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Today in White Sox History: October 21

Happy birthday to the prize of the worst trade the South Siders ever made

Chicago White Sox v Oakland Athletics
Rapidly-deteriorating skills, along with skirmishes with management, saw George Bell (right) fall fast and out of the majors.
Focus on Sport/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 brettballantini@yahoo.com

1959

Let’s be clear, the George Bell trade was a terrible one for the White Sox regardless of how the guys he was traded for (Sammy Sosa and Ken Patterson) performed in their Cubs careers.

But let’s get the ugly out first: Sosa went on to earn 58.8 WAR with the Cubs, including an astounding 10.3 WAR season in 2001. He had seven top-10 MVP finishes — including winning the MVP in 1998 — and nine top-20 finishes overall. Now matter how we want to clown Sosa — and to be sure, he’s clownable — this was an atrocious trade.

In fact, by virtue of Bell being a negative-WAR player with the White Sox (yes, that’s right, two seasons totaling 38 homers and 176 RBIs don’t matter all that much when you’re a DH expected to do so, thus Bell’s career South Side WAR was -2.7, including a horrifying -2.5 in 1993), it would have been a bad trade if only Patterson (-0.6 WAR in his only Cubs season, 1992) was dealt for Bell.

In fact, part of the reason the White Sox had such sunny prospects for the ill-fated 1994 postseason was turning Bell’s -2.5 WAR at DH in 1993 into Julio Franco’s 3.0 WAR as DH in just 112 games in 1994.

But Bell had a solid pre-White Sox/Cubs career in Toronto, winning a gift MVP in 1987 (just 5.0 WAR, his best season, but ... 5.0 WAR MVP!) and had eight 20-homer seasons (including 1992 with the White Sox).

On this day in 1959, the man who cost the White Sox more than any other trade in their long history was born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic.