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Today in White Sox History: April 24

Back-to-back, it’s a matter of fact

Robin Ventura and Julio Franco were a true double threat on this day, 29 years ago.


It wasn’t planned this way, but three games in other cities were postponed by rain, putting the White Sox in position to host the first major league game in AL history. Some 9,000 fans at South Side Park saw the home club beat the Cleveland Blues, 8-2. The White Sox scored five times in the first inning, and ran the score to 7-0 in the first two frames.

Roy Patterson started, and got the complete-game win. Outfielder Billy Hoy took the first White Sox at-bat. Fred Hartman’s single scored the first two runs in (MLB) American League history.

Hoy was deaf and mute, and referred to himself by his nickname, correcting people who called him William. In order for Hoy to understand what the umpires were calling, the arbitrators came up with a series of hand signals indicating safe/out and ball/strike.

The ceremonial first ball, by the way, was supposed to be thrown out by Robert Burke, special counsel to the mayor of Chicago. Burke declined, however, stating that he was afraid the ball might get hit back to him. (True story!)


In a game at Kansas City, White Sox starter Dick Donovan was hit early and often. When manager Marty Marion came out to take the ball from him, Donovan — showing his competitive spirit and concerned about a possible return trip to the minors — refused to give it up!

Marion had to reassure Dick that he’d remain in the rotation before Donovan would turn the ball over and leave the field. That season, he’d win 13 of 17 decisions before an emergency appendectomy felled him in late July.

That injury may have cost the White Sox the pennant, as Donovan wasn’t the same after the surgery and the Sox finished in third place, five games behind the Yankees at 91-63-1.


Still mired in a somewhat slow start for a defending division champion, the White Sox lost to Detroit, 7-6. Chicago blew two leads, and then lost the game itself after rallying to tie in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Why is this loss notable? White Sox No. 4 and 5 hitters, Julio Franco and Robin Ventura, hit back-to-back homers — twice, and in consecutive plate appearances in the game.

In the top of the sixth, tied 3-3, Franco led off with a homer to deep right field, and Ventura repeated the act. In the eighth, down 6-4, Franco again led off with a solo shot, and Ventura tied the game with a homer.

The loss (on a Cecil Fielder single in the ninth) dropped the White Sox to 11-7, tied for first in the AL Central.


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