Chalk this one up to White Sox owner Bill Veeck.
Knowing he needed a drawing card and a big bat to replace Richie Zisk and Oscar Gamble, Veeck dealt future All-Star Brian Downing and pitchers Chris Knapp and Dave Frost to California. He got back Bobby Bonds and two youngsters, Thad Bosley and Richard Dotson. Bonds would play in only 26 games for the White Sox, with two home runs and eight RBIs, before he was flipped to Texas in May. Chicago’s record was a dismal 9-20 at the time, and Veeck understood there was no way he was going to be able to re-sign Bonds as a free agent after the 1978 season.
At least Dotson turned out to be of value in the 80’s, winning in double-figures six times, headed up by a 22-7 year in 1983. He also made the All-Star team in 1984.
The Illinois General Assembly passed legislation allowing funds to be given to the White Sox in connection with the construction of a new stadium across the street from the original Comiskey Park.
In part due to a belief that he was simply not a big-game pitcher, Javier Vázquez was dealt to Atlanta with lefty reliever Boone Logan for catcher Tyler Flowers, infielder Brent Lillibridge and minor-leaguers Jon Gilmore (third base) and Santos Rodríguez (relief pitcher).
Vázquez was brilliant in 2009, tying a career-best (also in 2007, with the White Sox) with 6.2 WAR and finishing fourth in NL Cy Young voting. He would, however, be out of baseball after the 2011 season.
Flowers was a blue-chip catching prospect (No. 99 in all of baseball at the time of the deal) who’d already gotten in some trouble, with a PED suspension. Over seven years with the White Sox Flowers brought almost nothing to the table offensively (84 OPS+) and saw almost all of his value tied up in the nascent measure of pitch framing.
Lillibridge was also a blue-chip prospect, reaching No. 63 overall in rankings before making his MLB debut in 2008. He never really got a foothold in the majors, although a brief but potent breakout in 2011 saw him slug his way to an .845 OPS and 1.5 WAR over 97 games while playing five defensive positions plus DH.
It took a while, but he finally got his due: Minnie Miñoso was voted into the Hall of Fame by the Golden Days Era Committee. Miñoso, who had been turned away almost two dozen times before, received 14 votes from the 16-person board.
Minnie was a six-time All-Star representing the White Sox, as well as being a two-time Gold Glove winner in left field for Chicago. He broke the color barrier for the first White Sox when he suited up for the team on May 1, 1951 — and homered in his first at bat against the Yankees Vic Raschi.
Miñoso led the American League in triples and stolen bases three times apiece, was named The Sporting News AL Rookie of the Year in 1951, and finished hitting better than .300 seven times for the White Sox.
His impact was felt for generations, as he was the first Latin player to make it big in Major League Baseball. Minnie was regarded as the “Latin Jackie Robinson” by players who followed in his footsteps, including such greats as Roberto Clemente, Tony Pérez, Luis Tiant and Orlando Cepeda.