clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Today in White Sox History: September 28

One-time two-way player Sam Mertes routs the Browns

Sam Mertes, accidental 1902 ace of the White Sox.
South Side Sox infographic


For the second game of a doubleheader at Sportsman’s Park, the Browns and White Sox used the last day of the season to throw all non-pitchers in their game. White Sox left fielder Sam Mertes got the 10-4 win, beating St. Louis left fielder Jesse Burkett.

First baseman Frank Isbell was the “opener” for the game, pitching one inning of three-hit, two-run ball. Then Mertes took over for the next 7 23 innings! With just one earned run allowed, Mertes finished the year with a 1.17 ERA; it was the only pitching performance of his career, and earned him 0.2 WAR as a hurler.

Both teams also had unorthodox lineups. St. Louis went bananas, with some players manning four different positions during the course of the game. The White Sox didn’t swap positions in-game, but there were some uncustomary assignments: White Sox two-way player Jimmy Callahan, normally a left fielder/pitcher, started at shortstop. Pitcher (and manager) Clark Griffith played left field. And Mertes himself started at catcher, then moved to the mound after one inning.

Oh, and the game ended one out early, with St. Louis fans rushed the field, apparently tiring of the unique exhibition.

For the next 110 years, this remained the only game where both winning and losing pitchers were position players. In 2012, Oriole Chris Davis beat Red Sock Darnell McDonald in a 17-inning game at Fenway Park.


J. Louis Comiskey, son of Charles Comiskey the new owner of the White Sox, tried to rebuild his franchise. He paid an unheard-of sum (in those days) of $150,000 to the Philadelphia A’s for infielder Jimmy Dykes, outfielder Al Simmons and utilityman George “Mule” Haas.

Simmons would be elected to the Hall of Fame in 1953, and in three seasons with the Sox twice drove in over 100 runs. Dykes would eventually manage the team for 12 full seasons beginning in 1934, and part of a 13th. He’d have five winning years, and one season at .500 in that time — yet (arguably) become the best manager in White Sox history.

Dykes also had the distinction of scoring the first-ever run in the All-Star Game, going 2-for-3 in the inaugural 1933 contest.


The White Sox team photo appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, with this headline: “Chicago’s New Champions Sit For Their Portrait.”


Frank Thomas won the AL batting championship, with a .347 average. He joined Luke Appling as the only White Sox player to win a batting title (Tim Anderson would join the club, in 2019).

Thomas was one of only a handful of players in major league history with a batting title and at least 450 home runs to his credit. Thomas was also the largest player (both in height and weight) to ever win a batting crown.


White Sox starter Esteban Loaiza recorded his 21st win of the season, beating the Royals, 5-1. The 21 wins tied the major league record for the most wins in a season by a pitcher born in Mexico (Fernando Valenzuela, 1986). Loaiza would finish second in the Cy Young voting that season; two 1-0 losses to a last-place Tigers team probably cost him the award.