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Today in White Sox History: July 4

Tony La Russa gets his call-up to the majors

Portrait of Tony LaRussa
On this day in 1978, White Sox manager Larry Doby called minors manager Tony La Russa up to the big club to become his first base coach.


Bill Veeck’s exploding scoreboard was featured in a night shot on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The headine read: Fireworks at Comiskey Park.


During the 1960s the White Sox were synonymous with outstanding pitching ... pitching that was the envy of most of Major League Baseball, excluding only, perhaps, the Dodgers. The best example of this came during two days in Chicago over the Fourth of July holiday.

In a time span of roughly 28 hours, the White Sox threw three straight shutouts against Cleveland. On the Fourth of July itself, Gary Peters blanked the Tribe on three hits, winning 4-0. In the Sunday doubleheader it was Juan Pizarro tossing a seven-hitter in the opener, winning, 2-0. Then in the nightcap it was Joe Horlen with a 5-0 blanking, on four hits. In 27 innings, Cleveland managed no runs on 14 hits. Now that’s pitching!!!


White Sox catcher Ed Herrmann was involved in three double plays, which tied the record for most involving a catcher in a single game. He tied former teammate J.C. Martin for the honor. The three included Herrmann in the middle of a pitcher-catcher-first base double play, a strike out-throw out stealing twin killing, and a thrown out at home, thrown out at second double play. The Sox turned five double plays against Baltimore — but lost, 2-1!


At the urging of manager Larry Doby, the White Sox brought up Tony La Russa to become the club’s new first base coach. La Russa cut his teeth managing with success in the minor leagues, and was deemed ready by Doby and others to take the next step.

La Russa would go on to lead the Sox to the 1983 Western Division title and then win numerous pennants and championships as a manager of the A’s and Cardinals. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014 with 2,728 wins over 33 seasons.

In 2021, he came out of retirement to lead the White Sox, and move into second place all-time on the managerial wins list.


Ray Durham and José Valentín led off the White Sox half of the first inning in Kansas City with back-to-back home runs. It was the second time in team history a game started that way, and the first since 1937. The game also marked the major league debut for Jon Garland, who only lasted three innings in a 10-7 loss.

It was the end of a 12-game road winning streak. The last 10 of those 12 road wins came against teams with records of at least .500, making the White Sox the only team since 1900 to accomplish that feat.