Today in White Sox History: April 8
This day was a doozy, because it turned out to be one of the biggest and most painful “what if’s” in franchise history.
As per the rules at the time, the White Sox had to choose between two pitchers signed to “bonus baby” contracts: Only one player signed to a deal for more than a certain amount of money could remain in the organization, and the other would have to be waived.
With that in mind, rookies Bruce Howard and Denny McLain squared off — somewhat amazingly — in an intrasquad game to see which player would be released and which player got promoted to Double-A Lynchburg. Howard won the game, 2-1. McLain got his walking papers, and was claimed by Detroit the following week. He’d go on to win 131 big league games, including 31 in 1968.
Memorial Stadium in Baltimore was always a “house of horrors” for the White Sox, but on the Opening Day the South Siders got the last laugh. On the heels of a rousing 1990 season that saw the White Sox make a run at a Western Division title, the White Sox spoiled the last home opener in old Memorial Stadium by ripping the Orioles, 9-1. Sammy Sosa, beginning his first full season with the ballclub, clubbed two home runs off Jeff Ballard to lead the rout. He’d knock in five RBIs on the afternoon. Jack McDowell went the distance and struck out 10.