The upstart South Side Hit Men, who led the AL West for about a third of the season and took baseball by storm in peaking at 25 games above .500, were laid to rest with the loss of outfielder and folk hero Richie Zisk, who signed a 10-year, $2.3 million deal with the Texas Rangers.
Zisk was the lone All-Star for the White Sox in 1977, finishing seventh on the club with 2.7 WAR, and fifth among hitters. His 30 home runs were second on the team, and included one ball on the Comiskey Park roof, when the feat was still rare.
Zisk duplicated his All-Star selection in Texas in 1978, but never again came close to the production he put up for the White Sox. He was out of baseball with four seasons still remaining on his contract.
Losing Zisk spotlighted the down side of owner Bill Veeck’s desperate Rent-a-Player concept, as star arms Terry Forster and Goose Gossage had been shipped out to secure just one year of the slugger.
After a season that saw the White Sox win their first World Series title since 1917, the Baseball Writers Association of America named Ozzie Guillén Manager of the Year. Guillén, the former Sox All-Star shortstop, guided the team to a wire-to-wire Central Division title with 99 wins; they then went 11-1 in the postseason, capping it off with a four-game sweep of Houston in the World Series.
Ozzie picked up 17 first-place votes and 105 total points to beat out Cleveland’s Eric Wedge. Wedge got six first-place votes and 71 points, while New York’s Joe Torre was third with 43 points.
Toledo stormed back to beat Northern Illinois, 31-24, in the “Chi-Town Showdown” — the first football game ever played at the new Sox Park. The Huskies, who dropped to 3-3, had led for the first three quarters of the game.
Rookie Gold Glove winner Luis Robert Jr. found himself much less successful in the Rookie of the Year voting. Robert didn’t receive a single first-place vote for Rookie of the Year while another center fielder, Kyle Lewis, won unanimously. Lewis was not a superior hitter in 2020, and in fact Robert had the better WAR, 1.8 to 1.6.