View Full Version : THIS DATE IN SOX HISTORY: MARCH 18TH/Jackie Robinson and the White Sox

03-18-2008, 12:20 PM

1942: The White Sox were in position to change the course of baseball history but passed. On this date, White Sox manager Jimmy Dykes watched African American athletes Jackie Robinson and Nate Moreland work out at his team’s spring training facility in Pasadena, California. According to Jules Tygiel’s 1983 book “Baseball’s Great Experiment,” Robinson, best known as a football star at UCLA, and Moreland, a Negro League pitcher, requested a tryout, which Dykes granted. History tells us that nothing came of the tryout but Dykes, who stated he was willing to accept black players, was impressed even though Robinson was hobbled by a charley horse, according to Tygiel. “I’d hate to see him on two good legs,” Dykes said. “He’s worth $50,000 of anybody’s money. He stole everything but my infielders’ gloves.” After a stint in the army and with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues and the minor league Montreal Royals, Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier with Brooklyn in 1947. Robinson did not mention this tryout with the White Sox in his 1972 autobiography “I Never Had It Made,” Minnie Minoso broke the White Sox color barrier on May 1, 1951.

1938: In a swap of contrasting first sackers, the White Sox acquired Joe Kuhel from the Washington Senators for Zeke Bonura. According to Rich Lindberg’s White Sox Encyclopedia, manager Jimmy Dykes requested the Sox deal Bonura after the slugger held out for the fourth consecutive spring. The trade was met with alarm and outrage according to Lindberg because the hard-hitting Bonura (89 home runs in four years) was a popular performer. In Kuhel, the Sox received a slick-fielder who fashioned some substantial offensive numbers between 1938 and 1943. The Cleveland native’s best campaign came in 1940 when he hit .280 with 27 homers and 94 RBIs. Bonura hit just 47 homers after leaving the Southside.

1981: (Note: White Sox media guides of the day and White Sox historian Rich Lindberg have the Fisk signing on March 10. I first posted this entry on March 10 … Retrosheet.org lists the signing on March 18 which is why I am repeating it).
In one of the great moves in the history of the franchise, the new ownership group of Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn signed All-Star catcher Carlton Fisk giving their regime instant credibility. Fisk became a free agent when the Boston Red Sox failed to postmark his contract. The Sox literally camped out on Fisk’s doorstep in getting him to agree to a $3 million contract. Fisk became a legend in his first game with the Sox when he launched a game-winning homer against his old team in his old park. Days later, in his home debut, Fisk thrilled the 51,560 at ComiskeyPark with a grand slam. Fisk went on to become one of the greatest and most popular players in team history despite his many squabbles with management throughout his tenure in Chicago.

2006: Joe Crede went 4-for-4 with a double, a home run and four RBIs as the White Sox ripped the Cubs 9-3 in a Cactus League game in Tucson, Ariz. Jim Thome was 2-for-2 with a double and Brian Anderson homered in the Sox fourth consecutive Cactus League win over the Cubs.

Editor's Note: Information for these entries is gleaned from the author's files, retrosheet.org, various Internet sources, press reports of the day, White Sox media guides and the many White Sox books written by the great Rich Lindberg.