Chicago White Sox

Wed, 22 Oct 2008 22:49

The History of the Chicago White Sox

The Chicago White Sox are a professional baseball team currently based in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox play in Major League Baseball under the Central Division of the American League. This team is just one of the two major Chicago-based league clubs, the other one being the National League's Chicago Cubs.

1901-1914: The beginning

The White Sox actually started as the minor league called Sioux City Cornhuskers playing in the Western League. In November 1893, the Western League reorganized itself. Ban Johnson, who then became president of the Western League, had been recommended by his friend Charles Comiskey, who was then the manager of Cincinnati Reds. When Comiskey's contract with the Reds ended, he bought the Sioux City team and brought it to Saint Paul, Minnesota.

In 1900, the Western League changed its name and became known as the American League. Comiskey brought his team to Chicago, in the Near South Side and gave it the new name White Stockings. The White Stockings won the final American League championship season as a minor league. After that season, the American declared itself a major league.

The White Stockings had its name shortened to just "White Sox" because headline editors at the sports department of the Chicago Tribune often referred to the team that way. In 1904, the team adopted the shorter name officially.

1903-1916: The turnaround

During the 1906 World Series, the Sox had the lowest team batting average, and it was expected that the Cubs would beat them. But in an interesting turn of events, the White Sox did well and took the Series, winning six games. The 1906 White Sox then came to be known as "the Hitless Wonders." During the next decade, the White Sox had both mediocre and solid seasons. It was during this time, though, that the team got a solid core of players such as pitchers Red Faber, Eddie Cicotte, and Reb Russell, shortstop/third baseman Buck Weaver, and catcher Ray Schalk.

1917: The World Championship

In 1917, the White Sox had a record of 100-54 and won the pennant over the Boston Red Sox by nine games. The team had solid pitchers and all were fast runners, making it a promising season for the White Sox. They faced the New York Giants in the World Series and won games one and two. They lost the third and the fourth game, making it a tie between them and the Giants. The White Sox won both the fifth and sixth games, earning them the World Championship title.  

1918-1920: Rumors and fixed games

The White Sox won the pennant in 1919 and were favored to win against the Cincinnati Reds. Just before the Series, word got around that big money was being placed on the Reds, fueling rumors that the Series was fixed. The Reds won over the Sox in eight games. The rumors continued throughout the 1920 campaign, and, in September 1920, an investigation was held. Jackson and Cicotte confessed during the investigation. Comiskey, who didn't heed the rumors before then, felt compelled to suspend the other seven players before their games against the St. Louis Browns.

1922-1950: An ongoing struggle

With seven great players out of the team, the White Sox had to struggle during the next seasons. The team dropped into seventh place in 1921 and didn't contend until 1936. When Jimmy Dykes became the manager of the White Sox from 1934 to 1946, the team became competitive again. But the White Sox only recovered completely when the team was rebuilt during the 1950s and went under the management of Marty Marion, Al Lopez, and Paul Richards.

1950-1967: New ownership group

After Charles Comiskey's death in 1931, his family continued to operate the team. It was only in 1959 that the team was passed to a new ownership group, which was led by Bill Veeck, previous owner of the St. Louis Browns and Cleveland Indians. Unlike Comiskey, Veeck was more friendly to the players so the players enjoyed playing for him.

During the 1950s, the White Sox began to restore their reputation as a strong team. With the addition of new players and the usage of a great style of defense, the team began increasing its chances of winning again. In 1959, the White Sox won a pennant again in 40 years. The team had wins every season from 1951 to 1967, but the Sox were often just the league runner-up next to the Yankees. In 1961, Veeck encountered health problems that compelled him to sell the team to brothers John and Arthur Allyn.

1968-1975: Possible relocation

Bud Selig, former minority owner of the Milwaukee Braves, signed a contract with the Allyn brothers to let the White Sox play nine home games at Milwaukee County Stadium in 1968. This was done to attract an expansion franchise to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The nine games drew a crowd of 264,297 fans, making the experiment successful. During the 1968 owners' meetings, Selig was denied an expansion franchise. He then decided to purchase and relocate an already existing team. He wanted the White Sox, but the American League refused to agree to the sale. Selig then bought the Seattle Pilots and relocated them to Milwaukee instead.

There were several lawsuits filed because of the move of the Pilots to Milwaukee that almost had the Sox relocated to the Emerald City in 1975. There was a franchise shuffle, with the Sox scheduled to be moved to Seattle and the Oakland Athletics to take the Sox's place. The shuffle didn't push through because John Allyn sold the team back to its previous owner Bill Veeck.

1976-1981: From Veeck to Reinsdorf and Einhorn

When Bill Veeck regained ownership of the White Sox in 1975, he vowed to make the team exciting again. Veeck had the team outfitted in retro uniforms and shorts. However, the 1976 team was among the worst White Sox teams ever, winning only 64 games and drawing less than 915,000 fans.

The 1977 season went better for the White Sox as they achieved 192 home runs and drew 1,657,135 fans. After the 1977 season, though, free agents Oscar Gamble and Richie Zisk signed with other teams. Tough seasons followed, with the White Sox having 87 losses in 1979 and 90 losses in 1980.

In 1980, the White Sox was sold to a different ownership group headed by Eddie Einhorn and Jerry Reinsdorf. They launched a uniform design contest, with fans voting for the finalists. The winning design for the uniforms featured red, white, and blue colors with large bars.

1982-1987: "Winning Ugly" team slogan

In 1983, the White Sox got the American League West title. It was also the first time that manager Tony La Russa was able to get the Manager of the Year award. Doug Rader, who was then the manager of the Texas Rangers, accused the team of "winning ugly" because the Sox won games because of their scrappy play rather than consistent strong pitching or hitting. Sox fans and the Chicago media got wind of the phrase and made "Winning Ugly" the team slogan.

1987-1989: Building of New Comiskey Park

In 1988, the White Sox made it known that they want a new stadium or they will relocate to Tampa Bay. Fans in Chicago began making trips to the state capital, holding rallies to keep the Sox from relocating. The Illinois State Legislature voted on the matter, and it was decided that the White Sox will remain in Chicago, with a new stadium (New Comiskey Park) to be opened on 1991.

1990-2004: Opening of New Comiskey Park/U.S. Cellular Field

During the 1990s, most of the young team members of the White Sox blossomed. The New Comiskey Park was opened in 1991, drawing a crowd of 42,191 fans. The year 2000 was the best year yet for the White Sox since 1983. The team won 95 games leading to an American League Central Division title. In 2003, cellphone company U.S. Cellular bought naming rights to New Comiskey Park and had it named U.S. Cellular Field.

2005-present: An ongoing quest for wins

In 2005, the White Sox won the World Series and the entire team was honored with a parade. The 2006 season was started with high hopes for the White Sox, with fans rooting for them to fare as well as they did the year before. Although they did not become part of the World Series, they were able to finish with a record of 90-72. In 2008, the White Sox became the division winner against their opponents, the Minnesota Twins. The White Sox are also the only team in the history of the Major League Baseball to beat three different teams on three straight days: the Cleveland Indians, the Detroit Tigers, and the Minnesota Twins.