Saturday, September 15, 2012
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.