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Today in White Sox History: April 17

Firsts for Harold Baines and Luis Aparicio, a last for Ron Kittle

Sports Contributor Archive 2018
41 years ago today came the first of 2,866 hits for White Sox legend Harold Baines.
Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images


The world championship season began in Detroit with the White Sox beating the Tigers, 5-3. Frank Owen, who’d win 22 games that season, picked up the victory. Just three days short of six months later, the Sox would close out the Cubs, winning the only all-Chicago World Series, in six games.


The “Golden Age” of White Sox baseball was born, as on Opening Day the White Sox destroyed the St. Louis Browns, 17-3. New manager Paul Richards emphasized pitching, defense and speed, and under two more managers to come the Sox would do it well enough to have 17 consecutive winning seasons — the fourth-longest streak in MLB history.


In front of newly elected Mayor (and renown White Sox fan) Richard J. Daley, rookie Luis Aparicio collected his first major league hit. It came off of Cleveland’s Bob Lemon and helped set up the winning run in Chicago’s 2-1 Opening Day victory. Aparicio would be named Rookie of the Year, and after an 18-year career would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984. Lemon would be named White Sox manager in 1977.


Future White Sox star Harold Baines collected his first major league hit. It came off of Yankees pitcher Mike Griffin in New York. Baines would have an outstanding career, with 2,866 hits. His No. 3 was retired by the team in 1989, when he was traded to Texas. Baines made the Hall of Fame in 2019.


On a cold, miserable night in Chicago, Ron Kittle would connect for a rooftop home run off of Boston’s Rob Murphy. It was Kittle’s seventh roof top shot, the most by any player in the history of the original Comiskey Park. It was also the last rooftop home run in the park’s history. The White Sox would win the game, 2-1.