I was 14 that season. What a great year to be a baseball fan. Of course, it started out with the strike that resulted in teams getting a week's worth of games cancelled.
I thought it would be fun to have a place to kick around memories of the 1972 Sox in honor of the recognition planned next week. Article on Dick Allen throwing out first pitch at the game.
The Sox had some dark years before that season, fielding teams with the likes of Gail Hopkins and Gary Janeski.
Bill Melton rose above it in 1971 to become the first Sox player to lead the league in home runs. Playing in the old Sox Park, in a league with Reggie Jackson, Harmon Killebrew, Boog Powell and other bombers- it was quite a feat and a great source of Sox pride.
Tommy John was the last main piece of those pitching-rich Sox teams of the 60's. He was traded for the "troubled" Richie Allen, and the rest is history. Allen put together an MVP season.The Sox finished just 5.5 games behind the A's in the division. Overshadowed by Allen's massive season were great seasons from Carlos May, Wilbur Wood and Terry Forster. No Sox fan can help but wonder what could have happened if Melton hadn't missed 2/3 of the season with back issues, or if Jay Johnstone or Mike Andrews had matched the offense of previous seasons. Or if Wood hadn't dropped his last 5 decisions. Check the Baseball Reference link and see how many starts Wood, Stan Bahnsen and Tom Bradley made. As Harry Caray would have said, Holy Cow.
This team was full of characters with great stories behind them. Goose Gossage. Bart Johnson. No-neck Williams. Pat Kelly. Jorge Orta made his debut that season, one of the first players signed out of Mexico. Former bonus-baby Rick Reichardt. Ed Herrmann and Tom Egan catching.
We didn't win a pennant, but not many teams have matched that '72 team for color. Roland Hemond and Chuck Tanner didn't play but were undoubtedly a major part of this team's success.
It was a snapshot in time that was a great season worthy of being recognized 40 years later (wow, 40 years!).
Feel free to share your memories and recollections about this team.