Beloved White Sox broadcaster and member of the 1983 White Sox division champs Tom Paciorek was born in Detroit.
Paciorek was a two-sport star at the University of Houston, drafted in the ninth round by the Miami Dolphins and the fifth by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Offering $18,000 more as a bonus to sign than Miami, L.A. persuaded him to pursue a baseball career.
A star in the minors but always blocked on the Dodgers and, later, Braves rosters, Paciorek was released outright in Atlanta and caught on with the fledgling Seattle Mariners. In Seattle, he finally was able to contribute at the MLB level, experiencing his renaissance at age 32. On the heels of a career-best, 4.3 WAR season that saw his first All-Star appearance and an MVP finish of 10th, Paciorek was the headliner in a trade to the White Sox in a 1981 trade.
His conviviality and modesty made him a favorite in Chicago, both as player and broadcaster. After the freak, accidental death of Payne Stewart (airplane cabin depressurization) in 1999, Paciorek opted to retire from regular broadcasting to spend more time with family. He last made a guest broadcasting stint with the White Sox in 2018.
While still running the White Sox, principal owner Bill Veeck and minority owner/GM Hank Greenberg asked for home dates at the Los Angeles Coliseum — not for the White Sox, but for the expansion Los Angeles Angels, who were to start play in the American League in 1961. Roles would reverse with the Angels, with Veeck owning a small stake and Greenberg serving as the principal owner.
Los Angeles Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley, not wanting to share his venue with any club owned even partly by Veeck, invoked his exclusive franchise rights and denied Greenberg. Greenberg’s loyalty to Veeck prevented him from asking the White Sox owner to back out, and the Angels ended up being founded by signing cowboy Gene Autry, who had only wanted the rights to broadcast Angels games, not own the team.
In retrospect, the Greenberg/Veeck arrangement might not have worked smoothly in California, as within a year and in fear of a terminal illness, Veeck was forced to sell the White Sox to John and Art Allyn.
White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell easily captured the American League Cy Young, beating out Randy Johnson. Black Jack went 22-10 with a 3.37 ERA. He led the league in wins and shutouts, was second in innings pitched and third in complete games. McDowell got 124 points to Johnson’s 75.
From 1990 through 1994, Jack won 73 games, more than any pitcher in the American League.