In the first game of a doubleheader at New York, future Hall-of-Famer Nellie Fox banged out his 2,000th career hit. On the afternoon he’d have a pair, in the 6-3 White Sox victory. The hit came in the first inning, on a single to left field off of Jim Coates.
The Sox would split the doubleheader for the day.
White Sox relief pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm took a 2-1 loss against Oakland, but in the process set the record for most appearances by a pitcher. The future Hall-of-Famer broke Cy Young’s record of 906 games. “Old Tilt” would appear in a staggering 1,070 games before he retired.
In Wilhelm’s six years with the White Sox, he won 41 games and saved 98 others, while producing some astonishingly low ERAs considering he threw a knuckleball. His highest ERA between 1963 and 1968 was 2.64 — every other season it was below 2.00! Clearly, Wilhelm was the top reliever of the 1960s.
Because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, the regular season started four months later than normal. A bizarre, bastardized, 60-game season was ordered by commissioner Rob Manfred after the owners and players union could not agree on a longer schedule.
There were also new, bizarre rules put in place, including doubleheaders made up of seven-inning games, and extra innings starting with a runner already on second base. Meanwhile, many people questioned the wisdom of sports being played while thousands were getting infected and many were dying.
For the White Sox, hoping to build on three years of rebuilding and a terrific offseason, they hosted the Minnesota Twins on this late Opening Day — and were beat up, 10-5, immediately putting a damper on things.