Top 5 seasons in White Sox history
CHICAGO -- Here’s a look at the Top 5 seasons in White Sox history, along with a few White Sox teams who just missed.
The White Sox have won three World Series titles but have won 100 games exactly one time in franchise history -- a total reached via a 100-54-2 record in ’17. A team featuring catcher Ray Schalk, second baseman Eddie Collins, third baseman Buck Weaver and Shoeless Joe Jackson in the outfield beat the New York Giants in six games to claim baseball’s top prize. Eddie Cicotte stood No. 1 on the pitching staff with 28 wins, 29 complete games, a 1.53 ERA and seven shutouts, while Red Faber, Lefty Williams and Reb Russell also made strong mound contributions. Faber earned the wins in Games 2, 5 and 6 of the World Series and lost Game 4.
Ozzie Guillén’s crew led the American League Central from start to finish, winning the first game of the year, the first game of the season’s second half and the final game to complete a World Series sweep of Houston. After a 99-win regular season, the White Sox posted an 11-1 postseason mark, dropping only Game 1 of the AL Championship Series to the Angels.
Their four straight complete games recorded in the ALCS from Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras almost certainly will never be matched, especially with the modern-day proliferation of relievers. In Guillén’s second year as manager, the White Sox weren’t exactly preseason favorites to win the division let alone win it all.
But key additions such as Jermaine Dye, Bobby Jenks, A.J. Pierzynski, Scott Podsednik, Tadahito Iguchi and Dustin Hermanson paid major dividends, with Dye claiming the World Series MVP Award. Paul Konerko hit 40 home runs and drove in 100 for an extremely balanced attack, and the team had four starters with at least 14 wins, an ERA below 3.90 and at least 200 innings pitched. The team used just six starters all season, with Brandon McCarthy making 10 starts outside of the main rotation. Winning in ’05 ended the title drought from 1917, but the White Sox have won just one division title since that point.
In winning the organization’s first World Series title, the White Sox also dispatched the 116-win Cubs in six games to take home the top prize. Ed Walsh picked up two World Series victories, but Doc White, who lost Game 2, earned the deciding win over Mordecai Brown in Game 6. The two teams were deadlocked at 2-2 in the Series before the White Sox won the final two.
Frank Owen and Nick Altrock each won 20 games for Fielder Jones’ team, and Walsh finished with a 1.88 ERA, 24 complete games and 10 shutouts. White posted an 18-6 record with a 1.52 ERA, hurling 20 complete games and seven shutouts. The “hitless wonders” finished with a 93-58 mark but batted .230 as a team with a .588 OPS.
A four-decade playoff drought came to an end when the 94-60 White Sox won the American League. Second baseman Nellie Fox captured the AL MVP Award, with shortstop Luis Aparicio and right-handed pitcher Early Wynn finishing Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. The White Sox had four players in the Top 10 of MVP voting, with Jim Landis at seven and Sherm Lollar at nine. Wynn took home the AL Cy Young behind his 22-10 record, 3.17 ERA, 14 complete games and five shutouts. Bob Shaw and Billy Pierce also were key rotation members, but the White Sox lost the World Series in six games to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ted Kluszewski, who came to the White Sox via a trade with the Pirates on Aug. 25 of that season, hit .391 with three homers and 10 RBIs in the World Series.
Tony La Russa’s first division title as a manager, along with the first postseason appearance in the ownership tenure of Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn, came via this 99-win AL West crown. LaMarr Hoyt won the AL Cy Young with a 24-10 record and 3.66 ERA and the starting trio of Hoyt, Richard Dotson and Floyd Bannister combined for a 42-5 record in the season’s second half. Baltimore eliminated the White Sox in four games in the ALCS, with the famous Tito Landrum homer off Britt Burns breaking a scoreless tie in the 10th inning of Game 4.
For the first time in a decade and just the second time since 1959, the White Sox won a division title and reached the postseason. The AL West champs produced a 94-68 record for manager Gene Lamont, with Frank Thomas winning his first AL MVP and right-hander Jack McDowell earning the AL Cy Young. Guillén, who later managed the White Sox to a World Series crown, was a .280 hitter at shortstop on this team. The Blue Jays, who went on to win the World Series, knocked the White Sox out in six games in the ALCS.
A labor dispute ended the 1994 season prematurely, stopping this ultra-talented White Sox team at 67-46 and with a one game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central. Thomas won his second of two consecutive AL MVP awards, with a .353 average, 38 homers, 101 RBIs, 106 runs scored and a 1.217 OPS.
Adding Jim Thome via a trade, sending Aaron Rowand to the Phillies, gave this 90-win team an even more powerful lineup. Jenks recorded 41 saves in his first full season, but the number of innings and the amount of high leverage innings from ’05 for the starters caught up to the team in the second half. They finished 33-41 after a 57-31 first half and ended up third in the division.
Jerry Manual guided the White Sox to a 95-67 record and the AL Central crown, with Thomas hitting .328 with 43 homers, 44 doubles, 143 RBIs and 115 runs scored. That team scored 978 runs with five players topping 100. But the White Sox were swept in three by the Mariners during the AL Division Series.
Guillén’s best managerial effort probably came in ‘08, when the White Sox had to beat Cleveland, Detroit and Minnesota on consecutive days to end the regular season to win the AL Central. That contest against the Twins, known as the Blackout Game, was a play-in to break a division tie won by the White Sox, 1-0. John Danks threw eight scoreless innings, Thome hit the game-winning homer in the seventh and Ken Griffey Jr. threw out Michael Cuddyer at the plate in the fifth to keep the game scoreless.
There’s bigger success to come for this team, possibly even during the 2021 season. But behind José Abreu’s AL MVP performance, the team finished 35-25 under manager Rick Renteria and reached the playoffs for the first time since ’08. The AL’s seventh seed was eliminated by Oakland in the Wild Card Series.
In a World Series most associated with the Black Sox scandal, the White Sox lost in eight games to the Reds after finishing 88-52 in the regular season.
From 1954-67, the White Sox had seven 90-win teams but only one playoff appearance. This particular squad finished 98-64 under Al Lopez and one game behind the Yankees.