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TommyJohn
10-01-2004, 09:16 PM
I know there was a thread on this a while ago, but I want to start another one. We have been predictably inundated by the Chicago media and "Is this the most disappointing Cubbie season ever? Ever ever ever? I am ready to gag. So I am offering an alternative. Almost. I am asking what was the most disappointing White Sox season ever ever ever. Or at least since 1959, the last time that Chicago played in the World Series. After all, us White Sox fans have suffered greatly too, ya know. Not as much as people who deal daily with famine and pestilence, but it's up there. I know I shouldn't be Cubantic about this, but what the hell. Of course, the CMA's (sneering Chicago Media Asses) will tell us that we haven't come as close as their Cubbies, no one cares about us, and people get mugged in our ghetto ballpark. Still, I care, so I am writing this. But I also wonder what was the most memorable moment from those years? After all, it was Jean Shepard (I think) who once said that White Sox fans measure victory in terms of defeat.

The nominees:

1964: Peter Sellers was having trouble controlling his arm, Slim Pickens was
riding to his doom on a nuclear bomb (screaming YE-HAH!! all the way),
Lyndon Johnson was in the White House and the White Sox came achingly
close to the American League pennant. They lost their first 10 games to the
Yankees and finished 1 game back. They were actually about 4 games back
going into their last nine, which they won to make the final margin a little
closer than it actually was. Still, win one or two of those games against the
Yankees and it is a different season.

Memorable moments: Dave Nicholson's over-the-roof home run, four game
sweep of Yankees in August. A memorable, seldom-mentioned gaffe by
Jim Bouton was a highlight of that series. But the Yankees won the pennant
so it didn't matter.

1967: The Summer of Love. Vietnam was in full swing. Eddie Stanky was in
the dugout and the White Sox were at the end of an era, their last of 17
straight winning seasons. They were in the midst of a 4 team pennant race
for the entire season, even with a team batting average of .225 and only
89 team home runs. Pitching was the key to this team, as in Gary Peters,
Joel Horlen and Tommy John, complimented by a bullpen of Hoyt Wilhelm,
Bob Locker and Wilbur Wood. They held first place for over 60 days, holding
off Boston, Minnesota, Detroit and their sexy big boppers. That is, until the
final weekend of the season.

(To the tune of Everything's up-to-date in Kansas City)

Twi-night double header in Kansas City,
half-a-game behind with five to goooooo,
the A's are down in last place, worst team in the league.
Who the heck's Joe Rudi? Sal Bandoooooo?

Winning two from them is a just a gimme,
then they go on home to clinch the flaaaaaag,
Peters and Horlen, rested, ready-to-go
sittin' pretty, hey it's in the baaaaaaag!

That's as far as I can get now. Rodgers and Hammerstein I ain't. Anyway,
many Sox fans know what happened next. Two losses to KC, then on to
home to get swept by Washington Senators II. They finish 3 games back
of Boston, thus allowing their "Impossible Dream" to come true. Of course,
Boston loses the World Series, and Bosox fans have been impossible to deal
with ever since. Soxers Tommie Agee, Don Buford, J.C. Martin and Al Weis
destined for World Series greatness elsewhere.

Memorable moments: Horlen's no-hitter, Tommie McCraw's three home run
game vs. Minnesota, Eddie Stanky's countless verbal jabs and his locking
the Vice-President of the United States out of the locker room at the end
of a loss in Minnesota. Imagine a scum Sox manager doing that today.

1972: The '70's. Polyester. Leisure suits. Shaggy haircuts. Don McLean.
Bell bottoms. The Godfather. In 1972, The Brady Bunch was still on the
air, two years away from being consigned to Rerun Heaven. And the
White Sox challenged the mighty Oakland A's.

Robert Redford was still 12 years away from starring in the film adaptation of
The Natural, about an ungodly slugger who takes a second division team and
lifts them into pennant contention, but the 1972 White Sox lived their very
own version of that story.

He was Dick Allen, acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He now
was with a team that had gone 56-106 and 79-83 the past two seasons. With
his bat in the lineup, the Sox surprised baseball by breathing down the necks of
the A's, even claiming first place for a while. Wilbur Wood, Carlos May and
Stan Bahnsen also contributed mightily to the cause. They would fall achingly short
of course, 5.5 games back. Allen, though, was Roy Hobbs incarnate, with 37 HR's,
113 RBI's and a .308 batting average. The MVP vote was a formality. Still, what
could've been. Bill Melton hurt his back in the off-season and was finally sidelined
after he played in 57 games.

Memorable moments: Dick Allen's game-winning pinch-hit blast off Sparky
Lyle of the Yankees, Dick Allen's monster bleacher shot against the Yanks,
Dick Allen's two inside-the-park homers in Minnesota, Dick Allen. This
season should've ended with Allen crushing a pennant-clinching home run
off one of the Comiskey light towers, then jogging around the bases in slow
motion as his teammates celebrated and sparks flew everywhere.

1977: Jimmy Carter was in the White House, and The Love Boat and Howard Cosell
were on ABC. Yikes! How did we ever get through it all? Anyway, Bill Veeck was back
in town, Harry and Jimmy were in the Sox booth and the White Sox were two years
away from Disco Demolition (do I owe Steve Dahl a royalty?) infamy.

This was also the year that the South Side Hitmen went on an amazing
run and almost took the AL West. The Rag-tag White Sox vs. The Rolls
Royce Yankees for the American League pennant. Oh, what a series that
could've been. Howard Cosell would've been speechless trying to come up
with phrases to describe it. Alas. 90-72, 12 games back. Hitting galore, but
not enough pitching.

Memorable moments: Richie Zisk. Oscar Gamble. Curtain Calls. Outslugging
Kansas City. Hitting hitting hitting. One forgotten stat: They were only shut
out twice that year, the first time in September by Nolan Ryan.

TommyJohn
10-01-2004, 09:18 PM
Disappointing Seasons, Part II:


1983: This was a very memorable year in that the Sox finally finished in
first place after 24 futile attempts. The rookies and old guys got it all
together and went on an amazing second half tear. A 16-24 record turned
into 99-63, 20 games in front. The Bull turned the roof into his own personal
home run landing spot (home plate was eight feet closer to the wall but
never mind) Kitty clouted 35 rookie dingers, Bainsey bagged 22 GWRBI's
(remember that stat?) Pudge overcame a .171 BA, Lamar logged 24 wins
and on and on and on. Doug Rader snarled that the White Sox were "Winning
Ugly." It stuck and became a rallying cry. The team laid waste to the rest of
the AL West. ON TO THE PLAYOFFS! Look out Baltimore, here we come!!
Alas. On came Dibber and Tito.



One note. I do not fully blame Jerry Dybzinski for the White Sox' defeat. It
was a total team effort. His mistake was merely the defining moment for the
Sox in that series, the one most remembered. Still, he is lucky his moment
came for the White Sox and not the Red Sox or Cubs, or he would today be
sharing a cave with those three Anti-Christs who have brought such pain
and suffering to humanity: Durham, Buckner and Bartman.


1984: This was it! The 1984 White Sox were the surest thing in the history
of Sure Things! The margin of victory in 1983 was 20. My God! How much
more would it be in 1984? And we acquired Tom Seaver, too! Eddie Einhorn
boasted that the White Sox had the best pitching rotation in the history of
baseball. Let's see. Who would the White Sox World Series opponent be?
74 wins and 88 losses later, the question went unanswered.

Meanwhile, on the North Side of town.....


1991: I don't count 1990 as a huge disappointment because they weren't
expected to do much. 1991 in my opinion was worse because they were
expected to follow up on their 94 wins, especially with a stronger hitting
lineup that included budding superstars Frank Thomas and Sammy Sosa.
In August they came within a game of the Twins, and the Tribune gave us
the trite headline "A magical glow spreads over the city." Richard Roeper
glowingly predicted an AL pennant on the South Side. Buckle your safety
belts!! Heeeeeeere we Gooooooooooo!.........CRASH!!! 2 wins and 15 losses
later the Sockless Sox were 9 games behind and all but done. Richard Roeper
wrote a red-faced retraction. Tribune columnist and Cub Superfan Mike
Royko wrote a column that featured the headline "A magical gloat spreads
over the city."

Memorable moments: Robin Ventura's game-winning grand slam off Rich
Gossage, Frank Thomas hoisting him on his shoulders, Wilson Alvarez's
no-hitter in Baltimore, Kent ("can I buy a vowel, please Pat?") Hrbeck
becomes righteously offended at Hawkeroo's exclamation "Grab some
bench!"


1993: Not as fond in my memory as 1983, but a great year, nevertheless.
The Sox continued their once-a-decade cycle of division titles by taking
the AL West crown in splendid fashion, with a 94-68 record. Sammy Sosa
was gone, Carlton Fisk soon would be, but Frank Thomas was belting the
ball on his way to an MVP season. Jack McDowell was lights out during the
season, and even Ron Karkovice managed to contribute. Then came the
playoffs and I don't think I need to go into that. "Black Jack" became "Jack
the Tipper" and the Blue Jays kept the AL flag (and the World Series title)
in Canada.


Memorable moments: Bo Jackson's home run in front of a rocking full house,
Robin Ventura charging Nolan Ryan, many others.

1994: Mind you, I am not one of those pollyannists who insist that 1994 was
"Our Year." Given the Sox' sorry track record in postseason play, there is no
guarantee that they would've won the first round, let alone the World Series.
Hell, Cleveland was only a game behind. Still, this year stands as a painful
"what if?" because we know how the other championship and near-miss
seasons turned out. This one we obviously do not.


2000: They were a year ahead of schedule. The title was supposed to come
in 2001. But the Sox got it all together this year and their slam-bang offense
roared out of the starting gate. Injuries to pitchers caused a second-half
stumble, which in turn now causes several Sox fans to sneer that they had
"one good half-season." Funny how that is never said about 1977 or 1983.
They still managed to hold it all together and hold off Cleveland and finish
with the best record in the American League. Hello, Seattle!!! WHOOSH!!!
Goodbye, White Sox.


Memorable moments: Sweep of New York and Cleveland, beating Mariano
Rivera and the Yankees in the 9th, Frank Thomas busting loose after two
un-Thomas-like seasons, on and on.

2003: The last entry on my list. A heavily-favored White Sox team sleep-
walks through the first half, comes alive in the second and takes first place.
They hold strong until...September....Metrodome....Twins....sweep.. ...pain...

Meanwhile, on the North Side of town....


So there are the memorable, albeit disappointing seasons since 1959. I'd say
the Sox are in a league of their own when in comes to breaking fans' hearts.
(Sneering Chicago Media Ass says: "Fans? What fans? Sneer sneer sneer.")
Anybody want to chime an opinion as to which one hurt them the most?
Do you care? Anyway, I'm just a humble internet poster trying to let the
criers and whiners in the media know that we, too have had some great and
near great seasons of heartbreak. I want to counter the propaganda that
the White Sox have "no history" or that it pales compared to uh, other teams.


So what to make of all those seasons? Personally, I think it's all Steve
Bartman's fault.

MRKARNO
10-01-2004, 09:33 PM
Well I'm a relative youngin' so I will talk about 2000:

This was so dissapointing. They were the best team in the AL. The pitching rotation was probably the worst in the playoffs, but it could produce quality starts. The bullpen was shut-down with Keith Foulke at the end. The offense was one of the better ones in baseball history top to bottom. We were playing the Wild Card Seattle Mariners. We had two home games to start the series off right. We didnt win a postseason game. I mean, had it been a 5 game series, at least it would have been reasonable that they lost, I mean, anything can happen in 5 games, but they laid down in 3 games and that was that.

batmanZoSo
10-01-2004, 09:35 PM
Beautiful posts.

It just shows that you gotta get there more often. It's always one and done. See ya in ten years. I never thought that would be the case with this group, but here we are 4 years gone by and we've yet to go back to the playoffs. It never fails.

93 was my first year of really watching full time, every day so I can't really comment on those other years. But like karno I will say that 2000 sucked. What a nightmare. How could they get swept like that? Three games and it's over. Only the Sox. If they could've beaten the inferior Mariners and lost to the Yankees in 6 in the ALCS I could at least look back with some pride, but that feeble showing left us with nothing but shame. The season was a big turd because of that.

chisoxt
10-01-2004, 09:42 PM
Disappointing Seasons, Part II:




1984: This was it! The 1984 White Sox were the surest thing in the history
of Sure Things! The margin of victory in 1983 was 20. My God! How much
more would it be in 1984? And we acquired Tom Seaver, too! Eddie Einhorn
boasted that the White Sox had the best pitching rotation in the history of
baseball. Let's see. Who would the White Sox World Series opponent be?
74 wins and 88 losses later, the question went unanswered.

Meanwhile, on the North Side of town.....


Hands down, 1984 was the worst season that I can recall as a Sox fan. We were supposed to walk away with the Division, but couldn't even finish anywhere near .500. Also, the Cubs came out of nowhere and stole our thunder. IMHO, this was a watershed moment in the history of the two franchises in the battle for media and fan attention. Yes, we as an organization have had our moments since then, but it has been un uphill battle ever since.

TornLabrum
10-01-2004, 10:18 PM
You guys must be young whippersnappers. By far the most disappointing season was 1968. After contending until the last week of the season and then finishing three games out in fourth place in a hotly contested four-team race in '67, the
roof fell in on the Sox who dropped to ninth place and finished 67-95. '84 was peanuts compared to that utter collapse.

TommyJohn
10-01-2004, 11:48 PM
You guys must be young whippersnappers. By far the most disappointing season was 1968. After contending until the last week of the season and then finishing three games out in fourth place in a hotly contested four-team race in '67, the
roof fell in on the Sox who dropped to ninth place and finished 67-95. '84 was peanuts compared to that utter collapse.I was born on the last day of that season (September 29) so I am truly too
young to remember it. But I can imagine how that must've felt. The pitching was as strong as ever but the hitting was so utterly bad (.221 team average) that no regular was above .200 at the All-Star break, if I remember one of Bob Vanderberg's books correctly. That plus it was the beginning of a franchise "dark age" (56-106 in 1970) that would last a long time, with 1972 and 1977 being brief oases.

I truly believe that September 27, 1967 was the watershed, post-1959 date
in White Sox history. Win that pair, get home and take the pennant and his-
tory might have been far different.

Lip Man 1
10-02-2004, 01:33 AM
Here's a link to a story on the historical nature of some of the most disappointing Sox seasons:

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=2&id=2192

Lip