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Today in White Sox History: July 30

All-in turns to all-empty

Chicago White Sox Photo Day
Craig Kimbrel forming the Ponytail Gang was his sole contribution to the White Sox franchise.
Robert Beck/MLB Photos via Getty Images


Never had two White Sox hitters had days like this on the same afternoon. Sox outfielder George “Mule” Haas reeled off eight hits in 12 at bats in a sweep of a doubleheader with the St. Louis Browns. If that wasn’t enough, his teammate and All-Star outfielder Al Simmons, drilled seven hits on the day. The Sox would win, 8-7, in 10 innings, and then 15-2.


With the White Sox in a three-way tie for first place, pitcher Dick Donovan had an appendicitis attack. At the time, Donovan was 13-4 with a 2.64 ERA. He didn’t return until late August, and went 2-5 the rest of the season. The Sox fell out of contention after his illness, and ended the season at 91-63, good for third place.


White Sox starting pitcher Ray Hebert, who would eventually win 20 games on the season, was named as a last-minute replacement for the All-Star Game. Hebert got the win, pitching three innings, as the AL beat the NL, 9-4, at Wrigley Field. In his three innings of work, Herbert allowed only three singles — two of the infield variety.

Herbert was joined on the team by Luis Aparicio and Jim Landis.


It was the brightest moment for eventual Comeback Player of the Year Eric Soderholm. In a nationally-televised game on NBC, before a full house at Comiskey Park, Soderholm blasted a three-run home run in the last of the seventh inning to put the Sox ahead in a key game they’d win, 6-4. The shot came off of Kansas City’s Doug Bird, a sidearmer and one of the toughest relief pitchers in baseball.

Soderholm would finish the season with 25 home runs, 67 RBIs and a .280 batting average.


So this is what a good teammate does? In a game at Baltimore, DH John Kruk (who un-retired in May to take a White Sox contract offer), decided to retire just as quickly. Kruk singled, raising his average to .308, then went back to the clubhouse, packed his bags and left the game for good.

He did this before the game ended, mind you, then told certain reporters it was no fun DH’ing on a losing team that “didn’t have any heart.”


In a game at Kansas City, Sox infielder José Valentín blasted three home runs in a 15-4 win. José went 3-for-5 with five RBIs. One of his home runs was a three-run shot.


Capping off a wild 24 hours at the trade deadline, the White Sox showed they were all-in for a playoff run, acquiring three players: relief pitchers Ryan Tepera and Craig Kimbrel from the Cubs, and second baseman César Hernández from Cleveland.

It only took minor league pitchers to secure Tepera (Bailey Horn) and Hernández (Konnor Pilkington), but Kimbrel cost the White Sox a pretty penny: former No. 4 overall pick Nick Madrigal and relief pitcher Codi Heuer. Losing a pair of highly-regarded young players was difficult, but getting Kimbrel should have given the team a chance to have not only the best starting rotation in the American League but also the best bullpen — a throwback to the 1950’s and 60’s, when the franchise usually had that.

Unfortunately it did not work out, as Kimbrel lost his effectiveness pitching in non-closing roles and Hernández basically dropped off the face of the Earth.

In the offseason Hernández’s contract option would not be picked up. Kimbrel saw his option (controversially) renewed at $16 million, to be traded late in spring training to the Dodgers for outfielder AJ Pollock. Tepera, who was the only effective trade acquisition of the trio, signed a free agent deal with the Angels.