The Chicago White Sox are a Major League Baseball team based in Chicago, Illinois. They are in the Central Division of the American League.
- Founded: 1893, as the Sioux City, Iowa franchise in the minor Western League. Moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, then again to Chicago in 1900 when that league became the American League.
- Formerly known as: Sioux City Cornhuskers, 1894. St. Paul, 1895-1899. "White Sox" is short for "White Stockings".
- Home ballpark: U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago. (The current Comiskey Park, now U.S. Cellular Field, was opened in 1991; the original Comiskey Park was in use from 1910 to 1990.)
- Uniform colors: black, white and gray
- Logo design: the letters "SOX", interlocked in various ways
- Wild Card titles won (0): none
- Division titles won (4): 1983, 1993, 1994, 2000
- American League pennants won (5): 1901, 1906, 1917, 1919, 1959
- World Series championships won (2): 1906, 1917
The team was founded by Charles Comiskey, a former major-league ballplayer who starred with the St. Louis Browns in the 1880s. Comiskey originally founded the team in Sioux City, Iowa, as part of a minor league called the Western League. The Cornhuskers won the league pennant in 1894, then moved to St. Paul, Minnesota. When the Western League changed its name to the American League in 1900, a year before claiming major league status, the St. Paul franchise was relocated to Chicago, to compete directly with the National League club in that city.
The club adopted the name "White Stockings", the original name of the Chicago Cubs, and acquired a number of stars from the National League, including pitcher and manager Clark Griffith, who paced the White Sox to the AL's first pennant in 1901. The White Sox would continue to be built on pitching and defense in the following years, led by pitching workhorse Ed Walsh, who routinely pitched over 400 innings each season in his prime.
The Hitless Wonders
Walsh, Doc White and Nick Altrock paced the White Sox to their 1906 pennant and their first World Series victory, a stunning upset over the Cubs who had won a record 116 regular-season games. The Sox, dubbed the "Hitless Wonders" for having the lowest team batting average in the American League that year, nevertheless took the Series, and intercity bragging rights, in six games.
"Say it Ain't So, Joe!"
The White Sox contended over the next decade, but did not bring home a pennant until 1917. Led by second baseman Eddie Collins and outfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson, the White Sox now had offense to go with the pitching of Eddie Cicotte and Red Faber. After an off-year in 1918, the club bounced back to win the pennant in 1919 and entered the World Series that year heavily-favored to defeat the Cincinnati Reds. Sadly, this was the year of the infamous Black Sox scandal, in which eight White Sox players, including Cicotte and Jackson, were barred from organized baseball for life for taking part in a plot by gamblers to "fix" the World Series. The White Sox have never entirely overcome the stigma of being the only team to take a dive in the Fall Classic. The official evidence relating to participation in the 'fix' by the various accused players vanished mysteriously and none were ever tried. Judge Landis, Commissioner of Baseball, banned all the accused nonetheless. As the players were leaving a hearing, a boy fan (said by some to have been a newsboy) is claimed to have yelled out to Shoeless Joe, "Say it ain't so, Joe!". The phrase has become famous.
In 1983, the Chicago White Sox had a fantastic run. They started the season very poorly, but still went on to win 99 games and the AL West title. This team was led by catcher Carlton Fisk, outfielder Harold Baines, eventual Rookie of the Year outfielder Ron Kittle, and two game winning pitchers Lamarr Hoyt, who won the Cy Young that year as well and Richard Dotson. Manager Tony La Russa also won the Manager of the Year award. A related phrase of the team was "Winning Ugly" for the style of play, which as the phrase suggests, was not always pretty. While they had a great run in the regular season, they were not able to carry that over into the postseason as they lost to Baltimore 3 games to one in the AL Championship Series.
In the late 1980s, the franchise was very nearly relocated to Tampa Bay, but frantic lobbying of the state legislature resulted in approval (by one vote) of public funding for a new stadium. New Comiskey Park, now known as U.S. Cellular Field, opened in 1991 to rave reviews, but was soon outdone by the wave of "nostalgia" ballparks, beginning with Camden Yards. It is often criticized for its sterile appearance and nosebleed-inducing upper deck. In recent years there have been renovations made in order to make the park more fan friendly. Most notable were the moving of the bullpens to be parallel to the field of play, extending the seats further to the field of play, renovating the concourse areas to establish a more friendly feel. In addition, the top third of the upper deck was removed in 2004 and an overhang was placed over most of it. The Renovation plan is a 5-phase plan and it will be complete next year with the 5th and final phase.
"Good guys wear black"
The White Sox of the 1990s adopted black uniforms, instantly jumping to the top of the league in merchandise sales. The 1990s teams also contended well, led by pitcher Jack McDowell and first baseman Frank Thomas. The team reached the American League Championship Series in 1993 and the American League Division Series in 2000. Under manager Jerry Manuel, the White Sox these days field a talented but chronically under-achieving squad.
On July 31st 1997, with the White Sox only 3.5 games back of the Cleveland Indians for the division lead, they sent veteran pitchers Wilson Alvarez, Danny Darwin and Roberto Hernandez to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for 6 minor leaguers, most notably Keith Foulke. Many fans saw this as their ownership (Jerry Reinsdorf and his partners) betraying them and trading away their chance to win the division in exchange for next to nothing. This trade was deemed as the "White Flag Trade" by the Chicago Newspapers due to the fact that the White Sox organization essentially waved the White Flag to the Indians that year. This trade did irreparable harm to the White Sox fan base.
In the year 2000, the White Sox had one of their best teams since the 1983 club. This team, whose slogan was "The Kids can play," won 95 games en route to an AL Central division title. The team scored runs at a blistering pace, which enabled them to win all of these games despite a mediocre pitching staff lead by Mike Sirotka. Frank Thomas nearly won the AL MVP award with his offensive output. He was joined with good offensive years by Magglio Ordóñez, Paul Konerko, Carlos Lee and Jose Valentin. A big key for this team was that they seemed always to get the clutch hit whenever they needed it. This team, like 1983, also could not carry any success over into the postsesaon, getting swept by the wild-card Seattle Mariners in 3 games in the AL Division Series round.
In 2004, the Chicago White Sox ushered in a new era with the hiring of former White Sox shortstop Ozzie Guillén. He is known for his passion for the game of baseball and his energy. He was hired to turn around the White Sox after three straight years of underperforming under Jerry Manuel. While it is too early to judge his ultimate effect on the team, Ozzie got the White Sox off to a good start in 2004 before the team faltered late and finished in second place to the Minnesota Twins at 83-79.
In late 2004, general manager Ken Williams vowed to change the make up of the team from one that relies on the home run to one that has good pitching and defense. They traded the power-hitting outfielder Carlos Lee for the speedy center fielder Scott Podsednik. They also signed outfielder Jermaine Dye, along with former Yankee pitcher Orlando Hernandez to complete an already solid starting rotation that includes Freddy Garcia and Mark Buehrle. Additionally, former member of the rival Minnesota Twins, AJ Pierzynski, was signed to fill the catching spot, a spot which has not been adequately filled since the departure of Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk. Finally, to complete the make-over, Williams signed Japanese star second-basement Tadahito Iguchi to a contract. With the newly revamped team, the White Sox look to be serious contenders for the Central Division Championship.
The Chicago Cubs and the Sox are both in some of the longest championship droughts of any teams ever to play professional sports; as such, a heated Sox-Cubs rivalry has developed. Most White Sox fans take joy in the in failures of their crosstown rival and the same is true for Cubs fans. The advent of interleague play has intensified the rivalry.
Since 2000, a heated feud has grown between the White Sox and their Central Division rivals, the Minnesota Twins.
Players of note
Not to be forgotten
(years and records, minimum 750 games)
- Kid Gleason (1919-1923) (392-364)
- Jimmy Dykes (1935-1946) (899-940)
- Paul Richards (1951-1954, 1976) (406-392)
- Al Lopez (1957-1965, 1968-1969) (840-650)
- Tony LaRussa (1979-1986) (522-510)
- Jerry Manuel (1998-2003) (500-471)
- Charles Comiskey (1900-1931)
- J. Louis Comiskey (1931-1939)
- Grace Comiskey (1939-1956)
- Dorothy Comiskey Rigney (1956-1958)
- Bill Veeck (1958-1961, 1975-1981)
- John Allyn (1961-1975)
- Jerry Reinsdorf (1981-present)
Minor league affiliates
- Chicago White Sox official web site (http://chicago.whitesox.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/cws/homepage/cws_homepage.jsp)
- White Sox Interactive--The Largest and Most Influential White Sox Fan Website (http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com)