Monday, September 17, 2012

Catching Up This Week

I apologize for the lack of updates over the weekend. Those of you who are personal or Facebook friends already know that there was a death in the family that took priority over the blog. Things should be up to date by mid-week.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September 16

2009 Allen & Ginter Baseball Highlights #10 - Jim Thome

On this day in 2007, Jim Thome hit his 500th home run.

It was the last game of a home stand. The strain was starting to wear on the fans, waiting for the inevitable blast. Questions and scenarios ran rampant among everyone. Would Jim hit the milestone at home? If so, when?

Things looked bleak on a sunny Sunday afternoon. It was Jim Thome bobblehead day and the Sox were facing the tough Los Angeles Angels. Entering the bottom of the seventh, Jim Thome had one more chance to hit the milestone. The Sox were down 7-1 and Thome was seven batters away. An improbable comeback started to mount. Danny Richar and Andy Gonzalez hit singles. Richar scored on Toby Hall's single. Hall was forced out by Jerry Owens' grounder. Owens stole second base shortly after and scored with Gonzalez on Josh Fields' home run. Jim Thome struck out, followed by a Paul Konerko double and Jermaine Dye lineout. It seemed that Thome's chances of hitting the milestone at home had vanished. The Sox scored four runs, but were still short two runs with time dwindling down.

Juan Uribe walked to lead off the eighth. The next batter, Danny Richar, homered to tie the game. This set up another possible chance for Thome. He would be up in five batters. If the Sox continued on this torrid path, Jim would be up in the eighth. If one of the next three batters hit a solo home run and the rest got outs, then Thome would have to accomplish his historic homer on the road. The next three batters, Gonzalez, A.J. Pierzynski and Owens, all made outs.

MacDougal faced four batters in the top of the ninth, giving up a single, which was erased by a double play, and a walk, but got out of the half inning unscathed. The bottom of the ninth started with a right field single by Darin Erstad off of Angels reliever Dustin Moseley, who just came into the game, replacing Scot Shields. Thome stepped up to the plate and hit a home run to deep center field. No one could have scripted it better. Jim hit his milestone, in front of the home crowd. It was the first 500th home run to be a walk-off and also the first to be hit on that player's own bobblehead day.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

September 15

1965 Topps #198 - Smoky Burgess

On this day in 1964, Smoky Burgess had his first at-bat in a White Sox uniform.

In the top of the eighth inning, Smoky pinch hit for pitcher Joe Horlen. The Sox were down 2-1 to the Tigers in Detroit. The South Siders were smack dab in the middle of a pennant race, so every game counted. Tiger pitcher Dave Wickersham threw a pitch in Burgess' wheelhouse and Smoky responded by hitting a home run to tie the game. The score would stay tied until the tenth inning, when Marv Staehle hit a single scoring J.C. Martin as the go ahead run. The White Sox would win their eighty-seventh game. The Sox would win ninety-eight games in 1964, but lose the pennant by one game to the New York Yankees.

Smoky was selected off of waivers by the White Sox from the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 12, 1964. He spent the rest of his career, until his retirement in 1967, in a White Sox uniform. Burgess only caught seven games for the Sox. He was used almost exclusively as a pinch hitter.

Friday, September 14, 2012

September 14

1986 Topps #447 - Jerry Don Gleaton

On this day in 1957, pitcher Jerry Don Gleaton was born.

Jerry was traded to the Chicago White Sox on June 27, 1984, from the Seattle Mariners, along with Gene Nelson for Salome Barojas. Gleaton hadn't played in the majors since 1982, but Jerry did decently enough in eleven games during the 1984 season for the Pale Hose, that he was with the parent club for the 1985 season.

Gleaton's pitching worsened during thirty-one games in the 1985 season. His ERA ballooned past five, even while primarily working as a left-handed specialist to only a few batters or less per game. Jerry spent all of 1986 with the AA affiliate Buffalo Bisons. Gleaton was selected by the Kansas City Royals through free agency after the 1986 season. With the exception of 1983 and 1986, Jerry spent 1979 through 1992 in the majors.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September 13

1968 Topps #99 - Rocky Colavito

On this day in 1967, Rocky Colavito ended a shutout in the seventeenth inning.

White Sox hurler Gary Peters and Cleveland Indians right-hander Sonny Siebert were locked in a 0-0 tie for eleven innings. Both starters were relieved in the twelfth inning after commanding performances. Although Seibert gave up more hits (4), he gave up no walks. Peters gave up ten walks, but only one hit. Both allowed no runs to cross the plate, in the heat of a pennant race. The bullpen continued the good fortune for each side into the seventeenth inning. In the bottom of the seventeenth, the Sox started to stir, with a single from Ken Boyer. Boyer was replaced by Buddy Bradford on the bases. Bradford took second on a passed ball to Tommy McCraw, who eventually was intentionally walked. Rocky Colavito, who had played all seventeen innings in right field, hit a single scoring Bradford from second to win the game. Colavito went 1-7 in the game.

Rocky was traded to the White Sox on July 29, 1967 by the Cleveland Indians for Jim King and Marv Staehle. Rocky didn't make much of an impact with the Sox, just hitting .221, but occasionally, he showed a flare for the dramatic, such as the game against his former team on September 13, 1967. On March 26, 1968, Colavito was purchased by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Rocky was released by the Dodgers in July 1968 and was signed by the New York Yankees, where he finished the season and his career.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 12

2008 Topps Red Hot Rookies #16 - Clayton Richard

On this day in 1983, pitcher Clayton Richard was born.

Clayton was selected in the eighth round of the 2005 draft, out of the University of Michigan. He was the second Michigan alum taken in that draft by the Chicago White Sox. The first being Chris Getz, drafted in the fourth round. Richard moved up the ranks in the Sox minor league system each year, until his debut with the parent club on July 23, 2008.

Richard spent part of two years, 2008 and 2009, with the White Sox. During this time, he compiled a 6-8 record with a 5.14 ERA. Throwing errors plagued his time with the South Siders and cost Clayton some victories. On July 31, 2009, Richard, along with Aaron Poreda, Adam Russell and Dexter Carter, were traded to the San Diego Padres for pitcher Jake Peavy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11

2001 Topps #758 - Chicago White Sox Team

On this day in 2001, the White Sox were in New York, waiting to start a three game series with the Yankees, when tragedy struck.

The calls started pouring in shortly after 9AM, to the Grand Hyatt, where the team was staying. Bullpen coach Art Kusnyer got a wakeup call from his wife. Broadcaster Ken Harrelson was brushing his teeth, when he glanced at the television and saw a tower in flames. The team had arrived at the hotel only three to four hours prior, after getting into town late from Cleveland. Mark Buehrle was anxiously awaiting his first trip to Yankee Stadium. That would ultimately be delayed three weeks.

Chaos, confusion and tense moments were commonplace the rest of the visit. The bustling city of New York had turned into a ghost town before the team's eyes. A general haze hung over the sky and players were waiting for a building to come falling down on them, mainly because the hotel they were staying at was connected to Grand Central Terminal, another potential target. The White Sox received permission to bring buses into Manhattan through the NYPD liaison, who normally worked with MLB teams. Two buses arrived for the team on September 12th, just shy of 24 hours after the attacks began. Two nurses hitched a ride with the Sox across the George Washington bridge. One of the last images of a surreal 24 hours.

Many of the team personnel that were on that trip are still with the club. Out of the players that were part of that trip, only Paul Konerko still remains with the White Sox.

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10

1960 MacGregor - Ted Kluszewski

On this day in 1924, Ted Kluszewski was born.

On August 25, 1959, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded Ted Kluszewski to the Chicago White Sox for minor leaguer Bob Sagers and Harry "Suitcase" Simpson. Over one season and a half, Ted hit seven home runs and forty-nine RBI. By the time Klu came to the White Sox, his career was nearly over. He was reduced to a part-time player, due to injuries.

Still, Ted provided the right punch to vault the Sox into the postseason for the first time since 1919. Kluszewski hit two home runs in the 1959 World Series opener, helping his team score a 11-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ted was taken in the expansion draft by the Los Angeles Angels. The inaugural season in Los Angeles turned out to be Kluszewski's last in the majors.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

WSC Birth Years: Leyson Septimo

Card #118 - Leyson Septimo

Born: July 7, 1985

Originally signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2003, Leyson was selected off of waivers by the Chicago White Sox on June 13, 2011. After making his way through AA Birmingham and AAA Charlotte, Septimo found himself pitching in the big leagues on June 29, 2012, against the Yankees in New York, pitching a perfect ninth inning, striking out Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.

Septimo throws a four-seam and two-seam fastball, a slider and a changeup. He has been used primarily as a left-handed specialist, since his MLB debut, a role in which he has excelled.

September 9

1983 Donruss Action All-Stars #4 - Greg Luzinski

On this day in 1983, Greg Luzinski hit a home run, completing back to back to back home runs for the White Sox.

Rudy Law may have started the bottom of the first off with a groundout to first base, but the next batter would change the fortunes of the White Sox against Tommy John and the California Angels. Carlton "Pudge" Fisk took John deep. Then Tom "Wimpy" Paciorek took Tommy John deep. Finally Greg "Bull" Luzinski took the battered Angels pitcher deep. When all was said and done, Sox pitcher Britt Burns threw a one-hit gem and the South Siders won the game by a score of 11-0. Those three home runs ended up being the only ones hit out that night.

Bull was purchased by the White Sox from the Philadelphia Phillies on March 30, 1981. Luzinski would spend his final four years in a White Sox uniform. He was chosen "designated hitter of the year" in 1981 and 1983. Greg hit eighty-four home runs with the White Sox.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

September 8

1977 TCMA The War Years #15 - Tom Turner

On this day in 1916, catcher Tom Turner was born.

Tom was selected by the Chicago White Sox from the St. Louis Cardinals on October 3, 1939, in the Rule 5 draft. He made his debut on April 25, 1940, in Cleveland, pinch hitting for pitcher Clint Brown in the top of the ninth inning. Turner struck out in his first plate appearance. The White Sox lost 3-1 and went to a 1-5 record on the young season.

Turner would play with the White Sox for four and a half seasons. He managed a .234 average during his time with the Sox. On July 31, 1944, Tom was purchased from the Pale Hose by the St. Louis Browns. Once there, he hit .320 over fifteen games and made the postseason. Turner made one appearance, in the fourth game of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. He pinch hit for pitcher Tex Shirley and flew out to center fielder Johnny Hopp. The Browns lost the series in six games. That appearance in the World Series was the last time Tom played in the major leagues.

Friday, September 7, 2012

September 7

1982 Donruss #143 - Tony Bernazard

On this day in 1982, Tony went three for four with two RBI.

Although Tony didn't do much at the end of the game, his at-bats before his strikeout consisted of an RBI single, a solo home run and a sacrifice bunt. Bernazard's selflessness at the plate and consistent hitting helped the White Sox get the early lead on Tommy John and Bruce Kison of the California Angels. The White Sox won, in California, 7-4.

Tony came to the White Sox through a trade with the Montreal Expos on December 12, 1980. He was one of the players that helped the White Sox grow with their new owners and develop into a division winning team by 1983. Bernazard probably provided the key ingredient to the 1983 team... by being traded to the Seattle Mariners on June 15, 1983. The White Sox received Julio Cruz in return for Tony, who helped spark that team win the division by twenty games.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 6

1911 Turkey Red (T3) #118 - Frank Smith

On this day in 1905, Frank Smith pitched the most lopsided no-hitter in American League history.

Frank did not allow a home run in 1904 or 1905. This control hit its apex on September 6, 1905, when he pitched a no-hitter in the second game of a doubleheader against the Tigers in Detroit. He struck out eight, walked three and retired the last seventeen hitters to pitch the fifth no-hitter in American League history. Detroit starting pitcher Jimmy Wiggs gave up eight runs in the first inning on five walks, five errors and one hit. He was relieved in the second inning, and the White Sox tacked on another seven runs over the remaining innings to build up a fifteen run lead. The Sox won the game 15-0.

Smith was drafted by the White Sox in September 1903. He would go 108-80 over seven seasons with the White Sox before he was traded to the Boston Red Sox in 1910. Frank pitched 156 complete games for the South Siders.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September 5

1965 Topps #81 - Don Buford

On this day in 1967, Don went three for five with a run scored and an RBI.

Don's big day came to a head in the eighth inning, when he hit the go-ahead home run off of Dooley Womack, to put the White Sox ahead for good against the New York Yankees. After a Fred Klages start that would last only one and a third innings, Wilbur Wood finished out the second inning for the Pale Hose. Steve Jones came in the game to start the bottom of the third inning and pitched four and a third innings to earn the victory in relief.

Buford signed with the White Sox in November 1959 and made his debut in 1963. While his best years would be in Baltimore, the foundation of those years came during the first half of his career in Chicago. In 1966, Don led the league in sacrifice hits with seventeen. Buford was second in the AL in stolen bases in 1966 and 1967, including his career high of fifty-one in '66. He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles, along with Bruce Howard and Roger Nelson on November 29, 1967 for Luis Aparicio, John Matias and Russ Snyder.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September 4

1986 White Sox Coke #KH - Ken "Hawk" Harrelson

On this day in 1941, Ken Harrelson was born.

Call your sons! Call your daughters! Call your friends! Call your neighbors! It's Hawk's birthday!

While Harrelson never played for the White Sox during his playing career, which lasted from 1963 to 1971, he has certainly (for better or worse) ingrained himself into the lexicon for the baseball team that resides on the South Side of Chicago. Ken was hired as a broadcaster for the White Sox in 1982, after being fired from the Boston Red Sox broadcasting booth, and lasted through the 1985 season. Critical comments that he made during the 1985 season led to Harrelson being promoted to General Manager for the 1986 season. In what could only be called "disastrous", Hawk made questionable moves, such as trading away Bobby Bonilla and firing Tony LaRussa and Dave Dombrowski. Notable players that the White Sox received through trade during Hawk's tenure would be Ivan Calderon and Steve Lyons. Notable signings include Craig Grebeck and Steve Carlton. Scott Radinsky and Matt Merullo were drafted under his watch. His GM tenure is always the source of great debate among White Sox fans. Some bonehead moves were balanced out by smaller moves than panned out in the early nineties.

By 1990, Hawk was back in the broadcast booth for the White Sox, partnered with ex-White Sox player Tom Paciorek. He has since partnered with Darrin Jackson and Steve Stone, regularly since Paciorek's departure. Harrelson is now known more for his jukebox of catchphrases and overblown, imaginary arguments with umpires and personnel from the opposing team. Occasionally, Hawk will giggle like a schoolgirl at White Sox players getting hit in the testicles.

Monday, September 3, 2012

RIP Michael Clarke Duncan

Rest in peace, White Sox fan.

September 3

1987 Fleer #507 - Bobby Thigpen

On this day in 1990, Bobby Thigpen broke Dave Righetti's save record.

In the ninth inning, manager Jeff Torborg made a couple of changes. First, he replaced Frank Thomas at first base with Steve Lyons. Then he replaced pitcher Barry Jones with Bobby Thigpen. The crowd at Comiskey Park went wild when Thiggy took the mound. Royals manager John Wathan made one move of his own. He replaced third baseman Bill Pecota, who was leading off, with Kevin Seitzer. Seitzer proceeded to ground out to shortstop Ozzie Guillen. Center fielder Brian McCrae hit a ground ball between second and first. Future Hall of Famer George Brett, who was the designated hitter that night, stepped into the batter's box. Brett hit a ground ball to second baseman Scott Fletcher, who threw to Guillen, who stepped on second and threw to Lyons for the double play. Thigpen had saved his forty-seventh game, a new record. He would go on to record fifty-seven saved in 1990, a record that would stand until 2008, when Francisco Rodriguez broke the mark with sixty-two.

Bobby was drafted by the White Sox in the 1985 June amateur draft, in the fourth round. He spent eight seasons with the White Sox, racking up 201 saves. He was dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies on August 10, 1993 for pitcher Jose DeLeon. Thigpen signed with the Seattle Mariners before the 1994 season and pitched in seven games for the team before being released. Bobby went to Japan and played with the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks for the 1994 and 1995 seasons. Thigpen was back in the White Sox organization in 1996, but never made it past AAA. Bobby is currently a pitching coach in the White Sox minor league organization.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

WSC Birth Years: Brian Omogrosso

Card #117 - Brian Omogrosso

Born: April 26, 1984

To say that injuries haven't been a factor in delaying Brian's promotion to the majors would be like saying frozen water didn't play a major role in the sinking of the Titanic. Injuries were the only reason, but they played a huge part in why. Omogrosso was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2006, in the sixth round of the amateur draft. Brian already had Tommy John surgery in 2005, which led to a season out of college ball.

Omogrosso rose through the ranks slowly in the White Sox minor league system. By 2009, he had finally worked his way up to AAA Charlotte, when a torn labrum sidelined him again. Brian started back at the bottom in 2010, while returning from that injury. By 2011, he was back in AAA and finally made his MLB debut against the Texas Rangers on July 3, 2012. His first two games weren't at all spectacular, but Brian has settled down since and was brought back up to the parent club in the first wave of September call-ups.

September 2

1995 Topps #77 - Tim Raines

On this day in 1995, Tim Raines had his American League record forty consecutive steals end.

In the bottom of the third inning, at Comiskey Park, against the Toronto Blue Jays, Lance Johnson hit safely with one out. Johnson then stole second base with Tim Raines at the plate. It becomes moot when Rock Raines walks. With Dave Martinez at the plate, Lance and Tim attempt a double steal. Lance successfully steals third base, but Blue Jays catcher Randy Knorr throws Raines out at second, ending his AL record streak of consecutive steals at forty.

Tim came to the White Sox through a trade with the Montreal Expos on December 23, 1990. The Sox sent Ivan Calderon and Barry Jones to Canada in return for Raines, Jeff Carter and a player to be named later, which was Mario Brito. Rock played for the White Sox from 1991 until 1995, when he was traded to the New York Yankees after the '95 season for minor league pitcher Blaise Kozeniewski. Raines was third in stolen bases in 1991 and had a 100% stolen base percentage in 1994. He was also first in 1992 for left fielder range and first in left field fielding percentage in 1993. Tim returned as a coach with the White Sox for the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

September 1

2009 Upper Deck Icons #16 - Carlos Quentin

On this day in 2008 Carlos Quentin broke his wrist, ending his season prematurely.

If Joe Crede and Orlando Cabrera had only gotten outs, along with the flyball out by A.J. Pierzynski, in the ninth inning, Carlos Quentin would have never stepped to the plate for one last time. It was during this at-bat by Quentin that he fouled off the second pitch by Indians starter Cliff Lee. Carlos was so frustrated by that foul ball that he automatically did something he had done thousands of times before. He took the bat in his left hand and hit down the bat head on his closed right fist. Only this time he missed and nicked his wrist. He finished the at-bat by grounding into a double play, ending the game.

While the injury didn't prevent the White Sox from getting into the postseason. The Pale Hose only won twelve more games after September 1st, but it was enough to squeak by the Minnesota Twins in a Game 163. It did rob Carlos Quentin of a possible MVP trophy, at the very least. Without Quentin in the lineup for the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays, the White Sox looked limp. The White Sox only won the third game of the playoff series and their hopes of repeating as World Champions just a few seasons after their eighty-eight year drought ended was quickly dashed. This was Quentin's season to prove himself and he derailed it all by himself. Carlos provided peeks into his brilliant 2008 performance in further seasons with the Sox, but could never replicate his first season on the South Side. He was traded to the San Diego Padres on December 31, 2011 for Simon Castro and Pedro Hernandez.
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