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Today in White Sox History: January 7

The Hall comes calling for Hoyt and Tom Terrific ... but cheats a South Side legend out of enshrinement.

Chicago White Sox v Detroit Tigers
Imagine trying to hit Hoyt Wilhelm’s knuckleball as it spins out of this darkness.
Diamond Images/Getty Images
Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to


Former White Sox reliever Hoyt Wilhelm was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, garnering 83.8% of the vote in his eighth year on the ballot. In the previous election of 1984, Wilhelm had fallen just 13 votes shy of enshrinement, with 72% of the vote. Wilhelm pitched six full seasons for the White Sox, the most time logged with any of the knuckleballer’s nine franchises. He had a career 16.3 WAR with the White Sox, along with a 1.97 ERA, 99 saves and a 0.935 WHIP.

Future White Sox broadcaster Lou Brock was also elected with Wilhelm.

More controversially, Nellie Fox missed election on his 15th year on the ballot because the BBWAA and Hall of Fame decided not to round up his 74.7% to the needed 75% mark. Fox was named on 295 ballots, but needed a 296th vote to make it. Fox would eventually be enshrined in the Hall of Fame on his first Veteran’s Committee ballot, in 1997.


Tom Seaver was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, earning 98.8% of the vote. Just five of 430 voters neglected to vote for Tom Terrific, giving him the highest election percentage in Hall of Fame history at the time.

Seaver pitched two-and-a-half seasons on the South Side, recording 9.7 WAR from age 39-41.

Reliever Rollie Fingers would join Seaver at the Hall of Fame induction that year.