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Eddie Stanky Holding His Head
Tortured soul Eddie Stanky was hired to replace the legendary Al Lopez as White Sox manager on this day, 58 years ago.

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Today in White Sox History: December 14

One Dog and Black Jack leave, while Yonder and The Brat arrive

1965

In an unexpected move the White Sox named “The Brat” (Eddie Stanky) as the team’s new manager, replacing the retired Al Lopez. Stanky was an intense, obsessed man — the 60’s managerial version of Billy Martin or Earl Weaver.

Stanky knew baseball and was a genius with tactical decisions, but he was also extremely unpopular with many of his players. He imposed a curfew, dress code and a rigorous calisthenics program on the team. He would fine players (or bench them) every time they weren’t able to lay down a bunt, hit a sacrifice fly or advance runners into scoring position.

On the other hand, Stanky offered a new suit of clothes for any pitcher who threw a complete game with at least a certain number of ground ball outs. For stolen bases or taking a base into scoring position, a player would get a new pair of dress shoes.

Stanky would have winning seasons in 1966 and 1967 (nearly taking the pennant), but by early 1968 his act had grown old and he was fired, to be replaced by ... Al Lopez!


1994

The White Sox traded former Cy Young winner Jack McDowell to the Yankees for minor-leaguer Keith Heberling and a player to be named later (the next April, New York sent outfielder Lyle Mouton to Chicago).

McDowell was the most successful pitcher in the American League between 1990 and 1994, winning a total of 73 games along with a Cy Young. He won 20 or more games twice in that span, making the All-Star team three times.

The move, which left the Sox pitching staff without its leader, proved very costly during the 1996 wild card collapse, and was done purely for financial reasons related to the labor situation that cost the team the last two months of the 1994 season.

While McDowell would be out of baseball by the turn of the century, he was still at his peak at the time of the trade, and put up 4.0 WAR for the Yankees in 1995.


1995

After eight very successful years with the White Sox, Lance Johnson signed a four-year, $15.7 million contract with the New York Mets.

Johnson came to the White Sox in a steal of a deal in 1988 by GM Larry Himes, and hit .286 with 226 steals and superb defense during his time on the South Side. His 21.3 WAR ranks 23rd all-time among White Sox hitters, and third among center fielders, behind Chet Lemon and Johnny Mostil.


2018

Phase 1 of the destined-to-fail Project Machado was executed, as the White Sox sent outfielder Alex Call to Cleveland for first baseman Yonder Alonso.

Alonso was a disaster in Chicago, putting up -1.0 WAR in just 67 games, in what amounted to a $5 million whiff.

Worse, the acquisition of Alonso (and later, outfielder Jon Jay) were widely-regarded solely as moves made not to help the roster, but to attract superstar Manny Machado in free agency (Alonso is Machado’s brother-in-law, Jay his close friend).

The odd effort ended in failure, as in the 11th hour the San Diego Padres outbid Chicago for Machado’s services and left the White Sox with two subpar, immovable pieces on their roster.


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