Chicago White Sox
One of the AL's eight charter franchises, the White Sox dominated play during the early 20th century, winning 5 of the first 19 league pennants; but the team's fortunes dropped precipitously after it became involved in the greatest scandal in the history of the sport. Although the team has enjoyed fair success on the field since the difficult years of the 1920-1940s, it has met with difficulty in maintaining a consistently high level of quality, never qualifying for postseason play in consecutive seasons or more than twice in any span of twelve seasons. After winning only one league championship in the years spanning 1920 to 2004, the team ended decades of frustration in 2005 when it won its first world championship since 1917. The White Sox are one of two major league teams based in Chicago, the other being the Chicago Cubs of the National League.
- All-time regular season record (1901-2005): 8210 won - 8020 lost - 101 tied - 3 no-decision
- See also: List of Chicago White Sox people
- 1 Franchise history
- 2 History of White Sox uniforms
- 3 Rivalries and fan base
- 4 Quick facts
- 5 Baseball Hall of Famers
- 6 Current roster
- 7 Minor league affiliations
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
As described in Lee Allen's book The American League Story (Putnam, 1962), the team began as the Sioux City franchise in a minor league called the Western League. The WL had reorganized itself in November 1893, with Ban Johnson as President. Johnson, a Cincinnati-based reporter, had been recommended by his friend Charles Comiskey, former major league star with the St. Louis Browns in the 1880s, who was then managing the Cincinnati Reds. After the 1894 season, when Comiskey's contract with the Reds was up, he decided to take his chances at ownership. He bought the Sioux City team and transferred it to St. Paul, where it enjoyed some success over the next 5 seasons.
In 1900, the Western League changed its name to the American League. It was still officially a minor league, a part of the National Agreement and an underling of the National League. The NL actually gave permission to the AL to put a team in Chicago, and Comiskey moved his St. Paul club to the south side. After the season, the AL declined to renew its membership in the National Agreement, and the war was on.
The club adopted the name "White Stockings," the original name of the Chicago Cubs, and acquired a number of stars from the National League, including pitcher and manager Clark Griffith, who paced the White Sox to the AL's first pennant in 1901. The nickname was quickly shortened to "White Sox." The White Sox would continue to be built on pitching and defense in the following years, led by pitching workhorse Ed Walsh, who routinely pitched over 400 innings each season in his prime.
The Hitless Wonders
Walsh, Doc White and Nick Altrock paced the White Sox to their 1906 pennant and their first World Series victory, a stunning upset over the Cubs who had won a record 116 regular-season games. The Sox, dubbed the "Hitless Wonders" for having the lowest team batting average in the American League that year, nevertheless took the Series, and intracity bragging rights, in six games.
"Say it Ain't So, Joe!"
The White Sox contended over the next decade, but did not bring home a pennant until 1917. Led by second baseman Eddie Collins and outfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson, the White Sox now had offense to go with the pitching of Eddie Cicotte and Red Faber, and a strong defense anchored by catcher Ray Schalk. After an off-year in the war-shortened season of 1918, the club bounced back to win the pennant in 1919 and entered the World Series heavily favored to defeat the Cincinnati Reds.
However, 1919 was the year of the infamous Black Sox scandal. Eight White Sox players, including Cicotte and Jackson, were involved, to varying degrees, in a plot by gamblers to "fix" the World Series. Especially considering their lack of success since the scandal, many people feel that the White Sox have never quite overcome the stigma of being the only team to allegedly fix the World Series. During the 2005 World Series championship, much was made of this historic event, and there is an ongoing assumption that this World Series win has finally driven the Black Sox cloud away to a large extent.
In that era, gamblers often influenced baseball games. Many players on a number of teams - often frustrated by their inability to make what they felt was a fair wage for being elite athletes - were willing to participate in fixing the outcome of baseball games in exchange for cash. However, until the Black Sox scandal, rarely did such attempts to fix games blow up into scandals of this proportion. Usually such scandals were limited to individual players and games in the regular season. Never before, as far as can be demonstrated with this degree of certainty, had the gamblers been so brazen as to attempt to fix the championship series.
The official evidence relating to participation in the 'fix' by the various accused players came to light late in the 1920 season. It began with an investigation into a fixed Cubs game that had become very public knowledge, and soon the 1919 Series events were on the table. Comiskey, who himself had turned a blind eye to the rumors previously, was compelled to suspend the remaining seven players (Gandil, eventually perceived as the ringleader, the one "connected" to the gamblers, had retired after the 1919 season). The suspensions ground the team to a halt; it was well on its way to another pennant. However, the evidence of their involvement (signed confessions) disappeared from the Cook County courthouse, and lacking that tangible evidence, a criminal trial (whose scope was limited to the question of defrauding the public) ended in acquittals of all the players. Regardless, with the public's trust of the game of baseball at stake, newly-installed Commissioner of Baseball Judge Landis banned all the accused from baseball for life. As the players were leaving a hearing, legend has it that a young boy (said by some to have been a newsboy) yelled out to Shoeless Joe, "Say it ain't so, Joe!", although there is no evidence this exchange ever took place.
Though suspended from baseball, whether the eight players' efforts to fix the World Series definitively caused the team to lose remains unknowable, of course. Many players on the White Sox were not part of the fix and presumably did play their best. Evidence also suggests that at times many of the players aware of the fix did try their best, especially as the Series progressed. Shoeless Joe Jackson hit .375 for the Series. He swore under oath that he played to win the World Series and that he did not know some thought him involved until after the Series when he was handed money. Buck Weaver's crime was limited to having known of the plot and not having turned in his fellow ballplayers. Though it was readily acknowledged that he took no active role in the fix, he was disqualified for having done nothing to stop it.
The usual theory is that the players took part in this plot as an act of revenge against Comiskey, considered to be one of the meanest and tightest-fisted owners in the game. The term "Black Sox" came about earlier in the year, when Comiskey decided to make players pay for their own laundry. The players stopped doing their laundry in protest, and as their white stockings became soiled and dark, the writers tagged them with that nickname.
A pitch-by-pitch record of every at-bat of the entire World Series was kept and retained - something that had not been common practice before and would not become common practice for several more decades. Some baseball scholars who have studied this pitch-by-pitch record in tandem with other records of the game have said they cannot identify any additional specific evidence that might otherwise indicate the White Sox tried deliberately to act to fix this World Series. In contrast, there is the oft-reported story that at least one contemporary writer kept his own scorecard and marked plays that looked suspicious.
There was certainly no shortage of suspicion at the time. Just before the Series, it became known that gamblers had suddenly put lots of money on the heavy-underdog Reds. That fueled discussion that the Series had been "doped", in the slang of the day. The rumors were so public and so potent that the Official Baseball Guide for 1920 chided the accusers editorially, little knowing how the story would ultimately play out that year.
Although Jackson may have played relatively honestly, as a batter he had limited influence. The best insurance for the gamblers was to get some pitchers. Cicotte purposely lost Game 1, with the storied signal to the gamblers that the fix was on when he hit the first batter with the pitch. Lefty Williams, one of the "Eight Men Out", lost 3 games, a Series record. Dick Kerr, who was not part of the fix, won both of his starts. Cicotte bore down and won Game 7 of the best-5-of-9 Series, angry that the gamblers were now reneging on their promises, as they claimed that all the money was in the hands of bookies. Reportedly the team was told to lose Game 8 "or else", and they were trounced by the Reds to end the Series.
It is reasonable to speculate that the Sox would have won the Series had they played honestly. But in later years the Cincinnati Reds, a group of proud professionals led by Hall of Fame hitting star Edd Roush, asserted that they could have won the Series even if it had been played honestly. Ironically, it would be another two decades before the Reds returned to the Series themselves.
The White Sox had been the league's dominant team at the time, but were severely crippled by losing seven of their best players in the middle of their prime. The team dropped into seventh place in 1921 and would not contend again until 1936. During that stretch, only the 1925 and 1926 teams even managed to top .500. During this period, the Sox featured stars such as third baseman Willie Kamm, shortstop Luke Appling and pitcher Ted Lyons. However, an outstanding team was never developed around them, or a deep pitching staff. Led from 1934 to 1946 by popular manager Jimmie Dykes, the White Sox didn't completely recover from their malaise until the team was rebuilt in the 1950s under managers Paul Richards, Marty Marion, and Al Lopez.
Between the dumping of star players by the Philadelphia Athletics and the Boston Red Sox, and the decimation of the White Sox, a baseball "power vacuum" was created, into which the New York Yankees would soon move.
It is interesting to note that since 1920, although the White Sox have won fewer pennants than the Chicago Cubs or the Boston Red Sox - whose fans can be considered among the most angst-riddled fans in all of sports - as well as being responsible for perhaps the biggest scandal in baseball history, the White Sox' fan base has largely shrugged off their relative lack of success over the years, blaming it more on inferior teams, poor management and bad luck rather than some other-worldly "curse". Even the players who conspired to fix the 1919 World Series seem not to have been reviled or held responsible for the White Sox' lack of success as much as certain Cubs and Red Sox icons have been. Rightly or wrongly, those Sox players have often been seen as victims, and Comiskey himself has often been seen as bearing a large part of the blame for what happened.
There are also a number of people who have taken up Shoeless Joe Jackson's cause (notably in the movie Field of Dreams), campaigning for reversal of his ban from baseball, and thus clearing the way for his Hall of Fame induction, which would be a reasonable possibility if it were to be allowed to be voted upon. They point to sketchy evidence that he had acted to throw the World Series; his performance prior to his ban, and the fact that he was, most likely, driven to agreeing to fix the World Series by the lack of respect accorded to him by Comiskey. They also point to the fact that, immediately after the World Series, Jackson attempted to turn over his take from throwing the World Series to Comiskey's lawyer (a scene echoed in the movie version of The Natural); however, the lawyer would not take the money, telling Jackson to "go home to South Carolina" and that the episode would blow over before long.
In fact, until the Pete Rose scandal, players who had been permanently banned from baseball were still technically eligible for the Hall of Fame (which is run privately and independently from Major League Baseball), though there was a strong consensus among the voters that such players would not be considered. In the Rose scandal's aftermath, the ban was codified and the loophole closed before it became an issue.
"Go-Go White Sox"
Following Charles Comiskey's death in 1931, the team continued to be operated by his family – first by his son Louis, then by Louis' widow Grace, and finally by their daughter Dorothy. Not until 1959 did the team pass out of the family (thanks in part to feud between Dorothy and her brother Chuck) to a new ownership group, led by Bill Veeck, who had previously run both the Cleveland Indians and the St. Louis Browns; it has recently been claimed that Veeck also tried to buy the Philadelphia Phillies during World War II, with the stated intention of stocking the team with players from the Negro Leagues, but was rejected.
Veeck's arrival in 1959 brought an organizational approach which emphasized the entertainment aspect of the sport without sacrificing quality on the field, and Comiskey Park became home to a series of fan-friendly promotional stunts which helped draw record crowds, the most obvious being the exploding fireworks Veeck installed in the scoreboard to celebrate home runs and victories. Unlike Charles Comiskey, Veeck was also considered a player-friendly owner, and players enjoyed playing for him.
During the 1950s, the team had begun to restore its respectability utilizing an offensive philosophy emphasizing speed and a spectacular style of defense. Perennial All-Star Minnie Miñoso, a former Negro Leaguer who became the Sox' first black player in 1951, personified both aspects, leading the league in stolen bases while hitting over .300 and providing terrific play in left field. The additions of rookie shortstop Luis Aparicio in 1956 and manager Al Lopez in 1957 continued the strengthening of the team, joining longtime team standouts such as Nellie Fox at second base, pitcher Billy Pierce and catcher Sherm Lollar.
In 1959, the team won its first pennant in 40 years, thanks to the efforts of several eventual Hall of Famers – Lopez, Aparicio, Fox (the league MVP), and pitcher Early Wynn, who won the Cy Young Award at a time when only one award was presented for both leagues. The White Sox would also acquire slugger Ted Kluszewski, a local area native, from the Cincinnati Reds for the final pennant push. Kluszewski gave the team a much-needed slugger for the stretch run, and he hit nearly .300 for the White Sox in the final month. Lopez had also managed the Cleveland Indians to the World Series in 1954, making him the only manager to interrupt the New York Yankees pennant run between 1949 and 1964.
After the pennant-clinching victory, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, a life-long White Sox fan, ordered his fire chief to set off the city's air raid sirens. Many Chicagoans became fearful and confused, since 1959 was the height of the Cold War; however, they relaxed somewhat upon realizing it was part of the White Sox' celebration. The Sox won Game 1 of the World Series 11-0 on the strength of Kluszewski's two home runs, their last postseason home win until 2005. The Los Angeles Dodgers, however, won four of the next five games and captured their first World Series championship since moving to the west coast. 92,706 fans witnessed Game 5 of the World Series at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the most ever to attend a World Series game. The White Sox won that game 1-0 over the Dodgers' 23-year-old pitcher Sandy Koufax, but the Dodgers clinched the series by beating the Sox 9-3 two days later at Comiskey Park.
Although the White Sox had winning records every season from 1951 through 1967, the Yankees dynasty of the era often left the Sox frustrated in second place; they were league runner-up 5 times between 1957 and 1965. Health problems forced Veeck to sell the team to brothers Arthur and John Allyn in 1961, and while the team continued to play well, many of the ballpark thrills seemed to be missing.
The 1964 season was especially frustrating, as the team won 98 games, four more than 1959, including their last nine in a row – yet finished one game behind the pennant-winning Yankees, who had a late-season eleven-game win streak that opened up just enough room to stave off the Sox's final charge. The White Sox were also involved in one of the closest pennant races in history in 1967. After leading the American League for most of the season, on the final weekend, the White Sox, Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers all had a shot at the pennant. However, the Red Sox would assert themselves in the final weekend, beating the Twins to take the pennant by a single game. The White Sox would finish in 4th at 89-73, three games behind.
The Sox had a brief resurgence in 1972, with slugger Dick Allen winning the MVP award; but injuries, especially to popular third baseman Bill Melton, took their toll and the team finished 5 1/2 games behind Oakland, the eventual world champion.
"South Side Hit Men"
On December 10, 1975, Veeck regained ownership of the team, and vowed to make the Sox an exciting team again. But the 1976 team was one of the worst White Sox teams ever fielded, winning only 64 games (.398), drawing fewer than 915,000 fans, and ridiculed for wearing uniforms which featured shorts. Things were about to change, however, as the 1977 team gave 1,657,135 fans (at the time, an all-time Chicago baseball attendance record) much to cheer about. Veeck, unable to shell out money for huge, long-term contracts, adopted a "rent a player" strategy – trading for players in the last year of their contracts. The 1977 team featured new faces Richie Zisk, Oscar Gamble, and Eric Soderholm, and by the end of July, the team was 24 games over .500 and 5 1/2 games ahead of the Kansas City Royals. Team organist Nancy Faust riled the opponents with her version of "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)" after White Sox home runs and opponent pitching changes; despite complaints by the opposition, Faust continues the tradition to this day. Fans were also entertained by announcer Harry Caray's seventh-inning stretch renditions of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" (a tradition which, contrary to popular belief, did not originate at Wrigley Field when Caray joined the crosstown Cubs in 1982). A 4-12 stretch in early August, and a club-record 16-game winning streak by the Royals, left the White Sox in third place by the end of the season with a 90-72 record.
After the end of the 1977 season, free agents Gamble and Zisk signed with other teams. Veeck's attempt to replace them with Bobby Bonds and Ron Blomberg fizzled as the 1978 team lost 90 games. After 87 losses in 1979 (including the infamous July 12, 1979 forfeit on Disco Demolition Night) and 90 losses in 1980, Veeck sold the team to an ownership group headed by Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn after his earlier attempt to sell the team to Ohio real estate tycoon Ed DeBartolo was rejected by other American League owners. The new owners moved quickly to show that they were committed to winning by signing All-Star catcher Carlton Fisk from the Boston Red Sox during the 1980-81 offseason. They also retained the club's young, relatively unknown manager Tony La Russa. Rather than focusing on announcers Caray and Jimmy Piersall, or the threat of the team moving to Denver, the focus would be the team on the field. It was a sign of good things to come for the White Sox.
In 1983, the White Sox enjoyed their best success in a generation. Despite great expectations, at the All-Star Break the White Sox were only one game over .500, at 39-38. After the break, they went on a tear, going 60-25 to win 99 games and the AL West title. The White Sox were led by catcher Carlton Fisk, outfielder Harold Baines, eventual Rookie of the Year outfielder Ron Kittle, designated hitter Greg Luzinski, and pitchers LaMarr Hoyt (who won the Cy Young that year), Britt Burns, Floyd Bannister and Richard Dotson. Manager Tony La Russa also won the Manager of the Year award in his first managerial success.
A catchphrase of the team was "Winning Ugly" for the style of play, which reflected a tendency to win games through scrappy play rather than consistently strong hitting or pitching. That tag was put on them derisively by Doug Rader, then manager of the Texas Rangers, but Chicago media and Sox fans picked up on it and turned it into a positive. While they had a great run in the regular season, they were not able to carry that over into the postseason as they lost to a powerful Baltimore Orioles team 3 games to 1 in the AL Championship Series. Hoyt led the Sox to a 2-1 victory in Game 1, but the Orioles clinched the series with a thrilling 3-0 ten-inning victory in Game 4. White Sox pitcher Britt Burns pitched a "gutsy" game, throwing all ten innings in the loss.
The club slid back into mediocrity for the rest of the 1980s, contending only in 1985. In 1986, broadcaster-turned-general manager Ken "Hawk" Harrelson fired La Russa after a poor start. The club wouldn't contend again until 1990, the final year in Old Comiskey Park.
New Comiskey Park/U.S. Cellular Field
In the late 1980s, the franchise threatened to relocate to Tampa Bay, but frantic lobbying of the state legislature resulted in approval (by one vote) of public funding for a new stadium. Although designed primarily as a baseball stadium (as opposed to a "multipurpose" stadium) New Comiskey Park (redubbed U.S. Cellular Field in 2003) was built in a 1960s style similar to Dodger Stadium. It opened in 1991 to positive reviews; in fact many praised the fact that the stadium had natural grass, unlike other stadiums of the era such as Skydome in Toronto. However, it was quickly overshadowed by the wave of "nostalgia" or "retro" ballparks, beginning with Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The park's inaugural season drew 2,934,154 fans - at the time, an all-time attendance record for any Chicago baseball team.
Despite a number of fan-friendly innovations - including a concourse that goes around the entire circumference of the stadium - the park was often criticized for its sterile appearance and steep upper deck (which resembles new Yankee Stadium). In recent years, there have been renovations made in order to make the park more fan friendly. Notable renovations included moving of the bullpens to be parallel to the field of play, extending the seats further to the field of play, and renovating the concourse areas to establish a more friendly feel. In addition, the top third of the upper deck was removed in 2004 and an overhang was placed over most of it. Designed as a 5-phase plan, the renovations will be complete after the 2005 season with the 5th and final phase. The most visible renovation in this final phase will be replacing the blue seats with green seats.
"Good Guys Wear Black"
In anticipation of the move to the new ballpark, the White Sox of the 1990s adopted classic pinstriped uniforms and the occasional use of black jerseys, instantly jumping to the top of the league in merchandise sales. The 1990s teams also contended well, led by first baseman Frank Thomas, third baseman Robin Ventura and pitcher Jack McDowell. The hugely popular Thomas became in many ways the face of the franchise, and won back-to-back MVP's in 1993 and 1994. A player who hit for power as well as a high average, Thomas was generally considered to be destined for the Hall of Fame before a series of injuries derailed his career in the early 2000's.
The team reached the ALCS in 1993. The White Sox were led by Thomas, Cy Young Award winner McDowell and All-Star closer Roberto Hernandez and won the last AL West before realignment with a 94-68 record. However, the White Sox were a big disappointment in the ALCS, losing to the eventual World Champion Toronto Blue Jays in six games.
On July 31, 1997, with the White Sox only 3.5 games back of the Cleveland Indians for the division lead, they traded veteran pitchers Wilson Alvarez, Danny Darwin and Roberto Hernández to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for six minor leaguers, most notably Keith Foulke. Many fans saw this as their ownership (led by Jerry Reinsdorf) betraying them and trading away their chance to win the division in exchange for next to nothing. This trade was deemed as the "White Flag Trade" by the Chicago newspapers due to the perception that the White Sox organization essentially surrendered to the Indians without a fight that year. This trade did considerable harm to the already struggling White Sox fan base. The team's unpopular manager that year, Terry Bevington, while enduring a rocky relationship with the Chicago media, did nothing to help the situation – on one occasion signalling to the bullpen for a relief pitcher when no one was warming up. He was replaced by Jerry Manuel following the 1997 season.
Under Manuel, the White Sox fielded a talented but chronically under-achieving team. In the year 2000, however, the White Sox had one of their best teams since the 1983 club. This team, whose slogan was "The Kids Can Play," won 95 games en route to an AL Central division title. The team scored runs at a blistering pace, which enabled them to win all of these games despite a mediocre pitching staff led by Mike Sirotka. Frank Thomas nearly won his third MVP award with his offensive output; he was helped by good offensive years from Magglio Ordóñez, Paul Konerko, Carlos Lee and Jose Valentin.
A big key for this team was that they seemed always to get a clutch hit whenever they needed it. The pitching staff, however, was beset by injuries before the playoffs began. As in 1983 and 1993, this team could not carry its success over into the postseason, getting swept by the wild-card Seattle Mariners in the Division Series. Despite new club records for hits (1,615), runs scored (978), RBI (926), home runs (216), and doubles (325), the Sox managed to hit only .185 in the ALDS and failed to score a run after the third inning in any of the three games. They were eliminated when Mariners pinch-hitter Carlos Guillen drove in the winning run with a squeeze bunt.
Over the next four years, the White Sox were in contention for the division title, normally finishing in second place under pitchers David Wells, Mark Buehrle, Bartolo Colon, and hitters Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Lee, and Paul Konerko. Thomas was injured early in 2001, and has been unsteady ever since.
"Win Or Die Trying"
In 2004, the White Sox hired former team shortstop Ozzie Guillén as manager. Later that year, general manager Ken Williams vowed to change the makeup of the team from one that relies on the home run to one that has good pitching and defense. They traded outfielder Carlos Lee for center fielder Scott Podsednik, and also signed outfielder Jermaine Dye and former Yankee pitcher Orlando Hernandez to complete a rotation that included Freddy Garcia and Mark Buehrle. Additionally, former Minnesota Twin and San Francisco Giant A.J. Pierzynski was signed to fill the catching spot. Finally, to complete the make-over, Williams signed Japanese second baseman Tadahito Iguchi to a contract.
The changes made an immediate impact on the team. In 2005, the White Sox posted the best record in the major leagues for much of the year, before a late season slump saw the St. Louis Cardinals overtake them (100 wins vs. 99 wins). Though a serious challenge for their dominance of the division was mounted late in the year by the Cleveland Indians (the Tribe actually reduced what was once a 15 1/2-game lead for the Sox down to 1 1/2 games at one point), Chicago scored a 4-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on September 29 to win their first AL Central Division title since 2000. Finishing at 99-63 (.611) tied their 1983 record, and won the division by six games. The last time they had a higher percentage than that was 1920, when they finished second in the league thanks to the late-season "Black Sox" suspensions. The combination of the league's best record with the American League victory in the All-Star Game gave the White Sox the home field advantage throughout the 2005 post-season; perhaps unnecessary as the White Sox won every post-season road game they played in 2005.
In the first round of the 2005 playoffs, the White Sox took on the wild-card winning Boston Red Sox, the defending World Series champions. However, the ChiSox overpowered the BoSox, defeating the Red Sox in a three-game sweep. They won the first two games (scoring a 14-2 victory in the first game – their first postseason win at home since 1959 – and 5-4 in the second) of the series at home before going to Fenway Park and claiming a 5-3 victory.
In Game 2 on October 12, 2005, the teams were involved in one of the most controversial endings in baseball playoff history. With the score tied 1-1 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, A.J. Pierzynski apparently struck out to end the inning. At first Pierzynski headed back to the dugout but ran to first base upon realizing that umpire Doug Eddings had ruled that Angels catcher Josh Paul did not field the ball cleanly, meaning he would have to either tag the batter or throw to the first baseman to record the out (see dropped third strike). Despite vehement protests from Scioscia and the Angels, Pierzynski was awarded first base. Pinch-runner Pablo Ozuna replaced Pierzynski and stole second base. Third baseman Joe Crede then delivered a base hit on the third pitch to give the White Sox a controversial 2-1 win. Overshadowed by that play was the 1-run, 5-hit complete game pitched by Mark Buehrle. Buehrle's excellent effort allowed the White Sox to capture their first-ever home victory in ALCS history.
Buoyed by their win, the White Sox travelled to Anaheim, where starters Jon Garland, Freddy Garcia, and Jose Contreras (who had dropped Game 1 to the Angels in Chicago) pitched three more complete game victories consecutively over the Angels, giving the Sox their first American League pennant since 1959. Sox slugger Paul Konerko was named the ALCS MVP, on the strength of his two home runs, 7 RBI, and .286 average.
Especially in light of the evolution of the game, the White Sox' four straight complete games was considered an unbelievable achievement. The last time four consecutive complete games had been pitched in a championship series was in the 1956 World Series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees, and the 1928 Yankees were the last team to win four consecutive complete games in a championship series. In fact, the last time any major league pitching staff had hurled four straight complete game victories was near the end of the 1983 regular season, when the Texas Rangers accomplished the feat.
The Sox now advanced to the World Series, where they would take on the National League champion Houston Astros. The White Sox' appearance in the World Series was bittersweet for longtime franchise star Frank Thomas. One of the most popular and productive players in the franchise's long history, Thomas would finally be going to a World Series in his 16th major league season. However, due to injury, Thomas would be unable to participate except as an observer, and his contributions to the White Sox in 2005 were limited.
Game 1 saw Astros' ace Roger Clemens leave the game with a hamstring injury, and Chicago took advantage of its opponents' weakness, winning 5-3. Joe Crede especially made an impressive showing with his stellar defensive plays at third base. Game 2 of the Series, as in the ALCS, saw the White Sox involved in a controversial play. With the Sox down 4-2 and two men on base, the home plate umpire ruled that Jermaine Dye had been hit by a pitch when in actuality the ball had hit the bottom of his bat. Dye was given a free pass to first, and the next batter, Paul Konerko, launched a grand slam into left field to give Chicago a 6-4 lead. Houston tied the game by scoring two runs in the eighth, but in the bottom of the ninth, Scott Podsednik hit a walk-off solo home run to give the Sox a thrilling 7-6 victory and a 2-0 lead in the Series.
The World Series then shifted to Houston for Game 3, in which Astros' starter and NLCS MVP Roy Oswalt cruised with a 4-0 lead until the wheels totally came off for him with a five-run fifth by the White Sox. The Astros managed to tie the game in the eighth, but repeatedly blew scoring opportunities in the next few innings. Finally, in the top of the 14th, former Astro Geoff Blum hit the game-winning home run; the Sox took a commanding 3-0 Series lead with a 7-5 victory in the longest World Series game in history (in terms of time). In Game 4, a pitcher's battle between Freddy Garcia and Brandon Backe, Jermaine Dye broke a scoreless tie in the eighth by singling to centre and scoring Willie Harris. Game 4 also saw a spectacular defensive play by Juan Uribe, as the Chicago shortstop leapt two rows into the stands in order to retire Chris Burke for the second out in the bottom of the ninth. Uribe also made the final out of the Series on the next play, as he threw an Orlando Palmeiro grounder to Konerko at first to give the White Sox their first World Series crown since 1917 in a four-game sweep. Jermaine Dye was named the World Series MVP.
History of White Sox uniforms
Over the years the White Sox have become noted for many of their uniform innovations and changes. In 1960, the White Sox became the first team in the major sports to put players' last names on jerseys.
The White Sox team colors prior to the 1970's were primarily navy blue and red. Their logo in the 50s and 60s was the word "SOX" in Old English font, diagonally arranged. In 1964, their road uniforms changed from gray to pale blue. In 1971, the team's primary color changed from navy blue to red, with the color of their pinstripes and caps changing to red.
In 1976 the team's uniforms changed again. The team's primary color changed back from red to navy. The team based their uniforms on a style worn in the early days of the franchise, with white jerseys worn at home, blue on the road. The team also had the option to wear blue or white pants with either jersey. Additionally the teams "SOX" logo was changed to a modern-looking "SOX" in a bold font, spelled across. Finally the team's logo featured a silhouette of a batter over the words "CHICAGO WHITE SOX", piled on top of each other.
The new uniforms also featured collars and were designed to be worn untucked - both unprecedented wrinkles. Yet by far the most unusual wrinkle was the option to wear shorts, which the White Sox did for one game against the Kansas City Royals in 1976. After being ridiculed by fans and pundits, and George Brett calling the White Sox "the sweetest team we have ever played," the White Sox retired the shorts. The Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League had tried the same concept at one time, and it was also poorly received. Apart from aesthetic issues, as a practical matter shorts are not conducive to sliding, due to the likelihood of significant abrasions.
Upon taking over the team in 1980 new owners Eddie Einhorn and Jerry Reinsdorf announced a contest where fans were invited to create new uniforms for the White Sox. The winning entry was submitted by a fan where the word "SOX" was written across the front of the jersey, in the same font as a cap, inside of a large blue stripe trimmed with red. The red and blue stripes were also on the sleeves, and the road jerseys were gray to the home whites. It was in those jerseys that the White Sox won 99 games and the AL West championship in 1983 with 99 wins, the best record in the majors.
After five years those uniforms were retired and replaced with a more basic uniform which had "White Sox" written across the front in script, with "Chicago" on the front of the road jersey. The cap logo was also changed to a cursive "C", although the batter logo was retained for several years.
Prior to the closing of original Comiskey Park in 1990, the White Sox switched uniform styles one more time. In September, the old English "SOX" logo was restored, the pinstripes were restored, and the team's colors changed to black and silver. With minor modifications (i.e., occasionally wearing vests, black game jerseys) the White Sox have used this style ever since.
Rivalries and fan base
The Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians both have divisional rivalries with the White Sox, and the three teams have recently contended for the AL Central division championship. The Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals are also central division teams that play the White Sox thoughout the season.
The Chicago Cubs are the crosstown rivals of the White Sox, although the nature of the rivalry is unique; with the exception of the 1906 World Series, in which the White Sox upset the heavily favored Cubs, the teams never met in an official game until 1997, when interleague play was introduced. While there are other major league cities and metropolitan areas in which two teams co-exist, all of the others feature at least one team which began playing there in 1961 or later, whereas the Sox and Cubs have been competing for their city's fans since 1901. Current popular perception is that the Cubs are, and always have been, the local favorites; however, the teams have actually competed fairly equally for local fans for much of their co-existence. Through 2005, the Cubs have drawn greater attendance 60 times, and the White Sox 45 times – but the difference is primarily a recent effect, as the White Sox have only outdrawn the Cubs twice since 1984 (1991-92, the first two years after the current ballpark opened). The Cubs' attendance advantage in the last two decades can largely be attributed to the fact that their games began being broadcast nationally on WGN in 1978, creating a national following for the team and establishing Wrigley Field as a tourist destination, while the White Sox only returned to WGN in 1990 after a 22-year absence. (The Tribune Company, parent company of WGN, purchased the Cubs in 1981. Additionally, far fewer Sox games were shown on WGN after their return to the station.) As Chicago's south side and suburbs are roughly equal in population to those on the north side, the local fan bases of the two teams may be similar in size.
Many Sox fans also attribute much of the current Cubs attendance advantage to long-standing animosity between Sox fans and the current team ownership, which has alienated the team's following with a long series of unpopular moves, beginning with the 1981 firing of beloved announcers Jimmy Piersall and Harry Caray for being too critical of the team; Caray was immediately hired by the Cubs, who embraced his personality rather than stifling it, and turned him into a national icon. While Cubs attendance in 1981 had fallen below 10,000 per game, in Caray's first season attendance per game almost doubled (even though the Cubs finished 16 games below .500), and in 1983 the team enjoyed the 7th-highest attendance in its history despite falling 20 games under .500; in 1984, the team drew 2 million fans for the first time, a mark it has only failed to reach in one full season since then. On the south side, in contrast, White Sox management's threats to move the team to Tampa Bay in the late 1980s, banishment of fan favorite Andy the Clown from the ballpark, and significant role in the 1994 strike, all further demoralized the fan base. Roster moves, such as trading Harold Baines in 1989, the release of Carlton Fisk during a road trip one day after he broke the record for career games as a catcher, the notorious 1997 "White Flag" trade, and not re-signing Robin Ventura in 1998, also contributed to fan hostility, as did the introduction of a new ballpark which many observers found cold, unappealing and antiseptic.
- Founded: 1893, as the Sioux City, Iowa franchise in the minor Western League. Moved to St. Paul, Minnesota in 1895, then to Chicago in 1900 when that league was renamed the American League, and which became a major league in 1901.
- Formerly known as: Sioux City Cornhuskers, 1894. St. Paul Saints, 1895-1899. "White Sox" is short for "White Stockings".
- Home ballpark: The previous home field in St. Paul was Lexington Park.
- Uniform colors: black, silver, and white
- Logo design: the letters "SOX", interlocked in various ways
- Fight Song: "Let's Go, Go-Go White Sox" by Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers
- All-time regular season record (through 2005): 8210 wins - 8020 losses - 101 ties - 3 no-decision
- Luis Aparicio 1956-62, 1968-70
- Luke Appling 1930-43, 1945-50
- Chief Bender 1925
- Steve Carlton 1986
- Eddie Collins 1915-26
- George Davis 1902, 1904-09
- Larry Doby 1956-57, 1959
- Johnny Evers 1922
- Red Faber 1914-33
- Carlton Fisk 1981-93
- Nellie Fox 1950-63
- Clark Griffith 1901-02
- Harry Hooper 1921-25
- George Kell 1954-56
- Ted Lyons 1923-42, 1946
- Edd Roush 1913
- Red Ruffing 1947
- Ray Schalk 1912-28
- Tom Seaver 1984-86
- Al Simmons 1933-35
- Ed Walsh 1904-16
- Hoyt Wilhelm 1963-68
- Early Wynn 1958-62
Minor league affiliations
- AAA: Charlotte Knights, International League
- AA: Birmingham Barons, Southern League
- Advanced A: Winston-Salem Warthogs, Carolina League
- A: Kannapolis Intimidators, South Atlantic League
- Rookie: Bristol Sox, Appalachian League
- Rookie: Great Falls White Sox, Pioneer League
- List of Chicago White Sox people
- White Sox-Cubs rivalry
- Disco Demolition Night - a notoriously failed 1979 promotion
- List of Major League Baseball franchise post-season droughts
- White Sox award winners and league leaders
- White Sox statistical records and milestone achievements
- White Sox players of note
- White Sox broadcasters and media
- White Sox managers and ownership
- Chicago White Sox official web site
- Baseball-Reference.com - year-by-year franchise index
- White Sox Interactive
- South Siders
- Exile in Wrigleyville
- South Side Sox