This Day in White Sox History: Things get tense

This Day in White Sox History: Things get tense
Former Sox pitcher Bart Johnson.

May 31, 1914 - Joe "The Butcher Boy" Benz, (so named because that’s what he did in the off season) fired a no-hitter beating Cleveland 6-1. The no-hitter was at Comiskey Park.

May 31, 1950 - Sox GM Frank Lane made a six player deal with the Senators and included former All-Star second baseman Cass Michaels (real name Casimir Kwietniewski) in it. The move was important because it cleared the way for a youngster named Nellie Fox to take over full time at the position.

May 31, 1970 - The torpid White Sox, on their way to the worst single season in franchise history annihilated the Red Sox in Boston 22-13. The Sox banged out 24 hits with Bill Melton knocking in four RBIs. The Sox victim that afternoon? None other than former Sox star pitcher Gary Peters! It was the second most runs ever scored in a single game by the franchise.

May 31, 1971- In the second game of a double header with the Orioles at Comiskey Park, former Sox infielder Don Buford charged pitcher Bart Johnson with his bat after Johnson drilled him with a pitch in his behind in the eighth inning. Cooler heads prevailed but in the ninth inning while standing in the on-deck circle lecturing a fan, Buford was attacked by a second fan from behind who ran across the field. Buford knocked him out with one punch then his Oriole teammates charged out of the dugout and did a bloody number on that fan who was led away by security. The teams split the double header that afternoon. Mike Andrews was playing second base that day and clearly remembered everything that went on when I asked him about years later in an interview.

"I remember that vividly because I saw the whole thing from second base. It was a Memorial Day doubleheader and Bart threw a close one at BufordBuford started out towards the mound with his bat. I don’t think Don intended using that bat though. It just happened that he started towards the mound and I don’t think he realized he still had the bat in his other hand. Don played football at USC. If he was going to do something, he didn’t even need a bat. Anyway nothing happened and Don went out to left field. The Sox fans in that lower deck just gave him hell. A few innings later he’s in the on deck circle watching the game when I see a fan jump over the wall and start towards him. This drunk was headed his way when a bunch of guys started yelling to Don to look out. Buford turned, saw the guy, and cold cocked him. Just dropped him with one punch. That’s when some of Don’s teammates from the Orioles headed out of the dugout and beat the guy. He was bloody from head to toe. I heard afterwards that when they took the guy into the medical room at the park to get worked on, the medics turned their back for a moment and the guy disappeared!" 

May 31, 1973 - It was an inauspicious debut for a player who’d make himself into a fine big league hitter. In a game at Chicago, Brian Downing had just entered the game in the seventh inning making his major league debut. On his first play in the big leagues,Downing caught a foul pop off the bat of the Tigers Dick McAuliffe, diving to make the catch. On the play though he’d tear up his knee and have to be placed on the disabled list. Downing would collect his first big league hit in August, an inside the park home run off the Tigers Mickey Lolich in Detroit.

Want to read up on the White Sox farm system and stars of tomorrow? Check out Future Sox.

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