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Today in White Sox History: June 4

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A chili dog becomes a part of South Side lore

A customer with two hot dogs with chili
A chili dog became part of White Sox lore on this day, 49 years ago.
STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images

1959

The 1959 season was filled with marathon games for the White Sox. This was the first one that went at least 17 innings, and all took place against Baltimore. In this game Earl Torgeson’s solo home run in the last of the 17th was the difference in Chicago’s 6-5 win at Comiskey Park. Bob Shaw pitched five relief innings to get the victory.


1972

It is forever known as the “Chili Dog Game.” In the second game of a doubleheader against the Yankees, White Sox manager Chuck Tanner wanted Dick Allen to be ready to pinch-hit in the last of the ninth inning if needed. Allen at the time was wolfing down a chili dog because he had played in the first game, was sitting out the nightcap, and was hungry. He quickly had to put on a uniform, getting the last of the chili dog all over the top of it — forcing the clubhouse boys to give him a new, clean jersey.

With two men on and the Sox losing, 4-2, Allen was called to hit. On the third pitch from future Sox relief pitcher Sparky Lyle, Allen deposited the ball into the left-field lower deck, for a 5-4 win and a sweep of the twin bill.

As a side note, future sportscaster Keith Olbermann, a Yankees fan, wrote about listening to this game in his book that he co-authored with Dan Patrick. Olbermann wrote that when Allen hit the home run, he threw his radio out of the second-floor window of his parents’ house.


1973

White Sox pitching ace Wilbur Wood appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. At the time it looked like Wood was on his way to 30 wins, given he already had 13 before June 1. The headline read, “Wizard With A Knuckler.”

But because of a massive number of injuries to the team, Wood would “only” finish with 24 wins. He started 48 times, had an ERA of 3.46 and threw an incredible 359 innings. The Sox that year wound up using the injured list 38 times.


1977

In a game at Comiskey Park versus the Yankees, Richie Zisk hit a rooftop home run near the left field line off of Don Gullett. He became the seventh Sox player to do this. Unfortunately the Sox would lose the game, 8-6.

[Absolutely ancillary bonus factoid: This is the first game SSS managing editor Brett Ballantini ever attended, and he can still picture that ball rising up toward the roof and simply ... disappearing.]