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On this day 53 years ago, the White Sox acquired one of their all-time, sneaky great relief pitchers, Cy Acosta.
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Today in White Sox History: February 4

Another gift arrives, from Mexico

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

1971

The White Sox purchased pitcher Cecilio “Cy” Acosta from the Mexican League — no doubt aided by White Sox legend Minnie Miñoso, who was then a player-manager for Acosta’s Jalisco club.

Acosta’s U.S. debut came that summer, in 24 games for the Triple-A Tucson Toros, struggling with the transition to the upper minors by logging a 5.27 ERA. However, that was his last unsightly season in the White Sox organization, as Acosta was almost unbelievably good in a short career with the White Sox. The righthander compiled a 153 ERA+ and 5.7 WAR in just 186 innings from 1972-74, including the (tied for) sixth-best relief season in White Sox history (4.1 WAR in 1973). Acosta was sold to Philadelphia for the 1974 season and pitched in just six more games in his MLB career.

Acosta also was the first AL pitcher to bat after the institution of the DH rule, striking out in Dick Allen’s place on June 20, 1973.

Before and after his MLB stint, Acosta was a Mexican League stalwart. He pitched 17 seasons (1968-71, 1975-86), going 122-137 with a 3.42 ERA. He was elected to the Salón de la Fama de Beisbol (Hall of Fame) in Monterrey, Nueva León in Mexico in 2005.


1985

Chicago native and Niles prep school product Greg Luzinski, who signed with the White Sox in 1981 and revitalized his career in the DH spot, retired.

Luzinski was dumped at the end of Spring Training 1981 by his lifelong franchise, the Philadelphia Phillies — and the White Sox were all too happy to snap him up. “Bull” hit the ground running, clubbing his way through the strike-shortened 1981 campaign well enough to pile up 21 homers, 68 RBIs, an .841 OPS and a 23rd-place finish in MVP voting. He was every bit as good in 1982, and then had his best traditional-stats season for the White Sox in 1983 (32 homers, 95 RBIs, .854 OPS, 17th in MVP voting) and helped push the South Siders to 99 wins.

Among many White Sox to take a step back in 1984, Luzinski was as bad as any, dropping from 2.3 WAR to -0.3, and an 89 OPS+ that was by far the worst of his career. Thus, the Bull hung up his spikes, winding up his career with 307 homers and a 130 OPS+. Per JAWS, Luzinski remains the 91st best left fielder in major league history. And coincidentally, Luzinski’s closest similarity scores are of two former White Sox: Roy Sievers (94.3%) and Jermaine Dye (93.6%).


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