April 23, 1919 - Perhaps the greatest White Sox team ever, in terms of talent, opened the season in St. Louis destroying the Browns 13-4. Lefty Williams got the win. This time however, six months later, after winning the American League pennant, the ‘‘Black Sox’’ reportedly threw the series and lost to the Cincinnati Reds. Eight players would be banned the following year and the only franchise capable of stopping the emerging New York Yankees juggernaut was decimated.
April 23, 1949 - Sox left hander Billy Pierce won his first major league game. Pierce came in to relieve starter Al Gettel and got the decision as the Sox won 12-5 against the Browns at Comiskey Park. Billy would win 186 games with the Sox, make the All Star team seven times as their representative and finish with 211 wins overall in his brilliant career.
Not to shabby for a guy who really didn't think he'd ever be a baseball player at least that's what Billy told me when I interviewed him.
"Playing in the pro’s never entered my mind. I played a lot and was pretty good. You know how when kids get together and play, they choose up sides? I was always one of the first kids picked. I was a first baseman when I was 14, and the kid who was a pitcher on our team left and went to another club because they had better looking uniforms. We were only about a week from starting play in our league and I threw hard, so I became the pitcher. I was wild in those days! When I was in high school the scouts came around to see me but I wanted to be a doctor. My dad was a pharmacist and I took a lot of classes to get ready for medical school. I had a scholarship but I thought I’d try to play for two or three years and if it didn’t work out I’d use the scholarship and go back to school."
April 23, 1955 - The White Sox hammered the Athletics 29-6 at Kansas City. The 29 runs was an American League record for years. The Sox hit seven home runs that night. Walt Dropo and Bob Nieman each had seven RBIs. Sherm Lollar and Minnie Minoso added five each.
April 23, 1990 - It was an unusual event even though it happened in an exhibition game. Utility player Steve Lyons played all nine positions for the Sox during the annual “Crosstown Classic” game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Manager Jeff Torborg moved him all over the field during the contest won by the Sox 6-5.
Then Sox manager Jeff Torborg told me the hardest thing about that game and what Lyons was trying to do."
You know what was so hard about that game? Trying to figure out how I could get him to do it! I’m there in the dugout changing things, thinking, ‘to play him here I’ve got to do this’…it was a lot of work.”
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