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Today in White Sox History: December 17

New managers, and a new closer

Umpires with Clarence “Pants” Rowland and Joe Tinker
Pants Rowland (far right) was a surprise pick as White Sox manager, but swiftly steered the South Siders to a World Series title.
Chicago History Museum/Getty Images


Clarence “Pants” Rowland was named White Sox manager, replacing Jimmy Callahan after a 70-84-3, sixth-place season in 1914.

Rowland, who got his nickname from wearing oversized pants during his minor-league playing days, had been a minor league skipper for about a decade, without any particular distinction. It was somewhat of a surprise that owner Charles Comiskey tapped the manager of the Peoria Distillers to take over his up-and-coming White Sox team.

Rowland proved up to the task, improving the White Sox by 23 wins in 1915 (93-61-1) and a third-place finish. In 1916 Chicago crept closer to a pennant, finishing second. And in 1917, Rowland steered the club to a 100-win season — still the most ever by the franchise — and the World Series title.


Under new owner Bill Veeck, the Sox went retro with the naming of former manager Paul Richards as the new skipper, replacing Chuck Tanner, who was released to pursue the managing job in Oakland.

Richards was the man who turned around the White Sox in 1951, setting them on the start of 17 consecutive winning seasons. He was one of the smartest baseball men in the game, but it had been years since he was involved in the day-to-day operations of a franchise. Apparently, he didn’t even really want the job, agreeing to do it only as a favor to Veeck. Richards lasted one season in his second go-around, finishing 64-97 and in last place in 1976.

Years later, Tanner would reveal that Richards asked him to stay on as his third base coach with the promise of getting the manager’s job again in 1977, but Tanner got the A’s job. Four years later, Tanner won the World Series at the helm of the “We Are Family” Pittsburgh Pirates.


The White Sox claimed pitcher Bobby Jenks on waivers from the Angels. Jenks had an electric arm — along with a reputation as a reckless individual who wanted to party more than play baseball. Somehow the Sox found a way to reach him, as he was assigned to Double-A Birmingham in 2005 and was outstanding, earning 19 saves in 35 games with a 2.85 ERA. Sensing a possible need for a new closer given the struggles of Shingo Takatsu and Dustin Hermanson, Jenks skipped Triple-A for the Sox and arrived on the South Side on July 6, in a 7-2 win over the Rays. He proved a godsend down the stretch, then followed it up with 41 saves in 2006. Jenks remains second all-time in White Sox saves, with 173.