This Day in White Sox History: Karkovice's inside-the-park grand slam

This Day in White Sox History: Karkovice's inside-the-park grand slam
Former White Sox catcher Ron Karkovice (Topps).

August 30, 1941 - Sox pitcher Johnny Humphries had his string of 35 consecutive scoreless innings snapped on a home run by the Browns Chet Laabs. The Browns won that afternoon going away 10-1.  

August 30, 1949 - The Sox organized and celebrated “Jackie Hayes Night” at Comiskey Park. Hayes was a fine second baseman who suddenly lost his sight due to a cataract in one eye. Doctors were dumbfounded how a cataract could rob a person of sight in both eyes but unfortunately that’s what happened.

August 30, 1959 - The Sox sealed a huge four game sweep of their closest pursuers in the American League by beating Cleveland at Municipal Stadium 6-3 and 9-4 in a Sunday double header. Early Wynn and Barry Latman pickd up the wins. The four game sweep increased the Sox lead to 5.5 games in the league and basically ended all challengers for the pennant. Sportswriter Gordon Cobbledick of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote that it was time for the Sox to “go-go home…”

Sox pitcher Bob Shaw told me about something Cleveland did to try to stop the potent running game of the club, "I noticed that they had taken the dirt out of the infield and put in sand. They did it to slow down guys like Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox and Jim Landis. The other thing I noticed was that they let the grass get higher in the infield and that the area around home plate was damp and moist. They watered the field heavily to again make it harder on our guys to run.”

August 30, 1981 - The Sox dealt three prospects to the Twins for pitcher Jerry Koosman. It was a small deal pulled off by GM Roland Hemond that turned out to have big implications in future years. Koosman was like a second pitching coach, tutoring young Sox hurlers. He’d start games, pitch long relief and be a situational left hander in his two plus years on the South Side. He’d win 23 games and save five more before being traded after the 1983 season to Philadelphia.

Jerry told me about how the deal came about. "I never thought about ending my career, but I also didn’t want to leave Minnesota. Because I was a veteran I had to give my approval on a trade and I did, after certain incentives were invoked. I don’t remember if the Twins or White Sox took care of them. I remember that when the Sox got me I had to join them immediately because they needed someone out of the bullpen. It’s actually pretty interesting how the Sox even got me. Because of the strike that year, Billy Gardner, the Twins manager, was using all the pitchers a lot, in different roles, just to help them get back in shape quickly. I saved like five games in a week and because a few of them were against Milwaukee, the Sox heard about it and noticed. They needed a left hander so they pushed for the trade."

August 30, 1983 - Carlton Fisk, one of the fastest catchers in baseball history, hit an inside the park home run off the Rangers Dave Stewart at Comiskey Park. His drive struck the top of the wall in left center field and bounded back towards the infield. While the Texas outfielders were tracking the ball down, Fisk circled the bases. The Sox won that night, 5-0.

August 30, 1990 - Ron Karkovice, one of the slowest catchers in baseball history, (although he amazingly had 10 steals in 1992!) hit an inside the park grand slam off the Twins' David West at Minnesota. With the bases loaded in the fourth inning Karkovice hit a line drive just over the shortstop's head that rolled to the wall in left center. Outfielder Dan Gladden was picking the ball up when he started to slip and fall. As he did so, he tossed the ball towards outfielder John Moses to try to start a relay, except that Moses wasn’t looking for it and the ball rolled towards center field. By the time the Twins got to it, Karkovice and all the runners had scored. It was the difference in a 4-3 win.

August 30, 2004 - Sox outfielder Joe Borchard connected on what’s believed to be the longest home run ever hit at U.S. Cellular Field. He drove a pitch from the Phillies Brett Myers (who'd later pitch for the Sox) an estimated 504 feet to right field, smacking off the wall behind the bleacher seats. It was part of a Sox 9-8 win.

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