The White Sox acquired Shoeless Joe Jackson from Cleveland for $31,500 (almost $900,000 today) along with pitcher Ed Klepfer, outfielder Braggo Roth and a player to be named later. Klepfer had seen scant time with the White Sox in 1915 but pitched to a 2.84 ERA (109 ERA+) in three games, and would improve in Cleveland (2.09 ERA despite a 1-6 record in eight games). Roth, just 22, had started out fairly well in left field and at third base during his first full season in Chicago (.734 OPS, 117 OPS+) but exploded once he got to Cleveland (.906 OPS, shifting exclusively to center field). Though he clouted just seven home runs, Roth led the AL in round-trippers in 1915. (Yes, Bill Melton in 1971 winning the first-ever White Sox home run title is only partially true.)
Klepfer and Roth were no middling players, combining for 14.4 WAR over their five full seasons (two Kelpfer, three Roth) with Cleveland. (And on Valentine’s Day, 1916, the trade was completed when the White Sox sent little-used left fielder Larry Chappell east.)
However, the prize of the trade was Jackson, who already built the foundation of a Hall of Fame career in just four full seasons in Cleveland (finishing no lower than ninth in MVP voting each year). Though he would similarly play just four full seasons with the White Sox (losing almost all of 1918 to World War I), Shoeless Joe continued his strong play on the South Side, combining for 27.8 WAR while still peaking as a superstar. All his promise was lost, however, when ensnared in the Black Sox scandal, Jackson was banned for life from MLB after the 1920 season. He was just 33 years old.
Jackson, despite the “Black Sox” scandal, is still considered one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. Babe Ruth said he modeled his swing after Jackson’s, and Ty Cobb said Jackson was the best hitter he ever saw. Joe hit .356 for his career in the major leagues.
White Sox rookie Art “The Great” Shires made a sensational debut, with four hits (including a triple) against the Red Sox in a 6-4 win. He’s one of only 11 players to ever get four or more hits in his first big-league game.
“The Great” nickname, by the way, was self-assigned!
The White Sox honored pitcher Urban “Red” Faber with a day at Comiskey Park. The Hall-of-Famer won 254 games (all with the Sox), and had four seasons of 20 or more wins.
The White Sox played before the largest regular-season crowd in franchise history, on a Friday night in Cleveland. An amazing 78,382 were on hand to see the Tribe edge the Sox, 1-0, at Cleveland Stadium.
Utilizing a new, “slow” pitching motion, Bob Keegan tossed the first night no-hitter in White Sox history, as he blanked Washington, 6-0, at Comiskey Park. It was the nightcap of a doubleheader, which the White Sox split. Keegan walked two Senators in the game, and only faced 28 men. At 37, he became the oldest Sox pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter.
Keegan would go 10-8 in a season that saw the Sox win 90 games and finish in second place.
After White Sox star Harold Baines was traded to Texas on July 29, the team retired his uniform number No. 3 when the Rangers returned to Chicago. He was only the third active player to have his uniform number retired by a club, joining Frank Robinson and Phil Niekro.