White Sox Vault: Jordan's 1st pitch a crowd pleaser

March 10th, 2022

MLB.com is digging back into its massive video vault to uncover classic plays that you have loved, forgotten about or, perhaps, are discovering for the very first time. Watch these moments and many, many more on the MLB Vault YouTube page.

Oct. 5, 1993: His Airness airs out a first pitch
Six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan, who also might be the greatest player in NBA history, tried to provide a little winning mojo for the White Sox by throwing out a ceremonial first pitch before Game 1 of the 1993 American League Championship Series against the Blue Jays, shortly after completing the Bulls' first three-peat. Jordan's one-hop toss to catcher Ron Karkovice wasn't quite as accurate as his eventual championship-sealing jumper over Utah's Bryon Russell for title No. 6, but it thrilled the home crowd. Later that night, word of Jordan's first retirement began to make its way around the stadium and he officially announced the news the following day. The White Sox lost Game 1, 7-3, and the ALCS in six games.

Aug. 11, 1991: Alvarez notches no-no in first White Sox start
Some Hall of Fame pitchers go an entire career without throwing a no-hitter -- see Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez and Ferguson Jenkins as examples. It took Wilson Alvarez just one start into his White Sox tenure and two career appearances overall to accomplish such a feat. After being acquired from Texas in a trade that also brought Sammy Sosa to Chicago and sent Harold Baines to the Rangers, Alvarez no-hit the Orioles at Memorial Stadium during a 7-0 victory on Aug. 11. Alvarez had made 23 starts for Double-A Birmingham that season before joining the White Sox at age 21. He struck out seven and walked five in the 128-pitch effort, walking two in the ninth before striking out Randy Milligan to end the contest. Alvarez allowed 22 hits over his next 14 innings pitched following the no-hitter.

June 9, 1974: Santo's lone inside-the-park round-tripper
Ron Santo's Hall of Fame career consisted of 14 tremendous seasons at third base for the Cubs on the North Side of Chicago. But Santo also played his final season of 15 in 1974 on the South Side with the White Sox, where the man with 35 career stolen bases and 67 triples produced an inside-the-park home run against the Red Sox. Santo, who actually connected for two of his five homers on the season in this contest, hit a drive off the left-field wall against starting pitcher Bill Lee with two outs in the fifth inning. The ball stayed in the ballpark, allowing No. 10 to sprint around the bases and score standing up for his only career inside-the-park homer. Dick Allen also homered in this 10-6 loss at Comiskey Park.

July 6, 1999: Singleton delivers cycle on South Side
Chris Singleton is one of six White Sox players to hit for the cycle, joining Ray Schalk (1922), Jack Brohamer (1977), Carlton Fisk (1984), Jose Valentin (2000) and José Abreu (2017). Singleton did his in style. He singled in the bottom of the first against the Royals' Jeff Suppan, but twisted his left ankle in the process. Singleton stayed in the game and tripled home a run in the fourth while barely beating the relay throw at third. Singleton doubled in the fifth to score two runs, and then completed the cycle with a home run to right with two outs in the seventh. He finished with five hits, three runs scored and four RBIs. As a side note, Jermaine Dye, the 2005 World Series MVP while with the White Sox, started in right field and homered for the Royals in their 8-7 victory over Chicago in 10 innings at Comiskey Park.

June 13, 1999: Caruso's blast beats Cubs
The Cubs swept the White Sox in a three-game series at Wrigley Field in 1998, but the South Siders weren't going to let those fortunes play out again in '99, and Mike Caruso had a major say in that outcome. After the White Sox rallied with two runs in the seventh to tie the Sunday game, Caruso connected in the eighth inning on a 1-0 pitch from Rick Aguilera for a two-run two-out home run to take the 6-4 advantage and finish off a third straight weekend victory at Wrigley. That drive to right was Caruso's first homer of the season; he hit just one more homer in his second and final campaign on the South Side. Keith Foulke earned the save with two scoreless innings, though the Cubs came back to win the series at Comiskey Park from July 9-11.

June 23, 2000: Valentin walks off Rivera
One of the highlights of the 2000 season for the White Sox, which featured an American League Central title, came in a Friday night game at Comiskey Park against the Yankees and Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera. New York carried a 3-2 lead into the ninth and gave the ball to Rivera, who finished the season with 36 saves. That high level of success didn't matter to Carlos Lee, who hit the first pitch of the ninth for a game-tying homer. Herbert Perry followed with a single and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and a groundout to second, before Jose Valentin finished the comeback with a walk-off single to right field. Valentin, an underrated shortstop in White Sox lore, finished the 2000 campaign with 25 homers, 92 RBIs and 19 stolen bases, while the Yankees went on to win the World Series. The White Sox were swept by the Mariners in the first round of the playoffs after improving to 47-26 with that late June walk-off victory.

June 8, 2001: Lee crushes walk-off grand slam vs. Cubs
One of the biggest moments in this crosstown rivalry's storied history came from Carlos Lee, whose walk-off grand slam to left field gave the White Sox a 7-3 victory in this series opener against the Cubs. Lee faced reliever Courtney Duncan with two outs and the bases loaded in the 10th inning, coming to the plate after Duncan struck out Magglio Ordonez to keep the winning run in Tony Graffanino at third. The slugger connected on an 0-1 pitch for his ninth home run of the season and made a winner of reliever Keith Foulke. Lee went on to hit 17 career grand slams, tying him for seventh all-time with Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx. Duncan later pitched in the White Sox system in 2004, but never reached the Majors with the South Siders.

April 11, 2000: Konerko 'motors' around the bases
Paul Konerko hit 439 career homers, played 16 seasons for the White Sox, helped the team win the 2005 World Series, had his No. 14 retired and a statue of his likeness stands at Guaranteed Rate Field. But for all the captain's elite qualities, speed was not one of them. So his inside-the-park home run, launched in the first inning of a 13-6 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field in the eighth game of the 2000 season, has to rank as one of the more surprising moments of his career. Konerko's connection off Esteban Yan hit the top of the wall in left-center and bounced away from center fielder Gerald Williams, allowing Konerko to score safely ahead of Kevin Stocker's relay. Konerko, who spread just eight triples and nine stolen bases across his 2,349 games played, smacked home plate for emphasis after sliding feet-first to complete the feat.

Sept. 4, 1995: Ventura slams the Rangers
Robin Ventura launched 18 career grand slams to tie Willie McCovey for the fifth most all-time in AL/NL history. Two of those grand slams came in 1995 in back-to-back innings during a 14-3 victory for the White Sox over the Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington. In the fourth inning, with Lance Johnson and future Hall of Famers Tim Raines and Frank Thomas on base, Ventura took Dennis Cook deep to right-center on a 2-1 pitch. Then, with Raines, Dave Martinez and Thomas on base in the fifth, Ventura connected on another 2-1 offering, this time from Danny Darwin, for a line-drive slam to right. Ventura's two grand slams remain a single-game franchise record for the White Sox, and his eight RBIs match a single-game White Sox high achieved by just three others: Jim Spencer (twice), Tommy McCraw and Carl Reynolds. Ventura went on to manage the White Sox for five seasons (2012-16).

Sept. 23, 1995: Johnson triples for 3 of his 6 hits
Lance Johnson, known as "One Dog" to White Sox faithful, topped the American League with 186 hits during the 1995 season. Six of those hits came in a Saturday night game at the Metrodome late in the campaign, tying a franchise record for most hits in a single game, and three of them went for triples. Johnson tripled in the first, second and seventh innings, setting a franchise record for three-baggers in a single contest that stands to this day. His run-scoring single in the eighth gave Johnson a 6-for-6 showing with four runs scored and four RBIs.