This Day in White Sox History: Wood's career effectively ends

This Day in White Sox History: Wood's career effectively ends
Former White Sox long-time pitcher Wilbur Wood.

May 9, 1976 – Sox pitcher Wilbur Wood’s career was basically ended when his left kneecap was shattered by a line drive off the bat of future Sox player Ron LeFlore in Detroit. Wood had gotten off to a fine four and three start, with five complete games and an ERA of 2.24 when the accident took place. He was never the same again. He recalled the incident when I interviewed him about his White Sox career.

Ron hit me in the knee cap with a line drive and it just blew it apart. He swung at a ball using an inside/out swing, that’s always the toughest for a pitcher to pick up because it looks like he’s pulling the ball. Instead he hit it right back up the middle. I never saw it. I wasn’t trying to catch it, I was just trying to get out of the way. Originally the knee cap was wired together to hold it in place. I didn’t have a cast. The doctors felt this way it would heal quicker and maybe I could be out there in September. That September I was working out at home trying to get ready to come back when I slipped on the grass and the knee cap went out again. This time they had to put some pins in it to hold it together and I had a cast on, so I was done for the season.” 

May 9, 1984 – Harold Baines ended the longest game, inning-wise, in American League history when he blasted a home run in the 25th inning to give the Sox a 7-6 win over Milwaukee. The 8:06 length of the game set a Major League record. Tom Seaver got the win in relief in the marathon contest which started on May 8 and was suspended, then came back and won the regularly scheduled game later that same evening when the Sox won 5-4. For the night Seaver threw a little over nine innings allowing only four hits.

Sox player Tom Paciorek had some funny remembrances of that game and his part in it when I asked him about it. “I certainly remember that game because I didn’t start it yet still had five hits. I was actually eating pizza in the umpires dressing room when one of the clubhouse guys told me I had to go in the game for Ron KittleKitty came down with a migraine. I asked the guy when I was needed and he said something like ‘you’re up next!’ I flew into the dugout and had pizza sauce all over my uniform top. I struck out on three pitches and remember thinking, ‘hell, Kittle could have done that! When a game goes that long not only do you get tired physically but mentally it starts to bother you, you just get so drained. If you look at box scores of long games you see that usually the longer a game goes the harder it is to score any runs no matter who’s pitching. Although in this game I think Milwaukee scored then we came back to score and tie it up before Harold won it.” 

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

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