Today in White Sox History: July 4
Bill Veeck’s exploding scoreboard was featured in a night shot on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The caption read, “Fireworks at Comiskey Park.”
During the 1960s the White Sox were synonymous with outstanding pitching ... pitching that was the envy of most of in baseball, excluding only perhaps the Dodgers. The best example of this was July 4-5 in Chicago over the Fourth of July holiday in 1964.
In a time span of roughly 28 hours, the White Sox threw three straight complete game shutouts against Cleveland. On the Fourth of July itself, Gary Peters blanked the Tribe on three hits, winning 4-0. In the Sunday doubleheader it was Juan Pizarro in the opener tossing a seven hitter and winning, 2-0. Then in the nightcap it was Joe Horlen with a 5-0 blanking on four hits. In 27 innings, Cleveland managed no runs on 14 hits. Now that’s pitching!
White Sox catcher Ed Herrmann was involved in three double plays, which tied the record for most involving a catcher in a single game. (He tied former teammate J.C. Martin for the honor.) The three included Herrmann in the middle of a 1-2-3, a strike out-throw out twin killing, and a thrown out at home, thrown out at second one. On the day the Sox turned five double plays against Baltimore, but lost, 2-1.
At the urging of then-manager Larry Doby, the White Sox brought up Tony La Russa to become the club’s new first base coach. La Russa cut his teeth managing with success in the minor leagues and was deemed ready by Doby and others to take the next step.
La Russa would go on to lead the Sox to the 1983 Western title and then win numerous pennants and championships as a manager with the A’s and Cardinals. He’d be elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014 with 2,728 wins over 33 seasons.
Ray Durham and José Valentin led off the Sox half of the first inning in Kansas City with back-to-back home runs. It was the second time in team history a game started that way, and the first time since 1937. The game also marked the major league debut for Jon Garland, who only lasted three innings in the 10-7 loss.
It was the end of a 12-game road winning streak for Chicago. The last 10 of those 12 road wins came against teams with records of at least .500, making the Sox the only team since 1900 to accomplish that.