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Dave DeBusschere waves to the crowd
Former White Sox bonus baby and 2.90 career ERA pitcher Dave DeBusschere was honored as one of the 50 greatest NBA players in 1996-97.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

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Today in White Sox History: October 16

A bonus baby-turned-basketball great is born


In support of the war effort, the White Sox beat the Giants, 6-4, in an exhibition game for 6,000 soldiers stationed at Camp Mills at Mineola-Garden City, N.Y. held the day after the end of the World Series.

The soldiers came from the 155th U.S. Infantry (mostly New Yorkers) and the 149th artillery (from Illinois). The White Sox jumped on Al Demaree for a run in each of the first three frames, while Joe Benz held off the Giants for his four-inning start. The White Sox built a 6-1 lead early, putting the game away.

Benz had phenomenal stats in the 1917 regular season (7-3, 2.47 ERA, 1.046 WHIP) and was on the World Series roster, but did not see any action over the six games of the Fall Classic.


Early two-sport star and future Basketball Hall of Fame member Dave DeBusschere was born in Detroit.

The White Sox signed DeBusschere, a star prep pitcher, to a $75,000 bonus-baby deal in 1962, while the Detroit Pistons also selected the 6´6´´ forward as a territorial pick. Just 11 games into the 1962 season, the righthander made his MLB debut, with a scoreless inning at Comiskey Park vs. the Athletics. DeBusschere pitched the beginning and end of the season in the majors, compiling 18 innings with a 2.00 ERA in relief; he spent the bulk of the year starting at Single-A Savannah, where despite being two years younger than league average he dominated, going 10-1 with a 2.49 ERA and seven complete games in 14 starts.

After winding up his season in the Chicago pen, DeBusschere reported to the Pistons for training camp and played in 80 games his rookie season with Detroit! He repeated this routine in 1963, this time spending all year with the White Sox as a swingman, with a 3.09 ERA in 24 games including his peak performance, a shutout vs. Cleveland on August 13.

The White Sox, juggling a logjam of arms, kept DeBusschere as a starter in Triple-A Indianapolis in both 1965 and 1966; meanwhile in the NBA, he had been named the player-coach of the Pistons before the 1964-65 season at the young age of 24 and was established as a double-double force and then-rare tall player who was also a long-range shooting threat.

In part due to his handling by the White Sox, after the 1966 season DeBusschere left baseball to focus full-time on his basketball career, which lasted 12 seasons in Detroit and with the New York Knicks, where he would win two NBA titles.

After retirement, DeBusschere became an executive with the ABA’s New York Nets and was the league’s final commissioner, helping usher in the merger with the NBA in 1976. He entered the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983, was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996, and was honored on the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team in 2021. Sadly, this renaissance man died too young, felled by a heart attack in 2003.

With the White Sox, DeBusschere finished with a 3-4 record and 0.7 WAR, 2.90 ERA and 1.388 WHIP in 36 games and a 40-21 record, 3.53 ERA, and 1.318 WHIP in 82 career games (27 complete games) in the minors.


The White Sox sent infielder Willie Miranda to St. Louis in a trade.

So what?

Well, consider this: It marked the third time in four months that Miranda was dealt between the two clubs! He was traded to the Browns on June 15 — and just 13 days later the Sox reacquired him. Finally, on this date, they sent him back to the Browns.

The entire situation developed like this: Miranda was traded along with Al Zarilla to the Browns for Tom Wright and Leo Thomas on June 15. The Browns then waived Miranda on June 28, the Sox claimed him, and he returned to Chicago. Then, on this day, he was sent back to St. Louis along with Hank Edwards, for Joe DeMaestri and Tommy Byrne.


The White Sox won their sixth AL pennant, beating the Angels, 6-3, and winning the ALCS, four games to one. José Contreras fired the fourth consecutive complete game by the staff. The four consecutive postseason complete games hadn’t been seen in Major League Baseball since the 1956 Yankees pulled off five straight complete games in the World Series (in a drastically different starting pitching climate). After losing the first game of the ALCS, the White Sox swept away the Angels.

Paul Konerko was named the ALCS MVP, as he hit .286 with two home runs and seven RBIs. The city of Chicago, especially on the South Side and in the South suburbs, went wild as the nuclear scenario happened for Cubs fans … the White Sox were in the World Series!


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