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Today in White Sox History: January 2

Goodbye to the 1941 All-Star winner

1946

The White Sox bought pitcher Alex Carrasquel and shortstop Fred Vaughn from Washington. While Carrasquel would throw just three career games for the South Siders, his nephew Chico Carrasquel would make a major impact with the club. Interestingly, after acquiring Chico in 1949, the White Sox dealt away Uncle Alex for relief pitcher Luis Aloma — who would also act as Chico’s English interpreter.


1951

Both Jim Essian and Royle Stillman were born on this day. Not only did they both grow up to be White Sox, they were teammates on the 1977 South Side Hit Men.


1986

Former two-time owner of the White Sox Bill Veeck died at the age of 71.

Veeck owned the club from March 1959 through June 1961, and then again from December 1975 to January 1981, when he sold it to the group headed up by Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn.

Veeck buying the team the second time, with considerable help from big Sox fan and Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, saved the franchise from being moved to Seattle and the Oakland A’s relocating to the South Side. Major League Baseball was trying to settle the lawsuits filed by Washington state, the city of Seattle and King County over the Pilots being relocated to Milwaukee in 1970. Moving the financially strapped White Sox to the Pacific Northwest would have ended the legal issues.

Veeck saved the team but never really had the financial resources to make it competitive, especially with the advent of free agency. Part of his syndicate included some of the richest people in America, but he had made a promise to never go to them for additional funds and to always turn them a profit. Veeck remains the last owner in baseball history to have bought a major league team without being independently wealthy.

Veeck was known for his promotions, stunts and off-the-wall ideas which ranged from installing a shower in the center field bleachers at Comiskey Park to broadcaster Harry Caray leading the crowd in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in the seventh inning — to the infamous “Disco Demolition” night.

Veeck was voted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.


1939

White Sox pitcher Eddie Smith, who won the 1941 All-Star Game, died at age 80 in Willingboro, N.J.

Smith was snagged on waivers from the Philadelphia Athletics early in 1939, and just two seasons later he was an All-Star. In fact, that All-Star year of 1941 (duplicated in 1942) culminated a stellar run for Smith; from 1939-41 he compiled 13.1 WAR and a 3.30 ERA.

Smith struggled in 1942 and 1943 before joining the Army during World War II. Like many players, he wasn’t the same after his discharge. In fact, after experiencing so many prewar highs, his -1.5 WAR season in 1947 is tied for the 23rd-worst season (and tied for 38th-worst among all players) in White Sox history.


2020

The White Sox signed Luis Robert Jr. to a multiyear contract without him having played a single major league game. The future Gold Glove winner agreed to $50 million for six years, with team options worth $38 million more over two final seasons.

Robert showcased five-tool talent and the ability to impact a game in many ways, but the inconsistencies and injury issues he’s faced have caused him not to progress as far or as fast as the team and fans hoped.

And if Robert’s “blind” extension given without a major league day of service seems familiar, it’s because the White Sox did the same thing with Eloy Jiménez just one year earlier, in 2019.

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