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1900 Chicago White Sox

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Today in White Sox History: April 2

A pair of amazing debuts, set more than a century apart

These dapper fellows — yes, this exact roster — played the first game in White Sox history, on this day 123 years ago.


The White Sox played their first-ever game, an exhibition win over the University of Illinois baseball team, 10-9.

That season, the American League wasn’t considered a major league (the AL would band together with the National League to form MLB in 1901). However, the White Sox would win the AL’s first pennant on September 12, when they beat the Cleveland Blues. 12-4 and 9-1.


The best player in White Sox history (at least per his 77.5 career WAR), Luke Appling, is born in High Point, N.C. Exactly 20 years later, in Detroit, Billy Pierce is born. With their combined 127.3 WAR for the White Sox and universally beloved status, it’s safe to say there is no more important birthday on the franchise calendar than April 2.


For the first time ever in Major League Baseball, one player’s salary is more than an entire team’s salary.

OK, cool factoid. Why is that a part of White Sox History?

The reason — you may want to sit down for this — is that the player was on the Chicago White Sox. Yes, Albert Belle made $10 million in the first year of his free-agent deal with the South Siders, while the entire Pittsburgh Pirates payroll totaled just $9,071,667.

The 1997 season represented the last time the White Sox fielded the highest-paid player in baseball on their roster.


Now THIS is how you make a debut!

White Sox DH Yermín Mercedes had more than 2,000 minor league at-bats before finally making an Opening Day roster in the majors. On this night in Anaheim, he had a sensational start, going 5-for-5, with four RBIs in a 12-8 win. Mercedes had four singles and a double in the game.

The last time a rookie had five hits in his first game in the big leagues was 1933, when Cecil Travis of the Senators did it. Before Travis, Fred Clarke had gotten five hits in his first game as well — but Mercedes became the only player in history to go a perfect 5-for-5 in his debut.

Mercedes would go on to have 12 hits in his first four games — setting a modern major league record — and be named American League Player of the Week.

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