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Today in White Sox History: November 27

Good deals, bad deals, an award — and a bizarre injury

Gary Peters capped a miracle season with Rookie of the Year honors, won over teammate Pete Ward on this day 59 years ago.
Lawrence Journal-World


White Sox star pitcher Monty Stratton, an American League All-Star in 1937 and one of the best young players in the game, accidentally shot himself in the leg when his .32 caliber pistol discharged when he was replacing it in his holster. Stratton had been out hunting. Unable to get help, he crawled a half-mile to a road leading into Greenville, Texas. The bullet pierced a femoral artery, which stopped circulation to the limb, necessitating amputation. His four-year career ended. He eventually came back to play in a few minor league games using a wooden leg.

In 1948 Hollywood made The Stratton Story, starring Jimmy Stewart, June Allyson and Stratton’s manager with the White Sox, Jimmy Dykes.


Another one of Frank Lane’s great deals was struck when the GM sent catcher Gus Niarhos, pitcher Dick Littlefield, first baseman Gordon Goldsberry, shortstop Joe DeMaestri and outfield Jim Rivera to the St. Louis Browns for pitcher Al Widmar, infielder Tom Upton and catcher Sherm Lollar. Lollar would become a three-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove-winner.

Rivera was a favorite of Browns manager Rogers Hornsby, but Jungle Jim was reacquired by the White Sox the next July. Widmar would pitch just one game with the White Sox, the last of his career, but Lollar and Rivera would remain with the club through the early 1960s.


In a bizarre coincidence, both Minnie Miñoso and Joe Cunningham were at the same sports banquet in Joliet when word came that the White Sox and Cardinals had made a trade — and the deal was Miñoso for Cunningham!

In 1962, Joe would reach base 268 times and lead the Sox in walks, runs, sacrifice flies and bunts. He hit .295 and drove in 70 runs.

In July 1964, Cunningham was sent to the Senators as part of a deal bringing Bill “Moose” Skowron to the Sox.


He had a spectacular 1963 season, and because of it White Sox star southpaw Gary Peters was named the American League Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Peters went 19-8 with a 2.33 ERA (AL-best among starting pitchers), and had 189 strikeouts in 243 innings pitched. He won 11 straight games at one point, an AL rookie record). He also hit .259, with three home runs and 12 RBIs. Peters would go on to win 20 games in 1964, lead the league in ERA in 1966 and make the All-Star team twice.

Peters got 10 of 20 first-place votes, beating out his teammate, power-hitting third baseman Pete Ward. Ward, who would be named American League Rookie of the Year by The Sporting News, hit .295 with 22 home runs, 84 RBIs and had 177 hits in 1963. Ward got six first-place votes among the baseball writers, while Jimmy Hall of the Twins got the final four votes.


It was a move criticized at the time, as White Sox GM Roland Hemond sent outfielder Chet Lemon to the Tigers for outfielder Steve Kemp.

The swap of All-Stars left Sox fans shaking their heads, because Kemp would become a free agent after the upcoming season. He’d eventually sign a big-money contract with the Yankees after knocking in 98 runs for the Sox.

However, what wasn’t known at the time was that the Sox weren’t going to re-sign Lemon, either. Lemon had agreed on a contract extension with the White Sox, but refused to sign it after the Sox signed Carlton Fisk for more money than they had agreed to give Lemon. While Chet later admitted regret over the prideful move, he was a core piece of the brilliant, World Series-winning 1984 Tigers and spent a success 1980s in Detroit.