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Today in White Sox History: May 13

Debuts, and farewells.

In a career of firsts, Billy Pierce made a Chicago debut on this day, 65 years ago.
Richard Meek


White Sox pitcher Billy Pierce became the first member of the team (and the first Chicago athlete) to ever appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. In 1957, the year the magazine cover came out, Pierce went 20-12 with an ERA of 3.26. It was his second straight 20-win season.


White Sox pitcher Jim Kaat’s 12-game winning streak ended, losing 3-2 in Baltimore. Kaat had won his first five decisions in 1975 to follow his final seven decisions in 1974. He’d become a 20-game winner in both seasons, averaging 290 innings pitched. Kaat made the All-Star team in 1975.


SportsVision made its debut. The first pay cable service devoted exclusively to sports began operations with a game at Comiskey Park vs. Milwaukee. The service was the brainchild of White Sox co-owner Eddie Einhorn and while brilliant, was ahead of its time. The technology wasn’t there, and more importantly, fans weren’t ready to pay for something they had been getting for free all their lives. At its peak, roughly 20,000 fans subscribed to the channel.

The decision to go to a pay service caused popular announcer Harry Caray to bolt the team for the Cubs after 11 seasons on the South Side, despite a richer offer from the Sox. SportsVision, in its original version, lasted until the end of 1983, when it was sold to the Cablevision Company and turned into SportsChannel-Chicago.


With the A’s trailing the White Sox, 4-3, in the eighth inning, Coco Crisp attempted heroism by stealing home, with southpaw Matt Thornton pitching. Crisp failed, with A.J. Pierzynski applying the tag, as the White Sox end up winning by the same one-run margin.