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Today in White Sox History: October 30

Beertown coaxes the South Siders

On this day 59 years ago, a brief White Sox player celebrate unique glory, half a world away.
| Japan Times


He was acquired before the start of the 1958 season, and part of the cost was trading the popular Minnie Miñoso, so pitcher Early Wynn didn’t start out on the right side of things with a lot of Sox fans. Compounding the issue was a mediocre 1958 season.

In 1959, however, Wynn turned back the clock, leading the major leagues with 22 wins, with a 3.17 ERA. That earned him the Cy Young, with 13 of the 16 votes, at a time when only one award was given to the best pitcher in baseball (as opposed to today, when the award is given to a pitcher from each league).

Sam Jones of the Giants got two votes, with Bob Shaw of the White Sox getting the final tally. Wynn also led the league in starts, innings pitched and batters faced.


Joe Stanka, whose only major-league experience came in two games for the 1959 White Sox, won the Pacific League MVP for his amazing season for the Nankai Hawks. The 6´6´´righthander — a giant in the majors at that time, and certainly so playing in Japan — went 26-7 with a 2.40 ERA and 1.084 WHIP. He threw 15 complete games and six shutouts over 277 2⁄3 innings.

Stanka had also won the MVP of the Japan Series, in which Nankai defeated the Hanshin Tigers, four games to three. The pitcher, dubbed “Big Thunder” by Japanese writers, picked up shutout wins in Games 1, 6 and 7 of the series — yes, he pitched consecutive shutouts on consecutive days (seven hits, 16 Ks over 18 innings) to secure the title for Nankai.

Stanka would pitch one more season for Nankai, then finish up his pro career for the Taiyo Whales, for whom he would earn his 100th and final Japan League victory in 1966. He was the first foreign pitcher to earn 100 wins in Japan, at that remains the all-time record. (Gene Bacque, who opposed him in the 1964 series, is the other pitcher with 100 wins.)


The White Sox announced that nine regular season games in 1968 will be moved from Comiskey Park to County Stadium in Milwaukee. In nine dates in Milwaukee, the White Sox drew 265,552 fans, averaging 29,506. Meanwhile, attendance was just 538,203 in 72 games at Comiskey park — averaging 7,475!

In 1969, the second and last year of the experiment before the Seattle Pilots relocated to Milwaukee, the 106-loss White Sox drew 196,784 over 11 dates at County Stadium, averaging 17,889. At Comiskey Park in 70 games, the White Sox averaged just 5,611!

A franchise hadn’t played “home” games outside of its home park in the American League since 1905.

What was suspected at the time of the experiment, and later shown to be true, was that Sox owner Art Allyn was testing the Milwaukee market and speaking frequently with Bud Selig (who was attempting to get another MLB franchise to relocate to Milwaukee after the city lost the Braves after the 1965 season). Selig thought he was close to getting the White Sox after a handshake agreement, but Art Allyn decided to sell the club in September 1969 to his brother John, thwarting Selig’s efforts.


The announcement of Larry Himes as the new White Sox GM, replacing Ken Harrelson, was made in a press conference in Chicago.

Himes drafted and signed Sox future stars like Frank Thomas, Jack McDowell, Robin Ventura, Ray Durham and Alex Fernandez as he rebuilt and guided the franchise through the possibility of moving to Florida. The GM drafted McDowell, Ventura, Thomas and Fernandez in the first round of four straight drafts from 1988-91, a run of success unprecedented in White Sox history and rare in baseball annals.

Himes would be fired in September 1990 after philosophical differences between him and ownership, in particular Jerry Reinsdorf, made working together impossible. At the press conference announcing Himes’ firing Reinsdorf let his feelings be known, loud and clear: “Larry Himes took us from Point A to Point B. He was very successful in getting us to Point B. We need to get to Point C. It’s our opinion that Larry Himes is not the best person to get us to Point C — a world’s championship.”


White Sox manager Jeff Torborg was named Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America after guiding the team to a record of 94-68.

The Sox shocked the baseball world after being picked to finish no higher than fourth place. Instead, they challenged the eventual AL champion Oakland A’s into September and were the only club in the league to have won the season series from them. Only the A’s and the Pittsburgh Pirates had better 1990 records than the White Sox.

Torborg got 23 of 28 first-place votes, for 128 points. Oakland’s Tony La Russa, the former Sox skipper, picked up the other four first-place votes and finished with 72 points. Joe Morgan of the Red Sox got the final first place vote, finishing third with 28 points. Torborg was the only manager to be named on every ballot.


Literally days after the White Sox won their first World Series since 1917, Al Lopez died at the age of 97. Lopez, arguably the best manager in White Sox history, took over for Marty Marion before the start of the 1957 season and through 1965 led the club to nine straight winning seasons — five of them with 90+ victories — and the 1959 American League pennant.

He returned to manage the team for parts of 1968 and 1969.

Lopez was a fundamentalist, and as a former All-Star catcher knew the game. He worked through his assistant coaches as a game progressed, but wasn’t shy about calling players out if he felt they weren’t giving a best effort or were constantly doing something wrong. Among Sox players who felt his wrath at times were All-Stars Nellie Fox and Jim Landis, as well as pioneering great Larry Doby.

But under Lopez the team got results and (because he got along well with the media) positive publicity even when things weren’t going as well as could be on the field.

Lopez, “The Señor,” won 840 games with the Sox and had a winning percentage of .564.

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