Slap-hitting first baseman Luzurne “Lu” Blue is purchased from the St. Louis Browns for $15,000. Blue was brilliant for the last-place White Sox in 1931, with his 5.3 WAR nearly doubling that of second-place Red Faber. Blue finished 17th in MVP voting after slashing .304/.430/.399 and stealing 13 of 16 bags.
Blue’s 5.3 WAR was good for 10th in the American League and remains tied for the ninth-best year for a first baseman in White Sox history.
The White Sox sign former two-sport star Bo Jackson to an incentive-loaded contract, with a $700,000 base salary. Division rival Kansas City had released Jackson two weeks earlier, citing a hip injury suffered playing the NFL that seemed likely to end his career in both football and baseball.
Jackson would have hip replacement surgery and not make a real impact until 1993, when he hit 16 home runs, but the move was a masterful stroke from a public relations standpoint. He was the first pro athlete to have the type of surgery he did and come back to play at the highest level.
An unexpected division championship season didn’t start off promisingly, as the White Sox are buried in Texas, 10-4. They’d lose the next day as well, 12-8. In the two games, the White Sox allowed 23 hits and committed five errors.
But by the end of the month the Sox set a major league record for the most runs scored in April, and “The Kids Can Play” were on their way to a league-leading 95 wins and a postseason appearance.
After going 5-for-5 in his first game of the year (April 2), Yermín Mercedes started his day against the Angels by going 3-for-3, including his first career homer. His eight straight hits to start a season set a modern record (dating back to at least 1900), besting Chris Stynes’ 7-for-7 start in 1997.
Finally, in the eighth inning of the April 3 game, Mercedes was retired, snapping his scintillating start.