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Today in White Sox History: April 24

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In their first major league game, the South Siders score an easy win

Dick Donovan;Sherm Lollar
A tense mound meeting in 1955 helped assure Dick Donovan [right] his place in the White Sox rotation.
George Silk/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

1901

The White Sox played their first regular season game as part of the officially-recognized American League. In fact, it was the first game ever played in the league overall. They beat the Cleveland Blues, 8-2. Outfielder William Dummy” Hoy took the first White Sox at-bat.

Hoy was deaf and mute, and referred to himself by his nickname, correcting people who called him William. In order for Hoy to understand what the umpires were calling, the arbitrators came up with a series of hand signals indicating safe/out and ball/strike.

The ceremonial first ball, by the way, was supposed to be thrown out by Robert Burke, special counsel to the mayor of Chicago. Burke declined, however, stating that he was afraid the ball might get hit back to him. (True story!)


1955

In a game at Kansas City, White Sox starter Dick Donovan was hit early and often. When manager Marty Marion came out to take the ball from him, Donovan — showing his competitive spirit and concerned about a possible return trip to the minors — refused to give it up!

Marion had to reassure Dick that he’d remain in the rotation before Donovan would turn the ball over and leave the field. That season, he’d win 13 of 17 decisions before an emergency appendectomy felled him in late July.

That injury may have cost the White Sox the pennant, as Donovan wasn’t the same after the surgery and the Sox finished in third place, five games behind the Yankees at 91-63-1.