White Sox pitching star, executive and Comiskey-by-marriage Johnny Rigney was born in Oak Park.
Rigney had a nondescript couple of years in the minors and 1937 majors debut before the talent-starved Sox thrust him into the starting rotation in 1938. There, he blossomed, with 4.6, 4.5, 6.7 WAR from 1938-40.
Only seven pitchers in White Sox history have have more than three seasons of at lest 4.5 WAR, and only Ed Walsh (seven), Wilbur Wood (four) and Chris Sale (four) had more than three consecutive seasons of 4.5 WAR or better.
Rigney dipped to “just” 2.8 WAR in 1941 and was pitching about as effectively to start 1942 before he enlisted in the Navy to fight in World War II. The righty lost his prime 1943-45 seasons to the war, and with it the chance to possibly upgrade his legacy from brief superstar to club legend.
Still, Rigney finished his eight-season White Sox career with 21.0 WAR, 19th in team pitching history and a sneeze behind the likes of Jack McDowell, Gary Peters and José Quintana. Overall, that WAR mark ranks 50th among all White Sox players in history.
Oh, and Rigney might have had reason for a letdown season in 1941, as that was the year he married Dorothy Comiskey, granddaughter of Charles and heir to the franchise.
After retiring in 1947, Rigney took at job in the White Sox front office and eventually ascended to general manager in 1956, a job he shared with brother-in-law Chuck Comiskey until 1958.
Rigney died in Lombard in 1984, a week short of his 70th birthday.
After completing their sweep of the Houston Astros on Oct. 26, 2005, the White Sox returned home to Chicago the following morning and were greeted by hundreds of fans at Midway Airport — and that was merely a taste of the celebration to come the following day.
Mayor Richard Daley, a longtime White Sox fan, and the rest of the city of Chicago organized a ticker-tape, double-decker bus victory parade. The route began at U.S. Cellular Field and, after winding through a few South Side neighborhoods, headed north to downtown, where the “Parade of Champions” began outside the Board of Trade at Jackson and LaSalle.
Around 20,000 pounds of confetti fell on the parade route as the team made its way to Wacker and LaSalle for the victory rally. Estimates of the number of people who attended some part of the parade and rally approached two million (although, with time, it seems to have inflated to 2.5 million). Whatever the number, it was a lot.
At the rally, all of the usual suspects took the opportunity to thank the fans and savor the city’s first World Series win in almost 90 years. While there were many memorable moments, the one that has always stuck out is Paul Konerko giving Jerry Reinsdorf the ball he caught for the final out of Game Four.
The White Sox owner had been the target of lots of criticism during his 20+ years leading the ownership group — much of it well-deserved. But, particularly as Reinsdorf aged, it was clear that despite six championships with the Chicago Bulls he wanted a World Series more than anything else. When he told the crowd at the parade rally, “Getting this ball from Paul Konerko is the most emotional moment of my life,” he meant it. And his joy was a reflection of the joy of White Sox fans everywhere.