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PLAYOFFS!!!

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  • Playoffs!!!

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    Sox fans have been waiting twelve years for today - twelve long frustrating years. Along the way we've seen our share of bad baseball. We've had to endure so many bad players, partial rebuilds and finally a full tear down to start from scratch with a bunch of kids. Last year we started to see some of the fruits as young players came on to show promise and help give a glimpse of the future and then everything got put on hold. The whole world got put on hold and all we could do is scratch our heads and say, "what now?" As Bill Veeck once quipped ""If there is any justice in this world, to be a White Sox fan frees a man from any other form of penance."

    But the season finally got going in late July and after a slow start and a lot of hand wringing and questions, much of it brought on by our nemesis from Minnesota in the first week of the season, the Sox took off. The young kids started hitting and the defense looked solid and they had not one but two or even three MVP candidates at various times. Entering these final two weeks against much tougher competition the Sox were the #1 team in the American League, but standing in our way was that very same Twinkies team. Some were convinced this would be the moment the Sox proved to be pretenders, getting fat on weak competition and now the butchers bill was due. Monday they won a squeaker. Tuesday was easier as rookie Pitcher Dane Dunning in only his 5th start rose up and led the team to victory. Wednesday our ace let us down a bit and the offense couldn't get anything going and the Sox took a painful loss, more so with the match-up coming Thursday day with Minnesota sending an ace to the mound as the Sox went with Renaldo "Mr. Wishy-Washy" Lopez. Early in the game no one was getting much going offensively, but both teams knocked out some solo homers. Abreu and Encarnacion twice tying the game up with their blasts, but the Twinkies took the lead in the 6th when Donaldsaon chased Lopez from the mound with the 5th solo shot of the game. Donaldson then promptly got himself tossed trolling the home plate umpire, which was just fine with us Sox fans. Then, in the 7th, the Twinkies nearly extended the lead after a misplayed flyball in center that could have been a back-breaker, but a nice relay nipped Buxton at the plate to keep the score 3-2, and so the score remained until the bottom half. Jarrod Dyson led off slapping his second single of the game and again stole second. Two outs later, with Dyson now on third, Grandal watched four balls sale past and Abreu promptly extended his AL RBI lead by channeling his inner Engel and beating out an infield single to plate Dyson and tie the game. Eloy Jimenez wasted no time drilling a hanging inside slider down the left field line for a double to drive in the go ahead run and hand the game to the bullpen.

    Cody Heuer returned for a second inning and was looking sharp but yielded a 2-out hit to Cruz and Ricky called for Alex Colome to earn a 4-out save - something the Sox have done more and more as the season has gone on. Colome nearly walked the next batter but induced a sharp grounder to Abreu who stepped on first and ended the threat. After a scoreless bottom half Alex came back out for the ninth and quickly got two routine fly balls to center, but then muffed a comebacker to breathe a bit of life into our hated northerly rivals. Alex wasn't phased though and another routine flyball to center ended the game and sent the Sox to the playoffs!

    I know a lot of us were thinking this year would be one more year to lock things in. With Michael Kopech opting out and the Sox relying on two rookies - a number that has grown to 5 or more (honestly I lose count) this wasn't supposed to happen. The injuries to the starting pitchers and back end bullpen pieces might have been a deal breaker, but the Sox just keep dancing along. Picking each other up, having fun, throwing leather and scoring runs in bunches. Every game seems to bring a new hero or just the next guy on the list. Through it all the steady play of veterans like Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu Yasmani Grandal, James McCann, Dallas Keuchel and Colome have allowed the team to just relax and take it as it comes. And take they have, with gusto.

    There's still work to do. They still need to win the division and the chance for the best record in the AL still lurks. The Sox have a 3 game lead on the Twinkies for the division and with the tiebreaker on their side due to today's win it's more like 4. As the Hawk would say, "Don't Stop Now Boys!" Soxtober beckons...
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    • A Conversation...with Billy Pierce
      by Lipman 1

      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.

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      By Mark Liptak
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      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.

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      ----------

      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.

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      by Lipman 1

      LaRussa waves to crowd after becoming
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      6-6-21

      By Mark Liptak
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      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.

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      ------------------------- ...
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      by voodoochile


      Sox fans have been waiting twelve years for today - twelve long frustrating years. Along the way we've seen our share of bad baseball. We've had to endure so many bad players, partial rebuilds and finally a full tear down to start from scratch with a bunch of kids. Last year we started to see some of the fruits as young players came on to show promise and help give a glimpse of the future and then everything got put on hold. The whole world got put on hold and all we could do is scratch our heads and say, "what now?" As Bill Veeck once quipped ""If there is any justice in this world, to be a White Sox fan frees a man from any other form of penance."

      But the season finally got going in late July and after a slow start and a lot of hand wringing and questions, much of it brought on by our nemesis from Minnesota in the first week of the season, the Sox took off. The young kids started hitting and the defense looked solid and they had not one but two or even three MVP candidates at various times. Entering these final two weeks against much tougher competition the Sox were the #1 team in the American League, but standing in our way was that very same Twinkies team. Some were convinced this would be the moment the Sox proved to be pretenders, getting fat on weak competition and now the butchers bill was due. Monday they won a squeaker. Tuesday was easier as rookie Pitcher Dane Dunning in only his 5th start rose up and led the team to victory. Wednesday our ace let us down a bit and the offense couldn't get anything going and the Sox took a painful loss, more so with the match-up coming Thursday day with Minnesota sending an ace to the mound as the Sox went with Renaldo "Mr. Wishy-Washy" Lopez. ...
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      by voodoochile
      The No No Song
      (For Lucas Giolito 8-25-2020)
      By Voodoochile
      With apologies to Ringo Starr

      A Pitcher that I know from South Chicago
      Smiled because no one understands
      Then He threw his first pitch and we said ho ho
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      And I said:
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      They tried but they just bounced them off the floor
      Yeah they’re all, stiffs, who had lots of whiffs
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      Frowned because he did not understand.
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      He knows Lucas is the best in all the land

      And I said:
      No no no no, the Bucs can’t hit it no more
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      Yeah they’re all, stiffs, who had lots of whiffs
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      A bunch of Sox fans let out a big scream
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      And I said:
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      Yeah they’re all, stiffs, who had lots of whiffs
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