It was the start of a new era at shortstop for the White Sox. On this date, the team purchased the contract of young infielder Luis Aparicio from Memphis. Aparicio would begin his Hall of Fame career the following season, winning Rookie of the Year in the American League — the first Latin player to do so. Aparicio also brought back what was then the lost art of base-stealing, swiping 269 for the Sox between 1956 and 1962. He’d go on to six All-Star appearances representing the White Sox.
Also on this day, the White Sox traded pitcher Virgil Trucks to Detroit for Bubba Phillips. Trucks was simply outstanding for the White Sox in 1953 and 1954, with fifth- and 12th-place MVP finishes and a combined 8.7 WAR. But he fell off to essentially league average in 1955 (99 ERA+). Phillips would play four seasons on the South Side, with a standout 1957; he was the primary third baseman for the 1959 pennant-winners.
After 13 years on the South Side, with 186 wins and seven All-Star selections, pitcher Billy Pierce was traded to the San Francisco Giants. Pierce and Don Larsen were sent west in exchange for knuckleballing relief pitcher Eddie Fisher, pitcher Dom Zanni, outfielder Bob Farley and a player to be named later (on Aug. 17, 1962, pitcher Verle Tiefenthaler was sent to the White Sox to complete the deal).
The trade revitalized Pierce’s career, as he went 16-6 in the regular season, then won a game and also saved the pennant-clinching game against the Dodgers in a three-game NL playoff series. In the World Series, Pierce tossed a three-hit complete game to win Game 6 against the Yankees.
Fisher became one of the top relief pitchers in baseball, teaming with Hoyt Wilhelm to give the Sox great depth in that area. Fisher made the All-Star team in 1965 and win the Relief Pitcher of the Year award.
In an unrelated note, Fisher did a spot-on imitation of Donald Duck!
New Sox player personnel director Roland Hemond continued to rebuild a battered franchise. At the Winter Meetings he shipped Gold Glove-winning outfielder Ken Berry, infielder Syd O’Brien and pitcher Billy Wynne to the Angels for pitcher Tom Bradley, catcher Tom Egan and outfielder Jay Johnstone.
The deal would be a steal just based on what Bradley did, winning 15 games with a sub-3.00 ERA in both 1971 and 1972. Egan provided great backup help to Ed Herrmann, and Johnstone was a quality outfielder and clubhouse comic.
On the same day, the White Sox just their third trade ever with the crosstown Cubs, shipping outfielder José Ortiz and infielder Ossie Blanco north for first baseman Roe Skidmore and pitchers Dave Lemonds and Pat Jacquez. None of these players had any impact in the game going forward but Lemonds, who in 1972 recorded a terrific 1.3-WAR, 2.95-ERA season for the resurgent Chisox.