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On this day 31 years ago and for every January 9 since, St. Michaels, Md. declared it Harold Baines Day.
John Williamson/MLB Photos via Getty Images

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Today in White Sox History: January 9

An all-time South Side legend gets his own Day in Maryland

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

1993

St. Michaels, Md. honored future Hall-of-Famer and town native Harold Baines by declaring every January 9 from that day forward to be Harold Baines Day.

Baines has lived his entire life in St. Michaels, raising his family there as well. He was a three-sport star (baseball, basketball, soccer) at St. Michael’s High School, and was famously scouted by nearby resident Bill Veeck while still in Little League (Veeck, by then the owner of the White Sox again, made Baines the No. 1 overall pick in 1977.)

Baines did play for his “hometown” Baltimore Orioles (70 miles northwest, across the Chesapeake Bay) over the course of seven seasons and in three separate stints. He in fact was both traded from the White Sox to the Orioles and to the White Sox from the Orioles.


2001

The White Sox confirmed that reliever Bill Simas, who had Tommy John surgery in December, would miss the entire 2001 season. The righty became just another casualty on a pitching staff that suffered massive losses in the 2000 AL Central title run, including starters James Baldwin and Cal Eldred.

Simas in fact would never pitch in the major leagues again, attempting Triple-A comebacks in 2002 (White Sox), 2003 (Dodgers) and 2004 (Mariners). Thus the 2000 season stood up as the best of his career, with 1.7 WAR and a 3.46 ERA over 60 games.

Simas had his TJS on Dec. 22, 2000 — his son’s first birthday. That son would grow up to be a pitcher like his dad, and the White Sox would sign that son, Kohl, in 2021. Kohl is currently on our SSS Top Prospect ballot, could be as high as our site’s No. 15 Prospect for 2023, and stands a strong change to pitch in Triple-A Charlotte this coming summer.

Bill has been a pitching coach in the Dodgers and Rangers systems for more than a decade now.


2013

Kosuke Fukodome, who the White Sox took a flier on in 2012, left MLB and signed back in his home country of Japan, with the Japanese Central League’s Hanshin Tigers.

Fukodome was a disaster for the White Sox, garnering -0.2 WAR over 24 games (following up his -0.5 for Cleveland in 2011). The outfielder’s meager $500,000 salary, surely incentive-laden, was a relatively easy spoonful to swallow, as Chicago would cut Kosuke on June 26.

Over his five-season, 4.4 WAR career in the majors, Fukodome earned $48.5 million.

Back in Japan, however, Fukodome returned to his days as a productive player, at least from 2013-18; today, he remained an active player until 2022, at 45 years of age.

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