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Today in White Sox History: September 17

Offensive outbursts, 36 years apart

White Sox Celebrate AL West Championship
On this day 39 years ago, Harold Baines [left] drove in Julio Cruz [center] with a sacrifice fly to clinch the first AL West title in White Sox history. Rudy Law [right] just wanted to drink out of a massive champagne bottle.
Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images/Getty Images


The White Sox defeated the California Angels, 9-4, at Comiskey Park. An unusual event marked this game: All nine players in the White Sox lineup that night got one RBI — including pitcher Bart Johnson, who started, gave up eight hits, and struck out 12 in going the distance.


Before a packed house at Comiskey Park, Harold Baines hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Julio Cruz with the run that won the American League West title for the White Sox. The 4-3 win over Seattle marked the first time the White Sox had ever won the AL West. The Sox would go on to the playoffs for the first time in 24 years, draw a then-record 2,132,821 fans, finish with the best record in baseball (99-63) and win the division by a record 20 games over second-place Kansas City.


Harold Baines became the only player in White Sox history to have more than one game with three home runs.

Baines had his first three-homer game in July 1982. On this day at Minnesota, he’d club three more in a 7-3 win. with four RBIs. The win also knocked the Twins out of first place in the AL West.


The White Sox tied the club record for the most runs ever scored in the fifth inning of a game, when they sent 11 players home at Kansas City. In addition to the 11 runs, they also collected 10 hits and three homers (Danny Richar, Jermaine Dye and Josh Fields).

Richar, Jerry Owens and Fields all had two hits, and Fields drove in four runs in the inning. Four times the Sox have scored 11 runs in the fourth inning in their history — this was the most recent time it’s been done.


Rain had rescued the flailing White Sox on September 13, postponing a finale of a series against the hard-charging Tigers, who had closed to within a game of Chicago in first place. The makeup game was squeezed in on an off-day Monday four days later, and the rest (and a three-game sweep of Minnesota) had done the White Sox good. The South Siders eked out a 5-4 win, to get back to three games up on Detroit.

Alex Rios keyed a comeback in the game; with the White Sox down, 4-3, he walked and later crashed into Tigers second baseman Omar Infante to force a throwing error on a potential double play to end the fifth inning. Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko scored (no small feat) the tying and eventual winning runs. The Sox bullpen (Nate Jones, Donnie Veal, Brett Myers, Matt Thornton and Addison Reed) threw five scoreless innings of one-hit ball to ice the victory; Jones improved to 8-0 on the season.

Just nine days later, however, the White Sox had fallen out of first place — for good.


In a most bizarre, strange, and unusual pandemic season, the White Sox made the most of it by clinching a spot in the expanded playoffs. The clinching game was a come-from-behind win to beat the Twins, 4-3, getting two runs in the seventh inning. The win ran Chicago’s record to 33-17, best in the American League at the time, and put them in position to win their division for the first time since 2008 — the last time the franchise made the postseason.

However, the White Sox faltered down the stretch and ended the shortened season one game behind Minnesota.