Near the start of an arduous, 22-game road trip that took them to every American League city but St. Louis, the White Sox dropped a doubleheader nightcap at Yankee Stadium, 3-2, in 11 innings.
While that loss in itself wasn’t notable, what came after sure was. The 31-37 Pale Hose proceeded to drop a team-record 11 straight games, and 18 of 22 to finish out July. Ed Walsh an Jim Scott both went 0-3 in the stretch, and Doc White lost both of his games.
The White Sox would finish 68-85, in sixth place, 33 1⁄2 games back. It was just their second season worse than .500 in their 11 years of existence. The club had just about as good a run in its second decade of existence, with just four seasons worse than .500 from 1900-20.
In a twin bill in Chicago against the Philadelphia Athletics, Red Faber won both games, 8-7 and 6-2. The first one came in relief of starter Dickie Kerr. Faber threw 11 innings combined, allowing 10 hits and four runs. In the nightcap win, he threw a complete game.
With the White Sox desperately needing a third baseman to replace the injured Bill Melton, GM Roland Hemond acquired Ed Spiezio from San Diego for pitcher Don Eddy. Spiezio did a yeoman’s job holding down third base for the rest of the year, as the White Sox stalked the A’s — in fact, Spiezio’s dramatic, extra-inning home run against Oakland on August 12 off Rollie Fingers at the Oakland Coliseum put the Sox into first place.
It was the latest the Sox had been in first place in a season since 1967.
Roberto Hernández was the only White Sox player to participate in the 1996 All-Star Game, played at Veteran’s Stadium and won by the NL, 6-0. (Frank Thomas was named to the squad but could not play due to injury.) Hernández ended up pitching a garbage-time ninth inning for the AL, but made a bigger impact on the game when he slipped on a tarp during the AL team photo shoot and broke Cal Ripken Jr.’s nose with his forearm. Ripken started the game, but went 0-for-3.
In the infamous 11-inning All-Star Game tie in Milwaukee, Paul Konerko tied the record for most doubles in the game, with two. His teammate, Mark Buehrle, joined him in the game.
Tadahito Iguchi’s single in the last of the 19th inning gave the White Sox a dramatic 6-5 win over Boston at U.S. Cellular Field in the final game before the All-Star break.
Jermaine Dye’s two-out, ninth-inning home run had tied the game, 3-3. Both teams scored two runs in the 11th, and the score stayed that way until the 19th. The game took six hours, 19 minutes. It remains tied for the fifth-longest (innings) game in White Sox history, with two of the three all-time 19-inning games coming against Boston!
It also appeared to take something out of the defending World Champions, as they lost 10 of 12 coming out of the break, and skidded to a 90-win season and out of the playoffs.