Baseball's All-Star Game … it still has a magical ring, doesn’t it?
True, the country doesn’t stand still, like it did back in the 1930s through the 1970s, to watch or listen to the game. But it still brings an air of anticipation, of excitement of a chance to see matchups that only rarely happen — and then in a World Series.
It's Carl Hubbell pitching to Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams batting against Dazzy Vance, Billy Pierce meeting Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax opposed by Mickey Mantle and Pete Rose standing in against the menacing Goose Gossage.
With the virus shutting down the proceedings at Dodger Stadium, this year it marks the first time since 1945 an All-Star Game hasn’t been played. Atlanta is slated to host in 2021, and one can only hope by then the coronavirus is under control and there isn’t a labor stoppage so it won’t be two straight seasons without a game. We’ll have to wait and see.
The White Sox have been an integral part of the game from its very inception. After all, the first game was played in Comiskey Park. With no game this season, let's take a look at the numbers and the big events that featured a White Sox player in the history of the contest.
A total of 102 players have worn the White Sox uniform in the game, with 196 appearances in all. Some 35 players have made multiple appearances, and 46 times a White Sox player started.
The White Sox record for pitchers is seven appearances (and three starts) set by Billy Pierce (six hits, 12 strikeouts in 10 ⅔ innings pitched, with an ERA of 3.38) followed by Chris Sale’s five and Mark Buehrle’s four. Oddly enough, all of those guys are left-handed.
For position players, you’ve got second baseman Nellie Fox with 12 All-Star appearances, a Sox record that likely will never be broken. (Nellie hit .368, with 14 hits and five RBIs) Next up is shortstop Luke Appling with seven games (.444 average, four hits, two RBIs) and then four players with six: shortstop Luis Aparicio, first baseman Paul Konerko (.500 average, four hits, two doubles, two RBIs), catcher Sherm Lollar and outfielder Minnie Miñoso (.300 average, six hits, two doubles, two RBIs)
Through the years, White Sox players and the stadium itself have been an important historical fixture in the All-Star affair. Here’s a look at the best moments:
July 6, 1933
The first-ever All-Star Game was played at Comiskey Park. The Sox won a coin flip with the Cubs for the right to host the game that was the idea of Chicago Tribune sports editor Arch Ward. The AL won the game, 4-2, thanks to a home run by Babe Ruth. The Sox representatives in that first game were Jimmy Dykes (3B) and Al Simmons (OF). Dykes scored the first-ever All-Star run.
July 8, 1941
Edgar Smith became the first Sox pitcher to win an All-Star Game. He got the decision in the AL’s 7-5 win even though he gave up two runs in two innings. This was the game where Ted Williams hit a three-run home run in the last of the ninth to win it in Detroit. Smith was joined on the team by Luke Appling (SS) and Thornton Lee (P).
July 11, 1950
The All-Star Game returned to Comiskey Park and saw the National League win 4-3, in 13 innings, on a home run by Red Schoendienst. The Sox representative on that day was pitcher Ray Scarborough, who was acquired earlier in the season from Washington. This was the game where Ted Williams broke his elbow hitting the unpadded outfield wall.
July 14, 1953
Sox pitcher Billy Pierce started the All-Star Game at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field. Billy threw three innings, allowing only one hit. He got no decision in the NL’s 5-1 win. Joining Billy were teammates Chico Carrasquel (SS), Nellie Fox (2B), Ferris Fain(1B) and Minnie Miñoso (OF).
July 13, 1954
The White Sox had a total of nine representatives for the American League in the annual All-Star Game. It was played in Cleveland and the AL won a slugfest, 11-9, thanks to Nellie Fox who drove in the winning runs on a single in the eighth inning off of Carl Erskine. The nine players are the franchise record. In addition to Fox (2B) the Sox had Minnie Miñoso (OF), Chico Carrasquel (SS), Sandy Consuegra (P), Bob Keegan (P), Sherm Lollar (C), Virgil Trucks (P), George Kell (3B) and Ferris Fain (1B) on the team. Kell and Fain weren’t able to play because of injuries. In addition to Fox’s performance, Miñoso had two hits and Trucks got the save.
July 12, 1955
It was déjà vu all over again for Billy Pierce. The star lefthander got the nod to start his second All-Star Game. This time it was in Milwaukee and just like in the 1953 game he went three innings, allowing one hit and got no decision in the NL’s 6-5 win in 12 innings. Billy was joined on the team by Nellie Fox (2B), Chico Carrasquel (SS), Sherm Lollar (C) and Dick Donovan (P)
July 10, 1956
For the third and final time Billy Pierce was pegged to start for the American League in the All-Star Game. This year with the game in Washington, D.C., Billy was tagged with the loss, despite only allowing one run in three innings of work. The NL would go on to win, 7-3. Joining Pierce on the team that year were Nellie Fox (2B), Sherm Lollar (C) and Jim Wilson (P).
July 8, 1958
Sox ace pitcher Early Wynn got the win in the All-Star Game in Baltimore, as the AL defeated the NL, 4-3. Wynn pitched a perfect inning. In addition to Wynn, the Sox representatives were Luis Aparicio (SS), Nellie Fox (2B), Sherm Lollar (C) and Billy Pierce (P).
July 7, 1959
White Sox pitcher Early Wynn started the first of the two All-Star Games played that season. This one was in Pittsburgh. Wynn went three innings, allowing one run. He didn’t get a decision in the NL’s 5-4 win. Other Sox representatives in the game included Luis Aparicio (SS), Nellie Fox (2B), Sherm Lollar (C) and Billy Pierce (P).
July 30, 1962
White Sox starting pitcher Ray Hebert, who would eventually win 20 games on the season, was named as a last-minute replacement for the All-Star Game. Hebert got the win, pitching three innings, as the AL beat the NL 9-4 in Wrigley Field. He was joined on the team by Luis Aparicio (SS) and Jim Landis (OF).
July 7, 1964
White Sox manager Al Lopez, in charge of the AL All-Stars, saw a former player ruin his afternoon. Johnny Callison, once a top Sox prospect, belted a three-run home run in the last of the ninth to win the game for the NL, 7-4, at Shea Stadium in New York. The home run came off the Red Sox Dick Radatz and was the key blow in the four-run inning. Joining Lopez and coach Don Gutteridge from the Sox on the team were pitchers Gary Peters and Juan Pizarro.
July 25, 1972
White Sox first baseman Dick Allen received more votes than any player in baseball and was elected to start for the American League at the All-Star Game in Atlanta. Allen would be named to three teams as a member of the White Sox and would have an RBI single in the 1974 game played in Pittsburgh.
July 6, 1983
The Golden Anniversary All-Star Game was held at Comiskey Park. The AL mangled the NL, 13-3, stopping a 11-game losing streak. Chicago native Fred Lynn of the Angels hit the game’s first-ever grand slam, off Atlee Hammaker, who’d later go on to pitch for the Sox. Rookie Ron Kittle (OF) got an infield single in the game. He was the South Side's lone representative.
July 13, 1993
White Sox ace Jack McDowell was the winning pitcher as the American League beat the National League, 9-3, in the All-Star Game at Camden Yards. McDowell pitched a scoreless inning. Frank Thomas (1B) joined him on the AL team.
July 11-12, 1994
At the All Star Game in Pittsburgh, White Sox slugger Frank Thomas slammed some of the longest home runs ever seen, reaching the upper, upper deck at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium during the home run-hitting contest. As far as the actual game the next day, Sox hurler Jason Bere got tagged with the loss, as Moises Alou reached him for an RBI double to win the game in 10 innings, 8-7. Pitcher Wilson Alvarez of the Sox was also on the AL squad along with Thomas (1B).
July 10-11, 1995
At the All-Star Game in Texas, first baseman Frank Thomas turned a special double play. Thomas won the home run-hitting contest the day before the actual game, and then became the first Sox player to ever homer in the game itself, when he connected off of John Smiley. The NL would win the game, 3-2. Thomas was the only member of the Sox on the team.
July 11, 2000
White Sox starting pitcher James Baldwin won the All-Star game for the American League in Atlanta. Baldwin threw an inning in the AL’s 6-3 win. Joining him on the squad were Ray Durham (2B) and Magglio Ordoñez (OF).
July 10, 2001
Magglio Ordoñez homered off the Cubs' John Lieber at the All-Star Game in Seattle. He became the second Sox player to ever homer in the annual classic. The AL would win the game, 4-1. Ordoñez was the only Sox player on the team.
July 9, 2002
In the infamous tied All-Star Game in Milwaukee, Paul Konerko tied the record for most doubles in the game with two. His teammate Mark Buehrle (P) joined him in the game.
July 15, 2003
White Sox pitcher Esteban Loaiza started the All-Star Game, which was hosted by the White Sox for the fourth time in franchise history. He went two scoreless innings and got no decision in the AL’s 7-6, come-from-behind win. He was joined in the game by teammates Carl Everett (OF) and Magglio Ordoñez (OF).
July 12, 2005
Mark Buehrle got the nod to start the All-Star Game in Detroit, and he also got the win as the AL held off the NL, 7-5. Buehrle’s win continued an interesting pattern in Sox All-Star history. When a Sox pitcher won the game, the Sox usually made the postseason. Examples? Buehrle in 2005, James Baldwin in 2000 and Jack McDowell in 1993. Buehrle was joined on the team by Paul Konerko (1B), Scott Podsednik (OF) and Jon Garland (P).
July 11, 2006
Coming off of a season where the White Sox won their first World Series championship in 88 years, seven players and manager Ozzie Guillén made the trip to Pittsburgh for the All-Star Game. The seven players were tied for the second-most in team history: Mark Buehrle (P), Jose Contreras (P), Jermaine Dye (OF), Bobby Jenks (P), Paul Konerko (1B), Jim Thome (DH) and A.J. Pierzynski (C). The AL won the game in dramatic fashion, 3-2.
July 16, 2013
Chris Sale got the win as the AL beat the NL, 3-0, at Citi Field in New York. Sale pitched two innings, facing the minimum six batters and recording two strikeouts. His strikeouts victims were Carlos González and Troy Tulowitzki.
July 12, 2016
Chris Sale started the All-Star Game in San Diego for the American League. Sale joined Billy Pierce (three times), Early Wynn, Esteban Loaiza and Mark Buehrle as Sox pitchers to have been given that honor. Sale also joined Pierce as the only White Sox pitchers to ever be named to five consecutive All-Star teams. Sale pitched one inning, allowing a run, facing four batters with one strikeout. He didn’t get a decision in the 4-2 AL win. He was joined on the team by fellow Sox pitcher Jose Quintana.
As you can see, while White Sox successes are all-too-often overlooked, their heroics in the Midsummer Classic are impossible to ignore.