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Today in White Sox History: March 9

A sad day, commemorating a gruesome incident that amazingly did not derail a heroic career

1924 Tour of England Mostil and Gowdy
Wembley Stadium in London is the site for a demonstration baseball game, during the second leg of a post season tour for the New York Giants and the Chicago White Sox in late October of 1924. Johnny Mostil of the White Sox is taking batting practice with the Giants’ Hank Gowdy catching.
Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images


Popular White Sox outfielder Johnny Mostil attempted suicide in a hotel room in Shreveport, La. Despite razor cuts to his wrist, neck and chest, Mostil survived and returned to the team in April, although he’d only play in 13 games that season.

Mostil suffered a number of injuries in his career, and had severe dental issues and neuritis in his jaw and shoulder; neuritis is an inflamed nerve condition, resulting in sharp and chronic pain, like burning, itching, tingling and prickling. Given the severity of this attempt — and the fact that Mostil plunged his hand into scalding water during his rehab, delaying his return to the White Sox — it’s safe to assume that the star was simply trying to end significant suffering, suffering that the medicine of his time could not help him soothe.

In 10 years with the team, Mostil would hit better than .300 four times, and in two other years, he’d bat over .290. His 23.8 bWAR ranks 20th among batters, and 33rd among all players, in White Sox history.

After his career, Mostil was a longtime White Sox scout/coach. He helped develop future players like All-Star and Gold Glove-winning outfielder Jim Landis.