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The White Sox snagged sidearmer Tim Fortugno off of waivers on this day, 29 years ago.
Ron Vesely/Getty Images

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Today in White Sox History: January 6

A sidearmer is sent to the South Side

1920

White Sox hurling hero Early Wynn was born, in Hartford, Ala.

Wynn was a slow starter, making his debut in 1939 with the Washington Senators but really only finding his footing as a pitching star after World War II, primarily with Cleveland.

For the 1959 White Sox, Wynn was a workhorse, and took the Cy Young Award back when it was still an AL/NL combined award, with just one winner. He was the fourth overall and first Chicago winner of the award, and in the 66 years the honor has been given only LaMarr Hoyt (1983) and Jack McDowell (1993) have taken Cys for the Sox.

Wynn was 39 years and 267 days old when he won the Cy Young, of course at the time the oldest winner; he remains the third-oldest Cy Young winner ever, after Roger Clemens (2004, 42 years old) and Gaylord Perry (1978, 40).


1964

The White Sox reveal their new road uniforms, a bold powder-blue that departs from traditional gray. The South Siders thereby kick-start a road uni look that will last for two decades across MLB.


1995

The White Sox selected lefty reliever Tim Fortugno off of waivers from the Cincinnati Reds. Fortugno was coming off of a solid 1994 season (25 games, 0.2 WAR, 101 ERA+). In 1995 the White Sox would put him to more work than any of his three MLB seasons: 37 games and 11 finishes. However, his results were scattered, pitching to a 5.59 ERA (81 ERA+) and 0.0 WAR.

Fortugno was flipped to California at the trade deadline along with Jim Abbott in a deal that saw Bill Simas and three other players arrive in Chicago.


2005

Needing catching help, White Sox GM Ken Williams took a gamble and inked catcher A.J. Pierzynski to a free agent contract. A.J., who had a reputation as a “clubhouse cancer,” turned out to be a model teammate, and his contributions to the 2005 World Series champs would be incalculable. Sox announcer Ken “Hawk” Harrelson pitched A.J. to the front office, having known him for a number of years (both lived in the Orlando area).

Two of the most memorable A.J. moments with the White Sox took place in 2005.

The first came on June 18, when he hit an opposite-field home run to cap a four-run ninth inning as the Sox beat the Dodgers, 5-3. The White Sox were wearing 1959 replica uniforms for the game.

The second and far more important moment came on October 12, the second game of the ALCS. With the White Sox down a game to the Angels and tied in the ninth, Pierzynski struck out — then started running to first base as former Sox player and current Angels catcher Josh Paul rolled the ball back towards the mound thinking the inning was over. A.J. thought the ball hit the dirt and was trapped, which required a putout at first base. Umpire Doug Eddings agreed, and Pierzynski was safe at first base. The play led to the eventual winning run driven in by Joe Crede, evening a best-of-seven series the Sox went on to win in five games and leading to their first World Series since 1959.

Another “classic” A.J. moment came on May 20, 2006, during a Crosstown game at U.S. Cellular Field. Plowing over Cubs catcher Michael Barrett to score the first run in an eventual 7-0 Sox win, A.J. extracted himself from Barrett after toppling him and went back to touch home plate. As he was doing so, he bumped Barrett, which resulted in the Cubs player losing it and sucker-punching him. Four players wound up being ejected after the ensuing melee.


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