This Day in White Sox History: Sox sign Soderholm

This Day in White Sox History: Sox sign Soderholm
Former White Sox third baseman Eric Soderholm.

November 26, 1976 - It was a move that would pay large returns the following season. On this day, injured third baseman Eric Soderholm signed a free agent deal with Bill Veeck and Roland HemondSoderholm would become Comeback Player of the Year for 1977 with 25 home runs, 67 RBI’s and a .280 batting average. That would help lead the ‘south side hit men’ to a remarkable season.  Soderholm told me about the signing.

"Calvin Griffith told me that even though I missed the 1976 season the Twins wanted me back. He said he’d give me the same salary I had in 1975. Well free agency was now in place. I thought it over and said that I’d like to see what’s out there. Four teams drafted me, even though I missed the previous season. The White Sox offered me a contract for 25,000 dollars. The Twins matched it. The Sox through Roland Hemond, then upped the offer to 55,000 dollars. I said how can you do this, since I missed all of 1976?Hemond explained that if I was released in spring training, the Sox wouldn’t be obligated for the deal and they felt it was a good gamble. My agent called the Twins back, and told them what the Sox did. Ten minutes later the Twins called back and matched it again. I was leaning towards staying in Minnesota, when Bill Veeck personally called my agent and said the Sox would guarantee half of the deal even if I was released. The Twins wouldn’t touch that, Calvin Griffith got really upset about it all and that’s how I came to the Sox.Veeck always did have a soft spot for folks overcoming hardships, I mean he’s a guy who lost most of his leg."

November 26, 1991 - The Sox hired Gene Lamont as the new field manager replacing Jeff TorborgLamont was hired after Pirates manager and former Sox coach Jim Leyland highly recommended him. Lamont was a coach on Leyland’s staff in Pittsburgh. The quiet, laid back, Lamont would win the American League’s Western Division title in 1993 and be named Manager of the Year for it. He’d also guide the Sox to the Central Division lead at the time of the labor impasse in 1994. He was fired in May 1995 after a poor start by the team and that firing would have consequences.  Jerry Reinsdorf personally called Leyland to see if he would be interested in taking over the team the next year but was rebuffed as Leyland felt the Sox did his friend wrong.

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