CHICAGO -- Another Opening Day memory or two soon will be added to White Sox franchise history, beginning a 2021 campaign that has the promise to be one of the team’s most special seasons in recent memory.
But before we move forward, let’s look back at the top Opening Day moments in Chicago history.
1) Mark Buehrle’s web gem extreme: April 5, 2010
The White Sox claimed a season-opening 6-0 victory over Cleveland behind home runs from Paul Konerko and Alex Rios. Mark Buehrle threw seven scoreless innings, but it was his defensive effort on a hard-hit Lou Marson grounder off of his left leg in the fifth that will stand out forever. The left-handed-throwing Buehrle recovered the grounder on the run as it ricocheted toward the first-base line, and he no-look flipped the ball with his glove between his legs. Konerko made the barehanded catch at first to end one of the top defensive plays in franchise history.
2) Hail to the victors: April 2, 2006
There was only one game played on MLB’s Opening Night for the 2006 season, and it was between Cleveland and the defending World Series champions from Chicago at U.S. Cellular Field. A rain delay of 2 hours and 57 minutes couldn’t dampen the festivities for the 38,802 in attendance, as the outfield banner was unfurled to mark the previous season’s title.
Buehrle started but was rained out of a decision, lasting four innings and 57 pitches, with Brandon McCarthy working three perfect frames before giving way to Cliff Politte and Matt Thornton. Jim Thome, making his White Sox debut, homered against his former team as the Sox scored three each in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Jermaine Dye added three hits and Brian Anderson had two hits and two RBIs in his first game as the team’s starting center fielder.
3) Fisk’s triumphant return: April 10, 1981
After 11 years with the Red Sox, featuring seven All-Star appearances and postseason heroics, Carlton Fisk moved behind the plate for the White Sox via a free-agent deal on March 18, 1981. And whom did Fisk and Chicago face in the '81 opener? Boston, of course, and the game took place at Fenway Park.
With the White Sox trailing, 2-0, in the top of the eighth, Fisk connected for a three-run blast off reliever Bob Stanley following Bob Molinaro’s walk and Ron LeFlore’s single off starter Dennis Eckersley. Fisk’s line drive over the Green Monster sent the visiting dugout into a frenzy, not to mention announcers Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall on the White Sox broadcast. That blast led to a 5-3 victory, and it was the first contest played under the ownership group of Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn. Fisk drove in eight over his first three games.
4) White Sox open championship run: April 4, 2005
For six innings, Buehrle and Cleveland’s Jake Westbrook put up one scoreless frame after another. That deadlock ended in the bottom of the seventh, when Konerko opened with a double and scored on an error by shortstop Jhonny Peralta on Aaron Rowand’s grounder. That run stood as the lone tally in the contest, with Buehrle yielding two hits and striking out five before giving way to Shingo Takatsu. Westbrook gave up that run on four hits in a complete game.
This contest actually set the tone for a special season on the South Side. Cleveland was the only real challenge for the White Sox in the American League Central, and Chicago claimed 1-0 victories in this season opener -- covering 1 hour and 51 minutes -- as well as in the first game of the second half vs. the Tribe at then Jacobs Field and in the final game to sweep the Astros in the World Series.
5) Home run barrage in KC: March 29, 2018
James Shields and the White Sox spotted the Royals a 4-0 lead in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium, and the Sox offense had one hit and two baserunners over the first three innings against Danny Duffy. Things changed during a five-run fourth on the way to a 14-7 victory. The team hit six home runs, with three coming from Matt Davidson, two from Tim Anderson and one from José Abreu. Davidson’s third homer was a three-run line drive that completed Chicago's scoring in the eighth and gave him five RBIs and four runs scored for the day.
Fox provides extra power: April 10, 1959
Billy Pierce started for the White Sox and Jim Bunning for the Tigers, but it was second baseman Nellie Fox delivering a two-out, two-run homer in the 14th for the road victory. The White Sox would reach the World Series in ’59.
Royals spoil Guillen’s opener: April 5, 2004
The White Sox held a 7-3 lead going into the ninth inning of Ozzie Guillen’s managerial debut at Kauffman Stadium. But the Royals rallied for six runs in their final five at-bats, with Mendy Lopez hitting the game-tying three-run homer off Damaso Marte and Carlos Beltrán belting the two-run game-winner.
Thome wins it: April 7, 2009
Kansas City’s Gil Meche held the White Sox to one run over seven innings before the Sox rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the eighth at home. It was Thome who inflicted the knockout punch, hitting a three-run homer off Kyle Farnsworth with two outs in the inning.
Sale’s stellar work: April 1, 2013
Chris Sale hurled 7 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out seven, in a 1-0 home victory over the Royals. Tyler Flowers’ leadoff home run in the fifth was the game’s only run, as Sale won his first career Opening Day start.
Cleveland crushing: April 1, 2011
By the end of the fourth inning, the White Sox already had scored 14 runs on 15 hits at Progressive Field, and 10 of those runs came against Cleveland starter Roberto Hernandez. Adam Dunn homered in his Chicago debut, while the Sox knocked out eight extra-base hits and held on for a 15-10 victory. Buehrle earned the win and Sale pitched one-third of an inning in relief.
De Aza goes deep … twice: March 31, 2014
Hitting seventh in the Opening Day lineup, Alejandro De Aza homered in the second and sixth during this 5-3 victory over the Twins.