In the first game of a doubleheader at New York, future Hall-of-Famer Nellie Fox banged out his 2,000th career hit. On the afternoon he’d have a pair in the 6-3 White Sox victory. The hit came in the first inning, on a single to left field off of Jim Coates.
The Sox split the doubleheader for the day.
White Sox relief pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm took a 2-1 loss in a doubleheader nightcap against Oakland, but in the doubleheader opener set the record for most appearances by a pitcher. The future Hall-of-Famer broke Cy Young’s record of 906 games. “Old Tilt” would appear in a staggering 1,070 games before he retired.
In Wilhelm’s six years with the White Sox, he won 41 games and saved 98 others, while producing some astonishingly low ERAs considering he threw a knuckleball. His highest ERA between 1963 and 1968 was 2.64 — every other season it was below 2.00! In 1968, pitching in 72 games at the age of 45, Wilhelm had a 1.73 ERA and 3.3 WAR.
Because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, the regular season started four months later than normal. A bizarre, bastardized, 60-game season was ordered by commissioner Rob Manfred after the owners and players union could not agree on a longer schedule.
There were also new, bizarre rules put in place, including doubleheaders made up of seven-inning games and extra innings starting with a runner already on second base. Meanwhile, many people questioned the wisdom of sports being played while thousands were getting infected and many were dying.
The White Sox, hoping to build on three years of retooling the team and a terrific offseason, hosted the Minnesota Twins on this late Opening Day — and were beat up, 10-5, immediately putting a damper on things.
After 22 unsuccessful votes by the BBWAA and Hall of Fame Veterans’ Committees, and many years of waiting and coming close, White Sox great Minnie Miñoso was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The “Cuban Comet” was the first Latin player to excel in the Major Leagues and opened the door, much like Jackie Robinson did for Blacks, to the wealth of talent in Mexico and Central America.
Minoso was a six-time All-Star representing the White Sox, was named the American League Rookie of the Year by The Sporting News in 1951, won two Gold Gloves with the White Sox and led the league at various times in triples, stolen bases and hit-by-pitches. He batted better than .300 seven times with the Sox, scored 100 or more runs four times, and drove in at least 100 runs four times. His combination of speed and power were unique for the time period.
He ranks among White Sox leaders all-time leaders in triples, at bats, walks, runs, RBIs, hit-by-pitches, hits, total bases, on-base percentage, doubles, extra base hits and OPS.
on the field, on this day ...
White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease was masterful against Cleveland at Guaranteed Rate Field, going six scoreless innings on seven hits, striking out four in a 6-3 win. That marked his 11th consecutive start allowing one run or fewer, which tied the modern era record for pitchers.
It had only happened twice before: Bob Gibson of the Cardinals in 1968, and Jacob deGrom of the Mets in 2021.