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Today in White Sox History: June 20

Filled with fights, firings ... and Civil Rights

Scott Podsednik was caught in a pickle wearing the powder blues on this day, 14 years ago. But Scotty Pods otherwise helped fuel a Civil Rights Game win, going 3-for-4 with a homer.
| Joe Robbins/Getty Images


In a game with the Yankees that the White Sox won 4-3, a record was set for the largest crowd to see a game at Comiskey Park before the upper deck was added in 1927: 43,000. In fact, so many fans were in the park, they were allowed to ring the outfield wall — standing on the playing field!

That may have contributed to Chicago’s eventual winning run in the eighth inning, as Willie Kamm’s drive went into the fans on the field; it was scored as a double, and drove home Earl Sheely.


In the eighth inning of a game in St. Louis, a brawl broke out between White Sox and Browns players. As pitcher George Caster was leaving the mound he fired the ball toward the Chicago dugout, but missed, hitting the adjacent wall. White Sox players charged onto the field, and several of the Browns charged the Chicago dugout where they attacked White Sox batting practice pitcher and ex-Marine Karl Scheel, whom they beat for several minutes, claiming he had been riding them all game. When that confrontation was broken up, the game resumed with no one being ejected, although many fans came on the field and the game was delayed for several minutes.

Scheel was carried to the clubhouse for first aid, and several Browns ended up being fined by the league. The White Sox won the game, 4-1.


White Sox relief pitcher Cy Acosta became the first pitcher to make a plate appearance for the team in the designated hitter era, striking out in the eighth inning of an 8-3 win over Nolan Ryan and the Angels at Comiskey Park. Rich Hand was the Angels pitcher who struck him out.

Acosta came to bat because manager Chuck Tanner pulled Dick Allen after a six-run seventh inning and moved Tony Muser from DH to first base. That meant the Sox gave up the DH and Acosta took Allen’s spot in the batting order.


Tigers outfielder Al Cowens attacked Sox relief pitcher Ed Farmer. In the 11th inning of a game at Comiskey Park, Cowens ran towards Farmer after hitting a ground ball instead of running towards first base, and the two initiated a melee on the mound. One year earlier and then with the Texas Rangers, Farmer had broken Cowens’ jaw on an errant pitch, so tensions were high and patience thin.

Chicago police went looking for Cowens after the game to press assault charges.

Farmer, who had polycystic kidney disease, ended up on the bottom of the pile, where his cysts burst and his kidneys weakened. He would pitch in the All-Star Game the next month, amid his greatest season, but Farmer said from the moment after the brawl he felt weaker, and was never the same pitcher.


In what he admitted was one of the biggest mistakes he’d ever made, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf approved the firing of manager Tony La Russa. La Russa and his staff simply didn’t get along with new GM Ken Harrelson and his unusual ideas, and with the team struggling on the field, the decision to let him go was made.

La Russa won more than 500 games for the White Sox as well as the 1983 Western Division championship, and was hired by the A’s just three weeks later. He eventually took both Oakland and St. Louis to the World Series, winning three titles, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014.

La Russa came back to manage the White Sox in 2021 and most of 2022 before retiring in September due to health reasons.

Harrelson resigned his position after one season in charge of the White Sox. That year, the club went 72-90, ending up in fifth place in the Western Division.


The White Sox set the team mark for the most runs ever scored in the third inning of a game, when 11 men crossed the plate against the Cardinals. Chicago-area native Mark Mulder was the victim of the onslaught, which saw the Sox win in Chicago, 20-6. The South Siders sent 16 men to the plate and had 11 hits in the inning.

The 20 runs scored is tied for the fifth-most runs ever scored in a game by the South Siders.


The White Sox won the first Civil Rights Game ever to be played as part of the regular-season schedule, beating the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park, 10-8.

The White Sox rallied from down 5-0 to score eight runs in the middle innings, fueled by solo shots in the fifth (Scott Podsednik and A.J. Pierzynski) bookended by three-run blasts in the fourth (Gordon Beckham) and sixth (Alexei Ramírez). The Reds crept back to within 8-7 before Podsednik and Ramírez tapped in three runs between them in the eighth.

To honor the Civil Rights Era, both teams wore 1965 replica uniforms for the game.

The Civil Rights Game was discontinued after the 2015 season. Overall, the White Sox played in the most Civil Rights games (three), and tied with the Dodgers for the most wins in the series (two).

Los Angeles Dodgers 9, Chicago White Sox 6

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