Today in White Sox History: April 8

Mark Liptak

1963

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.

1991
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. 

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Comments (11)
No. 1-8
steely3000
steely3000

Denny McLain is married to Lou Boudreau's daughter Sharyn. He was a pretty good pitcher for a few years, but really kind of fizzled out when he reached the ripe old age of 25.

Joe Resis
Joe Resis

Editor

Interesting stuff. That was the first of three straight All-Star seasons for McDowell on the South Side.

Brett Ballantini
Brett Ballantini

Editor

I love how none of you wondered hey, what's with the random dude at the top of the page just sitting there, frozen! OK, well through the magic of learning how this system works, there's now a video up top, not a random still of a guy who is definitely neither Bruce Howard nor Denny McLain. I hope that makes this story better, not worse.

Guitarsox
Guitarsox

Editor

Blackjack was a great pitcher. A very good guitarist as well.

Phil Hundley
Phil Hundley

Editor

My big sister used to have Denny McClain's album of organ music. Played it all the time one summer (1968 maybe?). To this day, I do not care for Denny McClain's organ music.

Tommy Barbee
Tommy Barbee

Editor

I loved watching Jack McDowell pitch, he had an absolutely dominant run from 91-93.

Leigh Allan
Leigh Allan

Editor

In fairness, Howard had a lower ERA with the Sox, 2.91, than McLain's career 3.39. And he was 25-25 with Chicago, barely 106 games behind McLain's career total.

Ashley Sanders
Ashley Sanders

Editor

A Spring Training, intrasquad, pitching duel for a spot on the Double-A team? That's a competitive match I would want to see. Two young players chasing stardom by making the next leap in the minor league system.