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One year ago today, we said goodbye to Tony La Russa for the last time.
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Today in White Sox History: October 3

Saying goodbye to Tony for the second, and final, time


The White Sox clinched the pennant while ... sitting in their hotel room in Cleveland!

With the White Sox sitting at 91-56-3 and the trailing New York Highlanders at 87-60-4 and four games left, there was still hope for a pennant tie if Chicago lost out and New York swept its last four. However, the Highlanders split a doubleheader in Philadelphia, losing the second game, 3-0, in six innings, as the game was apparently called due to darkness.

That’s right, it appears the White Sox clinched their first World Series berth thanks to ... darkness!

After the split, New York did win out, finishing 90-61-4, while the White Sox ended up 93-58-3 and winning the pennant by three games.

And it got better from there, as the White Sox then upset the heavily-favored Cubs in the only all-Chicago World Series.


By pitching the eighth inning and giving up only one hit and earning his fourth hold, Eddie Fisher set an American League record for most games in one year, with 82. The White Sox won this last game of the season, 3-2, vs. Kansas City. Fisher was named AL Relief Pitcher of the Year in 1965 with 15 wins, 24 saves, a 2.40 ERA and 60 games finished.

The Sox would win 95 games that season.


Terry Forster was one of a trio of hard-throwing, young White Sox fireballers coming out of the bullpen in the early 1970s. He, along with Bart Johnson and Rich Gossage, struck fear in the hearts of hitters because of how hard they threw a baseball. But Forster was also a terrific hitter: For the 1972 season, the 20-year-old batted .526 (10-for-19), with three RBIs and one run.

The Sox trailed Minnesota, 4-3, in the ninth inning, with two outs in the next-to-last game of the year. Tony Muser was on third and pinch-runner Jim Geddes on first. Hank Allen was due up, but manager Chuck Tanner called on Forster to pinch-hit. The lefty promptly ripped a single to center, tying the score and sending Geddes to third.

Then, incredibly, Forster was given the steal sign and took off for second. When Twins catcher George Mitterwald’s throw sailed into center field, Geddes scored, Forster had the only stolen base of his career, and the Sox led, 5-4. That would turn out to be the final and the 87th win on the year for the “Outhouse to Penthouse” White Sox.


The White Sox rung down the curtain at old Municipal Stadium in Cleveland with a win, 4-0. Jason Bere recorded the last win in the cavernous stadium, which was replaced in 1994 by Jacobs Field.


As baseball was wrapping up the regular season, Paul Konerko appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated sliding into second base in a game against Cleveland. The cover read: “Playoff Scramble. Who’s Out, Who’s In? White Sox vs. Indians. Yankees vs. Red Sox. 4 teams, 3 Spots”


She was beloved by White Sox fans for generations as ballpark organist, but on this day, Nancy Faust played her last White Sox game, as the team beat Cleveland, 6-5. Nancy took over as Sox organist in 1970, and in the ensuing 40 years rarely missed a game.

Her lasting contribution was unearthing a little-known rock song in 1977, which turned into an anthem used by the South Side Hit Men that summer, and eventually by numerous pro and college teams: Nancy started playing Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)” when an opposing pitcher was being removed from the game. It caught on like wildfire with Sox fans, and became one of the most prominent things identified with the franchise.

When she was hired by vice president Stu Holcomb in 1970, the ballpark organ was out in the center field bleachers, near the scoreboard. After a few years, though, she was moved behind home plate in the upper deck, surrounded by fans and closer to the action.

Eventually that positioning led to a professional relationship with broadcaster Harry Caray. White Sox owner Bill Veeck heard Caray singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” one day, then hid a microphone and had Caray’s voice piped through the stadium PA so fans could sing along with him. It was Faust who supplied the organ music to the song, and like with the Na Na-Hey Hey, Harry’s seventh-inning stretch became a Comiskey Park tradition.


It caught the baseball world by surprise and elicited everything from derision to head-scratching: A risky move perpetrated by White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, as he convinced his friend Tony La Russa to come out of retirement to try to lead the White Sox to a World Series.

La Russa was in his late 70s, had been out of a dugout for almost 10 years, and already been elected to the Hall of Fame, and had some personal issues ... but Reinsdorf, against the will of his own front office, got his way.

There seemed to be some vindication for the move in 2021 when La Russa led the White Sox to 93 wins, a Central Division title and a spot in the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time in franchise history.

The 2022 season, though, was a different story. With talk of World Series by the front office and the players, the Sox stumbled out of the gate, seemed to show little emotion or urgency, lost a dozen games where they led in the seventh inning or later, had a pair of eight-game losing streaks, and were never able to put things together.

For La Russa, the situation was worse. His on-field decisions were bizarre, press conferences saw him stumble and mumble (seemingly forgetting things at times) and he was caught nodding off in the dugout. It turned out he was having health issues which resulted in a pacemaker being implanted in February before the season, and then an issue with it which caused him to leave the club on August 28, never to return to the dugout, on doctor’s orders. It was also revealed later that he had a form of cancer.

On this day, in a press conference at Guaranteed Rate Field, La Russa retired with a year to go on his contract. He managed the Sox the first time from August 1979-June 1986 and then from 2021-22. He won two divisional titles in that time in (1983 and 2021) but his postseason White Sox mark was a dismal 2-6.

Most baseball people felt the move was counterproductive to the White Sox rebuild, but Reinsdorf insisted on and got what he wanted. It simply did not work out the way he was expecting it to.


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