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  • History!

    History!


    Let it be written. Let it be known. On September 23rd, 2021 at approximately 4:00 PM local time in Cleveland, the Chicago White Sox won the American League Central Division title and ensured themselves a playoff spot for the second consecutive year. This marks the first time in their history the Sox have managed to make the playoffs two years in a row. It's been a LONG time coming but for those of us who witnessed today it was worth the wait.

    It hasn't been an easy slog, though the division title has been a foregone conclusion for several weeks now. Cleveland traded Cesar Hernandez to the Sox at the trade deadline pretty much surrendering and admitting they weren't going to catch our Boyz this year. However the Sox promptly took that surrender and sat on it, playing .500 ball over the remainder of the year while fighting niggling injuries and roller coaster offensive output while trying their best to walk the fine line between resting players and locking up the division. Mission accomplished at last. Well at least in part. There's still another week+ to go and then come the playoffs themselves. Right now that's a big mountain, but at least the team appears to be finally getting healthy with only Ryan Tepera currently still unavailable from the expected playoff roster.

    The game itself was never in doubt. Tim Anderson led things off with a solo shot and then tacked on another 3-run blast in the second after both Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez added solo shots of their own. By the time the smoke had cleared the Sox were up 7-0 after 1.5. The offense didn't add anymore, but the pitching was solid and Tony LaRussa wasn't playing games. He yanked starting pitcher, Reynaldo Lopez in the 4th when he started struggling with control and gave up his second solo shot to close the lead to 5. The Sox brought in Garret Crochet who gave up a single but then got a double play grounder to end the inning. After that, it was bring in the late inning...
    See more | Go to post

  • A Conversation with Brooks Boyer...

    A Conversation with Brooks Boyer...



    By Mark Liptak
    White Sox Historian

    In the winter of 2008, I had the chance to have a long conversation with Brooks Boyer of the White Sox front office. Brooks as many of you know, has a number of duties but most of his time is occupied with marketing and working with the White Sox broadcasters. I enjoyed this interview because I strongly sensed Brooks’ interest in my questions and he was willing to give detailed information on how the Sox look at things like promotions, ad campaigns and how broadcasters are hired. Much like Bob Grim’s interview this gives the fans a peek at how Sox decisions are made. And you may find particularly fascinating Brook’s thoughts on Sox fans in general. Much of his comments you’ll find are still relevant today.

    ---------------

    It is a challenging and often thankless part of any Major League Baseball operation. But in today’s game where so much of the “action” takes place off the field, it is of vital importance that your marketing department be first rate and increase any and all options to promote your franchise, which ultimately brings in more revenue.

    For the White Sox, that area is handled by Brooks Boyer who has the official title of Vice President/Chief Marketing Officer.

    What struck me as I spoke with him were his core characteristics. He was open, honest, candid, and funny. His passion for the White Sox organization and for his role in it came through loud and clear but what also struck me, and this surprised me, was Brooks’ desire to know as much about me as I did about him and his work. Throughout the interview he peppered me with questions like, ‘Where are you from in Chicago?’’ “What’s your honest opinion of ownership?” In addition, when I told him stories of incidents that happened to me regarding the White Sox or what some of the other interview subjects had to say about certain areas, he responded, “I love to hear those kinds...
    See more | Go to post

  • A Conversation with Bob Shaw...

    A Conversation with Bob Shaw...



    By Mark Liptak
    White Sox Historian

    Before the start of the 1959 season White Sox manager Al Lopez stepped out of character and made a predication. “The Yankees can be beaten.”

    Lopez felt that the Sox with their team speed, solid defense, ability to execute fundamentals enough to score some runs and excellent pitching would overcome the “Bronx Bombers” and their power potential.

    History showed he was right. But as sometimes happens an unexpected source, think Eric King in 1990, Jason Bere in 1993 or Esteban Loaiza in 2003 was a real difference maker.

    In 1959 that difference maker was a right-handed pitcher named Bob Shaw who came over in a deal with the Tigers in 1958 and immediately fell under the wing of Sox pitching coach Ray Berres.

    In early 1959 when Shaw got his chance, he was ready…by the time the season ended he pitched in 47 games, 26 starts, 230 innings, went 18-6 with three saves, had an ERA of 2.69 and beat Sandy Koufax in the World Series.

    Not bad for a guy who wasn’t expected to make that much of a difference.

    After he left the Sox he continued to be successful making the All-Star game in 1962 with Milwaukee as he went 15-9, going 16-9 for the Giants in 1965 and even winning in double figures with a sub four ERA for the 1966 Mets who lost 95 games.

    After he retired Bob became a very successful businessman in Florida. He died in 2010. This is my interview with him from 2006.

    ----------

    The 2005 season for the Chicago White Sox organization, players, coaches and fans will long be remembered in the annals of this charter American League franchise. Winning the World Series and roaring through the playoffs in a way more associated with such historic teams as the 1927 New York Yankees and the 1975 Cincinnati Reds tends to do that.

    But the 2005 season also did one other thing. The season created...
    See more | Go to post

  • Ruminations on White Sox Elevation and Cubs Stagnation

    Ruminations on White Sox Elevation and Cubs Stagnation

    O, what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practice to deceive!


    Sir Walter Scott penned those lines more than two hundred years ago. If I hadn’t learned that already, I would’ve thought he was writing about Tom Ricketts and his courtiers in the office tower looming over Clark Street. You know the place: 125,000 square feet of corporate glitz at Waveland and Clark on the former site of a coal yard. And it faces the $200 million hotel across the street that was previously a McDonald’s parking lot.

    Add to that the new commercial building on Addison that replaced a string of locally owned storefronts. And don’t forget the acquisition of most of those three-flats behind the outfield that serve now as party rooms. If Chuck E. Cheese adopted a baseball theme, you’d have the model for “Wrigleyville.” Quotation marks are appropriate because there’s no neighborhood by that name – it’s more like Brigadoon or Camelot: not a place, but a state of mind.

    All this avarice brought to mind those lines from Scott’s poem. The Cubs aren’t a ballclub as much as they are an ATM for the owners. The team pulled off a World Series win, boasted of a dynasty, and when the team’s fortunes waned the owners focused on their other fortunes. Instead of putting money on the field, they’re fielding money in a sportsbook building while cutting the team payroll in a series of disemboweling trades.

    I have to admit it’s fun to watch air leak out of the Cubs’ hubris balloon. We’re Sox fans and we lived through several years of a rebuild, which to Rick Hahn’s credit he never tried to deny, unlike Jed Hoyer’s double-talk about it being different now. Yeah, it’s different, all right.

    As I write this, the White Sox are decisively winning the interleague series against the Cubs. Steve Greenberg wrote in the Sun-Times, “There are ships passing in the night, and then there are the Sox and Cubs. One team an ocean liner steaming for the deep...
    See more | Go to post
    Last edited by tebman; 08-08-2021, 08:19 PM.

  • A Conversation with Bob Grim...

    A Conversation with Bob Grim...


    Bob Grim (right) with Sox
    announcer Jason Benetti

    By Mark Liptak
    White Sox Historian

    You may not recognize the name but he was an important part of the operations of the White Sox. Bob Grim was the Director of Broadcast Operations for the club among other duties and he along with Roland Hemond, Bill Melton and the late Billy Pierce were responsible for bringing the White Sox Alumni Association back to life.

    Bob also was involved in the historical aspect of the franchise, that's how I got to know him as he was the person I'd send along the historical audio (a 12 CD collection I put together starting with highlights from 1953) and print material I'd collected over the years. The White Sox unfortunately did not have a lot of their history and I just wanted to do what I could to help.

    Bob always treated me well when I'd return to Chicago, often we'd watch the game from his box along with Chris Rongey and Bill "Moose" Skowron.

    Bob retired after 30 years with the club this past November.

    This interview with him is from 2008 and the discussion around some of the White Sox television issues and Major League Baseball's TV issues are still relevant especially when it comes to the "blackout" areas which are still convoluted and cause fans a lot of headaches.

    One other personal note about Bob, for many years he was a certified basketball official working the Chicago area for high school and college games...you may have seen him if you attended a game and may not have known who he was!

    ----------

    Ask a White Sox fan to name some of the front office members and you’ll get the usual answers…Kenny Williams, Rick Hahn, Brooks Boyer, and Scott Reifert. But naturally a front office of a Major League franchise is composed of more than four people and sometimes the folks who are very important are the ones that you hear the least
    ...
    See more | Go to post

  • A Conversation...with Billy Pierce

    A Conversation...with Billy Pierce


    By Mark Liptak
    White Sox Historian

    This one is personal for me…

    On July 31, 2015 I got an e-mail in the afternoon from Dr. David Fletcher of the Chicago Baseball Museum. He told me Billy Pierce had died and asked if I’d do the obituary story for the web site.

    This was one of those situations where you have to read, then re-read the e-mail to make sure you grasped what it said…Billy Pierce was dead of gall bladder cancer at 88.

    I didn’t even know he was sick, he kept everything very close to the vest. I was in a state of shock. I did the story through tears at the loss of my friend but felt I had to do it in order to do the man justice.

    And what a man he was.

    A few years before he died Dr. Fletcher and I put together a story for the Veterans Committee on why Bill should be in the Hall of Fame.

    One metric jumped out at me…

    Billy Pierce by WAR was the best pitcher of the decade. Not the best pitcher of 1953 or 1956 or 1957 but the best of the decade. Better than “Whitey” Ford, than Jim Bunning, than Robin Roberts, than Early Wynn, than Warren Spahn.

    I’m convinced that if Bill pitched for the Yankees or the Dodgers he’d already be in the Hall of Fame. It’s a travesty that he is not.

    But as good of a player Bill was, he was a better person.

    He raised millions of dollars through Northwestern’s Cancer Research Charity for Children, as a White Sox ambassador he’d visit kids, retirement homes, people at the ballpark, he was beloved by the city.

    One personal example, when I’d return to Chicago, I’d visit Bill and his wife Gloria. We’d have lunch, go back to their house and have a relaxing afternoon. This time instead of taking the train back to Oak Lawn my uncle said to call him and he’d come get me. So, he and my mom did.

    Bill greeted them and they talked in his driveway for 15-20 minutes about the...
    See more | Go to post

  • A Conversation...with Bill Mercer

    A Conversation...with Bill Mercer



    By Mark Liptak
    White Sox historian

    This time around we do something a little different as we bring you our conversation with former White Sox broadcaster Bill Mercer who came from "Deep in the heart of Texas" to join the Sox as part of their broadcasting team. Bill was a broadcaster for the Dallas Cowboys and was the first play by play broadcaster for the Texas Rangers. He had been doing minor league baseball since the early 50's and continued to call games into his 80's! For many years he also taught broadcasting at North Texas University. Bill is still with us retired and living in Durham, North Carolina. He's now 95 years old. I was able to speak with him in 2010.

    One additional note, Bill also was a news reporter for television station KRLD in Dallas, the CBS affiliate. When John Kennedy was shot and killed he and his colleagues reported live for three solid days that November. They provided the basic information to Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather as to the situation and the ramifications. Later Bill and his associates wrote a book describing those three days called "When the News Went Live." I highly recommend it for those interested in broadcasting history.

    ----------

    It was a very strange time for the White Sox from a broadcasting standpoint. The early/mid 1970’s saw the arrival of one of the franchise’s most popular voices, Harry Caray, who actually made listening to Sox baseball in good times or bad, interesting.

    But some baggage came with Harry and outside issues took place that shaped the broadcasting end of things in ways that were hard to understand. In fact, some things happened that have never happened before or after to a Major League team.

    Despite 17 consecutive winning seasons, nationally known players and almost yearly pennant races from 1951 through 1967, by the start of the 1971 season, the White Sox had lost their commercial AM broadcasting
    ...
    See more | Go to post

  • A Conversation...with Bart Johnson

    A Conversation...with Bart Johnson



    By Mark Liptak
    White Sox Historian

    Time and circumstances often make one forget about certain players, they tend to fall through the cracks as it were. Bart Johnson, White Sox pitcher was one of those guys. Possibly the greatest athlete to ever play for the franchise he along with teammates Terry Forster and "Goose" Gossage were the "kiddie relief corps" for the Sox in the late 60's and early 70's and those guys literally put fear in opposing hitters because of how hard they threw and because sometimes even they didn't know where the ball was going to go.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Bart twice in person. The first time was when I returned to Chicago and spoke with him as part of my historical story on the White Sox relationship with the media through the years. The second time was when I co-hosted the 40th anniversary celebration, with Richard Roeper for the 1972 club, Dick Allen's M.V.P. year. They were the club that in Roland Hemond's words, 'saved' the franchise.

    I knew Bart had back issues from his injury when playing for the Sox, he told me he couldn't stand for more than a few minutes at a time but I had no idea, as it was disclosed, when he passed away in April 2020, that he also suffered from complications from Parkinson's Disease. Bart was 70 when he died.

    His career had numerous twists and turns, triumphs and tragedy's most of them because of Bart's decisions and who he was...but one thing's for sure...it was never boring.

    One quick story on him that wasn't included in the interview I did with him in 2006, at the end of the three day celebration for the 1972 club everyone went back to the Drake Hotel in Chicago where all the out-of-town participants stayed. I was in the corner having a beer with Gossage and fellow Sox pitcher Tom Bradley. We were talking pitching and I asked them who threw the hardest among that staff. (And keep in mind Bradley was no...
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  • A Conversation...with Tony LaRussa

    A Conversation...with Tony LaRussa


    LaRussa waves to crowd after becoming
    second winningest manager in history.
    6-6-21

    By Mark Liptak
    White Sox Historian

    I had gotten to know Tony in the early 1980's, in fact, one of my most prized possessions is a seven page handwritten letter on White Sox stationary from Tony from early 1983. At the end of the 1982 year I wrote both Tony and Roland Hemond with my thoughts and suggestions. Tony being the lawyer that he is, reviewed and commented on every single point I mentioned (one of which was trading Britt Burns to the Braves for Bob Horner).

    That April I was on the field at Arlington Stadium for opening night and Tony consented to a radio interview with me during pregame batting practice.

    We stayed in touch occasionally over the years and when he retired from St. Louis, I put him on my list of "White Sox family" members I'd like to do an in-depth interview with, some others on the list were Jerry Reinsdorf, Eddie Einhorn, Dick Allen and Carlton Fisk.

    Working through the Cardinals and Tony's agent we were finally able to arrange a phone conversation from his home in Oakland shortly after Christmas in 2014.

    To that end here is that interview for your enjoyment...and if you read it all the way through to the end, you'll find the first possible hints of what was to come in the winter of 2021...Tony's return as White Sox manager.

    ------------------------- ...
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  • History!
    by voodoochile

    Let it be written. Let it be known. On September 23rd, 2021 at approximately 4:00 PM local time in Cleveland, the Chicago White Sox won the American League Central Division title and ensured themselves a playoff spot for the second consecutive year. This marks the first time in their history the Sox have managed to make the playoffs two years in a row. It's been a LONG time coming but for those of us who witnessed today it was worth the wait.

    It hasn't been an easy slog, though the division title has been a foregone conclusion for several weeks now. Cleveland traded Cesar Hernandez to the Sox at the trade deadline pretty much surrendering and admitting they weren't going to catch our Boyz this year. However the Sox promptly took that surrender and sat on it, playing .500 ball over the remainder of the year while fighting niggling injuries and roller coaster offensive output while trying their best to walk the fine line between resting players and locking up the division. Mission accomplished at last. Well at least in part. There's still another week+ to go and then come the playoffs themselves. Right now that's a big mountain, but at least the team appears to be finally getting healthy with only Ryan Tepera currently still unavailable from the expected playoff roster.

    The game itself was never in doubt. Tim Anderson led things off with a solo shot and then tacked on another 3-run blast in the second after both Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez added solo shots of their own. By the time the smoke had cleared the Sox were up 7-0 after 1.5. The offense didn't add anymore, but the pitching was solid and Tony LaRussa wasn't playing games. He yanked starting pitcher, Reynaldo Lopez in the 4th when he started struggling with control and gave up his second solo shot to close the lead to 5. The Sox brought in Garret Crochet who gave up a single but then got a double play grounder to end the inning. After that, it was bring in the late inning...
    09-23-2021, 08:25 PM
  • A Conversation with Brooks Boyer...
    by Lipman 1


    By Mark Liptak
    White Sox Historian

    In the winter of 2008, I had the chance to have a long conversation with Brooks Boyer of the White Sox front office. Brooks as many of you know, has a number of duties but most of his time is occupied with marketing and working with the White Sox broadcasters. I enjoyed this interview because I strongly sensed Brooks’ interest in my questions and he was willing to give detailed information on how the Sox look at things like promotions, ad campaigns and how broadcasters are hired. Much like Bob Grim’s interview this gives the fans a peek at how Sox decisions are made. And you may find particularly fascinating Brook’s thoughts on Sox fans in general. Much of his comments you’ll find are still relevant today.

    ---------------

    It is a challenging and often thankless part of any Major League Baseball operation. But in today’s game where so much of the “action” takes place off the field, it is of vital importance that your marketing department be first rate and increase any and all options to promote your franchise, which ultimately brings in more revenue.

    For the White Sox, that area is handled by Brooks Boyer who has the official title of Vice President/Chief Marketing Officer.

    What struck me as I spoke with him were his core characteristics. He was open, honest, candid, and funny. His passion for the White Sox organization and for his role in it came through loud and clear but what also struck me, and this surprised me, was Brooks’ desire to know as much about me as I did about him and his work. Throughout the interview he peppered me with questions like, ‘Where are you from in Chicago?’’ “What’s your honest opinion of ownership?” In addition, when I told him stories of incidents that happened to me regarding the White Sox or what some of the other interview subjects had to say about certain areas, he responded, “I love to hear those kinds...
    09-05-2021, 04:09 PM
  • A Conversation with Bob Shaw...
    by Lipman 1


    By Mark Liptak
    White Sox Historian

    Before the start of the 1959 season White Sox manager Al Lopez stepped out of character and made a predication. “The Yankees can be beaten.”

    Lopez felt that the Sox with their team speed, solid defense, ability to execute fundamentals enough to score some runs and excellent pitching would overcome the “Bronx Bombers” and their power potential.

    History showed he was right. But as sometimes happens an unexpected source, think Eric King in 1990, Jason Bere in 1993 or Esteban Loaiza in 2003 was a real difference maker.

    In 1959 that difference maker was a right-handed pitcher named Bob Shaw who came over in a deal with the Tigers in 1958 and immediately fell under the wing of Sox pitching coach Ray Berres.

    In early 1959 when Shaw got his chance, he was ready…by the time the season ended he pitched in 47 games, 26 starts, 230 innings, went 18-6 with three saves, had an ERA of 2.69 and beat Sandy Koufax in the World Series.

    Not bad for a guy who wasn’t expected to make that much of a difference.

    After he left the Sox he continued to be successful making the All-Star game in 1962 with Milwaukee as he went 15-9, going 16-9 for the Giants in 1965 and even winning in double figures with a sub four ERA for the 1966 Mets who lost 95 games.

    After he retired Bob became a very successful businessman in Florida. He died in 2010. This is my interview with him from 2006.

    ----------

    The 2005 season for the Chicago White Sox organization, players, coaches and fans will long be remembered in the annals of this charter American League franchise. Winning the World Series and roaring through the playoffs in a way more associated with such historic teams as the 1927 New York Yankees and the 1975 Cincinnati Reds tends to do that.

    But the 2005 season also did one other thing. The season created...
    08-22-2021, 05:20 PM
  • Ruminations on White Sox Elevation and Cubs Stagnation
    by tebman
    O, what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practice to deceive!


    Sir Walter Scott penned those lines more than two hundred years ago. If I hadn’t learned that already, I would’ve thought he was writing about Tom Ricketts and his courtiers in the office tower looming over Clark Street. You know the place: 125,000 square feet of corporate glitz at Waveland and Clark on the former site of a coal yard. And it faces the $200 million hotel across the street that was previously a McDonald’s parking lot.

    Add to that the new commercial building on Addison that replaced a string of locally owned storefronts. And don’t forget the acquisition of most of those three-flats behind the outfield that serve now as party rooms. If Chuck E. Cheese adopted a baseball theme, you’d have the model for “Wrigleyville.” Quotation marks are appropriate because there’s no neighborhood by that name – it’s more like Brigadoon or Camelot: not a place, but a state of mind.

    All this avarice brought to mind those lines from Scott’s poem. The Cubs aren’t a ballclub as much as they are an ATM for the owners. The team pulled off a World Series win, boasted of a dynasty, and when the team’s fortunes waned the owners focused on their other fortunes. Instead of putting money on the field, they’re fielding money in a sportsbook building while cutting the team payroll in a series of disemboweling trades.

    I have to admit it’s fun to watch air leak out of the Cubs’ hubris balloon. We’re Sox fans and we lived through several years of a rebuild, which to Rick Hahn’s credit he never tried to deny, unlike Jed Hoyer’s double-talk about it being different now. Yeah, it’s different, all right.

    As I write this, the White Sox are decisively winning the interleague series against the Cubs. Steve Greenberg wrote in the Sun-Times, “There are ships passing in the night, and then there are the Sox and Cubs. One team an ocean liner steaming for the deep...
    08-08-2021, 08:17 PM
  • A Conversation with Bob Grim...
    by Lipman 1

    Bob Grim (right) with Sox
    announcer Jason Benetti

    By Mark Liptak
    White Sox Historian

    You may not recognize the name but he was an important part of the operations of the White Sox. Bob Grim was the Director of Broadcast Operations for the club among other duties and he along with Roland Hemond, Bill Melton and the late Billy Pierce were responsible for bringing the White Sox Alumni Association back to life.

    Bob also was involved in the historical aspect of the franchise, that's how I got to know him as he was the person I'd send along the historical audio (a 12 CD collection I put together starting with highlights from 1953) and print material I'd collected over the years. The White Sox unfortunately did not have a lot of their history and I just wanted to do what I could to help.

    Bob always treated me well when I'd return to Chicago, often we'd watch the game from his box along with Chris Rongey and Bill "Moose" Skowron.

    Bob retired after 30 years with the club this past November.

    This interview with him is from 2008 and the discussion around some of the White Sox television issues and Major League Baseball's TV issues are still relevant especially when it comes to the "blackout" areas which are still convoluted and cause fans a lot of headaches.

    One other personal note about Bob, for many years he was a certified basketball official working the Chicago area for high school and college games...you may have seen him if you attended a game and may not have known who he was!

    ----------

    Ask a White Sox fan to name some of the front office members and you’ll get the usual answers…Kenny Williams, Rick Hahn, Brooks Boyer, and Scott Reifert. But naturally a front office of a Major League franchise is composed of more than four people and sometimes the folks who are very important are the ones that you hear the least
    ...
    08-07-2021, 05:06 PM
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