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Chicago White Sox v Washington Nationals
It wasn’t President Barack Obama’s favorite moment in the White House, seven years ago today.
Gary Fabiano-Pool/Getty Images

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Today in White Sox History: January 16

The wrong Chicago team visits the White House

Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to brettballantini@yahoo.com

1996

The executive council of Major League Baseball approved interleague play for the 1997 season; for the first time, regular season games between the American and National Leagues would count in the standings. The plan is approved by the MLBPA, granting specific emphasis on “geographic rivalries,” in Chicago’s case meaning crosstown games pitting the White Sox against the Cubs.

The White Sox would begin interleague play on June 13, 1997, with a 3-1 win in Cincinnati over the Reds. Three days later, the White Sox began official play against the Cubs back at Sox Park, suffering an 8-3 loss.

Over the 27 years of interleague play, however, the White Sox have been enormously successful against the National League. During a 1997-2023 span in which their overall record was a mediocre 2,105-2,165-2 (.493), the White Sox have gone 268-261 (.507) in interleague play. (Without the NL, the White Sox are left with a .491 winning percentage over the past 27 seasons.)

Against the Cubs specifically, the numbers are even sunnier: A 74-68 (.521) overall record. But as White Sox fans used to trouncing the Cubs in World Series, City Series, and all manner of miscellaneous charity games, this advantage should come as no surprise.


2017

As a harbinger of some very dark times to come, one of White Sox fan Barack Obama’s final actions as President is welcoming the Chicago Cubs to the White House. While it leaves Obama with a sour taste, at least his Cubs-fan wife Michelle is happy.

The President’s thoughts? “I can’t claim that I have the same just visceral joy of some in this White House.”


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