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Today in White Sox History: December 8

One terrible trade, one unfortunate free agency slip — and a key add to a championship team.

A true unsung hero of the 2005 title team, Dustin Hermanson’s phenomenal first half keyed a division lead and fueled his 34 saves that summer.
| Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

1914

The White Sox purchased future Hall of Fame second baseman Eddie Collins from Connie Mack and the Philadelphia A’s. The price was incredible by on 1914 standards: $50,000 went to Mack, $15,000 went to Collins as a signing bonus, and then Collins was tendered a five-year guaranteed deal worth $75,000!

Collins would end up playing for the White Sox for 12 seasons, hitting better than .300 10 times — including eight years in a row, from 1919 to 1926.


1959

The White Sox continued their offseason purging of young players by shipping future All-Star slugging outfielder Johnny Callison to the Phillies for third baseman Gene Freese. Of all the shortsighted offseason moves after Chicago’s pennant-winning season, this was probably the worst.

Freese was a slow, scattergun-armed infielder with limited range. Callison, already the subject of a documentary film by the White Sox called, “The Life of a Sox Rookie” in 1958 (narrated by Jack Brickhouse), had failed in a few tries to take over the left-field spot on the South Side. But in a new environment Callison blossomed, winning the 1964 All-Star Game for the National League with a three-run, ninth-inning home run. (Ironically, the AL team that year was led by Sox skipper Al Lopez!)

Freese in 1961 would be sent along to the Reds in exchange for two pitchers, including Juan Pizarro, who became a two-time All-Star. Freese would return to the Sox for parts of the 1965 and 1966 seasons.

The Sox, meanwhile, realized the mistake they had made and tried to reacquire Callison from Philadelphia before the start of the 1962 season — without success. He’d play 10 seasons with the Phillies, accumulating five years in double figures for triples, eight seasons with 10 or more home runs and four years with at least 78 RBIs.


1996

A culmination of misunderstandings and pettiness saw pitcher Alex Fernandez sign a free agent deal with Florida.

White Sox ownership felt Fernandez was going to remain contractually bound to them for another season, but that belief was torpedoed when the players’ union and the owners agreed to give players service time during the time missed in 1994 because of the labor impasse. Fernandez became a free agent, and the Sox hastily made a late offer that was rebuffed.

Fernandez had won 79 games in four full and three partial seasons with the White Sox. Without him to anchor the rotation, the Sox were forced to try to fill the void. The choice to do so, Jamie Navarro, was a complete disaster.


2004

Trying to fortify his bullpen, White Sox GM Ken Williams inked free agent pitcher Dustin Hermanson to a contract. Hermanson would be spectacular in the first half of the 2005 championship season before back issues limited him in the second half. He’d still finish with 34 saves and an ERA of 2.04.

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