In an effort to ensure the White Sox would repeat as American League champs, Bill Veeck and Hank Greenberg decided to make a series of moves to bring in hitters — at the expense of some of the top young players in the Sox system.
Veeck originally tried to get young stars — like future White Sox coach Orlando Cepeda from the Giants and Bill White from the Cardinals — but was turned down. So, he went in the only direction he felt he could.
The first deal brought the Sox back outfielder Minnie Miñoso at the cost of two powerful future All-Stars: first baseman Norm Cash and catcher Johnny Romano. Cleveland also got John “Bubba” Phillips. White Sox manager Al Lopez was quoted after the controversial deal as saying, “Some of us, like me, are not worried about next year because we might not be around then.”
Cash and Romano alone would combine for 506 home runs and six All-Star appearances in their careers.
Miñoso would have an excellent season in 1960, hitting .311 with 20 home runs and 105 RBIs to go along with 17 stolen bases, making the All-Star team.
It was one of the most brilliant and gutsy deals ever completed by GM Roland Hemond, one that paid dividends immediately and 20 years down the line.
Hemond sent former Cy Young winner LaMarr Hoyt to the Padres in a package deal that netted the White Sox a 20-year-old shortstop named Ozzie Guillén. The Sox also got valuable utility player Luis Salazar and two pitchers, Tim Lollar and Bill Long.
Guillén immediately filled a gaping hole in the infield and was named Rookie of the Year. He’d win a Gold Glove and become a three-time All-Star in his White Sox career, before returning to Chicago as manager in 2004. He won the World Series in 2005 and made the playoffs again in 2008.
Hoyt was out of baseball by 1987 after battling weight and drug addiction issues.
Frank Thomas, probably the best hitter in team history, became a free agent after the White Sox declined to pick up his $10 million option. GM. Ken Williams had no choice in the matter, as Thomas was coming off of back-to-back injury-plagued seasons. At his age and weight, and with the addition of slugger Jim Thome, there was no longer a place for Thomas in the lineup.
The Big Hurt eventually signed an incentive-laden deal with the A’s in late January and continue his Hall of Fame career.
It was one of the biggest Winter Meetings trades in memory, as the White Sox sent Chris Sale, one of the top pitchers in the game, to the Red Sox for a number of prospects. The deal included the No. 1-ranked minor league player in the game, Yoán Moncada.
Sale was brilliant in his six-plus years with the team, winning 74 games with a 3.00 ERA. He made the All-Star team five times, pitching five innings total and winning the 2013 contest. He set White Sox records for most strikeouts in a season (274) and had four consecutive years with more than 200. After four straight losing seasons, the White Sox decided it was time to rebuild, and Sale was in demand — so the painful decision was made to trade him and hope for a better future.