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Today in White Sox History: January 24

The greatest second baseman in history barely makes the Hall

From left, Zack Wheat, formerly of the Brooklyn Dodgers; Edd
A collection of A’s, Hall-of-Famers all (left to right): Zack Wheat, Eddie Collins, Ty Cobb and Connie Mack. On this day 84 years ago, Collins was voted into the Hall.
Hank Olen/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images


It was the early years of the Hall of Fame, so voting results could still tend to be pretty weird. Case in point, Eddie Collins was voted into the Hall of Fame — on his fourth try.

Collins, by his 124.4 WAR the best second baseman in baseball history, had fallen 110 votes short of election in the inaugural Hall of Fame vote (1936), 36 votes short in 1937, and 22 short in 1938 before breaking through with ... 77.7% support in 1939. Collins received 213 of 274 votes, clearing the bar for election by ... seven tallies.

Joining Collins in the 1939 class was George Sisler, who endured a similar wait, and Willie Keeler, whose 207 votes made him the first Hall of Fame member to be elected by just a one-vote margin.

Collins’ 67.0 WAR as a member of the White Sox places him as the fourth-best overall and third-best position player (behind Luke Appling and Frank Thomas) in team history.


Sometimes luck plays a part in things ... sometimes a very big part.

On this date, Chicago White Sox general manager Ken Williams signed free agent pitcher Esteban Loaiza to a $500,000 contract, a massive discount from the $6.05 million he’d made in 2002 with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Loaiza was expected to round out the back end of the rotation — but he did much more than that. By season’s end he had won 21 games, started the All-Star Game in front of his hometown White Sox fans, and led the American League in strikeouts. Loaiza could have won the Cy Young, but a pair of 1-0 losses to Detroit appeared to be the difference in doing so; he ended up second in the voting.

Even better, with Loaiza’s contract jumping to $4 million in 2004, Williams flipped the starter at close to maximum value (the righthander was also a 2004 All-Star). Loaiza was swapped to the Yankees at midseason, for pitcher José Contreras … another deal that worked out as a huge White Sox advantage!