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Today in White Sox History: January 18

The Comiskey family drama begins

Chuck Comiskey suffered his first indignity of the 1950s on this day, 71 years ago.


Chuck Comiskey, namesake and grandson of White Sox founder Charles Comiskey, resigned from the club after his mother, White Sox owner (and Charles’ daughter-in-law) Grace Comiskey, denied his request for a raise.

Thus began an almost decade-long family drama, played out mostly in public. Some bullet-point highlights:

  • Chuck returned to the club relatively soon after resigning, eventually in 1956 becoming co-general manager of the White Sox with John Rigney
  • Rigney was married to Chuck’s sister, Dorothy Comiskey, and if co-general managing a major league team doesn’t sound difficult enough, imagine how hard it is when ...
  • ... Chuck’s mother Grace passed away in December 1956 and left controlling interest in the White Sox (which Chuck long considered his birthright) to his sister (54%), leaving him with 46%
  • Beginning in 1957, Chuck took his sister to court, presumably to at least have his mother’s shares evenly shared between he and Dorothy — court proceedings that played out in nasty fashion and led to Chuck being derided as the entitled “Crown Prince” of the White Sox.
  • Despite all of the rancor, Dorothy still preferred to sell her shares to Chuck — but Chuck (believing Dorothy would never sell outside of the Comiskey family) gave Dorothy a lowball offer for her shares
  • Enter Bill Veeck (who Chuck had a friendly rivalry with, as Veeck’s Cleveland club and the White Sox were fierce competitors in the 1950s), who submitted a bid for the team that Dorothy reluctantly considered
  • Chuck’s later offer for the White Sox, backed by a group including eventual A’s owner Charlie Finley, was higher than Veeck’s — but Veeck had spent $100 for a 60-day window to raise additional funds to match the offer
  • With Veeck taking over the team in early 1959, Chuck retained his 46% ownership in the club (still the biggest individual stockholder) but lost his GM job
  • When a downturn in Veeck’s health forced him to sell the White Sox in 1961, Chuck sold his shares to an investment group including William Bartholomay and entertainer Danny Thomas, with an eye toward being reinstalled as the de facto owner of the White Sox upon the sale, but Veeck — not particularly fond of the Crown Prince or seduced by the Comiskey name — sold instead to Art Allyn, putting the Comiskeys out of White Sox business for the first time in 62 years