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Today in White Sox History: April 2

Two items today — 121 years apart!

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Los Angeles Angels
Yermín Mercedes (upper left) had an amazing debut a year ago today, going 5-for-5 and scoring on this José Abreu grand slam during a 12-8 win at the Angels.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports


The White Sox played their first-ever game, an exhibition win over the University of Illinois baseball team, 10-9.

That season, the American League wasn’t considered a major league (the AL would band together with the National League to form MLB in 1901). However, the White Sox would win the AL’s first pennant on September 12, when they beat the Cleveland Blues. 12-4.


Now THIS is how you make a debut!

White Sox DH Yermín Mercedes had more than 2,000 minor league at-bats before finally making an Opening Day roster in the majors. On this night in Anaheim, he had a sensational start, going 5-for-5, with four RBIs in the 12-8 win. Mercedes had four singles and a double in the game.

The last time a rookie had five hits in his first game in the big leagues took place in 1933, when Cecil Travis of the Senators did it. Before Travis, Fred Clarke had gotten five hits in his first game as well — but Mercedes became the only player in history to go a perfect 5-for-5 in his debut.

Mercedes would go on to have 12 hits in his first four games, setting a modern major league record, and be named American League Player of the Week.