It was the start of a new era at shortstop for the White Sox. On this date, the team purchased the contract of young infielder, Luis Aparicio, from Memphis. Aparicio would begin his Hall of Fame career the following season, winning the Rookie of the Year in the American League. Aparicio also brought back what was then the lost art of base-stealing, swiping 269 of them for the Sox between 1956 and 1962.
After 13 years on the South Side, with 186 wins and seven All-Star selections, pitcher Billy Pierce was traded to the San Francisco Giants by GM Ed Short. Pierce and Don Larsen were sent west in exchange for knuckleballing relief pitcher Eddie Fisher, pitcher Dom Zanni, outfielder Bob Farley and a player to be named later.
The trade would revitalize Pierce’s career, as he went 16-6, then win a game and save the pennant clinching game against the Dodgers in the three-game NL playoff series. He then tossed a three-hit complete game to win Game 6 of the 1962 World Series against the Yankees.
Fisher would become one of the top relief pitchers in baseball, teaming with Hoyt Wilhelm to give the Sox great depth in that area. Fisher made the All-Star team in 1965 and win the Relief Pitcher of the Year award.
In an unrelated note, Fisher did a spot-on imitation of Donald Duck!
New Sox player personnel director Roland Hemond continued to rebuild a battered franchise. At the Winter Meetings he shipped Gold Glove-winning outfielder Ken Berry, infielder Syd O’Brien and pitcher Billy Wynne to the Angels for pitcher Tom Bradley, catcher Tom Egan and outfielder Jay Johnstone.
The deal would be a steal just based on what Bradley did, winning 15 games with a sub-3.00 ERA in both 1971 and 1972. Egan provided great backup help to Ed Herrmann, and Johnstone was a quality outfielder and clubhouse comic.