The worst White Sox team in history began their forgettable season by getting pounded, 12-0, at home by the Twins. Starting pitcher Tommy John only lasted into the fifth inning. The Sox would go on to lose a franchise-record 106 games.
A’s owner Charlie Finley got the first regularly-scheduled Opening Day doubleheader in history, but was stunned when the White Sox swept Oakland, 6-5 and 12-4.
Tommy John and Bart Johnson were the winning pitchers. The Sox clubbed five home runs on the day, including a grand slam by Bill Melton. It should have been six homers, but Carlos May somehow missed touching home plate on his blast. (The A’s picked up on it, and tagged him out when he was sitting in the dugout. It went as a triple in the scorebooks.)
This was also Harry Caray’s first regular season game in the booth for the White Sox, although at the time not a whole lot of folks could hear him. Three straight awful years caused the Sox to lose their radio contract with any mainstream Chicago station. For the next two years, games were broadcast on WTAQ (LaGrange) and WEAW (Evanston), two low-powered stations, along with other smaller stations throughout the area.
On Opening Day in Texas, Mike Andrews became the first White Sox DH, hitting sixth in the lineup. He went 1-for-3 in a 3-1 win behind Wilbur Wood. Andrews got off to such a blazing start that Sports Illustrated wound up doing a story on him in his role as DH. He was hitting better than .300 through mid-May, but then reality set in. Andrews was released by the team in August after refusing to sign a contract extension, and he’d wind up with the A’s for the remainder of the season.
The White Sox introduced American League baseball to Canada, as they played the first-ever game in Toronto Blue Jays history. The Jays outslugged the Sox in a snowstorm at Exhibition Stadium to win, 9-5.
But for the White Sox would be on to something much bigger, in slugging out five runs in the snow: The South Side Hit Men were born.
Detroit’s Jack Morris threw the last no-hitter at the original Comiskey Park when he shut down the White Sox, 4-0, on the NBC Saturday “Game of the Week.” The Sox had their chances, including loading the bases on walks in the fourth inning with nobody out, but could never get the key hit.
For the White Sox, they’d be on to something just as bad, following up a 99-win, division-winning season with a flat, under-.500 campaign.
On his first swing of the season, future Hall-of-Famer Carlton Fisk would blast the final home run of his career. It would come off of Minnesota’s Jim Deshaies in the third inning, the only run scored by the White Sox in a 6-1 loss. Fisk would be released by the Sox in June.
In the annual “Crosstown Classic” charity game between the White Sox and Cubs, Michael Jordan wrote his name into Sox lore. His double in the late innings tied the game and prevented the Sox from losing for the first time in this series. The game would end in a tie.
The Sox would go 10-0-2 in this series, which lasted from 1985-95. (Two games were played in 1995.)