Tag Archives: Chicago White Sox

July 6-Dick Allen: SLUGGING SHOWMAN

1974 | DETROIT, MICHIGAN – Chicago White Sox slugger Dick Allen hit one of the longest home runs ever hit on this date in 1974. Allen was facing the Detroit Tigers’ Dave Lemanczyk in the 5th inning when he hit a mammoth fly ball that struck the façade of the roof in left-center field at Tiger Stadium. Players and fans who witnessed the shot said it was still rising when it hit the roof, not likely, but still estimated to have traveled over 500 feet. The façade was 415 from home plate, 85 feet in the air.


Dick Allen, early in his career he was called “Richie,” came out of the gate strong, winning National League Rookie of the Year honors for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1964.

His personality would prove to be as impactful as his bat. He had his share of verbal and physical altercations and suspensions. His relationship with sportswriters was contentious. He made life interesting for his managers, which is probably why he was traded five times in 15 years.

Regardless of his colorful personality, Dick Allen had talent. Besides Rookie of the Year, he was the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 1972 and twice led the American league in home runs. He finished a 15-year career with a .292 average, 351 home runs, 1,199 runs batted in and 1,099 runs scored.

CONTRIBUTING SOURCES:
July 6, 1974 box score/play-by-play 

MAY 21 – Don’t Blink

*1943 | CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – The Chicago White Sox beat the Washington Senators (today’s Minnesota Twins) 1-0, on this date in baseball history. The game took 1 HOUR and 29 MINUTES – the quickest night game in American League history. Sox starter Johnny Humphries beat Senator starter Dutch Leonard.

The National League has the American League beat in the quickest night game category, however. About a year after the above referenced Senators/Sox game, the Boston Braves (today’s Atlanta Braves) beat the Cincinnati Reds 2 to 0 in an hour and fifteen minutes in Cincinnati. And these are just night games.

The times for the quickest day games are startling: 51 minutes in the National League (NY Giants-Philadelphia Phillies September 26, 1919) and 55 minutes in the American (St. Louis Browns-NY Yankees, September 26, 1926).

It’s remarkable that a game could be played in less than an hour and a half. What’s even more amazing is that 13 of the first 26 games the St. Louis Browns (today’s Baltimore Orioles) played in 1943 took less than 2 hours. Only one took more than 3.

The same was pretty much true for the White Sox. By their 26th game, 13 had been under 2 hours. None took more than 3 hours.

There are probably several reasons games are longer now, one is relief pitchers – there are more of them, and complete games by starters – there are fewer of them. In 1943 Chicago White Sox starters completed 70 games. In 2005, Sox starters completed 9, and that was the year they won the World Series.

Commercial breaks add to the length of games. And you can’t ignore the fact that pitchers and hitters do a whole lot of nothin’ between pitches.

CONTRIBUTING SOURCES:
May 21, 1943
BASEBALL ALMANAC

See my Opinion piece, “Why Baseball Needs a Pitch Clock.”

MAY 18-Get me to the station on time

*1957 | BALTIMORE, MARYLANDDick Williams of the Baltimore Orioles hit a ninth-inning, game-tying solo home run against Chicago White Sox pitcher Paul LaPalme seconds before 10:20 p.m. on this date in 1957. If Williams had done anything else – taken a pitch, hit a foul ball, gotten a single, double or triple, struck out – any of those things, the game would have ended with the White Sox a winner because the Sox led and a curfew was about to put an end to the contest.

Curfews were fairly common in the major leagues into the 1950’s and 60’s. The initial impetus was World War II

The curfew was an agreement by the two teams ahead of time so the White Sox could catch the last train out of Baltimore. With the game now tied, it was suspended and replayed from the beginning at a later date. Baltimore ended up winning the next time.

Curfews were fairly common in the major leagues into the 1950’s and 60’s. The initial impetus was World War II, during which there were curfews to accommodate dim-outs (as in “dim” the lights) to save energy. Games all over the country had curfews putting a limit on how long a night game could last. By the 1970’s curfews were gone, and night games could last as long as it took.

CONTRIBUTING SOURCE:
Koppett’s Concise History of Major League Baseball, by Leonard Koppett, 1998