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This scene was repeated 35 times in Juan Pierre’s White Sox career. The outfielder who led the league twice in caught-stealing was officially acquired by the White Sox on this day, 14 years ago.
Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

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Today in White Sox History: December 18

Big names acquired, to no avail

Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to brettballantini@yahoo.com

1969

The White Sox swapped Pete Ward to the Yankees for pitcher Mickey Scott, plus cash.

Ward played in just 65 games (87 plate appearances) for the Yankees, in a pinch-hitting role (10 starts), providing little value (0.4 WAR). He was released at the end of Spring Training in 1971, and retired. Scott never saw time in the White Sox organization, flipped before the 1971 season to Baltimore for infielder Mickey McGuire. McGuire played three Triple-A seasons in Tucson for the White Sox but never on the big club, before finishing his career with two seasons in Japan.


1975

Just one day after being freed, fired, or (according to new manager Paul Richards, at least) briefly reassigned to third-base coach by the White Sox, Chuck Tanner signed a three-year deal to manage the dynasty-in-decline Oakland. True to form, A’s owner Charlie Finley insisted he was only on the hook to pay Tanner $25,000 to manage, and White Sox owner Bill Veeck should be on the hook for the remaining $35,000 of his contract; somewhat shockingly, the AL agree and Veeck was forced to pay.

However, Tanner did not last three years in Oakland (he was dumped after an 87-74 season that was better than the tearing-down A’s deserved). He was traded to Pittsburgh in 1976 for catcher Manny Sanguillen, and by 1979 led the Pirates to the 1979 World Series title.


2000

The brief (44 games) but prolific (10 homers, 36 RBIs, 1.019 OPS, 2.0 WAR!) White Sox career of Charles Johnson came to an end, as the catcher returned to the team that drafted him on a five-year, $35 deal with the Marlins. With an opening behind the plate, the White Sox pivoted quickly to Sandy Alomar, who left Cleveland after 11 years for a two-year, $5.4 million deal.

It would be the first of four times the White Sox acquired Alomar. And yet, in more than six times the number of games (265), Alomar had half the WAR (1.1) of Johnson with the Sox.


2009

The White Sox sent John Ely and Jon Link to Los Angeles as the players to be named later in the Juan Pierre deal, struck three days earlier.

While Pierre was a great teammate and solid “glue” guy in the majors, with the White Sox he was terrible, clocking in with a cumulative -0.6 WAR in 2010-11 while being given an incomprehensible 1,445 plate appearances over the two years. He led the majors with 68 steals in 2010 — but also led the majors in caught stealing in both 2010 and 2011.

It was a trade gamble worth taking, though, as the two pitchers combined for -1.1 WAR in their seasons with the Dodgers. Ely rejoined the White Sox in 2017 and has been a pitching coach in the organization (most recently at Winston-Salem) since.


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