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Ted Lyons Joins the South Side Sox White Sox Hall of Fame!

A late flurry of support prevented another HOF voting shutout

Ted Lyons 1930
It was touch-and-go, but Ted Lyons made his fourth year on the ballot his last, squeaking into our White Sox Hall of Fame.

A year ago, a record five players were elected to our White Sox Hall of Fame.

This time around, while three players made a hard charge at induction, only one could hold on.

Legendary White Sox hurler Ted Lyons qualified for induction by a single vote (832 were cast).

Robin Ventura (73.5%) and Wilbur Wood (68.4%) fell just short of induction.

Lyons got out of the gate fast, polling at 95% early. But after a flurry of votes late last week, he fell below the 75% threshold, and it looked like our White Sox HOF would duplicate the earlier vote that saw no current players elected to Cooperstown.

From KenWo’s writeup on the HOF ballot:

Lyons played his entire 21-year-career with the White Sox. In 1925, his second full season as a starter, Lyons collected 21 wins, which led the league. Two years later, he led the league with 22 wins, 30 complete games and 307 ⅔ innings. In 1930, he won 22 games, with 29 complete games and 297 ⅔ innings. The heavy workload began to take a toll on Lyons, as he went 35-55 with a 4.13 ERA from 1931-34. However, manager Jimmy Dykes developed a plan for Lyons, in which he would pitch only on Sunday; Lyons would go 99-73 with a 3.44 ERA in nine seasons after that. Lyons led the league in ERA in 1942 with a 2.10 mark. He went 14-6 in his 20 starts, all of them complete games — as a 41 year-old! He then took the next three years off, joining the armed forces during World War II. He came back to the Sox in 1946, where at age 45 he went 1-4 with a 2.32 ERA in five complete games. He took over in May as the manager, ending his pitching career. He finished his career 30 games better than .500, even though he played his entire career in the shadows of the Black Sox scandal. The White Sox never finished higher than third, and rarely were above fifth, in his seasons on the South Side. Even still, Lyons went on to win the most games in White Sox history. He also holds the team record for games started and innings pitched. In 1955, he was voted into the Hall of Fame as a White Sox, and in 1987 his No. 16 was retired by the team.

Per the rules laid down before this year’s vote, players with the least votes will fall off of the ballot — so Terry Forster, José Quintana and Matt Thornton all will drop off for the next five seasons.

That means we’ll have four new players on the ballot for 2022 — including the reigning 2020 AL MVP, José Abreu!

Next year’s ballot will also feature a number of the offbeat categories (see below) that were a hallmark of our first three White Sox HOF votes.

2018 White Sox Hall of Fame winners

Frank Thomas (Hall of Fame Player)
Minnie Miñoso (Hall of Fame Player)
Luis Aparicio (Hall of Fame Player)
Nellie Fox (Hall of Fame Player)
Luke Appling (Hall of Fame Player)

2005 (Team)
Bill Veeck (Contributor)
Exploding Scoreboard (Gimmick)
Disco Demolition (Promotion)
1991 (Uniform)
Ozzie Guillén (Manager)
2005 World Series Sweep (Moment)

2019 White Sox Hall of Fame winners

Mark Buehrle (Hall of Fame Player)
Billy Pierce (Hall of Fame Player)
Eddie Collins (Hall of Fame Player)

1917 (Team)
Nancy Faust (Contributor)
Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye) (Gimmick/Promotion)
Four Straight ALCS Complete Games (2005 Moment)
Mark Buehrle Between-the-Legs (Defensive Play)
Dick Allen (Meteoric Player)
Ozzie Guillén (Character)
Jim Margalus (South Side Sox Member)

2020 White Sox Hall of Fame winners

Joe Jackson (Hall of Fame Player)
Carlton Fisk (Hall of Fame Player)
Paul Konerko (Hall of Fame Player)
Harold Baines (Hall of Fame Player)
Ed Walsh (Hall of Fame Player)

1906 (Team)
Al Lopez (Manager)
Seventh-Inning Stretch (Gimmick/Promotion)
Hitless Wonders Upset (Moment)
11-1 Postseason Record (2005 Moment)
Dewayne Wise “The Catch” (Defensive Moment)
Albert Belle (Meteoric Player)
Tom Paciorek (Character)

2021 White Sox Hall of Fame winners

Ted Lyons (Hall of Fame Player)

Thanks to all who participated — you’re the ones who make this all a lot of fun! And stay tuned, because at long last our first South Side Sox White Sox Hall of Fame “plaque” will be published on these pages. We’ll continue to unveil our “plaques” for all winners, throughout the year.