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Today in White Sox History: September 17

Two playoff clinches, 37 years apart.

Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox
It was a somewhat muted celebration during a somewhat muted season, but the White Sox clinched the playoffs one year ago today.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


The White Sox defeated the California Angels, 9-4, at Comiskey Park. An unusual event marked this game. All nine players in the White Sox lineup that night got one RBI — including pitcher Bart Johnson, who started, gave up eight hits, and struck out 12 in going the distance.


Before a packed house at Comiskey Park, Harold Baines hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Julio Cruz with the run that won the American League West title for the White Sox, as they edged Seattle, 4-3. The Sox went to the playoffs for the first time in 24 years, drew a then-record, season attendance of more than two million fans, and had the best record in baseball at 99-63. They’d win the division by a record 20 games over second-place Kansas City.


Harold Baines became the only player in White Sox history to have more than one game with three home runs.

Baines had his first three-homer game in July 1982. On this day at Minnesota, he’d club three more in a 7-3 win. with four RBIs.


The White Sox tied the club record for the most runs ever scored in the fifth inning of a game, when they sent 11 players home at Kansas City. In addition to the 11 runs, they also collected 10 hits and three homers (Danny Richar, Jermaine Dye and Josh Fields).

Richar, Jerry Owens and Fields all had two hits, and Fields drove in four runs in the inning. Four times the Sox have scored 11 runs in the fourth inning in their history — this was the final time it’s been done.


A most bizarre, strange, unusual and Twilight Zone-like pandemic season, the White Sox made the most of it clinching a spot in the expanded playoffs. The clinching game was a come-from-behind win to beat the Twins, 4-3, getting two runs in the seventh inning. The win ran the Sox record to 33-17, best in the American League at the time, and put them in position to win their division for the first time since 2008 — the last time the franchise made the postseason.

However, the White Sox faltered down the stretch and ended the shortened season one game behind Minnesota.