This Day in White Sox History: White Sox trade Pierce

This Day in White Sox History: White Sox trade Pierce
A collage of White Sox legend Billy Pierce. (Chicago White Sox)

November 30, 1955 - It was the start of a new era at shortstop for the White Sox. On this date the team purchased the contract of young infielder, Luis Aparicio from Memphis. Aparicio would begin his Hall of Fame career the following season, winning the Rookie of the Year honor.

November 30, 1961 - After 13 years on the South Side, with 186 wins and seven All-Star selections, pitcher Billy Pierce was traded to the San Francisco Giants by GM Ed ShortPierce and Don Larsen were sent west in exchange for knuckle balling relief pitcher Eddie Fisher, pitcher Dom Zanni, outfielder Bob Farley and a player to be named later. The trade would revitalize Pierce’s career and lead him to tossing a three hit complete game win in Game #6 of the 1962 World Series against the Yankees.  Fisher would become one of the top relief pitchers in baseball and would team with Hoyt Wilhelm to give the Sox great depth in that area. He’d make the All Star team in 1965 and win the Relief Pitcher of the Year award. In an unrelated note, Fisher did a spot-on imitation of Donald Duck! Billy Pierce would later tell me about the deal and his thoughts on it.

"Truthfully the way things were going the last few seasons, I expected it. All I did was ask Ed Short  that if something happened that he please call me first before he told the media. Remember the last time I was traded I heard about it over the radio. Short did call me one day and said he made a deal with San Francisco. I thanked him for letting me know and that was it. I was really worried about how I was going to tell my son about it. He was nine or ten at the time and grew up around Luis AparicioNellie Fox and the guys. So my wife and I told him and he looked up and said "great, now I get to meet Willie Mays!" So that was it, we got his 'seal of approval' and moved on."

November 30, 1970 - New Sox player personnel director Roland Hemond continued to rebuild a battered franchise. At the winter meetings he shipped Gold Glove winning outfielder Ken Berry, infielder Syd O’Brien and pitcher Billy Wynne to the Angels for pitcher Tom Bradley, catcher Tom Egan and outfielder Jay Johnstone. The deal would become a steal just based on what Bradley did, winning 15 games with a sub 3.00 ERA in both 1971 and 1972 along with 200+ strikeouts each year. Egan provided great back up help to Ed Herrmann and Johnstone was a quality outfielder and clubhouse comic. Sox manager Chuck Tanner told me about the 'philosophy' that he and Hemond had at the time to rebuild the White Sox.

“We were just trying to improve the club. I wanted to build around pitching and defense. Roland and I also tried to get a few good players for everyone we gave up. We traded some guys who were still good players like Ken Berry and Luis Aparicio but we got back a few guys each time, who were better then what we had. Mike Andrews wasn’t an All-Star second baseman but he was better then what we had the year before. He made our team better. As far as ‘philosophy’ I was going to win or lose my way. I wasn’t going to lose and get fired, doing it somebody else’s way.”

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