I last wrote about the White Sox who were about to embark on an important road trip, first to Baltimore, where, historically, they’ve had a difficult time winning. Present history hasn’t improved much, either, since they managed to win only one game out of four against the Orioles. Moving on to Detroit, holding on to a three-game lead, the Sox were hoping for a quick improvement. Not to be, as the disastrous trip continued, losing three straight to the Tigers who crawled back into a tie with the Sox as the Labor Day weekend came and went sending the Sox limping back home wondering what hit them.
But somehow the White Sox regained first place in the Central Division by taking two out of three from the Twins, coupled with a couple of losses by the Tigers to Cleveland. To say the least, it’s very strange. And with a mere twenty-five games remaining, it’s going to get even more so!
This kind of down-to-the-wire pennant race has been nothing new for the White Sox through the years. For example, my first experience with this nerve-wracking stuff involved the 1959 Sox. Holding a lead in the American League, with Cleveland still alive, the Sox went into Cleveland on September 22, needing to beat Cleveland to wrap it up.
It was one of those typical ninth inning nail biters that I have come to expect from the Sox—season after season! With one out and the Indians threatening with the bases loaded in the ninth, and the Sox holding on to a 4-2 lead, reliever Gerry Staley came in to the game and threw one pitch to hard hitting Vic Power, who hit a sharp grounder to “Little Looie” Aparicio at shortstop. The smooth-fielding Aparicio in turn stepped on second and fired a strike to first to send the Sox to the World Series and their fans into delirium.
I remember listening to the game in my home in Indiana, and I was never really aware of the wild and zany scene that was taking place in Chicago. The fire commissioner set off air-raid sirens, touching off an insane celebration. I’m guessing that the folks who weren’t White Sox fans found the air raid blasts a bit much, but I’m only speculating. And I’ve heard stories that thousands were scared out of their wits, since in 1959 the Cold War was first and foremost in the minds of Americans. At any rate, the sirens wailed and wailed, and the party was on.
Anyone who chose to complain, it didn’t matter. After all, Mayor Richard Daley was a devout Sox fan and couldn’t have cared less about any complaints that night. And besides, he had ordered the fire commissioner, Robert J. Quinn, to set the sirens off, making September 22, 1959, a wonderful night in White Sox lore.
And in a few weeks, the Sox will once again go into Cleveland. Will that series be as important as the one so long ago in ’59? Time will tell, but perhaps the folks in charge could get those old air-raid sirens dusted off…just in case!
See you at the ballpark!