On this date, one of the biggest “what if’s” in franchise history took place.
As per the rules at the time, the White Sox had to choose between two pitchers signed to “bonus baby” contracts, as only one player signed to a deal for more than a certain amount of money could remain in the organization; the other would have to be waived.
With that in mind, rookies Bruce Howard and Denny McLain square off in an intrasquad game to see who would be released and who got promoted to Double-A Lynchburg. Howard won, 2-1. McLain got his walking papers and was claimed by Detroit the following week. He’d go on to win 131 big league games, including 31 in 1968.
Howard won 26 in his career, and never could find consistent success. He was traded to the Orioles in November 1967.
After 559 starts in the National League, Tom Seaver makes his American League debut in a 7-3 mauling by the Tigers at Comiskey Park. The loss came a day after the South Siders were no-hit by a Detroit team that got out the gate hot and didn’t stop until they won the 1984 World Series. Seaver lasted just 4 1⁄3 innings, surrendering five earned runs, including a solo homer to Kirk Gibson.
After his debut loss, Seaver was defeated again, and took a 7.71 ERA into his third start. The future Hall-of-Famer corrected himself on the season, however, ending up with a 15-11 record and 3.95 ERA/105 ERA+/4.1 WAR. At age 39, he led the White Sox pitchers in wins and was second in WAR.
It was always a “House of Horrors” for the White Sox, but on this day they got the last laugh.
The Sox spoil the last Orioles home opener in Memorial Stadium by ripping Baltimore, 9-1. Sammy Sosa clubbed homers in the second and eighth innings to lead the rout, driving in five runs on the afternoon. Jack McDowell went the distance for the win, striking out 10.
The White Sox hit six home runs, including the first two of José Abreu’s career, in a 15-3 rout of the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Avisaíl García adds two homers, with Tyler Flowers and Alexei Ramírez getting one apiece. The White Sox scored 11 times in the final three frames, turning a 4-3 squeaker into a 15-3 romp.