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In honor of actor Andy Garcia and his (unintentionally) hilarious reaction to Sofia (Mary Corleone) Coppola's death scene in "The Godfather, Part III."
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White Sox players and the Hall of Fame, decade-by-decade

Posted 04-13-2010 at 09:07 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 04-04-2012 at 05:45 PM by TommyJohn

I was looking through a book about defunct franchises-sports teams that no longer exist, or are in a different city. I was looking to see if the South Side's Chicago Cardinals were in there (they weren't) when I stumbled upon a completely useless, albeit interesting fact-the New York Giants are the only baseball team to field at least one Hall-of-Famer every season during the entirety of their existence, 1883-1957. Of course, this is a bit of a falsity-after all, the Giants still exist, so the truer thing to say is that they had a Hall of Famer in their lineup every year of their time in New York. In fact, if you look further, they have a Hall of Famer on their team every year until 1973-1974 was the first year that a New York/San Francisco Giants team did not feature a single Hall of Famer, even for one game. 91 seasons. Pretty impressive.

This, of course, got me to thinking about our beloved White Sox. I was curious as to what years in White Sox history that they featured at least one Hall of Famer on the roster. I found that, surprisingly, the years that they did not have one were rare.

I decided to do the research on this. I figured, hell, why not? I have nothing better to do right now, I haven't had a date in a while (that revelation does not shock you, does it?) so I sat down to look at it decade-by-decade to find out what years the Sox had at least one Hall of Famer on the team, at least for one game. NOTE: I maintain of course that a decade SHOULD be from 1-10, not 0-9, especially in the case of the White Sox (their first official year of existence was 1901) but since everyone counts it as 0-9, that is how I'll do it, with the first White Sox "decade" being a year short. Here is what I have:

1901-09:

Clark Griffith, 1901-02
Ed Walsh, 1904-09
George Davis, 1902, 04-09

1903 is the only year in the decade that the team failed to field a Hall of Famer-and they fell short because George Davis refused to report to the team, trying to go back to the Giants for more money. He had to go back to the White Sox, but missed that 1903 season. Had he not, every year would have one HOFer.

1910-19

Ed Walsh, 1910-16
Ray Schalk, 1912-19
Edd Roush, 1913
Eddie Collins, 1914-19
Red Faber, 1914-19

Good decade, as Walsh continued his stellar career and was joined by Schalk, Collins and Faber later on. By 1914 they had four Hall of Famers-Roush was a future star who broke in with the Sox in 1913 and played a few games before being traded and going on to a stellar career with Cincinnati.

1920-29

Ray Schalk, 1920-28
Eddie Collins, 1920-26
Red Faber, 1920-29
Ted Lyons, 1923-29
Harry Hooper, 1921-25
Johnny Evers, 1924
Chief Bender, 1925

Wow. The 1920s were a bleak decade for the White Sox-three winning records, one first division finish, and a lot af bad baseball-but you wouldn't know it by this impressive roster of players. They field seven this decade, with Schalk and Collins dropping off while Faber stuck around the whole time and was joined by the Baylor Bearcat, Ted Lyons. Evers and Bender were just one game men-they were White Sox coaches who activated themselves for one contest long after their careers were over.

1930-39

Red Faber, 1930-33
Ted Lyons, 1930-39
Luke Appling, 1930-39
Al Simmons, 1933-35
Jocko Conlan, 1934-35

Putrid suckiness continued to be the story with the Sox until they finally hit the first divsion in 1936. Red Faber got old and retired after 1933, Ted Lyons continued his workhorse ways and stuck around the entire time, joined by one of the greatest of all White Sox, "Old Aches and Pains" himself, Luke Appling. Al Simmons was acquired from Connie Mack's A's and gave three years, while Jocko Conlan is in the Hall for his services to the game as an umpire, not his contributions as a fourth outfielder for the White Sox. Nevertheless, he is the only White Sox Hall of Famer to have been born in Chicago.

1940-49

Luke Appling, 1940-43, 45-49
Ted Lyons, 1940-42, 46
Red Ruffing, 1947

World War II finally snaps the White Sox' Hall of Famer streak-the 1944 team is the first one since 1903 not to field a single HOFer, as both Luke Appling (Army) and Ted Lyons (Marines) were off contributing to the effort to keep the world safe for democracy. Replacement players such as LeRoy Schalk and Johnny Dickshot (there's a name for ya) have fallen short of Cooperstown credentials. Appling returned at the tail end of 1945 and stuck around until the end of the decade, Lyons put in a few more games in 1946. Old Yankee Red Ruffing put in a cameo appearance in 1947.

1950-59

Luke Appling, 1950
Nellie Fox, 1950-59
Luis Aparicio, 1956-59
George Kell, 1954-56
Early Wynn, 1958-59
Larry Doby, 1956-57, 59

The glorious Go-Go 1950s were great for the White Sox-they emerged from their 30 year slumber to become perennial AL contenders, topping it off with a pennant in 1959. Six Hall members were in this decade, including Luke Appling making his last stand, legends Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio, Early Wynn and Larry Doby came over to Chicago to continue their outstanding careers, and George Kell put in some time when his back wasn't aching him.

1960-69

Luis Aparicio, 1960-62, 68-69
Nellie Fox, 1960-63
Hoyt Wilhelm, 1963-68
Early Wynn, 1960-62

Luis and Nell continued their careers on the South Side until the early 60s, when both were sacrificed to a youth movement. Luis would return later in the decade to join knuckling reliever and fellow HOFer Hoyt Wilhelm, one of the players for whom he had been traded. Early Wynn was also dropped in the name of youth-he was cut loose with 299 wins. He would get number 300 for the Indians a year later.

1970-79

Luis Aparicio, 1970
Rich "Goose" Gossage, 1972-76
Ron Santo, 1974

The 1970s are a pretty dry decade compared to earlier ones-only two HOFers come and go-Luis was traded after 1970, thus snapping the Sox' streak-1971 is the first year since 1944 (and only the third in franchise history) that they do not field at least one Hall member. That changes in 1972 with the arrival of Goose Gossage, who sticks around until 1976, when he was traded one year ahead of free agency. His departure after 1976 ends the string again-the team fields no Hall of Famers from 1977-79.

UPDATE: As of December, 2011, the 1970s White Sox have another Hall of Fame member-the great Ron Santo. Of course, he was with the Cubs for 14 years and only at the White Sox at the end of his career, but he did wear a Sox uni in 1974 and he is in, so he counts. Funny, in that Santo trashed the White Sox organization in his book For Love of Ivy. He wrote, amongst other things "We never cared what those guys were doing on the other side of town." Quite obviously, Ronnie was pandering to his audience. It breaks my heart, you understand, because I'm SURE Gary Peters, Tommy John, Joe Horlen, Pete Ward and all of THOSE guys on the other side of town had their eyes just glued to the paper every morning to see how the gods up north were doing. After all, they didn't have little things like pennant races or the New York Yankees to worry about. And besides, doesn't everybody love the Cubs?

1980-89

Carlton Fisk, 1981-89
Tom Seaver, 1984-86
Steve Carlton, 1986

The drought continues in 1980 and ends with the arrival of Red Sox legend Carlton Fisk, who mans the plate the rest of the decade. Tom Seaver comes over in 1984 (kicking and screaming, as it were) and wins his 300th game for the Pale Hose. Steve Carlton is picked up off the waiver wire by Ken "Hawk" Harrelson and puts in a few games before continuing his post-Phillies, vagabond ways. Funny-the 1986 White Sox, GMed by Ken Harrelson, can boast 3 Hall members. Uh, not by Hawk's design, of course.

1990-99

Carlton Fisk, 1990-93

2000-09

Roberto Alomar, 2003, 2004

UPDATE: Now how could I have forgotten about Roberto Alomar? He was elected to the Hall a couple of years ago. he played on the South Side towards the end of his career in 2003 and 04. I listed the years as separate because he was here on two different occasions. So now the White Sox have at least had a Hall member for every decade of their existence. Not much, to be sure, but I am holding out hope that Frank Thomas will be elected soon (although Rick Telander will campaign against him for being a DH, then cast a vote for Edgar Martinez) and round out the years 1994-2005.

The streak ends with the release of Carlton Fisk. The Sox have fielded no current Hall of Famers since his departure. There is, of course, one potential Hall of Famer-Frank Thomas, who will cover the rest of the 90s if he is elected, and on up to 2005.


So....the White Sox record is pretty good. In the years from 1901-76, they did not have any HOFers on the roster only three seasons-1903, 1944 and 1971. Then came a four year dry spell of 1977-80 before Fisk arrived. If Frank Thomas is eventually elected, he will cover 1994-2005. Once he (hopefully) is, there will only be seven seasons in White Sox history (1903, 1944, 1971, 1977-80) in which they did not field at least one member of the Hall of Fame for at least one game.

Whew. I can't believe I sat down and typed that. Help.
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