South Side Sox is a place on the internet where baseball fans obsess over their favorite team. We like the internet (after all, it's the thing that binds us all together), and we like poring over the slightest details in a much larger enterprise, it's safe to say a fair number of us will be seeing "Star Trek Into Darkness" this weekend.
"Into Darkness" is the 12th installment in the Star Trek movie franchise, but only the fifth movie to be released during the summer; which means only five Star Trek movies have been released during baseball season.
Throughout the 1980's, the White Sox free TV outlet in Chicago was WFLD Channel 32. The Sox were on 32 from 1982 through 1989. The arrangement started when WFLD was owned by Marshall Field's, and it continued as the station changed hands from Field Communications to Metromedia to Fox.
During that time, WFLD was also the outlet for reruns of the original Star Trek TV series. White Sox games would frequently preempt Star Trek (and other Channel 32 shows like Son of Svengoolie).
Here's what the White Sox did on the premiere day of the Star Trek movies.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. June 4, 1982
Ninth inning heroics from Tom Paciorek were not enough to push the White Sox over the top. The Sox lost to the Texas Rangers 4-3 in Arlington. The Rangers touched LaMarr Hoyt for two runs in the first and two in the fifth. The White Sox had a hard time solving the knuckleballing Charlie Hough...until the bottom of the ninth.
With one out, Tony Bernazard hit a triple to center field. Bernazard scored when Rangers first baseman Dave Hostetler couldn't handle a ground ball from Steve Kemp. Greg Luzinski followed with a pop up to the shortstop. Wimpy's two run homer brought the Sox within one. But Harold Baines' fly ball to right field ended the game.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. June 1, 1984
It was a slugfest at Comiskey Park as the White Sox beat the Oakland A's 6-4. Joe Morgan got the A's on the board in the first with a solo shot off of Tom Seaver. Harold Baines responded with a two run shot in the bottom of the first that scored Vance Law. Bruce Bochte hit a two run shot in the second that put the A's up 3-2. The Sox fought back in the bottom of the third, when Vance Law hit a homer that scored Rudy Law (that has to be some kind of baseball first). The A's would get one more in the top of the sixth, when Juan Agosto walked Mike Davis with the bases loaded. With the game tied at 4 in the bottom of the sixth, Greg Walker hit a two run shot, and that turned out to be the winning run(s).
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. June 9, 1989
Both the White Sox and the Star Trek movie franchise were at a low ebb in the summer of 1989. The Final Frontier is considered to be the worst of the franchise, and 1989 was the worst White Sox season since 1976. But that night, the White Sox put the screws to the Minnesota Twins, winning 8-3 at the Metrodome. The Sox scored three runs in the first- with two outs. Harold Baines started with a solo homer. Ron Kittle walked, which was then followed by singles from Ivan Calderon, Carlton Fisk, and Dan Pasqua. A Carlos Martinez single with the bases loaded in the top of the third made it 5-0 White Sox, which was more than enough for the ageless Jerry Reuss to get the victory.
Star Trek. May 7, 2009
Mark Buehrle almost had two no-hitters in 2009. The White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 6-0, thanks to a dominant pitching performance from Buehrle, who took a no-hitter into the seventh. The White Sox jumped on Armando Galarraga early. A Jermaine Dye single scored Chris Getz. A Paul Konerko double scored Dye and Jim Thome, and an A.J. Pierzynski homer cleared the bases. The Sox were up 5-0 and never looked back.
Only three Star Trek TV series premiered during baseball season. The original Trek hit the air on Sept. 8, 1966. But that was an off day for the White Sox. Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered in Chicago on Sept. 30, 1987 (Sox beat the Angels 5-2 at Comiskey). Star Trek: Enterprise premiered on Sept. 26, 2001 (Sox beat the Twins 6-3 at New Comiskey).
So the next time you watch Star Trek II, your viewing experience will be enhanced by the fact that Tom Paciorek almost got the job done.