Here we are now, going to the South Side!
This week we’re jumping deep into Chicago to show some love to the oft-overlooked White Sox. Although the Sox beat their crosstown compatriots, the Cubbies, in the 1906 World Series, their following evolved to be good deal smaller. I’m not entirely sure why that is – possibly the location and preservation of Wrigley is more alluring, or Harry Caray helped create a larger fan base? Regardless, both Chicago teams had World Series droughts of 80+ years, so any fans that stuck with them are admirable in my book.
The Sox officially started as the White Stockings in 1901, one of 8 teams in the new American League, after being moved from Minnesota by Charles Comiskey (namesake of their future stadium.) Their first World Series win was the aforementioned one in 1906 against the Cubs, and followed up with another win in 1917 with the help of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. That’s a Field of Dreams reference, kids – if you haven’t watched it, make it so! The really interesting stuff, however, happened when the White Sox played in, and lost, the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. Massive bets had been placed on the Reds to win, which lead to a full investigation into whether the Sox intentionally lost their games. No players were ever convicted, but several were banned from the game for life, and the Black Sox Scandal became an infamous pock on the history of baseball. And also a decent movie.
The Sox enjoyed a long period of success in the 50’s and early 60’s, but then skidded to a rough patch in that nearly sent them packing to Milwaukee. The 70’s brought Chicago a glut of struggle-filled seasons, leading to the team being sold at the end of the decade. Clearly the new ownership did some good, however, as a new manager and fresh faces (names you may want to know like Carlton Fisk and Harold Baines) in the lineup finally brought the White Sox back for a brief playoff stint in 1983, before falling back into obscurity for most of the decade. A desperate attempt to revamp the team was made soon after, with the opening of new stadium and the debut of indomitable first baseman Frank Thomas. Fortunately, these incredible new additions helped bring about a long period of success for the Sox, leading up to a World Series win in 2005!
Since that WS win, the team hasn’t made a whole lot of noise, but I’m sure more is brewing for this season, so stay tuned, and enjoy a little history vid I found…