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Today in White Sox History: August 23

The first batting helmet makes its debut — on a South Sider

Already in line for cataract surgery after the season due to blurred vision, Jackie Hayes became an equipment pioneer on this day, 82 years ago.


The Sox beat Washington, 4-1, for their 19th straight win, a franchise record that still stands. Roy Patterson picked up the win. It ended up being (tied for) the longest American League winning streak of the 20th Century.

This was the streak that propelled the Sox into a position to take the AL pennant and eventually the World Series crown. During the run, the White Sox beat Boston six times, Philadelphia five times, New York seven times and Washington once.


Already suffering from blurred vision, and with beanballs running rampant, White Sox second baseman Jackie Hayes created prototype protection (basically, an ear-flap), to become the first MLB batter to wear a batting helmet.

Hayes was able to play in just nine games (mostly as a late-game defensive replacement) before August 21, when he started and got through his first complete game of the season. In his next start, on this day, Hayes went 1-for-7 with two strikeouts in Chicago’s 3-2 loss in 13 innings at Washington. He played in seven more games in 1940, with six starts, ending the final year of his career with a .195 average and .476 OPS.

In his nine seasons on the South Side, Hayes earned 6.1 WAR with a .672 career OPS.


Nellie Fox had quite the day for the White Sox, with seven straight hits in a doubleheader sweep at New York. Nellie had a single to center in the first inning, an RBI single to left in the second to put the White Sox up 3-0, a single to center in the fourth, an RBI single to enter in the sixth to put the White Sox up 5-2, and a two-RBI triple to right field in the eighth to put the White Sox up 8-2 in an eventual 8-3 win. Fox also swiped two bases in the game.

Even in late August, Fox’s flurry raised his batting average seven points, to .312. All five of the hits in the opener were off of losing pitcher Don Larsen. Six weeks later, Larsen would throw the only perfect game in World Series history.

In the nightcap, Fox stayed hot, with singles to center in both the first and second innings, giving him seven straight hits in what would end as a 2-for-5 game.

Fox’s amazing performance actually ended at eight straight hits overall, as he ended his day in August 22’s loss to Boston with a single in the ninth inning.


White Sox slugger Dick Allen made history again. He slammed a pitch from the Yankees Lindy McDaniel into the center-field bleachers, directly under the scoreboard at Comiskey Park, becoming the first Sox player to ever do this. It came in the seventh inning with a man on base.

White Sox announcer Harry Caray, who was broadcasting the game from that area, nearly caught the ball in the fishing net that he kept with him for just such an occasion. The Sox won, 5-2.


Manager Tony La Russa moved Mike Squires (normally a first baseman) to third base in the eighth inning of a 10-2 loss to the Royals. Squires was left-handed! It was the first time in at least 50 years a lefthander had played that position in a major league game. Squires faced three batters from that spot without handling any chances. Twice, Mike played left-handed catcher for an inning as well.


White Sox third baseman Joe Crede hit the 1,000th home run at the new Comiskey Park (now Guaranteed Rate Field), when he put one into the seats off of former Sox pitcher Tanyon Sturtze during an 8-2 loss to the Devil Rays.


In an excruciating game in Minnesota, Chicago’s Freddy García tossed a complete game one-hitter — and lost, 1-0. The only mistake he made was allowing a home run to Jacque Jones leading off the eighth inning.


White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, a mainstay for the team since being acquired in a trade before the start of the 1999 season, collected his 2,000th career hit in a 5-4 loss to the Angels in Anaheim. The hit was a single that tied the game, 4-4. All but 48 of Konerko’s 2,000 hits had come with the White Sox; he’d finish with 2,340 hits over his 18-year career.