View Full Version : Questions about the White Sox

03-30-2008, 08:21 PM
Springtime and baseball is in the air. Opening Day is tomorrow, of course. This means we are hit with the predictable hype. And lo and behold, what do I see? Paul Sullivan's "100 seasons, 100 questions" about our Cubs. Only in Chicago is a 100 year drought celebrated, just three years after the White Sox brought home their second World Series title in that span. (the first being 88 years before that.) Say, weren't these dolts sneering at White Sox fans for "living in the past" as far back as November, 2005? Now we get the media celebrating 100 years of futility?

The purpose of this thread isn't to bitch, it is to offer an antidote. The White Sox have had an interesting, fun history too. Hell, we even had our OWN long drought. So I offer questions about White Sox history: nothing in order, just some random questions about Sox history highlighting the good, the bad, the ugly, the high, the low, the awful. I might not get to 100, but it won't be for lack of trying. The history of the team has been fun, entertaining, sometimes great, sometimes rotten but never dull. (Well, maybe one or two teams were dull.)

1. Who was the first batter in White Sox history?

That was Charles Ellsworth Hoy, a deaf mute player who went by the now-unflattering nickname "Dummy." Hoy led off the bottom of the first of the first AL game between the White Sox and Cleveland in 1901. Hoy is credited by many with introducing umpire signals to baseball, although accounts differ.

2. What historic AL first occured on May 2, 1901 at the South Side Grounds?

The White Sox were on the losing end of the AL's first forfeit. They were beating the Tigers 5-2 in the top of the ninth when Detroit scored six runs. Sox manager Clark Griffith, seeing rain approaching, try to extend the inning until the rain could come and wash it away. Umpire Tom Connolly angrily called the game off and awarded Detroit the win. Enraged fans stormed the field, and Connolly needed a police escort to get away. Nowadays, a Sox fan running out onto the field doesn't generate a lot of news.

3. Where was the White Sox first ballpark located?

39th and Princeton. It was an abandoned cricket field when the Sox took over. There is a housing project there today.

4. How many White Sox teams have won 100 games?

Only one, the 1917 World Champions came in at an even 100-54. That team boasts three Hall-of-Famers: Ray Schalk, Eddie Collins and Red Faber.

5. How many White Sox teams have lost 100 games?

Three. The 1932 Sox stunk up the south side at 49-102; the 1948 Sox were 51-101; and the 1970 Sox were the ghastliest of the ghastly, going 56-106. The 1932 Sox, like the 1917 team, also boasts three Hall-of-Famers: Luke Appling, Ted Lyons, and Red Faber.

6. Speaking of Ted Lyons, in 1942 he pitched his way to a 14-6 record in 20 starts. How many of those games did he complete?

All 20.

7. What did the 41 year old Lyons do upon the completion of the 1942 season?

Enlisted in the Marines, serving for the duration of World War II.

8. The 1970 season wasn't much fun, obviously. In one game, centerfielder Buddy Bradford attempted to make a Landis-esque catch up against the bullpen wall. What happened instead?

He knocked the ball over the wall for a three-run home run.

9. In 1970, Bill Melton also suffered a broken nose. How did that come about? Was he hit by a pitch?

Hardly. He was attempting to catch a foul fly in Baltimore. He lost it in the lights, the ball hit the heel of his glove and smashed into his nose.

10. In 1970, Beltin' Bill beame the first White Sox player to hit 30 home runs in one season! Yes! He connected on September 21 at Comiskey Park. How many fans were on hand for this momentous event?

672. They cheered lustily, I'm sure.

11. In 1971, Bill became the first White Sox player to lead the AL in home runs, connecting for his 33rd shot on the final day of the season. How many fans witnessed that historic blast?

2,814, bringing Bill's total of fans seeing his history-making homers to 3,488. Jean Shepard said it best: "Every man's great moment on the White Sox comes when no one is watching."

12. In 1971, the White Sox and the Oakland A's became the first teams in baseball history to do this. What is it?

Play an Opening Day doubleheader. The Sox won both games, 6-5 and 12-4.

13. In game 2 of that Opening Day DH, Carlos May hit a two run triple clear out of the park. How did he manage to do that?

With two runners on, May stroked a 1st inning three run homer. He leaped for joy and slammed his feet down on what he thought was home plate. Turns out he missed. The A's appealed the play and May was called out and credited with a two run triple.

14. Which of this quartet never played for the White Sox: Don Johnson, Eddie Murphy, Jimmy Stewart or Gary Cooper?

Gary Cooper. He played for the Atlanta Braves.

15. Back to Carlos May. In 1969-70, he wore his name and number: "May 17" on the back of his uniform. What was unusual about it?

He was born May 17, 1948. He is believed to be the only athlete ever to have his birthday on the back of his uniform.

I'll quit only because I might have run out of room. I'll continue in a reply.

03-30-2008, 08:31 PM
15. Back to Carlos May. In 1969-70, he wore his name and number: "May 17" on the back of his uniform. What was unusual about it?

He was born May 17, 1948. He is believed to be the only athlete ever to have his birthday on the back of his uniform.

Wasn't there an OF for the Cubs in the early 90s who did this, as well?

03-30-2008, 09:37 PM

15. Back to Carlos May. In 1969-70, he wore his name and number: "May 17" on the back of his uniform. What was unusual about it?

He was born May 17, 1948. He is believed to be the only athlete ever to have his birthday on the back of his uniform. ...

Oddly enough, when Carlos May came up at the end of the 1968 season, he wore John "Blue Moon" Odom's birthday on his back.

03-30-2008, 09:39 PM

16: Carlos was a rookie phenom in 1969, blasting 18 homers and becoming a fan favorite. But he left in August for Marine reserve exercises and didn't come back. Why not? Was his unit called to Vietnam?

No. He was swabbing out a mortar when it misfired, blowing his left thumb clean off. May made a heroic comeback from the injury, sticking around the majors until 1976.

17: To add insult to season-ending injury, May lost the 1969 Rookie of the Year award to which player?

Lou Piniella of the Kansas City Royals.

18. Who was the last White Sox pitcher to lose 20 games in one season?

Wilbur Wood, who went 16-20 in 1975. Woody even had a couple of years where he won and lost 20.

19. Which White Sox pitcher was leading the AL with 18 wins at the All-Star break, but wasn't even chosen for the All-Star team?

Wood again, in 1973. He had lost 14 at that point, which also led the AL.

20. What White Sox player was known for giving the "Mussolini Salute"?

First baseman Henry "Zeke" Bonura, who roamed the Comiskey infield from 1934-37. "Roamed" is really an exaggeration, "stood still until he became fossilized" is more like it. He would see a grounder, make a half-hearted stab at it, then "wave" to it as it went by. One writer likened it to the Fascist salute given in Italy by followers of Benito Mussolini.

21. One more Zeke. What legendary American sports icon gave Bonura his nickname?

None other than Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne. The coach saw the 6' 210 lb. Bonura (at the time an ND football player) and exclaimed "get a load of that fellow's physique!" "Physique" became "Zeke." Unfortunately, Zeke did not become a better first baseman.

22. Luke Appling is considered by many to be the greatest player in White Sox history, a great hitter who personified the team and the fans. What was his legendary nickname?

"Old Aches and Pains." He was called this because he constantly griped about every little ailment. Kind of like...never mind.

23. Who grounded into the final out of the Cubs-White Sox World Series of 1906?

Frank "Wildfire" Schulte of the Cubs hit to first baseman Jiggs Donahue, who tagged first unassisted.

24. Who made the final out of the 1917 Series, bagging the Sox' final World Championship for a long 88 years?

Lew McCarty of the New York Giants. He grounded to Eddie Collins, who threw to first baseman Chick Gandil to end it.

25. OK, a "Black Sox" question is inevitable. Who was the only one of the "Eight Men Out" to have voluntarily retired before Kenesaw Mountain Landis handed down his banning edict?

Why, none other than the ringleader Arnold Gandil himself. "Chickie" bet a bundle on the Reds then retired to California after the series. Once the team was acquitted in court, Gandil exclaimed "that'll learn Ban Johnson that he can't frame an honest bunch of ballplayers." Kevin Spacey's character in "The Usual Suspects" said it best: "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn't exist."

26. How many times did Old Man Comiskey rook poor Eddie Cicotte out of his $10,000 30 game winner bonus, according to Eliot Asinof?

Well, it depends on what source you read. According to the book "Eight Men Out", Comiskey did it once, in 1917. Yet in an interview with the Tribune that Asinof gave on the eve of the 2005 World Series, he claimed that Comiskey did it twice, in 1917 and 1919. It would be good for Asinof's credibility if he could keep his story straight.

Historians Gene Carney and Richard Lindberg have pretty much debunked this tall tale as a myth. Carney in particular has written extensively about 1919 and wrote of a deposition that Cicotte gave to Alfred Austrian (Comiskey's lawyer) before facing the Grand Jury. In it, Cicotte claimed that the origin of the fix began with Gandil, himself and Fred McMullin. They spoke of how someone had offered Cubs players $10,000 to tank the 1918 World Series against the Red Sox (The Black Cubs? Say it ain't so, Hippo) and decided that they could get away with it. Cicotte never once offered a reneged "bonus" as an alibi. Unfortunately Eliot Asinof, John Sayles and the Burns Brothers did.

27. Lights, Camera, White Sox! Name the two actors who portrayed Shoeless Joe Jackson in "Eight Men Out" and "Field of Dreams."

Eight Men Out-D.B. Sweeney; Field of Dreams-Ray Liotta. "Field of Dreams" was famous for being one of those movies that could make grown men weep. It did for me. I cried when Shoeless Joe batted right-handed.

28. What legendary Boston Red Sox player was referred to by White Sox manager Eddie Stanky as an "All-Star from the neck down"?

Carl Yastrzemski, during that tumultuous year of 1967. Yaz got the last laugh, winning the Triple Crown and leading Boston to the pennant.

29. Speaking of 1967, Boston had the "Impossible Dream." Chicago had "Black Wednesday." What happened that night?

On September 27, the Sox were .5 games out of first with five games left, including a twi-night DH against the last place Kansas City A's. The Sox had Gary Peters and Joel Horlen starting that night. They lost both ends of the DH, effectively eliminating them from the race. They lost the last three games at home to the Senators to finish three games back.

30. Who was the Kansas City A's manager on that fateful September night?

The KC skipper for those games was none other than White Sox legend and Hall of Famer, "Old Aches and Pains" himself, Luke Appling.

Whew. I'm out of gas. 30 is as far as I can get. I could come up with more, but I have to do a few other things. Sorry I couldn't get to 100. But then, I am not celebrating 100 years of futility.

31. Check that, one more. What was Orlando Palmiero's contribution to White Sox history?

On October 26, 2005 Palmiero of the Houston Astros came to the plate with two out and one on in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the World Series, with Bobby Jenks protecting a one run lead. We know what happened next-Palmiero grounded up the middle, Juan Uribe made a spectacular play and fired to Paul Konerko at first, ending the White Sox 88 year championship drought and bringing a World Series title to Chicago.

Bucky F. Dent
03-31-2008, 07:13 AM
Thanks, Tommy! Great read for Opening Day morning.