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Today in White Sox History: July 4

New coaches, new managers — even new scoreboards!

Lena Blackburne Of The Chicago White Sox
After a nondescript playing career, Lena Blackburne didn’t distinguish himself much as White Sox manager, either. But after he was fired from the White Sox, his fortunes soared.
Chicago Sun-Times/Chicago Daily News collection/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images


With the White Sox floundering at 32-42, but more importantly after squabbling with owner Charles Comiskey over his salary, Ray Schalk resigned as White Sox manager.

Lena Blackburne took over and managed at a .500 clip for the rest of the season, spurring the team to a 72-82 finish. The 1929 season was not so kind, however, as the White Sox sputtered to a 59-93 record. Blackburne, an ex-infielder for the White Sox, even inserted himself into a game that season, getting one out — as a pitcher!

Blackburne would begin the most famous phase of his baseball career the next year, as the purveyor of rubbing mud from the Delaware River, which he sold to MLB to rub the shine off of new baseballs.

Schalk finished his career with a 102-125 record and -0.1 mWAR as a manager. Blackburne turned in a 99-133 tally, and -4.7 mWAR.


Bill Veeck’s exploding scoreboard was featured in a night shot on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The headine read: Fireworks at Comiskey Park.


During the 1960s the White Sox were synonymous with outstanding pitching ... pitching that was the envy of most of Major League Baseball, excluding only, perhaps, the Dodgers. The best example of this came during two days in Chicago over the Fourth of July holiday.

Over a span of roughly 28 hours, the White Sox threw three straight shutouts against Cleveland. On the Fourth of July itself, Gary Peters blanked the Tribe on three hits, winning 4-0. In the Sunday doubleheader it was Juan Pizarro tossing a seven-hitter in the opener, winning, 2-0. Then in the nightcap it was Joe Horlen with a 5-0 blanking, on four hits. In 27 innings, Cleveland managed no runs on 14 hits. Now that’s pitching!!!


White Sox catcher Ed Herrmann was involved in three double plays, which tied the record for most involving a catcher in a single game. (In fact, he tied former teammate J.C. Martin for the honor.) The three included Herrmann in the middle of a pitcher-catcher-first base double play, a strike out-caught stealing twin killing, and a thrown out at home, thrown out at second double play. The Sox turned five double plays in the game against Baltimore — but lost, 2-1!


At the urging of new manager Larry Doby, the White Sox brought up Tony La Russa to become the club’s new first base coach. La Russa cut his teeth managing with success in the minor leagues, and was deemed ready by Doby and others to take the next step.

La Russa would soon be named White Sox manager and led the Sox to the 1983 Western Division title, then win numerous pennants and championships as a manager of the A’s and Cardinals. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014 with 2,728 wins over 33 seasons.

In 2021, he came out of retirement to return the White Sox, and moved into second place all-time on the managerial wins list.


Ray Durham and José Valentín led off the White Sox half of the first inning in Kansas City with back-to-back home runs. It was the second time in team history a game started that way, and the first since 1937. The game also marked the major league debut for Jon Garland, who only lasted three innings in a 10-7 loss.

The loss was the end of a 12-game road winning streak. The last 10 of those 12 road wins came against teams with records of at least .500, making the White Sox the only team since 1900 to accomplish that feat.