In an unexpected move the White Sox named “The Brat” (Eddie Stanky) as the team’s new manager, replacing the retired Al Lopez. Stanky was an intense, obsessed man — the 60’s managerial version of Billy Martin or Earl Weaver.
Stanky knew baseball and was a genius with tactical decisions, but he was also extremely unpopular with many of his players. He imposed a curfew, dress code and a rigorous calisthenics program on the team. He would fine players (or bench them) every time they weren’t able to lay down a bunt, hit a sacrifice fly or advance runners into scoring position. He offered a new suit of clothes for any pitcher who threw a complete game with at least a certain number of ground ball outs. For stolen bases or advancing into scoring position, a player would get a new pair of dress shoes.
He’d have winning seasons in 1966 and 1967, nearly taking the pennant, but by early 1968 his act had grown old and he was fired, to be replaced by ... Al Lopez!
The White Sox traded former Cy Young winner Jack McDowell to the Yankees for minor-leaguer Keith Heberling and a player to be named later (the next April, New York sent outfielder Lyle Mouton as the PTBNL).
McDowell was the most successful pitcher in the American League between 1990 and 1994, winning a total of 73 games. He won 20 or more games twice in that span, making the All-Star team three times.
The move, which left the Sox pitching staff without its leader, proved very costly during the 1996 wild card collapse, and was done purely for financial reasons related to the labor situation that cost the team the last two months of the 1994 season.
While McDowell would be out of baseball by the turn of the century, he was still at his peak at the time of the trade, and put up 4.0 WAR for the Yankees in 1995.
Phase 1 of the destined-to-fail Project Machado is executed, as the White Sox send outfielder Alex Call to Cleveland for first baseman Yonder Alonso.
Alonso was a disaster in Chicago, putting up -1.0 WAR in just 67 games, in what amounted to a $5 million whiff.
Worse, the acquisition of Alonso (and later, outfielder Jon Jay) were widely-regarded solely as moves made not to help the roster, but to attract superstar Manny Machado in free agency (Alonso is Machado’s brother-in-law, Jay his close friend).
The odd effort ended in failure, as in the 11th hour the San Diego Padres outbid Chicago for Machado’s services and left the White Sox with two subpar, immovable pieces on their roster.