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Today in White Sox History: January 28

A rare 1950s misstep for the front office brought in Ferris Fain, to no avail.

Ferris Fain Holding Bat
Manager Paul Richards didn’t want him, but Ferris Fain came to town on this day, 69 years ago, as the centerpiece of a five-player deal.

1901

The American League moves from minor-league status to the majors, admitting the Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia A’s and Boston Americans to join the existing Washington Nationals, Cleveland Blues, Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago White Sox. Three clubs (Indianapolis, Buffalo and Minneapolis) are cut from the AL. The league will play a 140-game schedule in 1901 and commences a raid on National League talent.

The White Sox had won the final Western League pennant, in 1900, and would finish first in the American League in 1901, with an 83-53-1. Both pennants ended the White Sox seasons, as there was no World Series in those years.


1953

Sometimes, Frank Lane made one too many trades, and this time it came over the objection of manager Paul Richards. This was one of those deals that seemed to be too good to be true, and turned out to be the case, as the White Sox acquired two-time American League batting champ Ferris “Burrhead” Fain from the Philadelphia A’s as part of a five-player deal. Fain and minor-leaguer Bobby Wilson cost the White Sox slugger Eddie Robinson, shortstop Joe DeMaestri and center fielder Ed McGhee.

Fain never came close to winning a batting title in Chicago, was a distraction off the field, was injured, and was rumored to have gotten into a fight with second baseman Nellie Fox that resulted in injuries. Lockers were supposedly pushed on top of Fox during the altercation and he was pinned underneath them. The fight was thought to have taken place after a game in Washington D.C. against the Senators.

Fain’s seasons in Chicago featured two All-Star appearances, but a lot of disappointment. The first baseman was packaged off to Detroit in a multi-player deal after the 1954 season, and the 1955 campaign would be his last.