Sunday, April 29, 2012
WSC Vintage: Frank Shugart
Frank had been playing organized baseball since 1888. He had been on the Chicago Pirates of the Players League in 1890. Shugart had also played with the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Browns, and the Louisville Colonels of the National League. Frank's minor league career would put him on the trajectory to a historical first.
Shugart joined the St. Paul Saints of the Western League in 1896, the beginning of the club's second season removed from their single season in Sioux City as the Cornhuskers. With the exception of a short stint with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1897, Frank was with the Saints until their move to Chicago. Shugart was retained during the team's move and he became one of the very first Chicago White Stockings of the American League in 1900.
It wasn't until the American League became a major league in 1901 that the current statistics for the White Sox started. Comparing minor league and major league stats are similar to comparing apples and oranges. On April 29, 1901, Frank Shugart hit the first home run in White Sox history against Detroit. The Sox lost that game 3-2, but it started a path for the team that would include home run greats such as Bill Melton, Dick Allen, Frank Thomas and Albert Belle. Frank Shugart may have gotten the first home run in White Sox history, but he was soon eclipsed by his teammate Sam Mertes, who led the team in 1901 with five home runs. Shugart finished with two home runs for the 1901 season, which would be his last in organized baseball, after being blacklisted for hitting an umpire in the face on August 21, 1901.