One year after the American League was christened in Chicago, the rumor of the St. Paul franchise in the Western League moving to Chicago became a reality. Playing as a Chicago baseball team for the first time, the White Stockings defeated the University of Illinois, 10-9, in Champaign.
On January 29, 1901, the American League drafted a 140-game schedule and declared itself to be a second Major League after the league's one-year agreement with the National League expired. The White Sox defeated Cleveland, 8-2, in the first "official" American League game on April 22.
The White Sox captured the league crown in 1906 when a group of "Hitless Wonders" pulled out a miracle. The team batted .230 that season (with only seven home runs) and struggled through July, but pulled back into the race with unbelievable pitching (2.13 team ERA) and a will to win. The White Sox win the 1906 World Series by defeating the Cubs, four game to two, in the only all-Chicago Fall Classic.
Comiskey Park opens on July 1 to a packed house but the Sox lose to St. Louis, 2-0. The new stadium replaced the 39th Street Grounds, home of the White Sox from 1900-10.
Charles Comiskey looked to the West for his third-base "missing link," as he had so often in the past. The Old Roman located his man playing for the Vernon club of the PCL. The final piece of the Black Sox puzzle was in place with the arrival of Charles "Swede" Risberg.
Behind Urban 'Red' Faber's three victories, the White Sox defeat the New York Giants, four games to two, in the 1917 World Series. During the regular season, Eddie Cicotte led the White Sox with 28 victories and a 1.53 ERA and Oscar "Happy" Felsch led the offensive attack with a team-high 6 HR and 102 RBI.
When the Reds defeated the heavily favored White Sox, five games to three, the floodgates opened. Word spread that gamblers allegedly had talked White Sox players into "fixing" the World Series in exchange for cash. Eight members of the Sox were charged in 1920 with conspiring to fix the outcome of the World Series.
On April 30, Rookie pitcher Charlie Robertson hurled the first perfect game recorded in White Sox history. Tiger players believed that Robertson, a mediocre pitcher at best, was doctoring the ball with an illegal substance. Ty Cobb personally inspected every inch of Robertson's uniform but could not find any trace of grease or any other foreign matter.
The newly-expanded Comiskey Park debuted on April 20 with the White Sox losing to Cleveland, 5-4. The new outfield upper deck accommodated 23,200 additional fans.
The first All-Star Game was played in Chicago on July 6, 1933, as part of the World Fair. The American League won in dramatic fashion, 4-2, on a three-run home run by the legendary Babe Ruth.
Luke Appling turned in one of the greatest performances in White Sox history, capturing the American League batting title with a robust .388 batting average. Appling also enjoyed a club-record 27-game hitting streak. "Old Aches and Pains," as he was known, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1964.
The first night game took place at Comiskey Park on August 14 before a crowd of 30,000 fans. The White Sox defeated the Browns by a score of 5-2.
Pat Seerey was a one-man wrecking crew for one game on July 18 at Philadelphia's Shibe Park. The portly left fielder became the only White Sox player to hit four home runs in a game, a 12-11, 11-inning Chicago victory. Seerey dented the roof twice, cleared it once and punctuated the day with a game-winning blast in the 11th inning.
The All-Star Game was held again at Comiskey Park on July 11, and the National League won in dramatic fashion, 4-3, on a Red Schoendienst home run in the 14th inning. The NL had tied the game in the ninth inning on Ralph Kiner's home run. Ted Williams sustained a broken elbow running into the outfield wall in the first inning, and ended up missing two months of the season.
For the first time in 20 seasons, the great Luke Appling was no longer the heart and soul of the White Sox. But his retirement a year earlier left only a temporary void. Three key additions - southpaw Billy Pierce, second baseman Jacob Nelson "Nellie" Fox and outfielder Orestes "Minnie" Minoso - breathed new life into the team and brought winning baseball back to the South Side. The year also marked the beginning of the "Go-Go" era of the White Sox.
The White Sox tallied a franchise record 29 runs at Kansas City on April 23. Sherm Lollar was 5-6 with a pair of home runs and five RBI while reserve outfielder Bob Nieman and infielder Walt Dropo drove in seven runs apiece inthe 29-6 victory.
Luis Apparicio replaces Chico Carrasquel as the White Sox' everyday shortstop. Aparicio, who played 10 seasons with the White Sox, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984 and had his #11 retired by the Sox in the same year.
Bill Veeck and his partners gain majority control of the White Sox after a lengthy court battle with the Comiskey heirs. Veeck, owner of the Indians, Browns and White Sox during his lifetime, consistently broke attendance records with pennant-winning teams and with outragous door prizes, enthusuiastic fan participation and ingenious promotional schemes. An inventerate hustler and energetic maverick, He introduced a midget player (Eddie Gaedel), Bat Day, fireworks, exploding scoreboards and player names on backs of uniforms.
The White Sox and Indians battled for the crown in 1959, and the White Sox came out on top. Thanks to Wynn's 22 victories, Aparicio's 56 stolen bases, center fielder Jim Landis' superb defense, a solid pitching staff (3.29 team ERA) and the August 25 acquisition of slugging first baseman Ted Kluszewski, the team won 94 games. On September 22, the sound of air-raid sirens rang through Chicago as the White Sox became champions of the American League for the first time in 40 years.
Bill "Moose" Skowron and "Smoky" Burgess were late-season additions to the 1964 Chicago White Sox who finished one game out of first place with a 98-64 record. Five memebers of the Sox pitching staff won double-digits games and Ron Hansen and Pete Ward topped the 20 home run plateu.
On the last day of the season, 'Beltin' Bill Melton becomes the first White Sox player to win an American League home run crown when he hits number 33 against Milwaukee's Bill Parsons.
Bill Veeck's South Side Hitmen brought raw power and heart-pumping drama to Comiskey Park in the summer of '77. The team shattered the club record with 192 home runs (later broken in 1996) and enjoyed a first-place reign throughout July and the first half of August. In the end, the White Sox won 90 games but finished 12 games back of the Royals.
On January 29, 1981, a new era in White Sox baseball began. An ownership group headed by Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn purchased the club from a group headed by Bill Veeck. Reinsdorf and Einhorn gave the club instant credibility just a few weeks later by signing free agent catcher Carlton Fisk, a World Series hero with the Red Sox in 1975.
The All-Star Game returned to Comiskey Park where it began 50 years earlier. The American League exploded for seven runs in the third inning en route to a 13-3 pounding of the National League, snapping an 11-game losing streak in the midsummer classic.
Propelled by a landslide second half of the season, Tony LaRussa's White Sox surprised everyone in baseball by winning 99 games and capturing the American League Western Division by a whopping 20 games. It was the first trip to the playoffs by the Sox since the 1959 World Series.
Old Comiskey Park hosted its final season of White Sox baseball, and what a season it was. The youngest team in baseball surprised everyone by winning 94 games. White Sox fans packed the 80-year-old shrine for most of the season, and the festive final weekend was fraught with emotion and nostalgia.
Stately new Comiskey Park officially opened its doors on April 18 before a sell-out crowd of 42,191 fans. For the year, the new home of the White Sox welcomed a club-record 2,934,154 fans. Also that summer, former White Sox owner Bill Veeck is inducted into the Hall of Fame.
A youth movement had been brewing on the South Side since 1990. With a core of young stars like Frank Thomas, Jack McDowell and Robin Ventura, the White Sox were hungry for a trip to the post-season. Sparked by a speed, a solid starting rotation and a breakout year for Thomas, the White Sox won 94 games and captured their second-ever American League Western Division flag.
One of the most promising seasons in White Sox history ended abruptly on August 12, as the major league players walked out on strike. The devastating work stoppage also wiped out the playoffs and the World Series. When play on the field ceased, the White Sox were in first place with a record of 67-46.
In Boston's Fenway Park, Frank Thomas blasted his 215th career home run to surpass Carlton Fisk as the White Sox all-time leader. Thomas went deep three times in the game, the first three-homer game of his career.
It started with six victories on a grueling, 10-game road trip to begin the season. It ended with a dramatic loss in Game Three of the American League Division Series that came down to the final at-bat. Along the way, the Chicago White Sox - a fearless, aggressive and fun team with a championship heart - captured the AL Central Division title and produced a storybook season that ranks among the greatest in club history.
The White Sox had an 8-19 record as of May 5, and while they managed to rebound to get as high as seven over .500, they finished at 83-79 and were never truly in prime contention. Magglio Ordonez was the team's lone All-Star representative, hitting .305 with a .914 OPS, 31 home runs, 40 doubles, 25 stolen bases and 113 RBIs. Paul Konerko hit 32 homers and drove in 99, Jose Valentin hit 28 homers and Ray Durham knocked out 42 doubles to go with 10 triples, 20 homers, 104 runs scored and 23 stolen bases.
But Frank Thomas, the eventual Hall-of-Famer, played in only 20 games after suffering a torn right triceps muscle diving for a ground ball at first base on April 27 against the Mariners. Mark Buehrle made his debut as a full-time part of the rotation with a 16-8 record, 3.29 ERA and 221 1/3 innings pitched over 32 starts. David Wells had a 5-7 record with a 4.47 ERA over his only 16 starts for the White Sox, while Keith Foulke recorded 42 saves and a 2.33 ERA over 72 games.
Magglio Ordonez turned in one of the more complete seasons in White Sox history, with a slash line of .320/.381/.597 to go with 38 home runs, 47 doubles and 135 RBIs. But it was left-handed pitcher Mark Buehrle and first baseman Paul Konerko who would be the team's lone All-Star representatives in this 81-81, second-place finish in the American League Central. The team fell out of first on May 27 and was in second place the rest of the way.
Konerko added to the offensive firepower with a .304 average, .857 OPS, 27 homers, 30 doubles and 104 RBIs. Konerko and Ordonez were joined by Frank Thomas (28), Carlos Lee (26) and Jose Valentin as players who hit at least 25 homers on this team.
Buehrle came within four outs of the lone 20-win season during his illustrious career, posting a 19-12 record with a 3.58 ERA over 239 innings pitched. Buehrle lost that 20th victory in his final start of the season at the Metrodome, when Bobby Kielty hit a two-out, two-run home run in the eighth to give the Twins a 3-2 victory. Dan Wright, a second round pick in the 1999 Draft, picked up 14 victories over 33 starts and 196 1/3 innings pitched.
On January 31, U.S. Cellular and the White Sox sign a 23-year, $68-million naming rights agreement as the former Comiskey Park, opened in 1991, becomes U.S. Cellular Field. Revenue from the agreement will allow the White Sox and the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority undertake significant structural renovations to the ballpark in time for Opening Day 2005.
The White Sox have hosted the All-Star Game four times, including the inaugural contest in 1933, but 2003 marked the first time at U.S. Cellular Field. Magglio Ordonez (left), Carl Everett (right), and Esteban Loaiza represented the White Sox in the game. For the first time ever, home-field advantage in the World Series was awarded to the winning league. Loaiza started the game for the AL, which won a 7-6 thriller on Hank Blalock's late home run.
The Ozzie Guillen era began with a bang and ended a little more quietly, as the White Sox finished above .500 once again but also failed to make the postseason for the fourth consecutive season.
Guillen dealt with season-ending injuries to Frank Thomas' left ankle and Magglio Ordonez's left knee, while pitchers Scott Schoeneweis and Cliff Politte, outfielder/designated hitter Carl Everett and second baseman Roberto Alomar also missed significant time due to injuries.
But there were plenty of upbeat moments. Paul Konerko set career highs with 41 home runs and 117 RBIs, taking over in the middle of the lineup, while Mark Buehrle produced another solid 16-victory season. Shingo Takatsu saved 19 games in 20 chances as the team's first Far Eastern import, while Juan Uribe also emerged as a viable everyday contributor as a middle infielder, after being acquired from Colorado.
The goal for the White Sox in 2005 is a team based more on defense, speed and pitching, a move made more likely by the in-season pick-ups of right-handers Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras, coupled with the requisite power and Guillen's unabashed energy.
The White Sox entered the 2005 season merely hoping to earn their first playoff appearance since 2000, but by winning the franchise's first World Series in 88 years, the Sox shocked the baseball world. Led by an effective small-ball offense and dominant postseason pitching, Chicago reached its peak in October, taking just one loss throughout the playoffs. After sweeping the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series, the White Sox handled the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in a five-game ALCS and swept the Houston Astros in the Fall Classic.
Critical to Chicago's championship run were the moves of general manager Ken Williams, who signed catcher A.J. Pierzynski and versatile right-hander Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez in January before adding Japanese second baseman Tadahito Iguchi.
The White Sox were led to an American League-high 99 regular-season wins by their starting staff, which received win totals of 18, 16, 15 and 14 from Jon Garland, Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras and Freddy Garcia, respectively. Carrying Chicago's offense was Paul Konerko, who hit .283 with 40 homers and 100 RBIs before re-signing with the Sox for five years in November. For guiding his club through its magical season, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was named the American League Manager of the Year.
While the expectation of a World Series repeat in 2006 may be ambitious, the White Sox closed 2005 as active as ever in their pursuit of success, acquiring veteran slugger Jim Thome from the Phillies before adding right-handed starter Javier Vazquez in a trade with the Diamondbacks.
The White Sox fell short of reaching the playoffs for a second straight season, let alone repeating their historic 2005 World Series championship effort, by finishing third in the AL Central with a 90-72 record. Four players topped 30 home runs in the same season for the first time in franchise history, with Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome surpassing 40. All five starting pitchers posted double-digit victories, led by 18 from Jon Garland, while Bobby Jenks became the third White Sox closer to reach the 40-save plateau. The team also had seven All-Stars: Dye, Thome, Jenks, Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, Mark Buehrle, amd Jose Contreras.
The most dismal season under the leadership of general manager Ken Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen ended with a 72-90 record and a third-place finish at 24 games behind Cleveland in the American League Central. However, the season had several historic individual efforts.
Mark Buehrle threw the franchise's 16th no-hitter on April 18 against the Rangers. The crafty southpaw, who also picked up his 100th career win during this particular campaign, faced the minimum 27 batters by issuing just one walk to Sammy Sosa in the fifth and then picking him off first base. Bobby Jenks became the first pitcher in club history to record back-to-back seasons of 40 saves. More importantly, the closer retired 41 straight batters from July 17 to Aug. 12 (42 outs), tying him with San Francisco's Jim Barr (1972) for the longest such streak in baseball history. And Jim Thome reached 500 career home runs in style, as his walk-off blast on Sept. 16 against the Angels' Dustin Moseley marked baseball's only member among the 23 in this exclusive club to reach 500 on a game-ender.
Williams certainly did not stand pat after the 2007 struggles. The White Sox entered 2008 with six new players, in SS Orlando Cabrera, OF Nick Swisher, 2B Alexei Ramirez, OF Carlos Quentin and relief pitchers Scott Linebrink and Octavio Dotel.
It was a team that defied preseason expectations and claimed its second American League Central crown during Ozzie Guillen's five years as manager. But the title run wasn't complete until an added Game No. 163, with the White Sox claiming a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Minnesota in the division tiebreaker at U.S. Cellular Field. Jim Thome's home run off of Nick Blackburn accounted for the game's only run, while Ken Griffey, Jr. threw out Michael Cuddyer at the plate to preserve a scoreless tie.
Young White Sox players emerged with the bat and on the mound. Carlos Quentin finished with 36 home runs, 100 RBIs and his first All-Star selection, despite missing the season's last month after fracturing a bone in his right wrist. Alexei Ramirez, a Cuban émigré, started as cold as the April weather but finished as the team's most consistent offensive weapon, earning him runner-up status in the AL Rookie of the Year balloting. Gavin Floyd, 25, led the team with 17 victories, while John Danks, 22, led all White Sox starters with a 3.32 ERA.
Injuries to Quentin, Scott Linebrink, Bobby Jenks, Jose Contreras, Joe Crede and Paul Konerko slowed the White Sox but didn't shut them down. Nonetheless, their postseason run was much sorter than the historic effort of 2005, as Tampa Bay eliminated the White Sox in four games during the AL Division Series.
The 2009 campaign was highlighted by an historic moment for the White Sox, but it was a great individual accomplishment by Mark Buehrle standing out amongst a subpar 79-83, third-place finish in the American League Central. On July 23, at U.S. Cellular Field, Buehrle tossed the second perfect game in franchise history and 18th in the history of the game during a 5-0 victory over the Rays. Buehrle fanned six in the 116-pitch effort, marking the second no-hitter of his illustrious career - both with umpire Eric Cooper behind the plate. This pitching gem was saved leading off the ninth inning by defensive replacement Dewayne Wise, who made a sprinting, leaping catch over the left-center field wall of Gabe Kapler's bid for a home run. Buehrle made a second straight bid for a perfect game by retiring the first 17 he faced in his next start on July 28 at the Metrodome, establishing a Major League record by setting down 45 straight from July 18-28. White Sox closer Bobby Jenks had a share of the old record at 41.
Rookie Gordon Beckham joined the White Sox on June 4, but not at his natural position of shortstop nor at second base, where he had worked during Spring Training. Beckham became the team's starting third baseman following just a week's worth of work at the position for Triple-A Charlotte. Beckham quickly moved to the second spot in the batting order and became an offensive force, hitting .270 with 14 home runs, 28 doubles and 63 RBIs, as he took home top rookie honors from Sporting News and the Players Choice voting. Beckham finished fifth in the official BBWAA selection. Scott Podsednik came back the team on May 1 and led the White Sox with his .304 average and 30 stolen bases. Veteran stalwarts such as Jim Thome and Jose Contreras were moved via trade before the start of September, but general manager Ken Williams set up his team for 2010 with the acquisition of starting pitcher Jake Peavy, reliever Tony Pena and outfielder Alex Rios. Peavy battled through ankle and elbow injuries but finished 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA in three starts for the White Sox.
It started poorly and ended worse. But in between the White Sox put together one of the best runs in franchise history to make an 88-win 2010 regular season truly memorable. The only thing looking memorable at the outset, when the White Sox found themselves at 24-33 and 9 1/2 games out of first on June 8, was the play of Alex Rios and Paul Konerko. After a miserable 2009 run to close after coming to the White Sox via a waiver claim, Rios fell nine home runs short of becoming the first 30-homer, 30-stolen base player to ever suit up for the White Sox. Meanwhile, the White Sox captain wrote another perfect chapter on how to handle the walk-away year into free agency. Konerko finished with a .312 average, 39 home runs and 111 RBIs in what just might have been the last of 12 seasons he has spent on the South Side of Chicago. Of the five remaining players from the 2005 World Series Championship, Konerko, catcher A.J. Pierzynski, closer Bobby Jenks and hurler Freddy Garcia all could depart, leaving only Mark Buehrle.
Alexei Ramirez had a breakout year with both the glove and the bat at shortstop, lining him up for possible postseason honors in both categories. Gordon Beckham wasn't as fortunate at second base, fighting through the worst slump of his career and then losing much of September to a hand injury. Jake Peavy suffered a season-ending torn right latissimus dorsi in his right posterior shoulder, basically costing him the season's final three months, while Jenks battled through a number of strange, freakish injuries, limiting his effectiveness out of the bullpen. Hard-throwing left-handed setup man Matt Thornton emerged as a possible closer and first-time All-Star, joined by Konerko in the Midsummer Classic. J.J. Putz entered the White Sox relief crew and set a team record with 27 straight scoreless appearances. But even this success, along with the late-season waiver claim of Manny Ramirez, wasn't enough to catch the Twins in the AL Central. A 28-8 run gave the White Sox a 3½-game lead on July 20, but a 2-12 September collapse all but sealed their second-place fate. A season-ending win left manager Ozzie Guillen with 600 victories in his seven-year career, but this season was probably best or worst defined by the ongoing tensions between the White Sox manager and general manager Ken Williams. Both men returned for the 2011 season, Guillen's last guaranteed under his current contract.
The 2011 season marked the end of an era on the South Side of Chicago, as the eight-year working relationship between manager Ozzie Guillen, general manager Ken Williams and the White Sox came to a close. Guillen was let out of the last year of his contract to pursue other opportunities, with the manager ending up as the Marlins man in charge two days later. This conclusion seemed inevitable as the relationship between Guillen and Williams fell apart over the past two years. The working partnership wasn't helped by the White Sox going all-in with a franchise-record payroll of $127 but being all out of postseason competition by Labor Day.
On the positive side, Paul Konerko and Juan Pierre each reached 2,000 career hits and Konerko put together his second straight season with at least a .300 average, 30 homers and 100 RBIs. Chris Sale once again was a force out of the bullpen, earning him the chance to move into the starting rotation for the 2012 campaign, while Mark Buehrle put together his 11th straight season with double-digit victories, at least 200 innings pitched and at least 30 starts made.
But Adam Dunn had a historically dismal first season with the White Sox, Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham struggled offensively and Jake Peavy battled through injuries as he came back from 2010 season-ending surgery to reattach his lat muscle. These shortcomings and the team's lofty payroll commitment produced a modified rebuild during the offseason, with Sergio Santos and Carlos Quentin being traded and Mark Buehrle leaving for Florida via free agency.
In a 2012 season that was defined early as a modified rebuild, the White Sox held down first place in the American League Central for 117 days before a final 15-game fade helped the Tigers to claim the division title. Robin Ventura's quiet cool at the helm made him the perfect fit as the team's new manager, despite the well-respected All-Star third baseman never having have coached previously at the professional level.
Chris Sale proved to be one of the AL's most talented starting pitchers in just his first year as part of the rotation. Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Jake Peavy bounced back from dismal 2011 campaigns with great comeback efforts, and A.J. Pierzynski's apparent final season with the White Sox was one of his best during eight in Chicago.
The first attempt at a White Sox rebuild began on July 30 of this season when Jake Peavy was moved to the Boston Red Sox as part of a three-team deal, with outfielder Avisail Garcia and right-handed pitcher Frankie Montas among the four players returning to Chicago. The team finished with a 63-99 record during Robin Ventura's second year as manager and Rick Hahn's first season as the general manager, with Ken Williams moving to executive vice president.
Chris Sale once again was the top story, hurling four complete games to go with a 3.07 ERA and striking out 226 over 214 1/3 innings. Jose Quintana also turned in a stellar effort with a 3.51 ERA over 33 starts and exactly 200 innings pitched. John Danks returned on May 24, missing more than one year as he recovered and rehabbed following shoulder surgery, and finished 4-14 with a 4.75 ERA over 22 starts. Reliever Jesse Crain finished with a miniscule 0.74 ERA over 38 and earned an All-Star appearance in what would be his final Major League season. Sale also was selected as an All-Star. Closer Addison Reed saved 40 games in just 68 appearances for a team with only 63 wins.
Adam Dunn topped the offense with 34 home runs and 86 RBIs. Shortstop Alexei Ramirez produced 30 stolen bases and 39 doubles over 158 games played.
Year 2 of general manager Rick Hahn's reshaping process produced 10 more wins than the 2013 total, but more importantly showed off first baseman Jose Abreu as a star of the future. Abreu was named the American League Rookie of the Year with his .317 average, 37 homers, 107 RBIs and Major League-leading .581 slugging percentage. Hahn built on the team's strong young core including Abreu, Chris Sale, Avisail Garcia, Adam Eaton and Carlos Rodon, by making eight impact additions after the season. Those moves, including right-hander Jeff Samardzija, first baseman Adam LaRoche and closer David Robertson, set up the White Sox to contend for the playoffs in 2015.
The 2015 White Sox finished fourth in the American League Central standings with a 76-86 record, despite visions of grandeur going into the season due to a series of what looked to be high-impact offseason additions - Melky Cabrera, Jeff Samardzija, David Robertson, Adam LaRoche and Zach Duke. Chris Sale broke Ed Walsh's single-season franchise strikeout record of 269, set in 1908, by fanning 274 in 208 2/3 innings. Jose Abreu joined Albert Pujols as the only Major League players to record at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs in each of their first two seasons, but the offense struggled as a group. Carlos Rodon, the third selection overall in the 2014 MLB Draft, made an impressive debut and established himself as part of the starting rotation.
The White Sox pushed for playoff contention once again in 2016. They added Todd Frazier in an offseason three-team trade with the Dodgers and Reds to anchor third base, while prying loose Brett Lawrie from Oakland to play second base. They also brought in free agent catchers Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro, veteran infielder Jimmy Rollins, center fielder Austin Jackson and pitcher Mat Latos to round out their rotation. The season started better than expected, with the White Sox producing 17 victories in April despite having exactly one scheduled off-day. Their high-water mark came on May 9 in Texas, when the White Sox claimed a 12-inning victory on Frazier's grand slam and improved to 23-10 with a six-game lead in the American League Central. It all went downhill from there, with the team posting a 10-26 record over their next 36 games and eventually finishing with a 78-84 mark and fourth-place finish in the division. The team dealt with a plethora of injuries, including important season-ending maladies suffered by Jackson (knee) and relievers Jake Petrica (hip) and Zach Putnam (elbow).
A fourth straight season of finishing under .500, albeit with the first two seasons being geared toward a modified rebuild, caused general manager Rick Hahn to describe his team as "mired in mediocrity." Robin Ventura's five-year managerial tenure came to an end, with his contract expiring after '16 and Ventura choosing not to return. Bench coach Rick Renteria, who previously spent one year managing the Cubs, replaced Ventura with third-base coach Joe McEwing moving to his bench coach and Nick Capra (third base) and Curt Hasler (bullpen) rounding out Renteria's staff. One-time White Sox second baseman Chris Getz replaced Capra as the team's Minor League director.
Chris Sale and Jose Quintana were selected as American League All-Stars, with Sale earning the honor for the fifth time in five years as a member of the starting rotation. Sale won each of his first nine starts and had a 1.58 ERA with three complete games at that point. He matched a career-high at 17 victories and fanned 233 over a career-best 226 2/3 innings. Quintana also set a career-high with 13 victories and posted his fourth straight season with at least 200 innings pitched.
Frazier reached 40 homers for the first time in his career and wound up two short of 100 RBIs. Tim Anderson made a triumphant rookie debut at shortstop, hitting .283 with 37 extra-base hits over 99 games, while Adam Eaton produced Gold Glove-caliber defense in right field. After not hitting a home run during the month of July, Jose Abreu finished with 25 and reached at least 100 RBIs for a third straight season to begin his Major League career. On the more strange-but-true side, the White Sox turned triple plays against the Rangers, Astros and Braves (not to mention one during Spring Training). The triple play against the Rangers, coming at home on April 22, was of the 9-3-2-6-2-5 variety.
Guaranteed Rate and the White Sox sign a 13-year naming rights agreement as the former U.S. Cellular Field becomes Guaranteed Rate Field on November 1, 2016.
The White Sox finished with 67 victories during Rick Renteria's first year at the managerial helm. But in the context of Year 1 during a full rebuild, the record didn't matter for the organization to consider the season a success.
General manager Rick Hahn began building a critical mass of top young talent by acquiring infielder Yoan Moncada and right-handed hurler Michael Kopech in a five-player trade sending All-Star ace Chris Sale to Boston and by adding right-handers Lucas Giolito, Renaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning from Washington in exchange for outfielder Adam Eaton. Moncada became the team's starting second baseman for the final 2½ months, while Giolito and Lopez were part of the rotation by the start of September along with 2015 top pick Carson Fulmer. Giolito, once the top pitching prospect in the game with Washington, seemed to regain his form with a 2.38 ERA put together over seven starts.
Hahn''s biggest move might end up being the acquisition of outfielder Eloy Jimenez from the Cubs, along with right-hander Dylan Cease, in exchange for Jose Quintana one day before the start of the second half. Jimenez stands as the team's top prospect per MLBPipeline.com and No. 4 overall, finishing up with an impressive run in the Dominican Winter League where he hit .368 with four homers and 21 RBIs.
First baseman Jose Abreu hit .304 with 33 home runs, 43 doubles and 102 RBIs, joining Joe DiMaggio (1936-39) and Albert Pujols (2001-10) as the only players in MLB history to begin their careers with four straight 25 HR/100 RBI seasons. He also joined Al Simmons (1924-34), DiMaggio (1936-42), Ted Williams (1939-49, DNP '43-45) and Pujols (2001-10) as the only players in history with 100-plus RBIs in each of their first four-plus seasons.
Avisail Garcia showed off his five-tool potential as the team's lone All-Star, with a .330 average good for third-best in baseball, 18 homers, 27 doubles and 80 RBIs. Southpaw Carlos Rodon made only 12 starts, sidelined by biceps bursitis until June 28 and then finishing his season on Sept. 2 with arthroscopic shoulder surgery to follow, putting him out for 6-to-8 months.
Matt Davidson launched a career-high 26 homers. Shortstop Tim Anderson dealt with the tragic murder of a close friend but still finished with career-highs in home runs (17), RBIs (56), stolen bases (15) and doubles (26).
Rick Hahn projected Year 2 of the franchise rebuild as potentially the toughest stage even before the 2018 season began. And the White Sox general manager was not wrong as the team lost 100 games in this development portion of the rebuild, marking the first time they lost 100 since dropping 106 in 1970. The South Siders dropped eight of their final nine games to hit that dubious total.
The season began on a high note as the White Sox knocked out six home runs on Opening Day in Kansas City, including three from Matt Davidson and two from Tim Anderson, to claim a 14-7 victory. Anderson posted single-season career-highs with 20 home runs, 77 runs scored, 64 RBIs, 28 doubles and 26 stolen bases while playing top-notch defense at shortstop over the season's final three months. Veteran James Shields earned the victory on Opening Day, beginning a run to 33 starts and 204 2/3 innings pitched.
Michael Kopech, the team's No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, made his Major League debut on Aug. 21 at home against the Twins. The right-hander had four starts before suffering a torn ulnar collateral ligament requiring Tommy John surgery. Kopech was set to miss the entire '19 campaign as part of his rehab and recovery.
José Abreu was selected as the starting first baseman on the American League All-Star team, marking his second All-Star selection and first since his rookie season. Abreu hit .265 with 22 home runs, 36 doubles and 78 RBIs but was limited to a career-low 128 games and 553 plate appearances due to surgery to correct pain caused by testicular torsion and an infection in his leg. Right fielder Avisail Garcia dealt with a right knee injury for most of the season, requiring arthroscopic surgery in October, and saw his breakout All-Star campaign of 2017 drop to a .236 average with 19 home runs and 49 RBIs in '18.
Adam Engel became a Gold Glove finalist in center field and flashed his amazing ability in one week alone when he took two home runs away from the Yankees and then brought one back on a drive from Cleveland's Yonder Alonso in three separate games. Yoán Moncada played his first full big-league season and the second baseman struck out a Major League high 217 times. But Moncada also knocked out 17 home runs, 32 doubles and drove in 61. Outfielder/designated hitter Daniel Palka made his presence felt by tying the Yankees Miguel Andujar for most home runs by a rookie at 27.
On that development side, RHP Dylan Cease earned MLB Pipeline's Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Outfielder Eloy Jiménez, the No. 1 White Sox prospect, hit .337 with 22 home runs and 75 RBIs between stops at Triple-A Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham.
Garcia and Davidson were non-tendered on Nov. 30, coming on the same day the White Sox acquired closer Alex Colome from Seattle in exchange for catcher Omar Narvaez. Davidson finished with 20 home runs, not to mention three scoreless appearances covering three scoreless innings on the mound.
The most uplifting story came from reliever Danny Farquhar who was joined by his wife, three kids and the entire White Sox team on June 2 when he threw out an inspirational first pitch before the White Sox 8-3 victory over the Brewers. Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage on April 20 after pitching against the Astros but has made a remarkable recovery and is cleared for future baseball activity.
The White Sox jumped from 62 to 72 wins between 2018 and 2019, but a far more positive feeling emanated from this past season concerning the organization's young core. Yoan Moncada went from 217 strikeouts in '18 to the best overall position player on the team with a slash line of .315/.367/.548 to go with 25 home runs and 34 doubles, while left fielder Eloy Jimenez overcame early struggles and injuries for a strong September finish leading to 31 homers as a rookie.
Lucas Giolito went from the highest ERA in baseball in '18 to a '19 All-Star and finishing tied for sixth in the AL Cy Young balloting, with shutouts thrown at Minnesota and at Houston. Luis Robert, the No. 3 prospect overall per MLB Pipeline, did not hit a Minor League home run over 186 at-bats in 2018, but put together one of the better seasons in recent memory across stops at Advanced Class A Winston-Salem, Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte in '19. Robert's final numbers checked in at .328/.376/.624 with 32 homers, 92 RBIs, 31 doubles, 11 triples, 36 stolen bases and 108 runs scored. Right-hander Dylan Cease made his debut, and while he featured a 5.79 ERA over 15 starts, he learned a great deal during this rookie campaign.
Jose Abreu topped the American League with 123 RBIs and then stayed with the team via a three-year, $50 million deal after the free agent originally accepted a qualifying offer from the organization. Abreu's multi-year return was a foregone conclusion, with Abreu joking he would sign himself back if the team didn't, and White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf telling Abreu's family he would never play for another team. Tim Anderson won the AL batting title and had the top average in the Majors, raising his mark from .240 to .335. The White Sox shortstop also gained some notoriety with his demonstrative post home run bat flip in an April game against the Royals and then a few weeks later on a walkoff home run against the Tigers. Anderson became the heart and soul of this young squad.
This season represented the end of the beginning phase of the rebuild with the White Sox setting their sights on contention for 2020. General manager Rick Hahn, executive vice president Ken Williams and the front office staff added left-handed pitcher Dallas Keuchel, left-handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez, right-handed reliever Steve Cishek, designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and catcher Yasmani Grandal through free agency, not to mention the return of Abreu and the six-year, $50 million deal agreed upon with Robert before he saw a single big league pitch. They also acquired outfielder Nomar Mazara in a trade with the Rangers. These moves, coupled with the young base in place, led manager Rick Renteria to talk about being disappointed if his team didn't make the playoffs in 2020 during a SoxFest press conference.