One of the coolest things about baseball is that in any given game, anyone can be the hero. Anyone (at least on the active roster) can be the one who makes the play or gets the hit that saves the game, turns the tide ... (insert your cliché here). And the history of the game is filled to the brim with examples.
Take, for instance, the famous Nippy Jones World Series shoeshine incident.
The famous Nippy Jones World Series shoeshine incident?
For those who don’t know the story, in the 1957 Milwaukee Braves-New York Yankees World Series, Game 4 went into extra innings, where the Yankees took a 5-4 lead, already up 2-1 in the series. In the bottom of the 10th, the Braves sent journeyman Jones to the plate to pinch-hit for Warren Spahn.
Jones was in the final year of an uneventful eight years in the big leagues. He was a career .267/.304/.382 (WAR: -1.5) utility infielder. He’d come to bat 83 times in 30 games during the 1957 regular season, during which his numbers almost literally paralleled his career totals: .266/.293/.392. One can assume the County Stadium crazies were underwhelmed as Jones strode manfully to the plate.
Tommy Byrne’s first pitch is low and inside, and the eventually illustrious umpire Augie Donatelli calls it a ball. But wait! Jones asks for the ball, and shows Donatelli a black smudge on it. He points to his shoe, where there is a clear smudge in the polish he lovingly applied before the game. Donatelli accepts this clear evidence that the pitch hit Jones, and awards him first base.
Jones promptly is driven in with the tying run, and Eddie Matthews — the epitome of a non-journeyman — hits a two-run homer to win the game.
The Braves went on to win the World Series, by the way.
(You might recall not one but two acts of “Nippyism” on the 2005 White Sox’s run to the World Series, neither involving shoeshine, but every bit of skullduggered.)
In the spirit of Nippy Jones, as well as the White Sox commemorating Dewayne Wise with a 10th anniversary celebration of “The Catch” preserving Mark Buehrle’s perfect game, let’s examine White Sox journeymen, never-weres, cups of coffee, those with otherwise completely forgettable careers, who nevertheless did one great thing for the Sox.
And since I have curiously run across two completely unrelated references to it in the past three days, I would like to start us off with what I see as a perfect (pun will become clear very shortly) example:
In 2012, Philip Humber pitched a perfect game.
So tell us: what other one great things by White Sox everymen should we remember?