A Chicago jury found the eight “Black Sox” players innocent of conspiring to commit fraud by virtue of fixing the 1919 World Series.
The players expected to return to the White Sox, but commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis permanently banished them — destroying the only team that could have kept pace with the Yankees throughout the 1920s.
The White Sox and Senators completed a trade, as infielders Tim Cullen and Ron Hansen were exchanged. Why was this notable? Because the same two players were traded for each other, by the same two clubs, on February 13th! Cullen and Hansen even wore the same uniform number with the White Sox!
Tony La Russa replaced Don Kessinger as White Sox manager. The Tampa native, who had passed the bar exam in Florida, was only 35 years old. He remained White Sox manager until June 1986. La Russa posted winning records in 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1985, and won the Western Division in the 1983 season.
La Russa was fired because of basic conflicts on how the team should be run by GM Ken “Hawk” Harrelson. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf later publicly admitted letting La Russa go was one of the worst mistakes he ever made, and he’d eventually correct it by getting La Russa out of retirement to come back as manager for the 2021 season.
An incredible weekend in New York started with perhaps the most unusual play in White Sox history.
As a national TV audience watched on NBC, and with pitcher Britt Burns on the mound, Rickey Henderson slammed a double to left-center, over the head of outfielder Luis Salazar. Yankees base runners Bobby Meacham and Dale Berra got confused and hesitated, because it looked like Salazar might have been able to make the catch.
Meacham stumbled running the bases and was nearly passed by Berra. Both runners attempted to score as Salazar’s throw was caught by shortstop Ozzie Guillén and relayed to Carlton Fisk at the plate. Fisk then tagged out and knocked down BOTH Meacham and Berra in rapid succession as they attempted to score.
That’s two for the price of one at home plate!
To cap things off, the Sox won the game, 6-5, in 11 innings.
In the first game of a doubleheader, first baseman Frank Thomas made his major league debut in Milwaukee. The greatest hitter in franchise history went 0-for-4 in his first game. The next night, Frank narrowly missed a home run in the seventh inning when his line shot hit the top of the wall in right field and went for a triple, for his first major League hit. The WHite Sox would sweep five games from the Brewers that weekend.
A bit of trivia; when Thomas came up with the Sox, he did not wear No. 35. His first number was No. 15.
When White Sox outfielder Charlie Tilson was helped off the field in Detroit he became, incredibly, the fourth player making his major league debut for the club to be injured and not be able to finish the game that season. Catcher Kevan Smith injured his back in pregame warmups and was placed on the injured list, outfielder Jason Coats suffered a cut lip and a mild concussion after a collision, and infielder Matt Davidson broke a bone in his foot running the bases and was placed on the injured list. Tilson tore his left hamstring in this game, also heading to the IL.