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Today in White Sox History: January 20

Several stars arrive in Chicago, on a busy transactions day.

Art Shires of the Chicago White Sox
Art Shires could hit — just not in the way you’d expect.
George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images


No, you’re right, you wouldn’t think you’d have to make it clear that major leaguers shouldn’t box in the offseason. But because of the brawling (inside and out of the ring) of White Sox first baseman Art Shires, commissioner Kenesaw Landis banned any player from boxing. Shires had issued a challenge to Cubs star Hack Wilson, and had previously fought a number of fights. His one known fight was a five-round loss to Chicago Bears center George “the Brute” Trafton, but Shires has such a reputation that at the time of Landis’ ban Shires had been suspended by the boxing commissions of 32 states. In an unofficial bout, Shires knocked out White Sox manager Lena Blackburne in 1929.

Shires put up 1.5 WAR for the White Sox in 1929, but was dealt to the Washington Senators in June 1930.


Another big deal was pulled off by White Sox GM Ed Short to continue the franchise’s streak of winning seasons. Chicago was part of a three-team trade with Cleveland and the Athletics. When all was said and done, the White Sox sent catcher Cam Carreon to Cleveland and outfielders Jim Landis and Mike Hershberger, and a player to be named later (pitcher Fred Talbot) to K.C.

In return, Cleveland sent the White Sox power-hitting catcher Johnny Romano, pitcher Tommy John and outfielder Tommie Agee. The White Sox flipped Rocky Colavito from the Athletics to Cleveland, where the fan base had been up in arms since the popular outfielder had been dealt away five years earlier.

Agee would be named Rookie of the Year in 1966, when he became the first Sox player ever with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a season.

John would join Chicago’s brilliant starting rotation, making the All-Star team for the first time in 1968. He won 82 games in seven years on the South Side, three times posting an ERA of less than three. His trade to the Dodgers at the winter meetings in 1971 netted the Sox Dick Allen.

Romano wasn’t a slouch, either; in his second stint with the club, he banged out 33 home runs in two seasons before being traded.

Colavito would eventually see some time on the South Side, acquired by the White Sox in 1967.


Once again White Sox GM Roland Hemond used the free agent compensation rule to his advantage, plucking future Hall-of-Famer Tom Seaver from the Mets. The White Sox had earned a compensation pick after losing Dennis Lamp to the Toronto Blue Jays in free agency. The Mets were short-sighted, thinking no team would want the unprotected Seaver, at age 39 and coming off of a 9-14, 3.55 ERA season.

In his two full years in Chicago Seaver would win 31 games, including his 300th overall on Aug. 4, 1985 against the Yankees. In both full seasons he’d also throw more than 236 innings, averaging 132 strikeouts and having an ERA both times of less than four. In 1985, Seaver’s ERA was 3.17.

Tom had to be convinced to join the Sox. It took co-owners Eddie Einhorn and Jerry Reinsdorf going to his hotel room at the Winter Meetings after they selected him to talk with him face-to-face before he agreed. But before Seaver let the pair in, he asked to see their ID’s — he had never met them before!


The White Sox signed mercurial superutilityman Tony Phillips to a two-year, $4.3 million deal. The 37-year-old, signed to play left field after the White Sox had traded Tim Raines to the Yankees in December, had a tempestuous time on the South Side. He put up 3.3 WAR in 1996 before faltering and being traded to the Angels during the 1997 season.