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Today in White Sox History: January 3

Ol’ Aches and Pains is in the Army now.

Luke Appling 1940
On this day 78 years ago, Luke Appling reported for Army basic training at age 36, thinking his major league career was over.


Sydney Cricket Ground was part of history, as the White Sox beat the Giants, 5-4, as the World Tour continued. Some 10,000 fans attended.

It would be 100 years before the majors returned to Australia, when the Dodgers and Diamondbacks opened the 2014 season at the Ground.


Shortstop Luke Appling, who at age 36 led the AL in hitting (.328) and on-base (.419) in the prior season and logged the highest MVP finish (second) of his career, was inducted into the Army at Camp Lee, Va. At the time, Appling felt his playing career was over — or would be, after military service.

Appling was away from the majors for almost two seasons. He returned to the White Sox in September 1945, at age 38, and his .368 over 18 games. He would play four more full seasons for the White Sox, hitting better than .300 in each; Appling was a 20.8 WAR player after returning from service.

Interestingly, this was also the day that Appling passed away, at age 83. At the time, he was still a hitting instructor in the Atlanta Braves system.


The White Sox acquired Nick Swisher from the Oakland A’s for Gio González, Ryan Sweeney and Fautino De Los Santos. Swisher was a -0.2 WAR player in his sole season on the South Side, while González put up 6.7 WAR and Sweeney 6.2 over their four seasons for the A’s. It remains one of GM Ken Williams’ very worst trades.