Chicago White Sox History

The Chicago White Sox are a professional baseball organization, based in Chicago, Illinois. They are a member of Major League Baseball (MLB) and compete in the American League Central Division. 

Chicago White Sox History

The White Sox were initially known as the Sioux City Cornhuskers and played in the Western League. After their first season, the club was purchased by Charles Comiskey and relocated to St Paul. After a brief stint in Minnesota, they moved to their permanent home Chicago, in 1900. The Western League was renamed the American League and elevated to major league status. Chicago became one of the eight charter franchises of the American League during their inaugural season in 1901.  The Chicago incarnation of the franchise became known as the White Stockings until they were renamed to the White Sox in 1904.

The White Sox franchise saw immediate success. They captured the American League’s first pennant in 1901. In 1906 they beat their Crosstown rivals the Chicago Cubs in the World Series. In 1917 they won their second World Series title beating the New York Giants. The team’s image was tarnished after they lost the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds, despite being heavy favorites. It was later discovered that the team had gambling connections and the series was fixed. Eight members of the team, including one of the best hitters in franchise history Shoeless Joe Jackson, were banned from baseball. It became known as the Black Sox Scandal and damaged the reputation of the sport. The organization went through a rough stretch until the team captured the pennant in 1959. It was an exciting team nicknamed the “Go-Go Sox” that was known for their speed, pitching, and defense. Unfortunately, they lost to the Dodgers in the World Series in six games. The White Sox also won a division championship in 1983. The battle cry of that team was “winning ugly”. 

After another mediocre stretch, the White Sox finally became relevant again winning the 2005 World Series. They sweep the Houston Astros in four games snapping an 88-year title drought in the city of Chicago. Jermaine Dye won World Series MVP and is the only player to do so in franchise history.  The team was managed by Ozzie Guillen and is one of only two teams to win eleven postseason games in a span of 12 games. They also had four consecutive complete games thrown in the ALCS, a feat that has yet to be accomplished since. 

The White Sox would return to the postseason in 2008 after winning a thrilling winner-take-all game over the Minnesota Twins known as the “Blackout Game.” They were quickly knocked out of the playoffs and would not return again until 2020. 

The White has five MVP award winners. Nellie Fox won it in 1959, Dick Allen took it home in 1979 then Frank Thomas back to back awards in 1993 and 1994.  

Chicago White Sox Championship History

Much like the Cubs, the White Sox championships are few and far between.

In total, the franchise highlights three titles: 1906, 1917, and 2005.

1906 White Sox vs. Cubs

In 1906 the Chicago White Sox were known as the “hitless wonders”. They managed to win 93 games and the American League Pennant despite posting the lowest batting average in the league. The team was only able to muster a .230 batting average. The road to the pennant was not easy. Along with a lackluster offense, the White Sox had to overcome a 7 ½  game deficit to the defending champion Philadelphia Athletics. They were in fourth place at the end of July but a 19 game win streak slingshotted the team into first place. They did it on the back of their pitching staff who had a league-leading 32 shutouts and the second-lowest ERA in baseball. The White Sox were able to produce runs by leading the league in walks, hit batsmen, and sacrifice hits. This combination of the small ball made up for their lack of hitting. 

They met their cross-town rival the Chicago Cubs in the World Series. The White Sox came into the series as underdogs. The Cubs had won 116 regular-season games, which at the time was the most in baseball history. The White Sox split the first four games. They took Game one  2-1 but were pummeled in game two 7-1. The Sox bounced back in game three winning 3-0. Ed Walsh struck out a record twelve batters in that game. But the Sox were shutout in a 1-0 defeat in game four.   That set the stage for a pivotal Game 5. It was a wild affair. The White Sox committed six errors but overcame the porous defense with 12 hits. Frank Isbell led the way with four doubles and Ed Walsh earned his second win in three games as the White Sox held onto an 8-6 victory. The White Sox clinched the series in Game 6 behind a solid pitching performance from Doc White. The White Sox scored eight runs for the second straight game. There was some excitement in the ninth inning when the Cubs pushed a run across to cut the lead down to 8-3. They then loaded the bases but Doc White was able to get Frank Schulte to ground out and the White Sox took home their first World Series. 

1917 White Sox vs. Giants

The White Sox returned to the World Series in 1917. It was one of the most dominant teams in franchise history. They won 100 games during the regular season. It is the only 100 win season in franchise history. Their offense led the league in runs scored behind the powerful bat of Shoeless Joe Jackson. Happy Felsch led the team in home runs (6)  and batting average (.308). Their pitching staff was anchored by the one-two punch of Eddie Cicotte and Red Faber. Cicotte was particularly dominant, leading the AL in wins (28), ERA (1.53), and finishing second in strikeouts with 150. The pitching staff finished the season with a 2.16 ERA which was the lowest in the league. 

They met the New York Giants in the World Series. The White Sox took the first two games of the series. In Game 1, Happy Felsch hit a home run in the fourth inning. That was all insurance Eddie Cicotte needed as he threw a complete game en route to a 2-1 White Sox victory. Red Faber followed that up in Game 2 by throwing another complete game as the Sox cruised to a 7-2 victory. Cicotte was back on the mound for Game 3. Once again he had a masterful performance throwing another complete game.  Unfortunately, the White Sox were unable to muster up a single run and lost 2-1. They were shutout once again in Game 4. Red Faber went the distance but the Sox lost 5-0. With the series tied at two Red Russell took the mound to start Game 5 for the White Sox. He only faced three batters before Eddie Cicotte took the ball from him. The Giants led 5-2 in the seventh inning. Then the White Sox rallied to score three in the seventh and three in the eighth. Red Faber came in for the final two innings and nailed down the 8-5 victory. Faber took the mound once again in the decisive Game 6. He threw his third complete game of the series.   Cicotte and Faber combined to pitch 50 of the 52 World Series innings. Eddie Collins was the hero on offense. He hit .409 in the six-game series. He was also involved in the most iconic moment of the series. In Game 6, he got in a run down and saw nobody was covering home plate. He dashed for home while Heinie Zimmerman chased after him flailing his arms in an attempt to tag Collins.  His efforts were futile and Collins would cross home for the series-winning run. 

This could have been the start of a White Sox dynasty but the team was dismantled after the Black Sox scandal of 1919. The White Sox would have to wait another 88 years to win their next World Series. 

2005 White Sox vs. Astros

In 2005 the White Sox won 99 games. They ended up in first place in the American League Central beating the Indians by six games. That was the beginning of a historic playoff run. They swept the defending champion Boston Red Sox 3-0 in the ALCS. They then made short work of the Anaheim Angels four games to one. That one loss would be the White Sox only loss of the postseason. 

They met the Houston Astros in the World Series.

Bobby Jenks fired a 100 mph fastball past Jeff Bagwell to close out Game 1 in which the White Sox won  5-3.

In Game 2, the weather was cold and rainy. The White Sox sent Mark Buehrle to the mound to face Andy Pettitte. The White Sox trailed 4-2 in the seventh inning when Paul Konerko delivered the biggest hit of his career. He launched a grand slam over the left-field wall to give the White Sox a 6-4 lead. Bobby Jenks blew the lead in the ninth inning and the game went into extra innings. Scott Podsednik then proceeded to etch his name into White Sox lure by hitting a walk-off home run off the Astros closer Brad Lidge. Podsednik had not hit a home run all season making him an unlikely hero.

The White Sox found themselves in another extra-inning duel in Game 3. The White Sox overcame a 4-0 deficit in the fifth inning scoring five runs. The Astros tied the game in the eight and the score would remain the same until the fourteenth inning. Geoff Blum, who the White Sox acquired at the trade deadline, entered the game to pinch-hit. He connected on a home run off Ezequiel Astacio to give the White Sox a one-run lead.  They were able to tack on another run and Mark Buehrle recorded the save in the bottom half of the inning.

In Game 4, Freddy Garcia pitched the game of his life. Garcia threw seven scoreless innings until manager Ozzie Gullien replaced him with a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. Willie Harris singled to start the eighth. He advanced to third base with two outs. Jermaine Dye then drove him in with a single up the middle off of Brad Lidge. In the ninth inning, Juan Uribe dove into the stands to catch a foul ball and record the second out. Bobby Jenks then got Orlando Palmeiro to ground out to Uribe and the White Sox were World Series Champions. Jermaine Dye took home World Series MVP honors for his superb hitting.  

Chicago White Sox Playoff History

The White Sox have made the postseason ten times in franchise history. They captured the pennant in 1901 but their first playoff appearance did not come until 1906. That year the White Sox won the pennant once again and went on to win the World Series.

The White Sox returned to the playoffs in 1917 and once again won the World Series.  They found themselves back in the World Series in 1919. This time they were heavy favorites against the Cincinnati Reds. Some of the players accepted bribes from gamblers and threw the series. Eight members of the team were later banned from baseball as a result. This jump-started a long era of mediocrity and the White Sox would not return to the postseason until 1959. In 1959 the White Sox had an exciting team. They were known as the “Go-Go Sox” for their style of play and aggressive base running. The team was led by Nellie Fox and Louis Apparcico and a pitching staff that included Billy Peirce and Early Wynn. The White Sox fell short in the World Series losing four games to two at the hand of the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

The White Sox then endured another long playoff drought. They finally returned in 1983. It was a great team that won 99 games during the regular season and earned the nickname Winning Ugly, which became the team’s battle cry. Two future Hall of Famers, Carlton Fisk, and Harold Baines anchored the middle of the lineup. They also received a boost from AL Rookie of the Year Ron Kittle. The White Sox also boosted a dynamic pitching staff spearheaded by Cy Young winner Lamar Hoyt. The White Sox were taken down in the ALCS to the eventual World Series champion Baltimore Orioles.  

It took another ten years but the White Sox were back in the postseason in 1993. Frank Thomas won MVP for his efforts during the 93 campaign. Tim Raines and Lance Johnson also helped carry the offensive workload.  Jack McDowell led the team with 22 wins and left-hander Wilson Alveraz was phenomenal for the White Sox down the stretch. One of the biggest moments of the season is when Bo Jackson, who was playing in his first season since a long rehab stint, hit the go-ahead home run against the Seattle Mariners. The White Sox would go on to win the game and clinched the Division. Unfortunately, the White Sox fell to the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS. The Blue jays would go on to win the World Series. 

The White Sox won 95 games in 2000 and punched their ticket to the ALDS. They were promptly knocked out however by the Seattle Mariners. In 2005 the White Sox would win the World Series for the first time in 88 years. The White Sox would return to the postseason in 2008 after winning a thrilling winner-take-all game over the Minnesota Twins known as the “Blackout Game.” Jim Thome was responsible for the lone run, launching a home run to center field in a 1-0 victory. They were quickly knocked out of the playoffs and would not return again until 2020. In 2020 the White Sox were in the midst of building a championship contender. With a young nucleus of Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert, Lucas Giolito, and Eloy Jimenez the White Sox were poised for a deep run. That young core was supplemented by Jose Abreu, who took home the MVP, and free-agent acquisitions Yasmani Grandal and Dallas Keuchel. The White Sox faltered down the stretch and fell to the Oakland A’s in the AL Wildcard Series. 

Chicago White Sox Hall of Famers

The Chicago White Sox have had 40 members of the organization elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Eleven of them went into the Hall of Fame wearing the White Sox cap insignia on their plaque.  Those eleven include Luis Aparicio, Luke Appling, Harold Baines, Eddie Collins, Red Faber, Nellie Fox, Al Lopez, Ted Lyons, Ray Schalk, Frank Thomas, and Ed Walsh. The White Sox are also recognized as Minnie Minoso, Hoyt Wilhelm, and Carlton Fisk’s primary team even though they do not have a White Sox logo on their Hall of Fame plaque.

Other Hall of Famers that have been in the White Sox organization includes Roberto Alomar, George Davis, Goose Gossage, Tom Seaver, Larry Doby, Ken Griffey Jr., Al Simmons, Hugh Duffy, Johnny Evers, Clark Griffith, Tim Raines, Chief Bender, Harry Hooper, Edd Roush, Jim Thome, Steve Carlton, George Kell, Ron Santo, Bill Veeck, Tony La Russa, Charles Comiskey, Bob Lemon, and Early Wynn.

White Sox Retired Numbers

Eleven of the finest baseball players in White Sox franchise history have been honored by having their numbers retired.

Nellie Fox #2

Nellie Fox had his number 2 retired after playing 14 seasons with the White Sox. He won the AL MVP in 1959 and led the league in hits in ‘52,’54,’57, and ‘58. He also took home three Gold Glove Awards. 

Harold Baines #3

Harold Baines who was the White Sox most recent inductee to the Hall of Fame had his number 3 retired by the White Sox even before he retired. He had three stints with the White Sox, the longest coming from 1980-1989. He is third in club history in home runs and fourth in RBIs. His most memorable moment came in 1983 when he drove in the winning run to clinch the division title. 

Luke Appling #4

Luke Appling spent his entire career on the South Side of Chicago. After 20 seasons he sits atop the White Sox record books in games played, at-bats, and hits. He is second doubles, runs, and walks. His number 4 was retired in 1975.

Minnie Minoso #9

Minnie Minoso is a seven-time all-star who played 12 seasons over the course of five stints with the White Sox. He was Sporting News rookie of the year in 1951. He also led the AL for three consecutive seasons from 1951-1953. His number 9 was retired in 2004. 

Luis Aparicio #11

Luis Aparicio was a cornerstone of the White Sox 1959 pennant-clinching squad. He played 10 seasons with the White Sox and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984. He was named rookie of the year in 1956. He then collected nine Gold Gloves and went to the All-Star game ten times. The White Sox retired his number 11 in 1984.

Paul Konerko #14

Paul Konerko played 16 seasons with the White Sox. He ranks first in club history in total bases and is in the top three of nearly every offensive category including home runs, hits, and doubles. He was the MVP of the 2005 ALCS and caught the final out in the World Series snapping an 88-year title drought. He appeared in six All-Star games and is the first White Sox player to win the Roberto Clemente Award in 2014. His number 14 was retired in 2015.

Ted Lyons #16

Ted Lyons number 16 was retired in 1987. He spent 21 seasons with the White Sox and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1955. He won 260 games over the course of his career and led the AL in wins in 1925 and 1927. He also managed the White Sox for two seasons (1946-48).

Billy Pierce #19

Billy Pierce played 13 seasons. In 1953 he led the American League in strikeouts. In 1955 he had the lowest ERA in the AL at 1.97. He led the AL with 20 wins in 1957 and is the first White Sox pitcher to start an All-Star game. His number 19 was retired in 1987.

Frank Thomas #35

The “Big Hurt” Frank Thomas will go down as one of the best hitters in White Sox history. His number 35 was feared by pitchers across baseball and it was retired in 2010. In 16 seasons with the White Sox, he was named AL MVP two years in a row from 1993-94. He is first in club history in home runs, extra-base hits, doubles, walks, runs, RBIs, slugging percentage, and is a five-time All-Star. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014 and is one of four players in baseball history to have a .300 batting average, 500 home runs, 1,500 RBI, 1,000 runs scored, and 1,500 walks. He won a World Series ring with the White Sox in 2005.

Mark Buehrle #56

Mark Buehrle got his number 56 retired in 2017. He was beloved by White Sox fans. He played 12 seasons with the White Sox and ranks fourth in team history in strikeouts and quality starts. He is a five-time All-Star and collected four Gold Gloves. In 2007 he threw a no-hitter then topped that by tossing a perfect game in 2009. He pitched a complete game in Game 2 of the 2005 ALSC and earned a save in Game 3 of the World Series. 

Carlton Fisk #72

Carlton Fisk played 13 seasons with the White Sox. He is second in MLB history in games caught and home runs by a catcher. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000. His number 72 was retired in 1997. 

FAQ of Cubs History

What is the greatest team in White Sox history?

If it is based strictly on wins the 1917 White Sox has the edge. They are the only team to win 100 games in franchise history and beat the New York Giants in the World Series in six games. The same team made it back to the World Series in 1919 but their legacy will forever be tarnished because of the Black Sox scandal.

Who will be the next White Sox player to get his number retired?

Jose Abreu is the clear front runner. He has played seven seasons with the White Sox and has already accumulated an impressive resume. He won the MVP in 2020. Has made three All-Star teams, three Silver Slugger Awards, and won Rookie of the Year in 2014. 

Who is the best player in White Sox history?

Out of the many great players that have played on the Southside, Frank Thomas stands above the rest. He is a two time MVP winner and World Series champion. He also leads the franchise in nearly every major offensive category. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014. 

What is the best White Sox team to not win the World Series?

The 1994 White Sox were poised to make a title run before a strike ground the season to a halt. The White Sox reached the ALCS in 1993 and were even better the next season winning 67 of 113 games played. They were atop the Central Division when the season was cut short. 

Who is the best pitcher in White Sox history?

Ed Walsh helped lead the White Sox to their first World Series title in 1906. He was the definition of a workhorse throwing 464 innings in 1908. He also won 40 games that year while throwing 42 complete games. His 464 innings and 42 complete games are both modern records that may never be duplicated. 

Who is the best manager in White Sox history?

Al Lopez won 840 games as a manager. He was the architect of the “Go-Go Sox” preaching speed. It was a style that suited Comiskey Park’s deep outfield. He was at the helm in 1959 when the White Sox clinched their first pennant in 40 years. 

Which Chicago team has the most World Series titles?

The Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox each have three World Series titles to their name. The Cubs won the most recent title in 2016. That snapped a 108-year drought. The Cubs’ previous titles came in 1907 and 1908. The White Sox won it all in 1906,1917 and 2005.

When will the White Sox next title be?

The White Sox are entering a golden age of baseball. With an exciting young core in place, general manager Rick Hahn has assembled a team that is on the precipice of greatness. Stay tuned White Sox fans, the next couple of years should be fun.