clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Today in White Sox History: September 22

A massive crowd at Midway Airport — and a nonexistent one, seven years later — sandwich a couple of slams

Chicago White Sox
On this day 63 years ago, Al Lopez dialed up a White Sox pennant.
Diamond Images/Getty Images


The White Sox clinched the American League pennant with a 4-2 win in Cleveland. Al Smith and Jim Rivera hit back-to-back home runs in the game. Smith also threw out former Sox star Minnie Miñoso at home plate.

The clinch did not come without stress. In the ninth, Bob Shaw (who threw 2 23 innings in relief of Early Wynn), retired his first batter but allowed three straight singles to load the bases. Gerry Staley came on to bail Shaw out, and threw just one pitch, which Vic Power tapped to shortstop Luis Aparicio for a game-ending double play.

A crowd estimated by the Chicago Sun-Times at 125,000 was at Midway Airport to greet the Sox when they returned home. All this on a night when Chicago fire commissioner Robert Quinn ordered the air raid sirens turned on to celebrate the title, causing fear and panic in a number of non-baseball fans, who thought the Russians were attacking.

The Sox would wind up winning the 1959 pennant by five games over Cleveland, with a mark of 94-60.


With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning at Comiskey Park, Floyd Robinson hit a grand slam, bringing the White Sox to within 8-6 against the Orioles. Jim Landis then struck out to end the game, but Robinson’s clout set a White Sox record for most slams (seven) in a season. (The White Sox would set a new mark, of 12, in 2008.)

Baltimore went up, 8-2, on a grand slam by Jim Gentile — his MLB record-tying fifth grand slam of the season.


In a game at Yankee Stadium, pitcher Joe Horlen and his teammates stopped New York to the tune of 4-1. Only 413 fans were in attendance at the gigantic stadium.

It’s believed to be the smallest home crowd ever at a Yankees game.