This Day in White Sox History: Billy is so close to perfect

This Day in White Sox History: Billy is so close to perfect
Sox great Billy Pierce.

June 27, 1922 - Catcher and future Hall of Famer, Ray “Cracker” Schalk became the first White Sox player to hit for the cycle when he did it against the Tigers in Detroit. The Sox would win 9-5 with Ray going 4 for 4.

June 27, 1958 - He came so close to perfection. Sox left hander Billy Pierce fired four one-hitters in his brilliant career, but he never came closer than on this night to baseball immortality.

With two out in the ninth inning, Pierce lost a perfect game as the Senators Ed Fitz Gerald doubled down the first base line. The hit was fair by a foot. The crowd at Comiskey Park stared in disbelief. The Sox won 3-0 butPierce never came closer to pitching the ultimate masterpiece.

Another historical oddity… Fitz Gerald’s grandfather was an important businessman in Milwaukee, including the shipping industry. Years later a ship would be named after him. The name of the ship? The Edmund Fitz Gerald. (Cue the song from Gordon Lightfoot!) In a long conversation with the man who'd become a good friend Billy told me about that night and how his feelings about coming so close changed over the years. "

"At the time I didn’t think it was that important. I was a team guy and we wound up winning the game. Sure I wanted to get him out. He was a first ball, fastball hitter. We threw him a low breaking ball that he hit off the end of the bat. I won the game though and that was more important to me at the time. Over the years however, I’ve had so many people tell me they were listening to the game on the radio or were at the park watching, that I’ve wanted that one pitch back more now then I ever did then."

June 27, 2004 - The first of the on-field steps that would eventually lead to a World Series title took place on this day as the Sox acquired starting pitcher Freddy Garcia from the Mariners for catcher Miguel Olivo and outfielder Jeremy Reed. Some fans anguished over the loss of five tool prospect Reed, but no one was complaining after Garcia helped close out the Astros the following October to clinch the first championship in 88 seasons. Freddy would go on to win 55 games for the Sox in two different stints.

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