As a response to the Black Sox scandal that saw members of the White Sox throw the World Series in 1919, baseball owners unanimously elected Kenesaw Mountain Landis as the first baseball commissioner. Landis, a White Sox fan, took the job while insisting that he be given final authority over the players and owners.
Despite the acquittal of the Black Sox of any wrongdoing by a Chicago jury on Aug. 2, 1921, Landis banned all eight players from the game, permanently, in a statement made the very next day, August 3.
He helped lead the White Sox to their first pennant in 40 years, and because of his contributions on the field and in the clubhouse Nellie Fox became the first member of the franchise to be named American League MVP.
Fox hit .306 that year with 191 hits, 34 doubles, 70 RBIs and 71 walks (as compared to only 13 strikeouts!) Fox also led the league in putouts, assists, total chances and fielding percentage for all second basemen. He also was named to the All-Star team.
Nellie got 16 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America, and beat out teammate Luis Aparicio, 295 points to 255. Pitcher Early Wynn, who’d win the Cy Young that season, finished third — giving the Sox the top three spots in the final voting.
It was a very strange baseball season but one thing that didn’t change was the excellence of White Sox first baseman José Abreu. From start to finish of the abbreviated, 60-game season, the big slugger produced and because of that he was named the American League MVP by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Abreu finished with 374 total points, beating out Cleveland’s José Ramírez. He became the fourth White Sox MVP, joining Frank Thomas (1993-94), Dick Allen (1972) and Nellie Fox (1959).
Abreu’s 60 RBIs over 60 games led the AL for a second consecutive season. He finished second with 19 home runs, and fourth with a .317 batting average. He also ranked fifth with a .987 OPS, and was the only AL player to rank in the Top 5 in hits (76, first), RBIs, slugging percentage (.617, first), extra-base hits (34, first), total bases (148, first), home runs, average and OPS. A highlight of his season was six home runs in a three-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, including four straight over two games.