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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 Chet Lemon...
      by Lipman 1

      By Mark Liptak
      White Sox Historian

      A few weeks ago, I brought you my interview with former Sox outfielder Carlos May, a guy who overcame a potential career ending injury to have a very good career on the South Side.

      Now I bring you the story of another terrific outfielder, Chet Lemon. Lemon also overcame an illness that almost cost him his life after leaving the White Sox.

      Some teams are known for certain positions. The White Sox historically have been known for pitchers, shortstops and center fielders. Lemon was among the best center fielders to ever play in Comiskey Park ranking right up there with players like Gold Glove winners Jim Landis and Ken Berry along with other very good outfielders in Mike Hershberger and Lance Johnson.

      I’ve lost touch with Chet since my interview with him in 2004. I wish I could get back in contact with him because, as I think you’ll see in the interview, there aren’t many guys as open and honest about life and baseball as he is. He was just a great guy to talk with.

      ----------

      It’s amazing what you forget. Take this example. In the 2004 White Sox media guide on page 294 under the heading of ‘Career Batting Leaders,’ you find this in the top right-hand corner. Under the listing for ‘Top Career OPB + Slugging Leaders’, sitting in the 5th position all time is Chet Lemon at .814. Ahead of him is Frank Thomas at #1, Magglio Ordonez, "Minnie" Minoso and Eddie Collins. Not bad company.

      Lemon is another one of those very good White Sox players that few knew about, primarily because for most of his career in Chicago, Chet played on some bad, nondescript clubs. He had to go to Detroit before getting national recognition and getting a World Series ring with the 1984 Tigers.

      But make no mistake... Lemon was pretty damn good.

      He was with the Sox from September 1975 through the 1981 season, playing in two All-Star
      ...
      10-16-2021, 06:15 PM
    • South side blackout
      by voodoochile




      SOUTH SIDE BLACKOUT

      by


      Matthew Cianchetti AKA Foulke You

      On a drizzly night in September of 2008, the White Sox finished the 162 game gauntlet with a makeup game win against the Tigers and found themselves in a dead heat with their biggest division rivals, the Minnesota Twins. By virtue of a coin flip, the White Sox had won the right to host the tiebreaker game 163 to decide the AL Central crown. Having the home field advantage for the winner take all affair was huge in that particular season as both teams were dominant at home and both teams were designed to take advantage of their own ballparks. At the time, the Sox were heavily built around home runs while the Twins were built around speed and contact hitting. The bouncy turf at the old HHH Metrodome wreaked havoc on opponents as Twins hitters practically swung down on the baseball to initiate bouncing bleeders through the infield. Any Sox fan no doubt has nightmares at the thought of Nick Punto at the dome going 4 for 5 with nary a hit cracking 80 mph exit velocity. There would be no dome or fake turf on tap that September night. The Twins were about to have their season blacked out.

      When it was clear the Sox had won the makeup game 162 against Detroit to force the tiebreaker scenario, the Sox immediately put tickets on sale that same night. One of the benefits of this particular affair being unplanned and last minute scheduling was the fact that it was essentially a playoff game without the league red tape. Any true fan knows that the playoffs can often squeeze out the little guy with high secondary pricing and sponsor reserved tickets. This game 163 was not going to have many corporate fans or celebrities in the house. It was 40,000 rabid White Sox supporters that were coming out to see the South Side 9 win a division title. The team marketing department put out a call to arms: “BLACKOUT”. Taking a page out of “white
      ...
      10-05-2021, 08:52 PM
    • A Conversation With Carlos May...
      by Lipman 1

      By Mark Liptak
      White Sox Historian

      He was a very good player for the White Sox during the first half of the 1970’s. Carlos May was overshadowed at times by guys like Dick Allen, Bill Melton and Wilbur Wood but he could play the game, combining surprising speed for a man of his size with good power. He made the All-Star team in 1969 and 1972 which was probably his finest season.

      But to know the story of Carlos you have to know what he went through to even get back to the Major Leagues after a horrible accident while with the Marine Reserves cost him his thumb and put his playing future in grave danger.

      When I talked with Carlos in 2004 he went into detail about the accident, how it impacted him and how White Sox fans responded to his situation. This is the interview with him for your enjoyment.


      Also, May is the only player in MLB history (that I know of) that has his uniform reflect not only his last name “May” but also his actual birthday, “May 17!”

      ----------

      When you think about it, the career of Carlos May and the history of the White Sox franchise seem to coincide quite a bit. May was a tremendous prospect and when he came up for good to the Sox in 1969 he was one of the better players on a team that didn’t have many of them, a lot like the career of Luke Appling in the 40's, Chet Lemon in the late 70's, Ozzie Guillen in the late 80's and Frank Thomas in the late 90's. May suffered what could have been a potentially career ending injury, like ill-fated Sox players “Monty” Stratton, Paul Edmondson and Johnny Mostil, only to come back and have a solid career. He finally got his chance at post season play but naturally, it had to come with a team other than the White Sox, like countless others.

      While May was on the South Side, he showed he could pound a baseball, hit for average and surprisingly to some, steal bases... a lot of them, for a man his size.

      ...
      09-25-2021, 04:07 PM
    • 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
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