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Today in White Sox History: January 5

Signing off on a chillier Spring Training

After two years in French Lick with the Cubs, the White Sox moved their “Long Underwear League” play to Terre Haute, with the Tigers, in 1945.
Terre Haute Tribune
Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to


The French love baseball! Well, at least that was the impression that the French Baseball Federation gave during the White Sox vs. New York Giants tour of Europe, giving silver medals to Charles Comiskey, John McGraw and Hughie Jennings in appreciation.

The tour, however, was a failure, with meager attendance leaving the traveling show with a deficit of $20,000. It was Comiskey’s final offseason of sending his White Sox around the world.


Commissioner Landis started a hearing on Black Sox shortstop Swede Risberg’s allegations on baseball betting — prior to 1919. Risberg claimed that the Detroit Tigers threw a four-game series to the White Sox in 1917, and in return the White Sox gave two games back to Detroit in 1919. Three dozen White Sox and Tigers players speak out to dispute the accusations, and the only inappropriate behavior found to have any merit is that of White Sox players giving $45 apiece to the Detroit pitching staff — for defeating the Red Sox in a late-season series, helping the White Sox clinch the 1917 pennant. Ultimately, Landis clears everyone involved, disputing any truth that games were “thrown” given the White Sox were merely rewarding fellow players for winning a game(s).


In the midst of World War II, travel for baseball players is seen as more frivolous, so Commissioner Landis required northern teams to train closer to home. Thus the White Sox and Cubs agreed to train together — in French Lick, Ind.

This sort of Spring Training — er, The Long Underwear League — would continue through the remainder of the war, with the two clubs returning to French Lick in 1944. (The White Sox moved to Terre Haute in 1945, and were joined there by the Detroit Tigers.) The notion of training closer to home even in peacetime had gotten some traction, with figures as influential as Connie Mack saying that the old ways of Spring Training were probably gone forever.

However, when peace came and the 1946 season rolled around, the White Sox returned to where they had been training before the war: Pasadena, Calif.

In addition to agreeing to hold Spring Training in the north, teams also signed off on a later campaign, with the 1943 regular season starting on April 20 and running through October 11.