Today in White Sox History: May 31
Joe “The Butcher Boy” Benz, (so named because he worked as a butcher in the offseason) fired a no-hitter at Comiskey Park, beating Cleveland, 6-1.
White Sox GM Frank Lane made a six-player deal with the Senators and included former All-Star second baseman Cass Michaels (real name Casimir Kwietniewski) in it. Trading Michaels was important, because it cleared the way for a youngster named Nellie Fox to take over full-time at the position.
The torpid White Sox, on their way to the worst single season in franchise history, annihilated the Red Sox in Boston, 22-13. The Sox banged out 24 hits, with Bill Melton knocking in four runs. The victim that afternoon? None other than former South Side star pitcher Gary Peters! It was the second-most runs scored in a single game by the franchise.
In the second game of a doubleheader with the Orioles at Comiskey Park, former White Sox infielder Don Buford charged pitcher Bart Johnson with his bat after Johnson drilled him with a pitch in his rear end in the eighth inning. Cooler heads prevailed, but in the ninth inning while standing in the on-deck circle lecturing a fan, another fan ran across the infield and attack Buford from behind. Buford knocked him out with one punch, then his Oriole teammates charged out of the dugout and did a bloody number on the attacker. The two teams split the doubleheader that afternoon.
It was an inauspicious debut for a player who’d make himself into a fine big-league hitter. In a game at Chicago, Brian Downing had just entered the game in the seventh inning, to make his major league debut. On his first play in the big leagues, Downing caught a foul pop off the bat of the Tigers Dick McAuliffe, diving to make the catch. On the play, though, he’d tear up his knee and have to be placed on the injured list.
Downing would collect his first big-league hit in August, an inside-the-park home run off of Mickey Lolich in Detroit.