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Today in White Sox History: September 9

Forfeits, the mob, and obscene gestures!

Al Capone at Charity Ballgame
The Cubs’ Gabby Hartnett signs a ball for Al Capone’s son [middle]. Capone is on the right, with his bodyguards behind him, in white hats.


It’s the only time the White Sox have ever won a forfeited game. In Chicago, Cleveland protested a close interference call that went against them in the top of the 10th inning of a tie game.

When they took the field in the last of the inning, Cleveland players threw their gloves in the air, some rolled around in the dirt, and catcher Steve O’Neill deliberately threw a ball into center field. Umpire Clarence “Brick” Owens had enough and declared the game won by the Sox.


At the cross-city exhibition game between the White Sox and Cubs at Comiskey Park an infamous fan sat along the White Sox side of the field, in the front row. The fan was Al Capone, the head of the largest crime syndicate in Chicago (known as the “Chicago Outfit”). Capone took in the game with his son and a number of bodyguards who were seated directly behind them. They were part of a crowd of almost 35,000. The game was to benefit an unemployment relief fund established by Illinois governor Louis L. Emmerson, as the Great Depression strengthened its grip on the country.

Less than a month later, Capone went to trial on income tax evasion charges, was found guilty, and sent to prison.


The White Sox Express roared on, crushing former Sox great Tommy John and the Angels, 11-0. What was significant in this one was, for the first time in team history, the team hammered back-to-back-to-back home runs, courtesy of Carlton Fisk, Tom Paciorek, and Greg Luzinski in the first inning.

Not to be outdone, pitcher Britt Burns threw a one-hitter. Outfielder Mike Brown’s two-out single in the seventh inning was Burns’ only mistake.


With one move, White Sox manager Jerry Manuel perhaps cost his team a postseason playoff berth and eventually led himself to be fired.

In a game the Sox were leading Minnesota, 8-2, in the ninth inning, Manuel brought in relief pitcher José Paniagua to get some work in. The Sox had a one-game lead over the Twins, and this was the second of a four-game series at U.S. Cellular Field.

Paniagua allowed four runs, giving Minnesota momentum even though they’d lose, 8-6. The Twins promptly won the final two games, swept the Sox the following week in Minnesota, and won the second of three consecutive divisional titles.

Paniagua, as he was leaving the field, made an obscene gesture at the home plate umpire and was released by GM Ken Williams later that evening. Manuel’s dismissal would come a few weeks later.

There has always been debate over the impact of this incident in the divisional race, but Twins players have been quoted as saying it was a difference-maker.


White Sox slugger José Abreu became only the sixth player in franchise history to hit for the cycle, in a 13-1 rout of the Giants. José had a home run, double, single and triple, going 4-for-5 with three runs and three RBIs.