Future two-time White Sox owner Bill Veeck was born, in Chicago. Baseball’s greatest promoter presided over two of the most exciting seasons in team history, the 1959 pennant winners and 1977’s South Side Hit Men. More vilified than appreciated by baseball’s ruling class, Veeck’s career saw him also owning the (minor league) Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Browns and Cleveland. He helped bring free agency, expansion, playoffs, interleague play and the designated hitter to the majors. Today, on his 109th birthday, his wisdom still resonates.
This was another one of the smaller moves completed by White Sox GM Larry Himes that paid off in a major way. Himes shipped pitcher José DeLeon to the Cardinals for pitcher Ricky Horton and outfielder Lance “One Dog” Johnson. Johnson would blossom into one of the better defensive center fielders in the American League, become a solid hitter and steal 226 bases in his eight years on the South Side. He led the American League in triples for four straight seasons (1991-94).
Johnson had a 25-game hitting streak in 1992, batting .439 during that stretch, and also collected six hits in six at-bats in a game at Minnesota on Sept. 23, 1995 (three of his six hits were triples).
Johnson’s most significant defensive play came as part of Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter in Baltimore on Aug. 11, 1991. In the eighth inning, Johnson sprinted to his left and dove full-out, catching a low line drive off the bat of Chris Hoiles to preserve it.
Johnson left the White Sox after the 1995 season, signing a contract with the Mets. He remains, per 21.3 WAR, the 23rd-best position player and eighth-best outfielder in White Sox history.