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Chicago White Sox Ron Santo...

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Today in White Sox History: December 11

Two good deals, two bad ones — and a franchise sale, thwarted.

Yep, this happened.
| Set Number: X18470 TK1 R9 F24

1973

It was one of the worst deals ever made by GM Roland Hemond. The White Sox acquired Cubs star Ron Santo after Santo refused a deal to the Angels. Santo, who may have been able to be picked up on waivers, was acquired for three players, including pitcher Steve Stone.

Santo did very little in his one season with the White Sox and was considered a clubhouse cancer, often getting into disagreements with Dick Allen. His highlight was probably the inside-the-park home run he hit on June 9, 1974 against Boston’s Bill Lee at Comiskey Park. Santo was also one of the few players who disliked playing under manager Chuck Tanner. He’d hit a paltry .221 for the Sox, with five home runs and 41 RBIs.


1975

White Sox GM Roland Hemond sent third baseman Bill Melton, a former AL home run champ, and pitcher Steve Dunning to California for first baseman Jim Spencer and outfielder Morris Nettles. Melton had a bad back, and had worn out his welcome with the team — getting into a shouting match in a Milwaukee hotel lobby with broadcaster Harry Caray.

Spencer, meanwhile, would win a Gold Glove in Chicago for his defensive prowess. He also had 18 home runs and 69 RBIs for the South Side Hit Men, twice driving in eight runs in a game in 1977.


1980

Edward DeBartolo was voted down by other American League owners in his attempt to buy the White Sox from Bill Veeck. DeBartolo, the man who invented the modern shopping mall in Boardman, Ohio, may have had connections with organized crime. He also owned horse racing tracks, and wasn’t from the Chicago area. All were “red flags” for the other owners.

In an effort to appease commissioner Bowie Kuhn, DeBartolo agreed to move to Chicago at least 20% of the time to have a direct connection to what was going on with the franchise. His compromises fell on deaf ears, as he only received three affirmative votes. The way was then opened for the group headed by Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn to get the White Sox.


1981

Another fine deal pulled off by GM Roland Hemond came when sent shortstop Todd Cruz and outfielder Rod Allen to the Mariners for Tom “Wimpy” Paciorek. Tom was coming off of an All-Star season with the M’s in 1981. He’d hit over .300 for the White Sox in both 1982 and 1983. He was also one of the craziest guys to ever do commercials for the club. After he retired, Paciorek worked in the Sox broadcasting booth from 1988-99.


1996

After losing star pitcher Alex Fernandez to free agency and claiming that starting pitcher Kevin Tapani was faking an injury to his pitching hand (an injury that would force Tapani to miss the first half of the 1997 season after signing with the Cubs), White Sox GM Ron Schueler signed pitcher Jaime Navarro to a four-year, $20 million deal.

Navarro was a complete bust. His three-year record with the Sox was 25-43, and he often publicly blamed his teammates for his pitching issues. By several measures, he remains the worst starting pitcher in White Sox history.

Making matters worse was Schueler’s refusal to talk with the agents for Roger Clemens after he had expressed an interest in joining the team. Schueler offered this comment on the matter: ”Roger Clemens is over the hill.” During the same three-year period that Navarro was with the Sox, Clemens would win two Cy Youngs and 55 games.

Navarro eventually did do something positive for the franchise — he was part of a deal that brought José Valentín and Cal Eldred to the Sox in January 2000.

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