Jake Petricka became the 10th White Sox pitcher in franchise history to pick up his first major-league win in relief during his major-league debut on Thursday.
Nobody found a faster route to a 1-0 record than Petricka, though.
The other nine pitched at least one full inning and faced a minimum of three batters. Petricka only faced one batter, and recorded two outs by inducing an inning-ending double play on the fifth pitch. Conor Gillaspie homered in the top of the 12th, Addison Reed closed it out, and Petricka may as well retire.
He now owns the lightest workload of any of these lucky winners. On the other hand, he was thrown into the fire, inheriting two baserunners with the score tied in extra innings. His peers in this respect faced far less in-game pressure, so the trade-off seems fair.
Six of the pitchers on this list aren't particularly comparable, having pitched multiple innings in long relief for their wins. The three others, scattered over a 70-year time frame, vultured victories in their debuts.
Here are their stories. Click on their name for their Baseball-Reference.com page, and the date for the box score.
Ginter, the White Sox's first selection with the 22nd overall pick in the 1999 draft, made his major-league debut one year later. We call that the Dan Hudson Route nowadays. He was added a day before rosters expanded in order to be eligible for the postseason roster.
He made his debut in garbage time, with the White Sox trailing the Anaheim Angels 8-3 in the top of the eighth inning, and retired the side (Adam Kennedy, Matt Walbeck, Kevin Stocker) on 15 pitches.
Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez started the eighth inning with back-to-back solo shots, triggering a six-run eighth inning capped off by a Jose Valentin RBI single. All of a sudden, Ginter was in line for the win, and Keith Foulke had a save situation that he converted for a surprising victory.
Because it's baseball, he made his next appearance two days later with the White Sox leading 9-7 in the sixth inning ... and promptly gave up four runs on three walks and two hits (both homers), which put him in line for the loss. The offense helped him out there, too, rallying back for a 13-12 victory. That was one ridiculous lineup.
Ginter made seven appearances after his victorious debut, and none of them were scoreless. In fact, he gave up 14 runs while allowing 25 baserunners over 9⅓ innings. Petricka should not follow this lead.
Acosta took the mound for his big-league debut at the end of a very busy day at White Sox Park. The largest crowd in 18 years (51,904) flocked to 35th and Shields for Bat Day and a White Sox-Yankees doubleheader. The Sox took the front end in rather easy fashion thanks to a Tom Bradley complete game, but they trailed 4-2 when Chuck Tanner called for Acosta to pitch the ninth.
According to the Chicago Tribune's recap, Acosta was called up from Tucson to replace Bart Johnson the night before. He might've been groggy from the flight, as his career started with a single by Hal Lanier, but Chuck Brinkman erased him by throwing him out on a stolen-base attempt. Acosta settled down to retire Gene Michael on a flyout, and pitcher Mike Kekich on a groundout to keep the deficit at two runs.
Kekich then tried for the complete game in the bottom of the ninth, and appeared to be on his way when Rick Reichardt led off with a flyout to right. Bill Melton drew a walk and Mike Andrews followed with a single.
With the tying runs on base, Tanner called for his big gun -- Dick Allen.
Tanner wanted to give Allen the night off, since he'd played every inning of all 41 games leading up to that point. But the situation called for him, and Allen responded. From the recap:
Allen took a strike, then a ball before rapping a savage line drive deep into the left field lower deck. The moment it was hit, Lyle did not even glance toward left, but hung hit head and walked immediately for the dugout.
Unlike Ginter, Acosta didn't experience an immediate letdown. In fact, he won his second game a week later, and under similar circumstances -- a 5-4 victory in the second game of a doubleheader at home. He went on to have a nice year (3-0, 1.56 ERA), and picked up 10 more wins (with 18 saves) in relief in 1973. That's more like it.
If you've never heard of Daglia, there's a reason -- he only spent about two months in the big leagues, making his first appearance in early June of 1932, and last one at the end of that July. Daglia wasn't very good, which made him a great fit for a White Sox team that went 49-102.
But his career couldn't have started any better. The Sox purchased Daglia's contract from Oakland of the Pacific Coast League for $25,000 on May 28, and made his debut 10 days later with the Sox trailing the Washington Senators 2-0. There's no play-by-play data available, but the box score says he pitched a perfect inning, so he faced Joe Judge, John Kerr and Ossie Bluege.
From the Tribune's recap:
Pete Daglia, recently arrived form Oakland, got credit for the victory. His chore was retiring the Senators in order in the ninth on eight pitches, after Ted Lyons had given way to Pinch Batting Appling in the eighth. Ted had pitched one of his old time games, allowing only seven hits. He had held the invaders helpless except during the sixth, when they bunched three of those seven htis to score their two runs.
There's no pitch count that I can find for Acosta, but we at least know that Petricka has Ginter and Daglia beat.
Daglia's luck didn't wear off immediately. He actually started his two-month career with four scoreless outings (eight innings), but eventually ended up looking like the rest of the staff, save a complete-game victory over Philadelphia on July 7, 1932. The Sox returned him to Oakland in August.
But things could've gone worse for Daglia. While the Sox went just 2-10 in games in which Daglia appeared, he came away with the victory in both of them. It's weird, abbreviated careers like these that make Scott Ruffcorn's utterly winless career -- 0-8 personally, 0-30 for his teams -- so much more fascinating.
The full list, in case you're interested:
|1||Matt Ginter||2000-09-01||ANA||W 9-8||1.0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3|
|1||Randy Scarbery||1979-04-16||TOR||W 8-4||3.2||4||1||1||3||1||0||16|
|1||Cy Acosta||1972-06-04 (2)||NYY||W 5-4||1.0||1||0||0||0||0||0||3|
|1||Joe Horlen||1961-09-04 (2)||MIN||W 9-5||4.0||2||0||0||4||2||0||18|
|1||Joe Stanka||1959-09-02 (2)||DET||W 11-4||3.1||1||1||1||4||2||0||15|
|1||Bob Keegan||1953-05-24||DET||W 3-1||5.1||2||0||0||1||1||0||20|
|1||Pete Daglia||1932-06-08||WSH||W 3-2||1.0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3|
|1||Larry Duff||1922-09-05 (2)||DET||W 15-5||6.2||6||1||1||2||3||0||25|
|1||Frank Shellenback||1918-05-08||CLE||W 9-5||3.1||5||2||2||5||1||0||21|