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The stories of seven White Sox Christmas babies

Detroit Tigers v Chicago White Sox
Christmas Baby: Feliz cumpleaños, Ricky!
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

While Ricky Renteria never played for the Chicago White Sox, the manager is our Christmas baby on the team. So to lead off, happy birthday, Ricky! Even if he comes late, may Santa bring you a Yasmani Grandal, as well as a Manny Machado or Bryce Harper.

Only seven major leaguers born on Christmas have ever played for the White Sox.

One, infielder Tom O’Malley, turns 58 today!

John Hogan/Cards That Never Were

O’Malley was a prospective playoff acquisition for the ill-fated Winning Ugly hangover White Sox, who nabbed O’Malley for PTBNLs Mike Trujillo and Pat Adams on Aug. 31, 1984. He played in 12 games and went 2-for-16 with two RBIs, seven Ks and two walks. His lone White Sox highlight came in his fourth White Sox appearance, a Sept. 7, 1984 loss to the California Angels. O’Malley pinch-hit for leadoff man Scott Fletcher with the bases full and two outs, in the eighth inning of a 16-5 Angels runaway, and singled in Jerry Dybzinski and Marc Hill.

The six other White Sox Christmas babies have all passed on:

  • Morrie Rath (born 1886), played second base for the White Sox in 1912-13, sporting a 4.0 bWAR in 1912. That season, Rath also led the majors in games (157) and PAs (711).
  • Tom Gulley (born 1889) was a brief major leaguer, playing in just 26 games. Sixteen of them came in his swan song as a White Sox right fielder in 1926, slashing .229/.325/.371. He made $3,300 for the season, or $47,148 in today’s dollars.
  • Red Barnes (born 1903) was traded by the Washington Senators to the White Sox on June 13, 1930 for Dave Harris, and finished his career that season, playing with 85 games in White Sox outfield. He slashed .248/.317/.357 on a 62-92 White Sox team.
  • Ben Chapman (born 1908), was a four-time All-Star who played 57 games in the outfield for the White Sox in 1941 after being released by the Senators, slashing .226/.297/.316. He enlisted after the 1941 season, and came back in 1944 to play three more years in the majors as a two-way player (pitching in 41 games, playing outfield in 10).
  • Hall-of-Famer Nellie Fox (born 1927) is a White Sox legend, with his No. 2 retired after playing 14 seasons on the South Side. He was a 15-time (over 12 seasons) All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner, and the 1959 AL MVP. He slashed .291/.349/.367 in his White Sox career, striking out only 192 times in 2,115 games. Frank Lane’s acquisition of Fox in 1949 from the Philadelphia A’s for catcher Joe Tipton (career 4.1 bWAR) might be the best trade in White Sox history.
  • Jack Hamilton (born 1938) was acquired from Cleveland for future White Sox pitching coach Sammy Ellis on June 13, 1969 (the second Christmas baby to be dealt to the White Sox on June 13 ...). Hamilton pitched in just eight games, with 12 13 awful innings (11.68 ERA, -1.1 bWAR), throwing his last game for the South Siders on August 10. He would never pitch in the majors again. His career would be forever marked after he (unintentionally) beaned Boston Red Sox outfielder Tony Conigliaro with a pitch in August 1967, truncating Conigliaro’s blossoming career and underscoring the need for hitters to wear hard plastic helmets at the plate.