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Critical Moment at First
Joe Kuhel was safe at first on this play, and also slid back and forth between the White Sox and Washington.
Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images

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Today in White Sox History: November 24

A back-and-forth career for a South Side first-sacker

1943

Joe Kuhel, who had come to the White Sox five years earlier in a swap with Washington for folk hero Zeke Bonura, was sold back to the Nationals.

While never quite a star with the White Sox, Kuhel was among the Top 8 in team WAR (8.9 overall) each season from 1939-41, three straight years that were a rare step out of losing and the second division during the darkest era of White Sox baseball.

Kuhel was made expendable after the purchase of first-sacker Hal Trosky from Cleveland, but Trosky saw his game dulled having lost two full seasons to World War II, and ended up with much poorer production than Kuhel in 1943.

Ironically enough, when Washington released Kuhel during the 1946 season, the White Sox snapped him back up on that same day!


1976

The first free agent signing in franchise history became one of a bevy of bargain-basement deals that turned out well for the White Sox in 1977.

Steve Stone inked a deal for his second go-around with the team. Coming off of injury and the ideal target for the Bill Veeck-Roland Hemond “Rent-a-Player” scheme, Stone was paid $55,000 for a terrific comeback year. He won 15 games to pace a staff that won a surprising 90 games in 1977. His 2.4 WAR tied for third among pitchers and eighth overall on the team.

Even more remarkable was the fact that Stone had tore his rotator cuff while pitching for the Cubsin 1976. He refused surgery and cortisone shots, and rehabbed his arm working with a kinesiologist from the University of Illinois. Given all that, for him to make 31 starts, toss eight complete games and pitch 207 innings in 1977 was incredible.

Stone felt so indebted to Veeck for taking a chance on him that he eschewed better offers after the season and returned to the White Sox for 1978, doubling his pay to $110,000. That season didn’t work out as well for Stone (1.3 WAR) or the White Sox, and the righty bolted for Baltimore in 1979, winning a Cy Young with the Orioles in 1980.

In 2008, Stone returned to the organization as a broadcaster, and he continues doing White Sox games to this day.


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