White Sox owner Bill Veeck made up for some of his bad deals after the 1959 season by pilfering pitchers Juan Pizarro and Cal McLish from the Reds for infielder Gene Freese. Manager Al Lopez and pitching coach Ray Berres had their eyes on Pizarro for a few years, but Milwaukee refused to deal him to the Sox. Veeck craftily got his friend Bill DeWitt of Cincinnati to swing a deal with Milwaukee, with DeWitt then shipping Pizarro to the South Side.
Pizarro was an enigmatic, moody pitcher but when he got on the mound, he was all business. Possessor of a blazing fastball, the lefthander had four seasons of double-figure wins in Chicago, among them 16 in 1963 and 19 in 1964. He totaled 75 White Sox wins between 1961 and 1966, and was a two-time All-Star selection, pitching a scoreless inning in the 1963 contest.
With 12.9 WAR, Pizarro ranks as the 36th-best pitcher and tied (with A.J. Pierzynski) for 88th-best player overall in White Sox history.
It was the end of 61 years of Comiskey family ownership of the White Sox, as Chuck Comiskey sold his 46% interest in the team to a group of 11 investors, headed by insurance executive William Bartholomay and entertainer Danny Thomas.
Chuck had made two major miscalculations in his quest to regain his “birthright” ownership of the White Sox. The first came in the later 1950s, when he lowballed his sister Dorothy; Dorothy had decided to sell her 46% of the club to Chuck, but instead sold to Bill Veeck once Chuck’s insulting offer came across her desk. (Veeck, in declining health, would own the White Sox for only two years, selling out to Arthur and John Allyn.)
The second mistake was Chuck compromising his own 46% share of the White Sox — he remained the biggest shareholder in the team through 1961 — by selling out. Chuck was confident that he could broker a purchase of the near-half of the White Sox that the Allyns had purchased from Veeck. Adding Allyn’s near-half of the White Sox would make the Bartholomay/Thomas investors nearly 100% owners of the club, with Chuck back in charge as team president/GM.
But the Allyns rebuffed Chuck’s overtures, forever ending Comiskey ownership of the White Sox.
Stellar right fielder Floyd Robinson was dealt to the Cincinnati Reds for pitcher Jim O’Toole. The two players would both end up with similar careers per WAR, but were on the decline and not long for the majors. In spite of what would end up as a 2.82 ERA for the season, O’Toole was a victim of a pitching-rich Sox club and ended up buried on the bench by White Sox manager Eddie Stanky. O’Toole injured his shoulder in July, having appeared in just 15 games (10 starts), and wasn’t brought back for 1968; he never reached the majors again.
With 18.5 WAR, Robinson is the 58th-best overall player, 34th-best hitter and third-best right fielder (behind Magglio Ordoñez and Harold Baines in White Sox history.
It was one of the worst deals ever made by GM Ed Short, hastening the demise of the long-winning White Sox.
Short sent infielder and base-stealer Al Weis along with outfielder, base-stealer and home-run hitter Tommie Agee to the Mets in exchange for former NL batting champ Tommy Davis, pitcher Jack Fisher and catcher Buddy Booker. Two years later, the Mets won the World Series — thanks in large part to the play of Agee and Weis. None of the players the Sox got in return did much for them.
Deals along those lines sent the franchise into a tailspin, and by September 1970 Short was fired.
White Sox GM Ron Schueler’s good luck when gambling on hurt or limited free agents continued, as he signed Julio Franco to a contract. Franco would have a tremendous 1994 season hitting behind Frank Thomas, with 20 home runs, 98 RBIs, eight stolen bases and a .319 batting average in his one year in Chicago.
Franco played in Japan the next year because the Sox refused to meet his asking price on a new deal.