The world championship season began in Detroit with the White Sox beating the Tigers, 5-3. Frank Owen, who’d win 22 games that season, picked up the victory. Just three days short of six months later, the Sox would close out the Cubs, winning the only all-Chicago World Series, in six games. Frank Hemphill, who played all three outfield positions in the game, drove in two runs for the Sox.
The “Golden Age” of White Sox baseball was born, as on Opening Day the White Sox destroyed the St. Louis Browns, 17-3. Outfielders Al Zarilla and Gus Zernial knocked in three runs apiece.
New manager Paul Richards emphasized pitching, defense and speed. Under Richards and two managers to come, the Sox would have 17 consecutive winning seasons, the fourth-longest streak in MLB history.
In front of newly-elected Mayor (and renown White Sox fan) Richard J. Daley, rookie Luis Aparicio collected his first major league hit. It came off of Cleveland’s Bob Lemon and helped set up the winning run in the seventh inning of Chicago’s 2-1 Opening Day victory. Aparicio was named Rookie of the Year in 1956, and after an 18-year career would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984. Lemon would be named White Sox manager in 1977.
Fellow future Hall-of-Famers Don Drysdale (Brooklyn Dodgers) and Frank Robinson (Cincinnati Redlegs) also debuted on this day.
Future Hall-of-Famer Harold Baines collected his first major league hit, off of New York pitcher (and ex-Sox star) Jim Kaat at Yankee Stadium. Baines would total 2,866 in his outstanding career, and his No. 3 was retired by the team in 1989, after a trade to Texas but while he was still an active player.
Baines made the Hall of Fame in 2019.
On a cold, miserable night in Chicago, Ron Kittle would connect for a rooftop home run off of Boston’s Rob Murphy. It was Kittle’s SEVENTH rooftop shot, the most by any player in the history of Comiskey Park. It was also the last rooftop home run in the park’s history. The White Sox won the game, 2-1. Kittle’s blast came in the sixth inning, tying the game 1-1.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of their first game in Oakland, the A’s opened their gates for free for their game against the White Sox, drawing 46,765 fans. The Oakland faithful got a treat, both because of the 10-2 pasting they put on Chicago and the throwback 1968 uniforms worn by both teams (A’s in green vests, White Sox with powder blue road gear).
The A’s ambushed starter Miguel González for five runs in the first inning, and built a lead to 8-0 (all on González’s tab) by the fourth inning. In what would become a 100-loss season, the White Sox fell to 4-10; González, apparently nursing a sore shoulder, would never pitch another game in the majors. The White Sox would end up paying him $4.75 million for three starts in 2018.
On the bright side, second baseman Yoán Moncada doubled, homered and stole a base for the South Siders.