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Today in White Sox History: June 3

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A bad break for Joe Cunningham spells doom for the 1963 ballclub

Joe Cunningham Smiling
A bad break knocked Joe Cunningham out of the lineup in 1963, and sent the White Sox reeling.

1963

With the White Sox in first place, another freak injury occurred that was reminiscent of past bizarre circumstances and costing the team dearly. First baseman Joe Cunningham, who hit .295 with 70 RBIs and 101 walks in 1962, broke his collarbone in Los Angeles running out a ground ball in the fifth inning.

Cunningham was trying to avoid stepping on Angels first baseman Charlie Dees’ foot, so he twisted and lost his balance, tripping over the bag and crashing down to the ground. It was a wild throw from second baseman Billy Moran that started the sequence.

Cunningham didn’t return until September. Tommy McCraw was called up to replace him, but just couldn’t fill the bill. The White Sox decline set in quickly after that, even though the club finished the season in second place at 94-68, 10 ½ games behind the Yankees.