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Today in White Sox History: December 31

A new Kid in town

Kid Gleason In The Dugout
Feisty Kid Gleason took over as manager of a talented White Sox team on this day, 104 years ago.
Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images

1918

Just one season removed from a (still) franchise-best 100 wins and World Series title, Charles Comiskey replaced manager Pants Rowland with Kid Gleason.

Rowland was known as a gentlemanly manager, supportive of players — in stark contrast to the fiery Gleason, who was nearly Rowland’s co-manager given all the advice he’d shared in the 1917 season. Pants was genuinely crushed by the dismissal, especially given that the 1918 season ended early (due to World War I) and he was left to twist for nearly four months before word of his firing.

Gleason, however, had already been hired and fired at least once by Comiskey. The rabblerousing coach first signed on with the White Sox in 1912, but was fired in 1915 — then brought back for the 1917 title run. However, Gleason and Comiskey were at odds, and Gleason sat out the 1918 season, as the star-depleted (war service) White Sox fell to fifth place in defending their title.

Gleason got off to a strong start as manager, winning the 1919 pennant before the Black Sox threw the 1919 World Series. Over his five seasons as skipper, Gleason scored a .519 winning percentage (12th-best in club history) and 392 wins (ninth).