wild card, the White Sox make the postseaon. In 1977, even with three divsions and two wild card teams, the White Sox don't make the postseason.

Yet, that team had the best record in the league 100 games into the season, by about the same margin as they would finish behind the lowest achieving of the five teams that passed them up during the last 62. So why don't White Sox fans consider this one of the greatest colapses of all time? It's true that the 1977 Cubs had nearly the same record at the end of July and only managed to finish .500. But the Cubs could blame their poor finish to losing Reuschel and besides had a more historic collapse less eight years earlier. White Sox fans tend to blame the Royals. But it wasn't just the Royals that blew away the White Sox. It was every contending team in the American League. It was the Yankees. It was the Orioles. It was the Red Sox. It was the Rangers.

It isn't just that the 1977 White Sox weren't expected to do well, coming off a 96-loss season. The team wasn't built to contend. No pitching. The only reliable defense consisted of Chester Lemon chasing down fly balls from center -- 512 putouts and 12 assists, it's exhausting to think about. The team was built to compete, but it certainly wasn't built to build a foundation for the future. (LaMarr Hoyt, who came with Oscar Gamble, turned out to be a surprise, and Harold Baines was the first pick in the draft, but only the latter was considered to be part of the future that summer.) When the White Sox traded their two best relief pitchers, one early in his Hall of Fame career, because they were on the verge of free agency, they got Zisk, who was headed for free agency. Bill Veeck said he was proud of "renting" players. He had no intention of re-signing them and everyone knew it. Today, would many on a WSI forum demand the Sox trade Zisk and Gamble (who were having career seasons but would never play for the White Sox after 1977) for prospects to build for the future?

Probably not. People were having such a good time. Deep down they could see that the White Sox didn't have enough the strong teams in the league just kept rolling as White Sox wins became harder to come by. No one seems bitter that the team wilted in the heat of August, even people who didn't join the party until August when it was essentially over. And despite the promise of Bobby Bonds in 1978, the White Sox wouldn't emerge as a contender again until the Reinsdorf administration took control, although, some would tell you the Reinsdorf people screwed up the franchise.

I first suggested that the 1977 team wasn't that good in reference to Bill Veeck not having much success in his second go-around with the White Sox, a few words insulting enough that I got called on it. There is a White Sox encyclopedia out that actually suggests the Richie Zisk deal is one of the worst in the team's history. The more I thought about things, the more I was angered that that WSI posters could dismiss winning teams this season while celebrating a team as flawed as the 1977 White Sox.

In the end, though, it comes down to the fact that 1977 was fun when winning was something a White Sox fan could only talk about on Santa's lap. Forget that more than 35 percent of the teams in the league had at least four more wins. When it comes to bragging rights, you don't worry about the fine print. And standards were lower. Today, it's easier to remember 1977 as a success under the previous ownership regime while attacking the current one that you hold to a higher standard.

Attack me if you will, but I think there is room for legitimate debate here, although I think the counterpoint will have to be more developed than "90 wins."

I loved 1977, too. But I enjoy the ride a baseball season takes me on. I didn't want to see the White Sox trade Zisk and Gamble for prospects. And this year, I don't want the White Sox to trade Peavy and Konerko for prospects. The White Sox this year probably won't win 90 games. They most likely will not score 844 runs. But I want to enjoy the ride of the White Sox season, and this year's team, realistically, has a better chance of winning its division than the 1977 team.

And if it doesn't, I will still enjoy following the games. There is still the ride with players I have grown to appreciate in a White Sox uniform. I enjoy watching Paul Konerko play for the White Sox more than I enjoy getting misty over Richie Zisk.

russ99
05-13-2012, 06:54 AM
Looking at the team only removes a part of why 77 was such a great year to be a Sox fan. With Harry, Jimmy and Nancy it was fun to watch games on TV and fun to go to games watching a winning team after years of mediocrity and the threat of losing the team. Sure they choked, but that doesn't make that summer watching the team and being in the park for that atmosphere any less fun.

TomBradley72
05-13-2012, 07:17 PM
I believe that after 35 years, there is nothing wrong with examining 1977 from the standpoint of what it means to White Sox fans and even how White Sox fans look at baseball differently today.

And seriously, winning 90 games isn't that impressive when four five teams in the league win at least 94. Forget about 1972. In 1990 the White Sox won 94 games and had the league's second best record with a team much, much better at baseball with more legitimate stars than 1977. In 1990, as in 1972, if there is a wild card, the White Sox make the postseaon. In 1977, even with three divsions and two wild card teams, the White Sox don't make the postseason.

Yet, that team had the best record in the league 100 games into the season, by about the same margin as they would finish behind the lowest achieving of the five teams that passed them up during the last 62. So why don't White Sox fans consider this one of the greatest colapses of all time? It's true that the 1977 Cubs had nearly the same record at the end of July and only managed to finish .500. But the Cubs could blame their poor finish to losing Reuschel and besides had a more historic collapse less eight years earlier. White Sox fans tend to blame the Royals. But it wasn't just the Royals that blew away the White Sox. It was every contending team in the American League. It was the Yankees. It was the Orioles. It was the Red Sox. It was the Rangers.

It isn't just that the 1977 White Sox weren't expected to do well, coming off a 96-loss season. The team wasn't built to contend. No pitching. The only reliable defense consisted of Chester Lemon chasing down fly balls from center -- 512 putouts and 12 assists, it's exhausting to think about. The team was built to compete, but it certainly wasn't built to build a foundation for the future. (LaMarr Hoyt, who came with Oscar Gamble, turned out to be a surprise, and Harold Baines was the first pick in the draft, but only the latter was considered to be part of the future that summer.) When the White Sox traded their two best relief pitchers, one early in his Hall of Fame career, because they were on the verge of free agency, they got Zisk, who was headed for free agency. Bill Veeck said he was proud of "renting" players. He had no intention of re-signing them and everyone knew it. Today, would many on a WSI forum demand the Sox trade Zisk and Gamble (who were having career seasons but would never play for the White Sox after 1977) for prospects to build for the future?

Probably not. People were having such a good time. Deep down they could see that the White Sox didn't have enough the strong teams in the league just kept rolling as White Sox wins became harder to come by. No one seems bitter that the team wilted in the heat of August, even people who didn't join the party until August when it was essentially over. And despite the promise of Bobby Bonds in 1978, the White Sox wouldn't emerge as a contender again until the Reinsdorf administration took control, although, some would tell you the Reinsdorf people screwed up the franchise.

I first suggested that the 1977 team wasn't that good in reference to Bill Veeck not having much success in his second go-around with the White Sox, a few words insulting enough that I got called on it. There is a White Sox encyclopedia out that actually suggests the Richie Zisk deal is one of the worst in the team's history. The more I thought about things, the more I was angered that that WSI posters could dismiss winning teams this season while celebrating a team as flawed as the 1977 White Sox.

In the end, though, it comes down to the fact that 1977 was fun when winning was something a White Sox fan could only talk about on Santa's lap. Forget that more than 35 percent of the teams in the league had at least four more wins. When it comes to bragging rights, you don't worry about the fine print. And standards were lower. Today, it's easier to remember 1977 as a success under the previous ownership regime while attacking the current one that you hold to a higher standard.

Attack me if you will, but I think there is room for legitimate debate here, although I think the counterpoint will have to be more developed than "90 wins."

I loved 1977, too. But I enjoy the ride a baseball season takes me on. I didn't want to see the White Sox trade Zisk and Gamble for prospects. And this year, I don't want the White Sox to trade Peavy and Konerko for prospects. The White Sox this year probably won't win 90 games. They most likely will not score 844 runs. But I want to enjoy the ride of the White Sox season, and this year's team, realistically, has a better chance of winning its division than the 1977 team.

And if it doesn't, I will still enjoy following the games. There is still the ride with players I have grown to appreciate in a White Sox uniform. I enjoy watching Paul Konerko play for the White Sox more than I enjoy getting misty over Richie Zisk.

I've been involved in this thread since it started- you seem to be bringing debates and arguments to a thread that has never been focused on claiming that the 1977 White Sox were a "great" team or even one of the best all time, etc.- NO ONE in this entire thread is arguing that point.

You can run regression analysis using retrosheet data all you want- I just think it's meaningless. The summer of 1977 was simply one of the funnest summers of White Sox baseball I've ever had since I became a fan in 1971. Shortly after Veeck bought the team in late 1975- free agency came into existence- the always cash strapped Veeck had to do it with mirrors through 1980 when he finally sold the club to Reinhorn- all of us were aware of that- including the flaws in the Zisk trade,etc.

That's what made the 4 months of the reign of the Southside Hitmen so special- and even after they tailed off in August/September while the Royals executed a historically strong finish- they remain such a special team to most of us who witnessed that team, that summer.

They remain TODAY- the team with the 18th most wins in franchise history-which place that team in the top 16% of the franchise all time- 30th if you go by winning percentage- so in the top 26%.

Since 1968- a 44 year span- only 5 White Sox teams have won more games (2005, 1983, 2000, 1993, 1990) and the 2006 won the same.

I think alot of the response you're getting in this thread is that you're focused on picking this team apart and somehow "destroying a myth".

There is no myth.

All of us who witnessed that team knew exactly what we were watching- and this team's flaws and it's incredibly unlikely role as a contender is part of what made it so special.

The 1990 team is close (IMHO) to this team in my heart (not my brain).

After that- my team switched to uniforms that looked like the Houston Astros, switched off free TV and hired generic out of town announcers like Drysdale and Thorne, threatened to move to Addison and then St. Pete, moved into a ballpark that was mostly sterile concrete and blue plastic seats- the original White Sox "culture" that I loved was destroyed in many ways- and it wasn't until 2000, the stadium renovations and the 2005 team that all of that was completely healed up and repaired.

Which makes the summer of 1977 all the more special.

Lip Man 1
05-13-2012, 07:25 PM
Tom:

Bravo! Encore!!

:drunken:

Lip

SI1020
05-13-2012, 07:29 PM
I've been involved in this thread since it started- you seem to be bringing debates and arguments to a thread that has never been focused on claiming that the 1977 White Sox were a "great" team or even one of the best all time, etc.- NO ONE in this entire thread is arguing that point.

You can run regression analysis using retrosheet data all you want- I just think it's meaningless. The summer of 1977 was simply one of the funnest summers of White Sox baseball I've ever had since I became a fan in 1971. Shortly after Veeck bought the team in late 1975- free agency came into existence- the always cash strapped Veeck had to do it with mirrors through 1980 when he finally sold the club to Reinhorn- all of us were aware of that- including the flaws in the Zisk trade,etc.

That's what made the 4 months of the reign of the Southside Hitmen so special- and even after they tailed off in August/September while the Royals executed a historically strong finish- they remain such a special team to most of us who witnessed that team, that summer.

They remain TODAY- the team with the 18th most wins in franchise history-which place that team in the top 16% of the franchise all time- 30th if you go by winning percentage- so in the top 26%.

Since 1968- a 44 year span- only 5 White Sox teams have won more games (2005, 1983, 2000, 1993, 1990) and the 2006 won the same.

I think alot of the response you're getting in this thread is that you're focused on picking this team apart and somehow "destroying a myth".

There is no myth.

All of us who witnessed that team knew exactly what we were watching- and this team's flaws and it's incredibly unlikely role as a contender is part of what made it so special.

The 1990 team is close (IMHO) to this team in my heart (not my brain).

After that- my team switched to uniforms that looked like the Houston Astros, switched off free TV and hired generic out of town announcers like Drysdale and Thorne, threatened to move to Addison and then St. Pete, moved into a ballpark that was mostly sterile concrete and blue plastic seats- the original White Sox "culture" that I loved was destroyed in many ways- and it wasn't until 2000, the stadium renovations and the 2005 team that all of that was completely healed up and repaired.

Which makes the summer of 1977 all the more special. Yes to all of this. Why is it so hard to accept?

Golden Sox
05-13-2012, 07:59 PM
When I went to the home opener in 1978 I knew that the 1977 season was going to be a good memory. Even though the White Sox won the 78 home opener against the Red Sox, I knew it was going to be a long season. It turned out that the last 3 seasons Veeck owned the team were long seasons. If Veeck wasn't going to sign Zisk and Gamble after trading Gossage, Forster and Dent, why didn't he sell the team after the 77 season? The only thing anybody remembers about the last 3 years of the Veeck ownership is Disco Demolition night. I've always been convinced that one of the reasons people look back so fondly on the 77 season is because the other 4 years Veeck owned the team, 4 of his 5 teams were horrendous and I for one was glad he sold the team. His 2nd ownership of the White Sox was so bad, I couldn't believe it when I heard he was voted into the HOF.

FielderJones
05-13-2012, 08:26 PM
His 2nd ownership of the White Sox was so bad, I couldn't believe it when I heard he was voted into the HOF.

Yes, the results were bad, but one thing was accomplished. The White Sox didn't move to Seattle. The Allyn years were not exactly an exemplary part of White Sox history either.

Noneck
05-13-2012, 08:46 PM
I thought Veeck was trying to sell the club but things just werent working out. Especially the DeBartolo deal which was unfortunately squashed.

Lip Man 1
05-13-2012, 09:57 PM
Golden:

He tried to resign both Zisk and Gamble. Free agency blew him out of the water. He actually had a deal with Gamble that wasn't signed yet when Ray Kroc of the Padres called at almost literally the last second and offered so much more money Gamble and his agent couldn't believe it themselves.

Naturally Oscar took San Diego's offer.

Zisk after his year was never going to stay in Chicago not with the money other owners were offering.

He traded Gossage and Forster because he knew he was going to lose them both, they were both going to go free agency...Dent frankly was traded out of spite because Bucky's agent pissed Bill off with his demands. (But the Sox did get a guy named LaMarr Hoyt as part of the deal and Gamble was exceptional that year...he was part of the deal. Bill also wanted Sparky Lyle but Billy Martin convinced Steinbrenner not to include him in the deal.)

I'm not a big Veeck fan, I tend to agree with Rich Lindberg that he was more con man, but even JR has said in interviews that Bill would have gotten by had not free agency come into the picture.

And to his credit he manipulated that as much as he could, trading Gossage and Forster (whom he knew he wasn't going to resign) brought the Sox Zisk, the lynchpin to the 77 team. His bargain basement try out camps (which brought everyone from Eddie Bane to Mike Pazik out) yielded the 77 Comeback Player of the Year in Eric Soderholm and 15 game winner Steve Stone. (Another player Bill thought he had a deal with only to see him leave at the last minute. Bill never forgave him for that.) He signed Bobby Bonds but after a 5-16 start knew he was leaving so he got rid of him early and picked up a kid named Rich Dotson in the process. (In some respects like Mike Veeck told me Bill was a big part of the 83 team. He got Baines, Hoyt, Dotson and Britt Burns.)

Bill's biggest fault was that despite having some of the wealthiest people in America as members of the board of directors, he refused to go to them for money to run the franchise. I guess it was a matter of pride with him and he promised them that he'd turn them a profit every season. That's completely on Bill because he simply didn't have the funds to make it on his own.

Lip

Lamp81
05-13-2012, 10:28 PM
I believe that after 35 years, there is nothing wrong with examining 1977 from the standpoint of what it means to White Sox fans and even how White Sox fans look at baseball differently today.

And seriously, winning 90 games isn't that impressive when four five teams in the league win at least 94. Forget about 1972. In 1990 the White Sox won 94 games and had the league's second best record with a team much, much better at baseball with more legitimate stars than 1977. In 1990, as in 1972, if there is a wild card, the White Sox make the postseaon. In 1977, even with three divsions and two wild card teams, the White Sox don't make the postseason.

Yet, that team had the best record in the league 100 games into the season, by about the same margin as they would finish behind the lowest achieving of the five teams that passed them up during the last 62. So why don't White Sox fans consider this one of the greatest colapses of all time? It's true that the 1977 Cubs had nearly the same record at the end of July and only managed to finish .500. But the Cubs could blame their poor finish to losing Reuschel and besides had a more historic collapse less eight years earlier. White Sox fans tend to blame the Royals. But it wasn't just the Royals that blew away the White Sox. It was every contending team in the American League. It was the Yankees. It was the Orioles. It was the Red Sox. It was the Rangers.

It isn't just that the 1977 White Sox weren't expected to do well, coming off a 96-loss season. The team wasn't built to contend. No pitching. The only reliable defense consisted of Chester Lemon chasing down fly balls from center -- 512 putouts and 12 assists, it's exhausting to think about. The team was built to compete, but it certainly wasn't built to build a foundation for the future. (LaMarr Hoyt, who came with Oscar Gamble, turned out to be a surprise, and Harold Baines was the first pick in the draft, but only the latter was considered to be part of the future that summer.) When the White Sox traded their two best relief pitchers, one early in his Hall of Fame career, because they were on the verge of free agency, they got Zisk, who was headed for free agency. Bill Veeck said he was proud of "renting" players. He had no intention of re-signing them and everyone knew it. Today, would many on a WSI forum demand the Sox trade Zisk and Gamble (who were having career seasons but would never play for the White Sox after 1977) for prospects to build for the future?

Probably not. People were having such a good time. Deep down they could see that the White Sox didn't have enough the strong teams in the league just kept rolling as White Sox wins became harder to come by. No one seems bitter that the team wilted in the heat of August, even people who didn't join the party until August when it was essentially over. And despite the promise of Bobby Bonds in 1978, the White Sox wouldn't emerge as a contender again until the Reinsdorf administration took control, although, some would tell you the Reinsdorf people screwed up the franchise.

I first suggested that the 1977 team wasn't that good in reference to Bill Veeck not having much success in his second go-around with the White Sox, a few words insulting enough that I got called on it. There is a White Sox encyclopedia out that actually suggests the Richie Zisk deal is one of the worst in the team's history. The more I thought about things, the more I was angered that that WSI posters could dismiss winning teams this season while celebrating a team as flawed as the 1977 White Sox.

In the end, though, it comes down to the fact that 1977 was fun when winning was something a White Sox fan could only talk about on Santa's lap. Forget that more than 35 percent of the teams in the league had at least four more wins. When it comes to bragging rights, you don't worry about the fine print. And standards were lower. Today, it's easier to remember 1977 as a success under the previous ownership regime while attacking the current one that you hold to a higher standard.

Attack me if you will, but I think there is room for legitimate debate here, although I think the counterpoint will have to be more developed than "90 wins."

I loved 1977, too. But I enjoy the ride a baseball season takes me on. I didn't want to see the White Sox trade Zisk and Gamble for prospects. And this year, I don't want the White Sox to trade Peavy and Konerko for prospects. The White Sox this year probably won't win 90 games. They most likely will not score 844 runs. But I want to enjoy the ride of the White Sox season, and this year's team, realistically, has a better chance of winning its division than the 1977 team.

And if it doesn't, I will still enjoy following the games. There is still the ride with players I have grown to appreciate in a White Sox uniform. I enjoy watching Paul Konerko play for the White Sox more than I enjoy getting misty over Richie Zisk.

Small correction, Oscar Gamble did return to the Sox as a PH/DH in 1985.
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/gamblos01.shtml

TomBradley72
05-14-2012, 07:28 AM
When I went to the home opener in 1978 I knew that the 1977 season was going to be a good memory. Even though the White Sox won the 78 home opener against the Red Sox, I knew it was going to be a long season. It turned out that the last 3 seasons Veeck owned the team were long seasons. If Veeck wasn't going to sign Zisk and Gamble after trading Gossage, Forster and Dent, why didn't he sell the team after the 77 season? The only thing anybody remembers about the last 3 years of the Veeck ownership is Disco Demolition night. I've always been convinced that one of the reasons people look back so fondly on the 77 season is because the other 4 years Veeck owned the team, 4 of his 5 teams were horrendous and I for one was glad he sold the team. His 2nd ownership of the White Sox was so bad, I couldn't believe it when I heard he was voted into the HOF.

I think we look at the team fondly because only 5 teams have been better over the past 44 years- we have had several "horrendous" periods in that span- 1968-1970, 1974-1976, 1978-1980, 1986-1989, 1995-1999, 2007, 2009-2011.

Without Bill Veeck- there would be no Chicago White Sox after the mid-70's- they were gone to Seattle.

TomBradley72
05-14-2012, 07:32 AM
Yes, the results were bad, but one thing was accomplished. The White Sox didn't move to Seattle. The Allyn years were not exactly an exemplary part of White Sox history either.

Reinsdorf has found a way to win 90+ wins exactly 5 times in 31 seasons- and even with a state funded sweetheart deal- plenty of time periods where the Sox were pretty bad- like 1986-1989, 1995-1999, 2009-2011.

Golden Sox
05-14-2012, 07:32 AM
Lip: Bill Veecks way of thinking still baffle me to this day. He was out of touch with modern economics. Instead of signing Gossage, Forster Dent, Zisk and Gamble, he signed over the hill players like Don Kessinger and filled up the roster with minor league players. By not signing or keeping his star players he wound up with bad teams that didn't draw that well. If he would of signed the star players he would of won more games and drawn more people. All in all , by spending more money, he would of made more money. The last 3 years of Veecks ownership were three of the most horrible years in White Sox history. He certainly saved the team from moving to Seattle but before he tried selling the team to DeBartolo he wanted to move the White Sox to Denver. The American League wouldn't approve the move and he then sold the team. If it would of been up to him the White Sox would be in Denver today.

TomBradley72
05-14-2012, 07:48 AM
Lip: Bill Veecks way of thinking still baffle me to this day. He was out of touch with modern economics. Instead of signing Gossage, Forster Dent, Zisk and Gamble, he signed over the hill players like Don Kessinger and filled up the roster with minor league players. By not signing or keeping his star players he wound up with bad teams that didn't draw that well. If he would of signed the star players he would of won more games and drawn more people. All in all , by spending more money, he would of made more money. The last 3 years of Veecks ownership were three of the most horrible years in White Sox history. He certainly saved the team from moving to Seattle but before he tried selling the team to DeBartolo he wanted to move the White Sox to Denver. The American League wouldn't approve the move and he then sold the team. If it would of been up to him the White Sox would be in Denver today.

He barely had the capital to cover a "pre-free agency" payroll- once the courts declared Messersmith and McNally free agents- his business model was cooked.

But you're right- he was open to selling the team to a non-Chicago owner-

tebman
05-14-2012, 08:36 AM
Lip: Bill Veecks way of thinking still baffle me to this day. He was out of touch with modern economics. Instead of signing Gossage, Forster Dent, Zisk and Gamble, he signed over the hill players like Don Kessinger and filled up the roster with minor league players. By not signing or keeping his star players he wound up with bad teams that didn't draw that well. If he would of signed the star players he would of won more games and drawn more people. All in all , by spending more money, he would of made more money. The last 3 years of Veecks ownership were three of the most horrible years in White Sox history. He certainly saved the team from moving to Seattle but before he tried selling the team to DeBartolo he wanted to move the White Sox to Denver. The American League wouldn't approve the move and he then sold the team. If it would of been up to him the White Sox would be in Denver today.

Veeck was no saint. He was a promoter who loved the baseball-as-showbiz world he helped create. Though he was at best mediocre as an owner, I've always admired him for his imagination and sense of humor.

You take the good with the bad. With Veeck the good is that he prevented Selig and the other owners from moving the White Sox to Seattle, while the bad was that he was prepared to sell the Sox to Denver when he ran out of cash. I think he (and we) got lucky in 1977 when that team performed far beyond expectations at the same time the local stars aligned to give off that good-time vibe we remember so well.

But like Hemingway said, you make your own luck. What Veeck did well was create an environment for simple fun. Baseball is a game after all, and Veeck knew that. What he couldn't do throughout his career was sustain a franchise as a profitable business operation. MLB is in a different world now and I doubt that Veeck could operate a ballclub at all if he were here to try it again.

apbaball
05-14-2012, 02:50 PM
I was a high school freshman in 77 and other than the 2005 and 1990 seasons it was the most enjoyable season I had as a Sox fan. The unexpected success was one big reason. The thing that I remember most was the crowds / the fans – they were unbelievable. There were no scoreboards telling you when to cheer, it was spontaneous and in unison, as if the crowd was one single fan voice. I remember the stamping of the feet being so loud that the ballpark sounded and felt like an earthquake. “NA NA Hey Hey” was the ultimate “salute” to a pitcher who was knocked out of the game. Nancy was at her very best that year. Players from other teams were actually intimidated by that raucous crowd. On area that Veeck never skimped on was fireworks, the ballpark and the neighborhood shook after a Sox home run. It would take an inning for the smoke to clear. There were frequent spontaneous and heartfelt standing ovations from the fans.
The team and the fans definitely had the “underdog” persona. Richie Zisk had been struggling before the Sox picked him up and he was tremendously popular in a city which had a very large Polish population. Oscar gamble, a “retread” having the season of his career. Solderholm was basically washed up with injuries but had his career year in 1977. The fans connected with this team, the players played hard and celebrated too. The team had passion and it translated to the fans and maybe vice versa too.

Yes, 77 and 90 were great years even though they didn't make the playoffs and I remember those two mroe than 83. The atmosphere was incredible and Harry and Jimmy added to the atmosphere as well. I was 15 at the time and that was the first time I remember the Sox seemed more popular than the Cubs. I'm glad MLB has a couple of dozen of their radio broadcasts from that season for sale because when I pick up the last few up I need I plan on listening to them all.

TDog
05-14-2012, 02:51 PM
I've been involved in this thread since it started- you seem to be bringing debates and arguments to a thread that has never been focused on claiming that the 1977 White Sox were a "great" team or even one of the best all time, etc.- NO ONE in this entire thread is arguing that point.

You can run regression analysis using retrosheet data all you want- I just think it's meaningless. The summer of 1977 was simply one of the funnest summers of White Sox baseball I've ever had since I became a fan in 1971. Shortly after Veeck bought the team in late 1975- free agency came into existence- the always cash strapped Veeck had to do it with mirrors through 1980 when he finally sold the club to Reinhorn- all of us were aware of that- including the flaws in the Zisk trade,etc.

That's what made the 4 months of the reign of the Southside Hitmen so special- and even after they tailed off in August/September while the Royals executed a historically strong finish- they remain such a special team to most of us who witnessed that team, that summer.

They remain TODAY- the team with the 18th most wins in franchise history-which place that team in the top 16% of the franchise all time- 30th if you go by winning percentage- so in the top 26%.

Since 1968- a 44 year span- only 5 White Sox teams have won more games (2005, 1983, 2000, 1993, 1990) and the 2006 won the same.

I think alot of the response you're getting in this thread is that you're focused on picking this team apart and somehow "destroying a myth".

There is no myth.

All of us who witnessed that team knew exactly what we were watching- and this team's flaws and it's incredibly unlikely role as a contender is part of what made it so special.

The 1990 team is close (IMHO) to this team in my heart (not my brain).

After that- my team switched to uniforms that looked like the Houston Astros, switched off free TV and hired generic out of town announcers like Drysdale and Thorne, threatened to move to Addison and then St. Pete, moved into a ballpark that was mostly sterile concrete and blue plastic seats- the original White Sox "culture" that I loved was destroyed in many ways- and it wasn't until 2000, the stadium renovations and the 2005 team that all of that was completely healed up and repaired.

Which makes the summer of 1977 all the more special.

You are making the same point that I am. Fans pretty much knew at the time that the 1977 team wasn't that good. It was a fun team. It was not a very good team if you define good teams as teams that play good baseball. Bill Veeck really got a bit lucky in a period where he was having a dismal run as an owner. He fielded a team that fans didn't respect in April when they were playing pretty well. He traded players on the verge of free agency for other players on the verge of free agency and got career years out of the players he picked up. I had forgotten that Oscar Gamble came back to the Sox at the end of his career because he came back as a .200 hitter who didn't display much power. I was one of about 5,000 people who paid to get in the first Saturday home game of the season, and I had a blast. I have never been one to make excuses not to go to White Sox games, even though fans stopped showing up in 1977 the Sox were toast post-Labor Day, except for a couple of promotions.

Aside from opening day, the White Sox had one crowd of at least 20,000 before May 18. I went to that game, too, driving up from college for Saturday night game at the end of April. I have forgotten the promotion.

The myth is that it was a very good team. That was what I was originally called on. Another myth is that that it was a great season that was overshadowed by the run Royals. Every contending team had a great run in July and August except the White Sox, and the White Sox had what looked like the easiest schedule. If you shoot 10-under par in a golf tournament and don't make the cut, 10-under par doesn't mean so much.

And if you call a team "garbage" when it is unexpectedly winning consistently after losing in previous years (which I have never done), you just might be talking about the 1977 White Sox. And it is possible that had WSI been around in 1977, the word garbage would have been thrown out in September, and not by some Royals-fan troll. Occasionally a White Sox fan posts that that the 2005 season was a fluke.

When Veeck tried to parlay unexpected success into building a contender by acquiring Bobby Bonds, he came up with a team as bipolar as any that inspires WSI wrath, and it ended up losing 90 games. Veeck might have been a popular owner, but he wasn't very good at building White Sox teams, especially when you go back and look at the trades he made after 1959 and the ones he wanted to make during the 1959 season when he acquired the team.

That Veeck was a very good owner is also a myth. He wasn't as cash-strapped as Charlie Finley, but Finley built a dynasty when owners didn't have to have mega-money. Finley also knew when he couldn't compete anymore and got out. Being someone people hated playing for as well as being short on cash and the will to spend it hurt Finley as well.

This goes back to my original point, long ago in a different thread when in an independent clause I referred to the 1977 White Sox not being very good. Complain about the Reinsdorf administration, but it was better than the predecessors, including Veeck, back to the team's founders. It wasn't long before the White Sox had an elite team. The White Sox probably suffered more from the owners collusion than another other team for the remainder of the decade or that run might not have ended with 1983. When you consider the three decades of misery after 1920, misery for which the Comiskey family can be blamed, in retrospect, the Reinsdorf administration really doesn't look so bad.

SI1020
05-14-2012, 08:38 PM
Complain about the Reinsdorf administration, but it was better than the predecessors, including Veeck, back to the team's founders. It wasn't long before the White Sox had an elite team. The White Sox probably suffered more from the owners collusion than another other team for the remainder of the decade or that run might not have ended with 1983. When you consider the three decades of misery after 1920, misery for which the Comiskey family can be blamed, in retrospect, the Reinsdorf administration really doesn't look so bad. I beg to differ. Charles Comiskey, the original owner had a sound baseball mind. His problem was his imperious nature. He built a powerhouse from scratch. His inability to get along with player manager Fielder Jones led to Jones' departure and a subsequent decline. After a few years in the baseball wilderness he was able to build another powerhouse, winning a WS in 1917 and a pennant by the ill fated 1919 team. Just when the Sox appeared to be on the cusp of long term greatness the scandal happened. I read once where Ray Schalk told Bill Gleason that if the Black Sox scandal hadn't happened the Yankees dynasty wouldn't have either. Except he said it in much more forceful and colorful terms. That may be stretching it but the Sox were poised to have a long run of success. This time Comiskey could not rebuild his team and they bottomed out. His son J. Louis took over the team after his death in 1931. He purchased Mule Haas, Al Simmons, and Jimmy Dykes from the A's in 1932 and built the White Sox farm system. It took some time but by the late 30's under then Manager Dykes the White Sox were finally competitive again. J. Louis Comiskey, never a healthy man, had suffered scarlet fever as a youth, was grossly overweight, often ill and frequently confined to a hospital bed. He died in 1939, and although his widow Grace won a power struggle to retain control of the team, she did not have the baseball instincts of her late husband and the team went into the tank again, losing 101 games in 1948. Fortunately her youngest child and only son Charles A "Chuck" Comiskey did. He partnered with former Sox pitcher and brother in law Johnny Rigney, hired Frank Lane as GM and the go go era was born. Unfortunately for Chuck, he lost a power struggle with sister Dorothy which led to Bill Veeck purchasing the team. The 1959 White Sox under Veeck lost the WS, but were stocked with young talent, which Veeck promptly traded away. The original Old Roman was too much of a dictator, his son was plagued with ill health, and grandson done in by family squabbles, but all three Comiskey men were very good at building a sound and successful baseball organization. As for baseball smarts alone, I would take the Comiskey men over Veeck parts 1 and 2, the Allyn brothers and the Reinhorn group hands down.

TomBradley72
05-14-2012, 10:07 PM
I beg to differ. Charles Comiskey, the original owner had a sound baseball mind. His problem was his imperious nature. He built a powerhouse from scratch. His inability to get along with player manager Fielder Jones led to Jones' departure and a subsequent decline. After a few years in the baseball wilderness he was able to build another powerhouse, winning a WS in 1917 and a pennant by the ill fated 1919 team. Just when the Sox appeared to be on the cusp of long term greatness the scandal happened. I read once where Ray Schalk told Bill Gleason that if the Black Sox scandal hadn't happened the Yankees dynasty wouldn't have either. Except he said it in much more forceful and colorful terms. That may be stretching it but the Sox were poised to have a long run of success. This time Comiskey could not rebuild his team and they bottomed out. His son J. Louis took over the team after his death in 1931. He purchased Mule Haas, Al Simmons, and Jimmy Dykes from the A's in 1932 and built the White Sox farm system. It took some time but by the late 30's under then Manager Dykes the White Sox were finally competitive again. J. Louis Comiskey, never a healthy man, had suffered scarlet fever as a youth, was grossly overweight, often ill and frequently confined to a hospital bed. He died in 1939, and although his widow Grace won a power struggle to retain control of the team, she did not have the baseball instincts of her late husband and the team went into the tank again, losing 101 games in 1948. Fortunately her youngest child and only son Charles A "Chuck" Comiskey did. He partnered with former Sox pitcher and brother in law Johnny Rigney, hired Frank Lane as GM and the go go era was born. Unfortunately for Chuck, he lost a power struggle with sister Dorothy which led to Bill Veeck purchasing the team. The 1959 White Sox under Veeck lost the WS, but were stocked with young talent, which Veeck promptly traded away. The original Old Roman was too much of a dictator, his son was plagued with ill health, and grandson done in by family squabbles, but all three Comiskey men were very good at building a sound and successful baseball organization. As for baseball smarts alone, I would take the Comiskey men over Veeck parts 1 and 2, the Allyn brothers and the Reinhorn group hands down.

Wow.

I learned alot from your post- well done.

Lip Man 1
05-14-2012, 10:12 PM
SI:

Sox historian / author Rich Lindberg has also said if not for the "Black Sox" situation, there probably is no Yankee dynasty.

Although part of his reasoning is that the Sox 'deadball' style of play still would have been in use by many teams as opposed to the ball being made livelier and the increased offense that resulted from owners trying to negate the scandal by improving that aspect of the game.

It's an interesting 'what if...'

Lip

Brian26
05-14-2012, 10:19 PM
His bargain basement try out camps (which brought everyone from Eddie Bane to Mike Pazik out) yielded the 77 Comeback Player of the Year in Eric Soderholm and 15 game winner Steve Stone. (Another player Bill thought he had a deal with only to see him leave at the last minute. Bill never forgave him for that.)
Lip

I might be confusing different stories here. Stone has told a Veeck story at Soxfest a couple of times and on the air at least once. The story I heard was that Stone was injured yet Veeck signed him to a contract anyway. The next year, Stone had a very good year and had a chance to leave, but instead of taking a big-money contract with another team, he returned the favor to the cash-strapped Veeck and asked Veeck to sign him for whatever he thought he was worth. It seemed as he left the next year on good terms w/ Veeck since they each had done a favor for the other.

Lip Man 1
05-14-2012, 10:28 PM
Brian:

What I was told was that Veeck thought he had Steve signed up for another stint with the Sox instead Steve took Baltimore's offer and wound up winning a Cy Young which bothered Bill even more.

:D:

Lip

soxinem1
05-14-2012, 10:33 PM
For the younger fans on this board, the 2006 White Sox were your 1977 White Sox.

Both reached 90 wins, had bashing lineups, the defense was so-so, the pitching was ho hum, base-running sucked, and they both stopped hitting four months into the season.

The White Sox were right behind DET at the ASB, had a solid lead in the WC race, then poof, its gone.

Many similarities indeed. But both were fun to watch when they were bashing.

TDog
05-14-2012, 11:23 PM
For the younger fans on this board, the 2006 White Sox were your 1977 White Sox.

Both reached 90 wins, had bashing lineups, the defense was so-so, the pitching was ho hum, base-running sucked, and they both stopped hitting four months into the season.

The White Sox were right behind DET at the ASB, had a solid lead in the WC race, then poof, its gone.

Many similarities indeed. But both were fun to watch when they were bashing.

The 2006 White Sox had such high expectations, though.

With 95 wins, the 2000 White Sox on the other hand, quite unezpectely had the best record in the American League by four games. They had excellent pitching, but the staff suffered progressively a rash of injruies. Their healthiest end-of-the-season starter, Mike Sirotka, never pitched another major league game after the first game of the ALDS. They still finished with the fourth-best ERA in the league. Their only defensive liabilities were Valentin at short and Lee in left when Thomas was DHing.

They did lead the American League in runs scored though, with more than 130 more runs than they scored in 1977.

DSpivack
05-14-2012, 11:35 PM
SI:

Sox historian / author Rich Lindberg has also said if not for the "Black Sox" situation, there probably is no Yankee dynasty.

Although part of his reasoning is that the Sox 'deadball' style of play still would have been in use by many teams as opposed to the ball being made livelier and the increased offense that resulted from owners trying to negate the scandal by improving that aspect of the game.

It's an interesting 'what if...'

Lip

As long as we're playing what ifs from that era, what if the White Sox acquired Babe Ruth? Didn't you (or someone else) recently post that they almost traded for him, and had a better cash offer than Boston?

apbaball
05-15-2012, 10:06 AM
I beg to differ. Charles Comiskey, the original owner had a sound baseball mind. His problem was his imperious nature. He built a powerhouse from scratch. His inability to get along with player manager Fielder Jones led to Jones' departure and a subsequent decline..

Comiskey was to blame because of what you state. He didn't get along with his manager or his players. His tightwad nature was a big reason for scandal (I remember reading once that Comiskey ordered his manager to sit Cicotte in 1917 and then again in 1919 to avoid paying him a bonus if he won 30. I believe Cicotte finally did convince Gleason to let him pitch in late Sept of 1919 but he was pulled in the 7th before the Sox rallied to win. ) and cheap owners do not create dynasties. It takes money to build up a farm system and to keep your players happy. Yes, I do agree the Veeck in some ways did more harm than good with regards to those trades but how much influence did Greenberg and Lopez have with regards to those trades?

FielderJones
05-15-2012, 11:00 AM
Comiskey was to blame because of what you state. He didn't get along with his manager or his players. His tightwad nature was a big reason for scandal (I remember reading once that Comiskey ordered his manager to sit Cicotte in 1917 and then again in 1919 to avoid paying him a bonus if he won 30.

This is sensationalist newspaper hearsay repeated by Asinof. The book 8 Men Out is essentially a work of fiction (http://chicagolawyermagazine.com/Archives/2009/09/01/092009sox.aspx). The Comiskey stinginess was part of that fiction.

Lip Man 1
05-15-2012, 11:48 AM
Spivak:

Not Babe Ruth but some other names of note, including Frank Robinson:

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=2&id=3435

Lip

doublem23
05-15-2012, 11:57 AM
It takes money to build up a farm system and to keep your players happy.

I'm not sure what this has to do with Charles Comiskey, as teams didn't have affiliated minor leagues back then.

SI1020
05-15-2012, 01:27 PM
I'm not sure what this has to do with Charles Comiskey, as teams didn't have affiliated minor leagues back then. Not only that, but his son J. Louis Comiskey was one of the first to establish a minor league farm system for his team.

TDog
05-15-2012, 02:45 PM
This is sensationalist newspaper hearsay repeated by Asinof. The book 8 Men Out is essentially a work of fiction (http://chicagolawyermagazine.com/Archives/2009/09/01/092009sox.aspx). The Comiskey stinginess was part of that fiction.

You have to give Comiskey some of the blame for the Black Sox scandal. Either he failed to construct a team that could be trusted to play for their salary (and uncontradicted non-fiction accounts from the time are consistent with the gist of the miserly Comiskey legend) or he allowed baseball to dismantle his team, after a jury acquittal, without a fight. Either he was a key factor in the events of 1919 or he allowed baseball to destroy he franchise for the good of the game.

Of course the rules were totally different then. There were no modern minor league farm systems until Branch Rickey developed his. There was no draft. Anyone could have signed Ty Cobb if having scouted him and offered him enough money. The same applies to Babe Ruth or Walter Johnson. Comiskey's legacy is difficult to assess because of the 1919 World Series and the frustration after 1920 that went on for three decades. The White Sox assembled the best baseball team of the dead ball era, but that era was coming to an end. Comiskey conspired with owners to release all major league players after the 1918 season (effectively to cut their pay) but not sign any free agents who had played for other teams going into 1919. That's no way to treat players if you don't want them to throw the World Series. In the 1980s, this would have been known as collusion.

Similarly, the Reinsdorf era has has pros and cons that make it difficult to assess in black and white terms. Many posters here hate Reinsdorf, and there is his participation in collusion in the 1980s after he had built one of the top teams in the lifetime of most fans. Then there was his participation in the strike of 1994 from which the White Sox didn't recover well. Three times under Reinsdorf, under three managers, the White Sox had the best record in the American League, although once it was a tie. In the previous eight decades of major league baseball, there were five such occasions (four being under Comiskey and one coming during the summer the Comiskey family was turning the reigns over to Bill Veeck).

You can make a good argument that the Comiskey administration was better than Reinsdorf administration. It would make for a good debate. Not that it would settle anything or change any minds. But the argument that Veeck was a better owner than Reinsdorf is a weak one.

LITTLE NELL
05-15-2012, 03:06 PM
I have always wondered what would have happened to the franchise had Dorothy Rigney back in 1959 sold her shares to her brother Chuck Comiskey instead of to Veeck. I'm not sure how much money Chuck had but I'm sure he probably would have held on to the club until free agency came about and that would have forced him to sell like it did with all the other family owned clubs.

SI1020
05-15-2012, 03:22 PM
I always wondered what would have happened to the franchise had Dorothy Rigney back in 1959 sold her shares to her brother Chuck Comiskey instead of to Veeck. I'm not sure how much money Chuck had but I'm sure he probably would have held on to the club until free agency came about and that would have forced him to sell like it did with all the other family owned clubs. Quite probably the Sox wouldn't have traded away their young talent for the very short term results they got from aging veterans like Gene Freese and Roy Sievers. Another pennant or 2 in the 60's was then definitely not out of the question. The Comiskey men had their personal faults, but they knew baseball.

Golden Sox
05-15-2012, 08:25 PM
Chuck Comiskey would of never traded Battey, Romano, Cash, Mincher and Callison like Veeck did. Chuck Comiskey would of eventually sold the White Sox. He wasn't exactly rolling in money. When the Chicago Cardinals left Comiskey Park after the 1958 season(the Cardinals played at Soldier Field in 1959) the Comiskey family put the White Sox up for sale. They needed the rent money from the Cardinals to help keep them going.I was saddened to hear that when Chuck Comiskey died a couple of years ago. he died broke. He even had his home foreclosed that he lived in for years in Hinsdale.

LITTLE NELL
05-15-2012, 08:46 PM
Chuck Comiskey would of never traded Battey, Romano, Cash, Mincher and Callison like Veeck did. Chuck Comiskey would of eventually sold the White Sox. He wasn't exactly rolling in money. When the Chicago Cardinals left Comiskey Park after the 1958 season(the Cardinals played at Soldier Field in 1959) the Comiskey family put the White Sox up for sale. They needed the rent money from the Cardinals to help keep them going.I was saddened to hear that when Chuck Comiskey died a couple of years ago. he died broke. He even had his home foreclosed that he lived in for years in Hinsdale.

Unless I'm mistaken only Dorothy Rigney wanted to sell her shares in the Sox, Chuck felt that the Sox were his birthright and wanted to buy them but they had a falling out and she sold her shares to Veeck and his investors.
Good story here about the Comiskey family and the fued. I never knew that the Sox relied that much on the rent from the Cardinals, they only played one year at Soldier Field and left for St. Louis in 1960. I saw one of their last games in Chicago, a 35-7 beating by the Cleveland Browns.
http://www.imakenews.com/cbm/e_article000789733.cfm?x=b11,0,w

Mark
05-20-2012, 02:19 PM
http://www.bighairplasticgrass.com/2012/05/veeck-as-in-what-the-heck.html

Has anybody here read the new Veeck book? I wrote him a letter complaining about the uniform switch from the red pinstripes to the navy collars, and he wrote me a personal letter back and signed it as well. He said he was going for nostalgia with the change. I think I also complained about the Brian Downing trade as well.

I have two personal letters that he wrote back to me that are among my favorite Sox items.

LITTLE NELL
05-20-2012, 02:28 PM
http://www.bighairplasticgrass.com/2012/05/veeck-as-in-what-the-heck.html

Has anybody here read the new Veeck book? I wrote him a letter complaining about the uniform switch from the red pinstripes to the navy collars, and he wrote me a personal letter back and signed it as well. He said he was going for nostalgia with the change. I think I also complained about the Brian Downing trade as well.

I have two personal letters that he wrote back to me that are among my favorite Sox items.

I also have a pesonal letter from Veeck from 1978. I wrote to him about free agency and how it could ruin baseball and of course he agreed with me. Free agency has not ruined baseball, just the ticket prices and the ability of small market teams to contend.

TheVulture
05-21-2012, 12:06 AM
Expectations weren't that high going into 2005, either.

Expectations may not have been high universally, but there were those who felt pretty good about the Sox going into that season.

Personally, I usually expect the worst going into a season. Probably because I was seven years in 1983 and thought the Sox were virtually invincible. I didn't keep records, but I swear the Sox must have won every game I attended that year. I got a rude wake up call in 1984 and soon learned to expect misery.

Going into 2005 I had the best feeling about a White Sox team since at least 1994 mainly because I thought the Sox pitching staff looked like it had a chance to be special. It was obvious to me the Sox at least had the best staff in the division - how anyone could pick them 3rd in the ALC was beyond me. The moves KW made in the off season were hardly overwhelming, but each acquisition seemed to address a need with a valuable player - Dye, Pierzynski, Iguchi, Everett, Hernandez, Hermanson, etc. In retrospect, it is pretty remarkable KW was able to acquire those first three guys in one off season for basically nothing. I was definitely hyped for that season as were many others, though not so many sports writers.