This Day in White Sox History: Horlen's blank jersey

This Day in White Sox History: Horlen's blank jersey
Former Sox pitcher Joel Horlen. (Topps)

September 4, 1960 - A viral infection knocked Nellie Fox out of the line-up for the first time since August 1955. He played in 798 consecutive games, still the White Sox record, and 1,072 out of a possible 1,073.

September 4, 1961 - A strange start to a good White Sox career for pitcher Joe Horlen. Horlen entered the game in Minnesota wearing a blank jersey. That’s right - no name, no number on the back, nothing! Only one other time in MLB history has this ever happened as the Reds Eric Davis suffered the same fate in the 1980s. Joe allowed two hits in four innings of work and got the win in the 9-5 decision. An unusual major league debut to be sure and Joe told me about it.

“I was actually supposed to start the next day’s game," Horlen said. "Because of that the Sox felt they were going to have some time getting a jersey for me. I was sitting in the bullpen wearing my warm up jacket because I was a little embarrassed and the guys were giving it to me. Then during the middle of the game the phone rings and Al Lopez said to get me up and ready. The Sox had used a lot of pitchers in the series right before going to Minnesota and they were shorthanded. So I go in and right as I’m ready to throw my first pitch in the majors, Twins manager Sam Mele, a former Sox player, called time and went out to talk with the home plate umpire. Mele is talking and then he points to me and shrugs his shoulders like ‘who the heck is that guy?’ Everyone got a good laugh out of it including myself and it might have helped me since it relieved the tension.”

September 4, 1995 - Robin Ventura hit a pair of grand slams in a 14-3 win over Texas. He became the eighth player in history to hit a pair in one game. His eight RBI’s for a single contest tied the franchise record.

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