All-time White Sox playing and managing great Fielder Jones dies, at age 62, in Portland. His 32.0 WAR for the club ranks 10th all-time among hitters and places him as the best center fielder in White Sox history. Jones was staggeringly good with the White Sox, never dipping below a 3.1 WAR season and leaving the game after a 1908 season that saw him tally 4.7 WAR, at age 36.
Jones was a player-manager for his final five White Sox seasons (1904-08), never suffering anything close to a losing season and by far the winningest (%) manager in club history. He piloted the White Sox to their first World Series win, over the Cubs in 1906.
During Spring Training or near this date, the White Sox become the first team in MLB history to wear player names on the the back of their jerseys. The announcement had been made back on January 22. It was another Bill Veeck innovation, only done on road jerseys, met with some resistance from players, but soon adopted across baseball.
White Sox slugger Frank Thomas is again featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. A lengthy story talked about his career, the controversies and his desire to return to the top of the game. The headline stated, “Don’t Question My Desire. Frank Thomas Comes Out Swinging.”
Thomas would have a spectacular 2000, missing a chance to win his third AL MVP after losing in a narrow vote to the A’s Jason Giambi, who’d later admit to using steroids in grand jury testimony. Frank’s numbers in 2000 included a .328 batting average, 43 home runs, 143 RBIs, 112 walks and a slugging percentage of .625 for the team that led the American League in wins with 95. Despite those gaudy figures, Thomas didn’t lead the league in any single category that year.