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Choking up, slapping singles, selling out for contact ... the Nellie Fox way is no longer a part of baseball. But on this day 65 years ago, a jaw-dropping MLB record was established by the second sacker.
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Today in White Sox History: August 23

Nellie Fox, he’s everywhere

1906

The Sox beat Washington, 4-1, for their 19th straight win, a franchise record that still stands. Roy Patterson picked up the win. It ended up being (tied for) the longest American League winning streak of the 20th Century.

This was the streak that propelled the Sox into a position to take the AL pennant and eventually the World Series crown over the crosstown Cubs. During the run, the White Sox beat Boston six times, Philadelphia five times, New York seven times and Washington once.

When the streak started on August 2, the Sox were 7 1⁄2 games behind Philadelphia, and when it ended on August 25 at Washington, Chicago was in first place by four games over the A’s.


1940

Already suffering from blurred vision, and with beanballs running rampant, White Sox second baseman Jackie Hayes created prototype protection (basically, an ear-flap), to become the first MLB batter to wear a batting helmet.

Hayes was able to play in just nine games (mostly as a late-game defensive replacement) before August 21, when he started and got through his first complete game of the season. In his next start, on this day, Hayes went 1-for-7 with two strikeouts in Chicago’s 3-2 loss in 13 innings at Washington. He played in seven more games in 1940, with six starts, ending the final year of his career with a .195 average and .476 OPS.

In his nine seasons on the South Side, Hayes earned 6.1 WAR with a .672 career OPS.


1956

Nellie Fox had quite the day for the White Sox, with seven straight hits in a doubleheader sweep at New York. Nellie had a single to center in the first inning, an RBI single to left in the second to put the White Sox up 3-0, a single to center in the fourth, an RBI single to enter in the sixth to put the White Sox up 5-2, and a two-RBI triple to right field in the eighth to put the White Sox up 8-2 in an eventual 8-3 win. Fox also swiped two bases in the game.

Even in late August, Fox’s 5-for-5 flurry raised his batting average seven points, to .312. All five of the hits in the opener were off of losing pitcher Don Larsen. Six weeks later, Larsen would throw the only perfect game in World Series history.

In the nightcap, Fox stayed hot, with singles to center in both the first and second innings, giving him seven straight hits in what would end as a 2-for-5 game.

Fox’s amazing performance actually ended at eight straight hits overall, as he had ended the previous game (a loss to Boston on August 22) with a single in the ninth inning.


1958

Nellie Fox pops right up again, with another momentous feat.

On this day, Fox struck out, in the first inning of a 7-1 win at Yankee Stadium, vs. Whitey Ford. Now, you may realize that the White Sox second baseman was about as hard to whiff as any player who’s ever stepped to the plate. But this, this was something else: Fox had gone 98 games without a strikeout, in the process establishing a major league mark.

The streak started back on May 17, in a 3-2 win over Cleveland. He logged 451 plate appearances and 356 official at-bats during those 98 games, leading the White Sox to a 54-43 record.

What’s interesting is that Fox selling out for contact, if that indeed as what he was doing, didn’t really help him in 1958. His BABIP was just .292 during the streak, his batting average itself .293. His slappy style meant 98 of the 116 hits during the stretch were singles, and in fact his batting average fell precipitously as he made consistent contact, from .367 on May 17 to .308. Sheer luck may have played a role in Fox’s early-season success, too, as the second sacker ran up a .383 BABIP to fuel that .367 average.

In 1958, Fox tied his 1951 season mark with the lowest K-rate (1.6%) of his career. His full career rate was 2.1%, at a time when players struck out 12.1% of the time.

Or, put another way, Fox struck out 216 times in his 21-year career; White Sox 21st Century hitters Adam Dunn (222 in 2012) and Yoán Moncada (217 in 2018) whiffed more than Fox’s career mark in a single season.


1972

White Sox slugger Dick Allen made history again. He slammed a pitch from the Yankees Lindy McDaniel into the center-field bleachers, directly under the scoreboard at Comiskey Park, becoming the first Sox player (and fourth player overall) to ever do so. It came in the seventh inning with a man on base.

White Sox announcer Harry Caray, who was broadcasting the game from the bleachers, nearly caught the ball in the fishing net that he kept with him for just such an occasion. The Sox won, 5-2.


1983

Manager Tony La Russa moved Mike Squires (normally a first baseman) to third base in the eighth inning of a 10-2 loss to the Royals. Squires was left-handed! It was the first time in at least 50 years a lefthander had played that position in a major league game. Squires faced three batters from that spot without handling any chances. Twice, Mike played left-handed catcher for an inning as well.

During the 1983 and 1984 seasons, Squires was moved to third base a total of 14 times over 38 innings, the most ever for a lefthander in big-league history. His career fielding percentage at the hot corner: 1.000, with 12 chances.


2002

White Sox third baseman Joe Crede hit the 1,000th home run at the new Comiskey Park (now Guaranteed Rate Field), when he put one into the seats off of former Sox pitcher Tanyon Sturtze during an 8-2 loss to the Devil Rays. The homer came in the ninth inning.


2005

In an excruciating game in Minnesota, Chicago’s Freddy García tossed a complete game one-hitter — and lost, 1-0. The only mistake he made was allowing a home run to Jacque Jones leading off the eighth inning.

García and Richard Dotson (1983) are the only two pitchers in White Sox history to throw complete-game one-hitters and lose.


2011

White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, a mainstay for the team since being acquired in a trade before the start of the 1999 season, collected his 2,000th career hit in a 5-4 loss to the Angels in Anaheim. The hit was a single that tied the game, 4-4. All but 48 of Konerko’s 2,000 hits had come with the White Sox; he’d finish with 2,340 hits over his 18-year career.


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