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Lip Man 1
05-11-2006, 02:37 PM
This Day In Sox History

May 16, 1953 (anniversary is Tuesday)

It’s only happened one time that I know of for the White Sox, and as long as the current rules regarding pitcher’s batting in the A.L. apply, it will never be tied.

Tommy Byrne was an unusual left handed pitcher who had bounced around from the Yankees to the Browns to the White Sox. He had some fine years but more mediocre ones.

He was also a bit of an oddball for the time period. Especially if you consider talking to opponents while standing on the mound or flipping the ball up in the air and catching it while waiting for the next hitter strange.

Byrne was a good hitter originally coming up as a first baseman. He wanted to pitch though so that’s how he made the major leagues.

While with the Sox in 1953 he appeared in six games before getting dumped to the Senators. His ERA in those games? 10.12! (Yet somehow he was 2-0!!)

In a game Billy Pierce started versus Vic Raschi the Sox trailed 3-0 going into the top of the 9th inning. The stage was being set for Byrne.

Bud Sheely singled. With one out Ferris Fain walked. Minnie Minoso forced him out. Now with two out Tom Wright singled, scoring Fred March who ran for Sheely. ‘Jungle’ Jim Rivera walked. With that Casey Stengel changed pitchers bringing in Ewell ‘The Whip’ Blackwell.

Blackwell was supposed to face Vern Stephens. But Sox manager Paul Richards knew that Stephens had major trouble with side-armers so he took a chance and brought in Byrne to pinch hit.

Lo and behold on a 3-2 pitch Byrne blasted a 360 foot pinch hit grand slam into the right field stands.

To this day it is the only pinch hit grand slam by a pitcher in White Sox history (again that I have been able to find...)

Harry Dorish closed down New York in the 9th and the Sox had a stunning 5-3 win. They were 18-11 only a half game behind the Yankees in the American League.

Postscript: I actually have about ten minutes of audio from this game in my library. Bob Elson was generally known as a low key announcer during his years on the South Side but when Byrne connected, old Bob went wild. “Tommy Byrne has just hit a grand slam in New York!!”

Lip