Wednesday, October 26, 2005

This One's For You

Tonight, as the Pale Hose clinch their first World Series title since 1917, take time to remember those special folks to whom this means so much:

Buck Weaver (as played by John Cusack) - For all the crap you hear about Joe Jackson deserving a spot in the HOF, remember the one member of the Black Sox who was bounced from the sport by Kennesaw Mountain Landis not for taking any money (he didn't, Jackson did), not for throwing any games (he hit .324 in the series), but for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time and then not ratting out his teammates.

Buck won a series in '17 (batting .333), but never got another chance after the infamous '19 Series.

Ted Lyons - While there are an almost limitless supply of White Sox without Series rings, the poster child for the almost 90 year reign of futility has to be this longsuffering Louisianan. Lyons pitched in 594 big league games -- each and every friggin' one for the White Sox.

For 21 seasons over 24 years from 1923 to 1946 (he had a cup of coffee in '46 after missing '43 through '45 for a little thing called World War II) he toiled for the Sox. Sunday Teddy had some ups (3 20-win seasons), and some downs (2 20-loss seasons) before finishing the string as the team's designated Sunday pitcher.

In those 21 seasons the Sox finished with a winning record just 5 times -- never finishing higher than 3rd in the American League. 594 games, 484 starts, 356 complete games, 260 wins, 230 losses -- and the man never came closer to a World Series than 3rd place. Now THAT is futility!

Andy The Clown (aka Andrew Rozdilsky, Jr. ) -
He was annoying as hell.
He was banned from the Cell.
Now from heaven he yells down.
I swear I can still hear goddamn Andy The Clown ...


Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Yooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooou Whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiite Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooox!

Unknown Assailant - Part of the fun of going to Sox games as a kid in the '70s was the slight undercurrent of menace that was always present. After all, not for nothing was Comiskey known as the world's largest outdoor saloon.

But only once did that undercurrent find its way to the surface -- albeit in a mostly benign circumstance.

The favored event for the group trip on the church bus was the Friday night twi-nighter in front of a sparse crowd. The m.o. was for the boys to watch the first couple of innings with the dads in the third base grandstand, then wander off for a few innings/hours of wandering around the mostly empty ballpark looking for whatever.

This time whatever included a run-in with a would-be mugger in the narrow walkway behind the left field upper deck. I say would-be because 1) he never actually hit me, and 2) he was thwarted by the fact that I had no money to give him (I believe I was on my way back to hit up dad for some popcorn money).

As the Series champs finish off before SRO crowds, it's nice to remember when would-be criminals were free to ply their trade in peace and quiet at Comminskey.

Dick (Don't Call Me Richie) Allen - Last, but not least, comes the first truly exciting player to ever wear a ChiSox uni -- at least for my generation. The picture at the left gives the best summation possible of Dick Allen's don't-give-a-damn allure.

By the way, has anyone ever gone through as many name changes as this guy, only to wind up calling himself "Dick?"

In 1972 he was a one-man buggy-whippin' wrecking crew on the way to winning an MVP for the Sox -- who of course finished second in the AL West.

Like Lyons, Dick never made it to the Series.


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