Pale Hose FINALLY win it ALL! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Carl Mitchell   
Sunday, 18 December 2011 17:52

Its been a long 43 seasons for owner Carl Mitchell, but in the unlikeliest of seasons, the White Sox finally got over the hump and won the BB2F/BOY World Series Title! In a year where the team wasn't expected to play better than .500 baseball, nor be able to win the AL West over the mighty Detroit Tigers, with their stars Stan Musial and Yogi Berra, the Southsiders showed incredible fortitude and did what nobody could have foreseen.

The credit for the team's success is widespread amongst the players, but nobody would argue the addition of future Hall of Fame Catcher Josh Gibson back in April in a trade with the only team he had ever played for, the Boston Braves, was the major catalyst for everything the Team accomplished.

The 35 year old Gibson didn't have his best statistical season, but still hit .321 with 23 HR and 84 RBI after joining the Sox, good for a VORP of 52.1 while with the team. He provided the leadership that was sorely needed on the squad. Gibson had been to the playoffs 4 times with Boston, and to the World Series once, but had never won. His hunger for the Championship Ring drove the team. He was joined by 36 year old veteran Hank Greenberg, who knocked in 99 while hammering 20 HR to provide the majority of offensive punch. Greenberg had never been to the playoffs in his long, great career. Young 3B Gil Hodges was the 3rd point in the power trio, and despite a late season injury, he was able to come back for The Series and provide much needed help against the vaunted Cubs. Gibson and Greenberg were both inked to extensions during the season, so the three will be together at least 3 more seasons barring injury or retirement.

I would be remiss to mention that All-Time great White Sox, 39 year old Ray Brown, will indeed get his Ring, despite missing the majority of the season injured after messing up his arm on May 30th. He did have a winning season for the Sox, going 5-4. He started every game he pitched in, and all 5 victories were needed! He is expected to be released by the White Sox, who will eat the final year of his contract to make room for younger players. There is no doubt now that his career is complete.

The Sox pitching was definitely a surprise this season. The team featured no Ace, yet was steady across the rotation of starters and relievers. Their combined ERA of 3.64 was good for 2nd in the AL. Washington had former Sox Bob Lemon, and Detroit traded for Lefty LaMarque, both of whom had amazing seasons, yet it was the Sox rag-tag 5 man rotation that led to the AL pennant! By playoff time, the team pared down to 3 starters and relied on the Pen. Those starters were fantastic, though.

Former National Lefty Wilkie, a Canadian, was definitely the MVP of the playoffs for the White Sox. The Sox got him in the Lemon trade back in 1945. He has bounced between the rotation and the bullpen in his Sox career, even starting in the pen this season. He was moved to the rotation on August 30 to replace the injured Elmer Singleton. He immediately caught fire and never cooled down. His performance forced the Blue Eyed Japanese, Vic Starffin, to the bullpen for the playoffs! Wilkie then went 3-0 in the playoffs, with a 1.13 ERA and 0.78 whip, including 2-0 in the World Series where he gave up only 1 run in 15 innings pitched. He earned the Win in the Title-winning game, with a save by the displaced Starffin for good measure. Pretty good for a one and a half star swingman.

Fellow starters Andy Lapihuska and Paul "Lefty" Minner were also spectacular in the postseason. In fact, Lapihuska did not allow an earned run in 3 playoff starts, and was the winner in the clinching game over Washington in the ALCS. Minner, pitching in only his 2nd major league season, had the honor of facing the other team's Ace in the Opening Games of both the ALCS and the World Series. That tough assignment led to a post-season record of 2-2, but his ERA was a meager 0.86 and he had a whip of 0.99! You cannot ask any more of 3 starting pitchers than what the White Sox got in the Playoffs! Just goes to show that in baseball, anything can happen if your players get hot at the right time. It was magical.

One other player to mention is 32 year old 2B John Antonelli, who nearly claimed the World Series MVP for himself. Antonelli somehow managed to hit 2 HRs and knock in 5 runs in the World Series, with a total playoff batting average of .341 with a .943 OPS! Completely unexpected! He was signed in the preseason with the intention of being a backup infielder, but ended up manning 2B for most of the season as the starter despite his offensive woes. He found himself an important role player on the team which decided not to re-sign long-time 2B Stan Sperry after 1946 (who ended his season on the Cubs' World Series roster, oddly enough). He is a lifetime .197 hitter in 3 regular seasons, with only 8 HRs to his name. Again, it was magical.

So the off-season begins, with another World Series Title for the Great City of Chicago, but this time its home is on the South Side for the next year! There will be changes to the team, including a hard good-bye to a loyal long-time friend in Ray Brown, but standing still gets you passed by in today's game. I just want to say I LOVE this League, and I cannot be happier than I am at this moment. And its good to finally beat Mike!