No, the world is not ending. The Mayan Apocalypse is the latest is the latest in a long line of hokum spewed by people who believe they can predict the end of the world. Despite the doom and gloom, the White Sox roll on.
I thought it would be fun to go back through the history of previous doomsday predictions to see how the White Sox did on the "last day on Earth." Thanks to nuclear weapons, we now have the ability to blow up the world many times over. We've had a couple of close calls, and some of those nuclear near-misses have occurred during baseball season.
April 22, 1959: Florence Houteff of the Davidian Seventh-Day Adventists thought the end of the 1950's meant the end of everything. She and her followers began a campaign of evangelism in the U.S. and Canada. The world did not end on April 22, but the Kansas City A's might have wished it did. The White Sox beat the A's 20-6 at Memorial Stadium in Kansas City. Early Wynn was rocked for 6 runs over the course of an inning and two thirds. Bob Shaw pitched seven and one thirds innings of scoreless relief. The Sox got a home run from Luis Aparicio and doubles from Jim Rivera, Sherm Lollar, Nellie Fox, and Billy Goodman. The Sox would eventually lose the World Series in '59. Florence Houteff's sect later morphed into the Branch Davidians. In 1993, leader David Koresh incinerated his compound in Waco, Texas following a two month standoff with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
June 3, 1980: Computer screens at Strategic Air Command headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska show two nuclear missiles fired by Soviet Submarines. Several minutes later, computers indicate even more missiles headed towards the United States. Bomber pilots are ordered to their planes and told to get ready to take off. Radar and satellite images at NORAD in Wyoming showed no signs of an incoming attack. The "attack" was the result of a faulty data from a bad computer chip. Even so, nuclear bombers and silo crews began preparing for a retaliatory strike. It was one of two close calls in the early 1980s. The Sox beat the Texas Rangers 5-4 at Comiskey Park. Ed Farmer allowed the Rangers to tie the game in the eighth by giving up a solo home run to Pat Putnam. Claudell Washington's RBI groundout in the bottom of the inning bailed out Farmio and set him up for the win.
June 21, 1982: Scottish artist Benjamin Crème claims to have been in telepathic contact with the Buddha. In early 1982, he started putting ads in newspapers all over the world (including the Los Angeles Times) that said Jesus would announce his return on worldwide television on the Summer Solstice (one would assume that SportsVision viewers would have to pay extra to watch Christ announce his return). Jesus didn't come back, but Harold Baines did. Harold's run scoring double in the bottom of the eighth led the White Sox to a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Twins at Comiskey Park.
Sept. 26, 1983: Outside of the Cuban Missile Crisis, this is the closest we came to actual nuclear war. Tensions with the Soviet Union had been building all year. That spring, the Navy ran an exercise called FLEETEX 83. Warships would park themselves outside Soviet territorial waters to provoke a reaction from their Russian counterparts. Fighter planes would fly towards Soviet airspace at high speeds before peeling off at the last second. The exercise, combined with the movement of Pershing missiles in Western Europe, led the Soviet leadership to believe the United States was preparing for war. In early September, Soviet fighters shot down Korean Airlines Flight 007, a Boeing 747 that had strayed into Soviet airspace. Three weeks later, spy satellites indicated an American missile attack. Col. Stanislav Petrov of the USSR's Strategic Rocket Forces was on duty when the reports came in. He went against the advice of his superiors and held off on ordering a retaliatory attack. He thought it was a false alarm. He was right. The "missile attack" was actually the sun's reflection off a cloud.
Had he followed orders, the last White Sox game ever played would have been an 8-5 win over the California Angels in Anaheim on Sept. 25. Lamarr Hoyt outdueled Tommy John. It was a big day for Jerry Dybzinski, who had a double and three RBI. Tom Paciorek hit a solo home run.
May 21, 2011: Preacher and broadcaster Harold Camping believed the Rapture would begin at 6 p.m. that day. The rapture didn't happen, but the White Sox did beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-2. Mark Buehrle easily defeated Jon Garland at U.S. Cellular Field. A six-run fourth inning chased Garland from the game. Alex Rios hit a two-run home run. Alexei Ramirez was 3-for-4 with two RBI. It was also the day of that year's South Side Sox methup. A good time was reportedly had by all.
The end of the world is also a good opportunity to share the ending to one of my favorite movies of all time.
I know we'll meet again some sunny day....