New White Sox GM Frank “Trader” Lane made his first deal, and it was a beauty. Lane traded backup catcher Aaron Robinson to the Tigers for a young, left-handed pitcher named Billy Pierce.
Pierce would become arguably the finest lefthander in White Sox history. He won 186 games in a Sox uniform with two 20-win seasons, seven All-Star selections and four one-hitters. He led the AL in various seasons in wins, complete games, ERA and strikeouts. He was the first Chicago athlete to be put on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which happened in May 1957. He also was on the cover of Sport magazine later that same year.
By WAR, Billy was considered the best pitcher in baseball for the decade of the 1950s.
Frank Thomas won his first MVP on the strength of a .317 batting average with 41 home runs and 128 RBIs. The Big Hurt was a large reason the White Sox would win the Western Division championship. Even rarer, his winning the award was by a unanimous vote of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Paul Molitor was a distant second.
Thomas would repeat winning the award in 1994.
White Sox slugger José Abreu was named the unanimous winner by the Baseball Writers Association of America as the AL Rookie of the Year for 2014. He got all 30 votes on the basis of a spectacular first season in the major leagues: a .317 average with 36 home runs and 107 RBIs. He led the majors in slugging percentage as well.
Pitcher Matt Shoemaker of the Angels was second.
Liam Hendriks was named the winner of the American League Reliever of the Year Award. The 31-year-old Hendriks signed with the White Sox as a free agent after the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, coming from the Oakland A’s, and more than lived up to his contract in 2021. He had a 2.54 ERA and an incredible 113 strikeouts against only seven walks in 71 innings. He led the league with 38 saves in 44 attempts.
Hendriks was the first Sox pitcher to win this award, which was instituted in 2014. But former White Sox pitchers like Eddie Fisher, Terry Forster, Rich “Goose” Gossage and Bobby Thigpen were also reliever award winners while they were playing.