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Nellie Fox In Action

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Today in White Sox History: December 1

Three franchise legends leave, and one left far too soon

On this day 48 years ago Nellie Fox died, at age 48.
| Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images

1956

It was the first of many awards won in his Hall of Fame career. Just a year and a day after his contract was purchased from Triple-A Memphis, Luis Aparicio became the first Latin player ever to win Rookie of the Year.

Aparicio led the AL in steals with 21 and played a stellar defensive game, leading the league in putouts and assists as well as in games and innings played. Aparicio picked up 22 of the 24 possible votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America. He beat out Cleveland’s Rocky Colavito (who would join the Sox in 1967) and Baltimore’s Tito Francona (who also would be a member of the White Sox, for part of the 1958 campaign).


1964

The White Sox traded pitcher Frank Baumann to the Cubs for catcher Jimmie Schaffer. It was just the second time the two Chicago clubs ever made a direct trade with each other.

Baumann had one spectacular season with the White Sox in 1960, where he led all of baseball with a 2.67 ERA to go along with 13 wins and four saves.


1970

For the second and final time, the White Sox traded Luis Aparicio. The trade came 15 years and a day after being called up to the White Sox roster, and exactly 14 years after winning Rookie of the Year after an outstanding 1956 campaign.

The future Hall of Fame shortstop was sent to the Red Sox for infielders Luis Alvarado and Mike Andrews. Those players helped the Sox in the early 1970s, but this is one Roland Hemond trade that some have second-guessed: If the Sox had Aparicio to provide some stability to the infield in 1972, they may have taken the Western Division title. Lee “Bee-Bee” Richard, Alvarado and Rich Morales simply weren’t the answer at shortstop that season.


1975

To many fans Nellie Fox was the heartbeat of the “Go-Go” Sox of the 1950’s. On this day he passed away far too soon, at the age of 48.

Fox, acquired from the Philadelphia A’s, broke into the White Sox starting lineup for the 1950 season and remained at second base through 1963. He was an 11-time All-Star representing the Sox, and made that game over nine consecutive years, starting in 1953. He had 14 All-Star hits and batted .368 in that affair.

For was the American League MVP in 1959, helping to drive the Sox to the pennant, and hit .375 in the six-game World Series loss to the Dodgers.

Fox paired with Luis Aparicio to give the Sox the best middle infield in baseball during the 1950s. Nellie himself won three Gold Gloves. He also batted better than .300 six times, and rarely struck out (only 201 times during his Sox career). The second sacker received his final and greatest honor posthumously, when he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1997.


1998

Popular and proficient third baseman Robin Ventura left the White Sox, signing a free agent contract with the Mets. Ventura was an outspoken critic of the “White Flag” trade — with good reason, as he was the player who worked hardest to get back in playing shape after a horrifying injury in 1997’s spring training, only to have management give up on that season.

The vastly-underrated Ventura won five Gold Gloves in his time on the South Side, in addition to hitting 171 home runs. He had six seasons with at least 90 RBIs and hit .280 or better for five seasons.

He’d return in 2012 to become manager, lasting five seasons.


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