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Today in White Sox History: March 21

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Rockin’ Robin is dealt a massive setback

Toronto Blue Jays catcher Sandy Martinez (R) tries
A year or two before his fateful slide, Robin Ventura successfully maneuvered home in spring action against the Blue Jays.
PETER MUHLY/AFP via Getty Images

1900

After a meeting with the Chicago Cubs, the way was cleared for Charles Comiskey to bring his team from St. Paul, Minn. to Chicago. They would set up shop on the South Side of the city. In fact, though, Comiskey was bringing the team to town regardless of whether the Cubs approved it or not. The meeting was set up in hopes of avoiding any conflicts.

1997

The White Sox suffered a major blow to their hopes for a championship when star third baseman Robin Ventura destroyed his ankle and lower leg on a slide at home plate in a spring game against the Red Sox. The injury was so horrific that a woman sitting in the stands passed out when she saw the aftermath. It was caused by his spikes catching in the wet, muddy ground. The result was that Ventura’s foot was pointed 180 degrees opposite of the way a foot is supposed to.

The injury took place only 10 days before the season opener, and the Sox were left in a state of shock.

GM Ron Schueler announced that the team would be looking for a replacement — and then did nothing to fill the void. The Sox stumbled out of the gate with an 8-18 start. Thankfully, after a rigorous rehabilitation process, Robin would be back to play in 54 games later that season and continue to have an outstanding major league career after he left the White Sox as a free agent.