Monday, August 20, 2012

#416 (cont.) - Chicago White Sox Team Cards

For the second part of this post we get the checklist card with quite a bunch of formal signatures. The whole starting line-up is represented here and between Wilbur Wood and Stan Bahnsen alone, 90 starts, which I find pretty amazing. Now let’s take a look at the pitching record holders.

Contrary to the many of the Sox’ offensive leaders, Ed Walsh was a big guy, going about 6’1” and 200 pounds. He was born in rural PA and like lots of other kids back then was working by the time he was a teenager. In factory ball he was an outfielder/pitcher and somehow when he was 18 he enrolled at Fordham although he only lasted there about a week. He returned to play company ball in 1901 and then signed with Meriden, a D league team, in ’02. After going 16-5 in just 22 starts he would go 9-5 in A ball in ’03 and apparently play for other teams in between. After that ’03 season he would be drafted by the ChiSox in the Rule 5 draft and debut for them the next year. Armed with his fastball and curve Ed went a combined 14-6 in ’04 and ’05 as he split time between the rotation and the pen. He would continue that dual role but prior to the ’06 season learn a new pitch: a spitball. After 17 wins in ’06 and 24 with an AL-leading 1.60 ERA in ’07, Ed would explode in ’08, going 40-15-1 with a 1.42 ERA in 49 starts. He also led the AL in shutouts (11), complete games (42), innings (464!), strikeouts (269), and saves (6). In ’09 he got hurt and only won 15 and then in ’10 he went 18-20 while winning another ERA title with a 1.27. He then put up successive 27-win seasons the next two years while both times leading the AL in innings, games, and saves. But then his arm began to break down from all that work and he would go only 13-8 the next five seasons, his final one – ’17 – spent with the Boston Braves. When he was done Ed had a record of 195-126 with a record 1.82 ERA with 250 complete games in 315 starts, 57 shutouts, and 35 saves. In his only Series in ’06 he went 2-0 with a 1.60 ERA in a win against the Cubs. He was a .194 hitter and a very aggressive fielder, totaling 1,207 assists in his 430 games. In ’18 he worked at a munitions factory for WW I duty. He then attempted a couple minor league comebacks from ’19 to ’21 and managed and/or coached all three seasons. In ’22 he gave umpiring in the AL a shot but he quit when he couldn’t be objective. He then returned to the Sox as a coach in ’23 – taking ’26-’28 off to coach at Notre Dame while his sons played there -  through ’33. He then made Meriden, CT his permanent home and there did some WPA work for the Roosevelt administration before becoming an engineer and becoming a superintendent of the city’s water filtration plant. He did that the balance of his working life. He was inducted into the Hall in ’46. He contracted cancer in the late Fifties and passed away in ’59 when he was 78.

Patsy Flaherty grew up outside Pittsburgh where he pitched and played outfield for local teams until he was signed by Youngstown, a Class C team, in 1896. In ’97 he went 19-20 with a 1.89 ERA in Class B. Around then he met Honus Wagner who would be his lifetime friend. After spending ’98 in B ball and ’99 playing for a couple A teams, Honus would get him promoted to Louisville late in the ’99 season where Patsy went 2-3 with a 2.31 ERA in five starts. When the Louisville diaspora happened after the season Patsy joined Honus in going to Pittsburgh but after a couple ineffective games returned to the minors. After a couple middling seasons he went 26-16 in A ball in ’02, got sold to the Sox, and returned to The Show in ’03, going 11-25 with a 3.74 ERA. After a decent start to the ’04 season he was released and signed back with the Pirates for whom he went 19-9 with a 2.05 ERA the rest of the way, winning 20 total. After a downtick in ’05 he returned to A ball in ’06 and went 23-9 after which he was traded to the Boston Beaneaters. He went 24-33 for those guys in two seasons then spent ’09 and most of ’10 in the minors where the latter season he played as much outfield as he pitched and hit .290. He came up again in ’11 and didn’t do too well on the mound but did hit .287 and led the NL in pinch hitting. It would be his final season up top where he went 67-84 lifetime with a 3.10 ERA with 125 complete games. He hit .197 with 70 RBI’s also. He returned to the minors where he played outfield and managed for a bunch of unaffiliated teams (in ’13-’14, ’18-’19, ’25, and ’34). In between he coached at that level and then scouted: for the Cubs (’26-’32); and Detroit (’35- at least ’40). Thereafter his pastime is a mystery. He passed away in Louisiana in ’68 at age 91.

Sandy Consuegra was a Cuban pitcher who played lots of pro ball there and in Mexico before he finally hooked up with Havana, a Washington B franchise, in ’49 when he was 28. After a 6-5 season that year he went 8-2 with a 2.15 ERA to start the ’50 season and moved up to DC later that season. In that year and ’51 he went 7-8 each season as a swing guy with his two pitches, a fastball and a curve. In ’52 he went 6-0 with a 3.05 ERA and five saves out of the pen and then started slowly in ’53 and was sold to the ChiSox in May. For them he went 7-5 with a 2.54 ERA the rest of the way as manager Paul Richards taught him a palmball and a sinker. In ’54 he got 17 starts in his 39 games and went 16-3 to lead the AL in winning percentage while making the All-Star team and coming in second in the AL with a 2.69 ERA. After another good year in ’55 – 6-5 with seven saves and a 2.64 ERA – he had a poor start to the ’56 season and was sold to the Orioles. For them he pitched primarily in the minors while putting up OK numbers in just four games up top. In ’57 he went 7-1 with a 1.99 ERA in 44 relief outings before he was sold to the Giants for whom he finished things in The States in a couple outings. Sandy went 51-32 with a 3.37 ERA with 24 complete games and 26 saves in the majors. In ’58 he gave a short run back in Havana and then worked a farm he purchased as well as managing real estate he had acquired over the years. When Castro took over Sandy lost all his assets and moved to Miami where he had one last comeback attempt in ’61 and then worked in cargo at the local airport and then security. He passed away in Miami at age 85 in 2005.

Vern Kennedy grew up in Mendon, Missouri where he was an excellent athlete and continued that course when he went to Central Missouri Teachers College in 1925. While there he played football, baseball, and ran track. He was all-conference three times in football, which is pretty impressive given he hadn’t played it before enrolling. In track he was all-conference all four years and All-American in ’27 when he won the decathlon at the Penn Relays. HeHeHHHe graduated in ’29 with a degree in education and played a year of local ball while working as a brick loader during which he was discovered by an A’s scout and signed to a minor league contract. He took a while to get rolling but in ’33 and ’34 put in a couple pretty good seasons in A ball, going a combined 32-36 with a 3.31 ERA. Towards the tail-end of the latter season he was sold to the Sox and for them debuted that September. In ’35 he went 11-11 and threw the first-ever no-hitter in Comiskey. The next year he led the AL with his walk total but went 21-9 and was an All-Star in his best season. After winning 14 in ’37 he was traded to Detroit where he was again an All-Star in ’38 as he went 12-9. In ’39 he lost 20 while pitching for the Tigers and the Browns and he would spend the next six seasons putting up generally losing seasons for the Browns, Senators, Indians, Phillies, and Reds. His best year during that span was ’43 when he went 10-7 with a 2.45 ERA for Cleveland. After his release by Cincinnati in spring training of ’46 he was finished up top with a 104-132 record, 126 complete games, and a 4.67 ERA. Vern was a pretty good hitter, posting a .244 average with 61 RBI’s. He then continued to pitch in the minors through ’55 and as late as ’52 put up nice numbers – 11-4 with a 2.23 ERA in Double A – when he was 45. When he was done at that level he was 128-129 with a 3.05 ERA lifetime. He then returned to his hometown where he taught and coached in high school for over ten years before he retired. He was an active participant in the Senior Olympics where he set a bunch of local records. He passed away in Mendon when at age 85 a shed he was dismantling collapsed on him in 1993. Both the Central Missouri football field and track are named in his honor.

Eddie Cicotte was born outside Detroit and played sandlot ball there after high school. In 1905 when he was 21 he hooked up with Class C Augusta where he went 15-9 with a low ERA. Late that summer when he got called up to Detroit the Tigers asked him to bring up an outfielder and he opted for a kid named Ty Cobb. He then returned to the minors where the next two years he won a combined 40 games in A ball. After the ’07 season he was sold to Boston and for the Sox came up for ’08. For Boston Eddie would have generally better-than-average ERA’s but be inconsistent, going a combined 51-43 in his four full seasons with his best year being a 14-5 1.94 season in ’09. After a nasty start to the ’12 season he was sold to Chicago for whom he won nine down the stretch and lowered his ERA by three runs. In ’13 he won 18 with a 1.58 ERA in his first year with his new pitch: a knuckleball. After a couple so-so seasons he won 15 in ’16 with a 1.78 ERA and then turned it on for the Series champs in ’17, going 28-12 with an AL-leading ERA. It was this season – and not 1919 – in which Charlie Comiskey had promised Eddie a big bonus if he won 30 and then had him sit for some late season starts when it seemed that number was in reach. In ’18 he had a complete turnaround, going 12-19 as he lost some time to building bombers at Ford for WW I. Then in ’19 he went 29-7 with a 1.82 ERA as he helped take the Sox back to the Series where he then lost two as one of the players who took gambling money. After a 21-10 season in ’20 he was banned from ball. For his career Eddie went 209-148 with a 2.38 ERA, 249 complete games, and 24 saves. He went 2-3 in Series play with a 2.22 ERA and hit .186 during his career. He then played some ball for some “outlaw” teams a couple years before returning to Detroit and working for Ford which he did until he retired. He then sold strawberries from his farm there through his death in ’69 when he was 84.

Time to see how the Sox do representation-wise in this set. Two guys with significant at bats were traded mid-season and have no cards anywhere in this set. DH/infielder Mike Andrews went to Oakland after hitting .201 in 159 at bats; and former bonus baby outfielder Rick Reichardt went to Kansas City after hitting .275 in his 153 at bats. On the pitching side the only guy missing who had a decision is Eddie Fisher, the old knuckler who went 6-7 with a 4.88 ERA in ’73. So between the over 300 at bats and the 13 decisions the Sox land near the bottom. On the team card Andrews is Number 2 in the third row, Reichardt is Number 46 in the last row and Fisher is the third guy from the right in the last row.

Steve Stone moved around a bit so let’s try him for the hook-up:

1. Steve Stone was on the ’73 White Sox;
2. Stone and Willie Mays ‘71 to ’72 Giants;
3. Mays and Gary Gentry ’72 Mets.

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