White Sox manager Paul Richards was regarded as one of the smartest people ever to lead a baseball team.
With the Sox going for a series sweep of New York and leading 4-2 in the ninth inning, Richards brought in pitcher Harry Dorish to relieve Billy Pierce. Only Richards didn’t remove Pierce from the game — he moved him to first base! After Dorish faced two hitters, Pierce was brought back to the mound to end the game — which he did, getting Johnny Mize to hit into a force out and then striking out pinch-hitter Bill Renna.
Richards pulled off this maneuver at least twice as the White Sox skipper, the first time on May 15, 1951 at Boston. In both cases, the pitchers involved were Dorish and Pierce.
Years later, baseball writer Rob Neyer began tracking these moves in a historical database, and one of his readers termed the maneuvers “Waxahachie Swaps.” Richards, who also made these swaps twice as Baltimore Orioles manager, was known as the Wizard of Waxahachie (Texas).
Completing a doubleheader sweep and four-game series sweep of the Washington Senators at Comiskey Park, the White Sox ended a long homestand with a 15-1 record, one of two (1906) in team history. Normally such a run, during these White Sox glory years, would have ended with the White Sox well better than .500 and leading the AL, but the 1961 team had started slow; the homestand began with the Pale Hose 21-33, 14 1⁄2 games out and flirting with the basement of the AL. By the start of the next road trip, Chicago had re-set itself, at 36-34, 9 1⁄2 games out and in fifth place.
The White Sox could only make it to fourth place in 1961, where they finished the year, at 86-76. It was their worst finish in the standings in 10 years.
An overflow crowd of 52,712 jammed Comiskey Park to watch the White Sox hammer the Cubs, 11-1, in the annual “Boys Benefit Game.”
The Sox, who played as the “visiting” team that night, hit four home runs, including back-to-back-to-back shots in the third inning. The home runs were hit by Ron Hansen, Tommy McCraw and Jerry McNertney. Floyd Robinson also had a home run.
What was significant, however, was the fact that fans were allowed on the outfield grass behind ropes, because there wasn’t any room left in the park. It was the last time fans have ever been permitted to stand on the playing field for a game.
The game ranks No. 6 all-time in attendance at old Comiskey Park, which is by extension No. 6 all-time in White Sox and Chicago baseball annals.
White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell fired the first shutout for the home team at new Comiskey Park, blanking the Mariners, 4-0. Jack was masterful on the day, and carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning. He’d end up with a three-hitter, and seven strikeouts.
With the White Sox trailing the Houston Astros, 9-2, in the eighth inning at U.S. Cellular Field, second baseman Tadahito Iguchi hit a three-run home run to narrow the deficit to 9-5. In the ninth inning, Iguchi connected again, this time for a grand slam to tie the game.
The Sox lost the game in the 13th inning, but Iguchi set a franchise record, as the White Sox had hit grand slams in three consecutive days. Scott Podsednik hit a grand slam two days earlier, and Joe Crede did so the day before.
The White Sox tied the franchise record, first set in 1955, by blasting seven home runs in a single game. It took place against the Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field.
But there was one problem … they lost the game, 10-8.
It was only the third time in baseball history a team hit that many home runs in a game and lost (Detroit, in 1995 and 2004). The Sox players to hit home runs were Brett Lawrie (two), Dioner Navarro, J.B. Shuck, Tim Anderson, Alex Avila and Adam Eaton.