The White Sox originated as the Sioux City Cornhuskers of the Western League, a minor league under the parameters of the National Agreement with the National League. In 1894, Charles Comiskey bought the Cornhuskers and moved them to St. Paul, Minnesota, where they became the St. Paul Saints. In 1900, with the approval of Western League president Ban Johnson, Charles Comiskey moved the Saints into his hometown neighborhood of Armour Square, Chicago, where they became known as the White Stockings, the former name of Chicago's National League team, the Orphans (now the Chicago Cubs).
In 1901, the Western League broke the National Agreement and became the new major league American League. The very first season in the American League ended with a White Stockings championship. However, that would be the end of the season as the World Series did not begin until 1903. The franchise, now known as the Chicago White Sox, made its first World Series appearance in 1906, beating the crosstown Cubs in six games.
The White Sox would win a third pennant and second World Series in 1917, beating the New York Giants in six games with help from stars Eddie Cicotte and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. The Sox were heavily favored in the 1919 World Series, but lost to the Cincinnati Reds in 8 games. Huge bets on the Reds fueled speculation that the series had been fixed. A criminal investigation went on in the 1920 season, and though all players were acquitted, commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned six of the White Sox players for life, in what was known as the Black Sox Scandal. This set the franchise back, as they did not win another pennant for 40 years.
The White Sox did not finish in the upper half of the American League again until after club founder Charles Comiskey died and passed ownership of the club to his son, J. Louis Comiskey. They finished in the upper half most years between 1936–1946 under the leadership of manager Jimmy Dykes, with star shortstop Luke Appling, known as Ol' Aches and Pains, and pitcher Ted Lyons. Appling and Lyons have their numbers 4 and 16 retired.
After J. Louis Comiskey died in 1939, ownership of the club was passed down to his widow, Grace Comiskey. The club was later passed down to Grace's children Dorothy and Chuck in 1956, with Dorothy selling a majority share to a group led by Bill Veeck after the 1958 season. Veeck was notorious for his promotional stunts, attracting fans to Comiskey Park with the new "exploding scoreboard" and outfield shower. In 1961, Arthur Allyn, Jr. briefly owned the club before selling to his brother John Allyn.
From 1951–1967, the White Sox had their longest period of sustained success, scoring a winning record for 17 straight seasons. Known as the "Go-Go White Sox" for their tendency to focus on speed and getting on base versus power hitting, they featured stars such as Minnie Miñoso, Nellie Fox, Luis Aparicio, Billy Pierce, and Sherm Lollar. From 1957–1965, the Sox were managed by Al Lopez. The Sox finished in the upper half of the American League in eight of his nine seasons, including six years in the top two of the league. In 1959, the White Sox ended the New York Yankees dominance over the American League, and won their first pennant since the ill-fated 1919 campaign. Despite winning game one of the 1959 World Series 11-0, they fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games.
The late 1960s and 70s were a tumultuous time for the Sox, as they struggled to win games and attract fans. Allyn and Bud Selig agreed to a handshake deal that would give Selig control of the club and move them to Milwaukee; however, this was blocked by the American League. Selig instead bought the Seattle Pilots and moved them to Milwaukee, putting enormous pressure on the American League to place a team in Seattle. A plan was in place for the Sox to move to Seattle and for Charlie Finley to move his Oakland A's to Chicago. However, Chicago had a renewed interest in the Sox after the 1972 season, and the American League instead added the expansion Seattle Mariners. The 1972 White Sox were one of the lone successful season of this era, as Dick Allen wound up winning the American League MVP award. Some have said that Dick Allen is responsible for saving the White Sox in Chicago. Bill Veeck returned as owner of the Sox in 1975, and despite not having much money, they managed to win 90 games in 1977, a team known as the South Side Hitmen.
However, the team's fortunes plummeted after the 1977 season, plagued by 90-loss teams and scarred by the notorious Disco Demolition Night promotion in 1979. Bill Veeck was forced to sell the team. He rejected offers from ownership groups intent on moving the club to Denver, eventually agreeing to sell the club to Ed DeBartolo, who was the only prospective owner who promised to keep the Sox in Chicago. However, DeBartolo was rejected by the owners, and the club was then sold to a group headed by Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn. The Reinsdorf era started off well, as the Sox won their first division title in 1983, led by manager Tony La Russa and stars Carlton Fisk, Tom Paciorek, Ron Kittle, Harold Baines, and LaMarr Hoyt. During the 1986 season, La Russa was fired by announcer-turned-GM Ken Harrelson. La Russa went on to manage in six World Series (winning 3) with the Oakland A's and St. Louis Cardinals, ending up in the Hall of Fame as the third-winningest manager of all time.
The White Sox struggled for the rest of the 1980s, as Chicago fought to keep the Sox in town. Reinsdorf wanted to replace the aging Comiskey Park, and sought public funds to do so. When talks stalled, there was a strong offer to move the team to the Tampa, Florida area. Funding for a new ballpark was approved in an 11th hour deal by the Illinois State Legislature on June 30, 1988, with the stipulation that new park had to be built on the corner of 35th and Shields, across the street from the old ballpark, as opposed to the suburban ballpark the owners had designed. Architects offered to redesign the ballpark to a more "retro" feel that would fit in the city blocks around Comiskey Park; however, the ownership group was set on a 1991 open date, and so they kept the old design. In 1991, the new Comiskey Park opened. However, it would be rendered obsolete a year later with the opening of the retro-inspired Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The park, now known as Guaranteed Rate Field, underwent many renovations in the early 2000s to give it a more retro feel.
The White Sox were fairly successful in the 1990s and early 2000s, with 12 winning seasons between 1990–2005. First Baseman Frank Thomas became the face of the franchise, ending his career as the White Sox' all-time leader in runs, doubles, home runs, total bases and walks. Other major players included Robin Ventura, Ozzie Guillén, Jack McDowell, and Bobby Thigpen. The Sox would win the West division in 1993, and were in first place in 1994 when the season was cancelled due to the 1994 MLB Strike.
In 2004, Ozzie Guillén was hired as manager of his former team. After finishing second in 2004, the Sox won 99 games and the Central Division title in 2005 behind the work of stars Paul Konerko, Mark Buehrle, A. J. Pierzynski, Joe Crede, and Orlando Hernandez. They started the playoffs by sweeping the defending champion Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, and then beat the Angels in 5 games to win their first pennant in 46 years, thanks to 4 complete games by the White Sox rotation. The White Sox went on to sweep the Houston Astros in the 2005 World Series, giving the Sox their first World Championship in 88 years.
Guillen had marginal success during the rest of his tenure, with the Sox winning the Central Division title in 2008 after a one game playoff with the Minnesota Twins. However, Guillen left the White Sox after the 2011 season, and was replaced by former teammate Robin Ventura. The White Sox finished the 2015 season, their 115th in Chicago, with a 76-86 record, a 3-game improvement over 2014. Ventura is expected to return in 2016, with a young core featuring Jose Abreu, Adam Eaton, José Quintana, and Chris Sale.
The White Sox recorded their 9000th win in franchise history against the home team Detroit by the score of 3-2 on Monday, September 21, 2015.
In the late 1980s, the franchise threatened to relocate to Tampa Bay (as did the San Francisco Giants), but frantic lobbying on the part of the Illinois governor James R. Thompson and state legislature resulted in approval (by one vote) of public funding for a new stadium. Although designed primarily as a baseball stadium (as opposed to a "multipurpose" stadium) New Comiskey Park (redubbed U.S. Cellular Field in 2003 and Guaranteed Rate Field in 2016) was built in a 1960s style similar to Dodger Stadium and Kauffman Stadium. It opened in 1991 to positive reviews; many praised its wide open concourses, excellent sight lines, and natural grass (unlike other stadiums of the era such as Rogers Centre in Toronto). However, it was quickly overshadowed in the public imagination by the wave of "nostalgia" or "retro" ballparks, beginning with Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The park's inaugural season drew 2,934,154 fans — at the time, an all-time attendance record for any Chicago baseball team.
Despite a number of innovations in its original construction — including a lower deck concourse that circumscribes the entire stadium, allowing a view of the game from any location — the park was often criticized for its sterile appearance and steep upper deck.
In recent years, money accrued from the sale of naming rights to U.S. Cellular has been allocated for renovations to make the park more aesthetically appealing and fan friendly. Notable renovations of early phases included: re-orientation of the bullpens parallel to the field of play (thus decreasing slightly the formerly symmetrical dimensions of the outfield); filling seats in up to and shortening the outfield wall; ballooning foul-line seat sections out toward the field of play; creating a new multi-tiered batter's eye, allowing fans to see out through one-way screens from the center-field vantage point, and complete with concession stand and bar-style seating on its 'fan deck'; renovating all concourse areas with brick, historic murals, and new concession stand ornaments to establish a more friendly feel. The stadium's steel and concrete was repainted dark gray and black. The scoreboard Jumbotron was also replaced with a new Mitsubishi Diamondvision HDTV giant screen.
More recently, the top quarter of the upper deck was removed in 2004 and a black wrought metal roof was placed over it, covering all but the first eight rows of seats. This decreased seating capacity from 47,098 to 40,615. 2005 also saw the introduction of the Scout Seats, redesignating (and re-upholstering) 200 lower deck seats behind home plate as an exclusive area, with seat-side waitstaff and a complete restaurant located underneath the concourse. The most significant structural addition besides the new roof was 2005's FUNdamentals Deck, a multi-tiered structure on the left field concourse containing batting cages, a small Tee Ball field, speed pitch, and several other child-themed activities intended to entertain and educate young fans with the help of coaching staff from the Chicago Bulls/Sox Training Academy. This structure was used during the 2005 playoffs by ESPN and Fox Broadcasting Company as a broadcasting platform.
Designed as a 7-phase plan, the renovations were completed before the 2007 season with the 7th and final phase. The most visible renovation in this final phase was replacing the original blue seats with green seats. The upper deck already had new green seats, put in before the beginning of the 2006 season. Beginning with the 2007 season a new luxury seating section was added in the former press box. This section has amenities similar to those of the Scout Seats section. After the 2007 season the ballpark continued renovation projects despite that the 7-phase plan was complete.
The St. Paul Saints first played their games at Lexington Park. When they moved to Chicago's Armour Square neighborhood, they began play at the South Side Park. Previously a cricket ground, the park was located on the north side of 39th Street (now called Pershing Road) between South Wentworth and South Princeton Avenues. Its massive dimensions yielded few home runs, which was to the advantage of the White Sox' Hitless Wonders teams of the early 20th century.
After the 1909 season, the Sox moved 5 blocks to the north to play in the new Comiskey Park, while the 39th Street grounds became the home of the Chicago American Giants. Billed as the Baseball Palace of the World, it originally held 28,000 seats and eventually grew to hold over 50,000. It became known for its many odd features, such as the outdoor shower and the exploding scoreboard. When it closed after the 1990 season, it was the oldest ballpark still in Major League Baseball.
The White Sox have held spring training in Excelsior Springs, Missouri (1901–1902); Mobile (1903); Marlin Springs, Texas (1904); New Orleans, Louisiana (1905–1906); Mexico City (1907); Los Angeles (1908); San Francisco (1909–1910); Mineral Wells, Texas (1911, 1916–1919); Waco, Texas (1912, 1920); Paso Robles, California (1913–1915); Waxahachie, Texas (1921); Seguin, Texas (1922–1923); Winter Haven, Florida. (1924); Shreveport, Louisiana (1925–1928); Dallas, Texas (1929); San Antonio, Texas (1930–1932); Pasadena, California (1933–1942, 1946–1950); French Lick, Indiana (1943–1944); Terre Haute, Indiana (1945); Palm Springs, California (1951); El Centro, California (1952–1953); Tampa (1954–1959); and Sarasota (1960–1997). (1998–2007) the White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks shared Tucson Electric Park in Tucson, Arizona for Spring Training in the Cactus League.
On November 19, 2007, the cities of Glendale, Arizona and Phoenix, Arizona broke ground on the Cactus League's newest Spring Training facility. Camelback Ranch, the $76 million two-team facility will be the new home of both the White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers for their Spring Training programs. Aside from state-of-the-art baseball facilities at the 10,000-seat stadium the location includes residential, restaurant and retail development, a 4-star hotel and 18-hole golf course. Other amenities include 118,000 sq ft (11,000 m2) of Major and minor league clubhouses for the two teams, four Major League practice fields and eight minor league practice fields, two practice infields and parking to accommodate 5,000 vehicles.
Over the years the White Sox have become noted for many of their uniform innovations and changes. In 1960, the White Sox became the first team in the major sports to put players' last names on jerseys.
In 1912 the White Sox debuted one of the most enduring and famous logos in baseball—a large "S" in a Roman-style font, with a small "O" inside the top loop of the "S" and a small "X" inside the bottom loop. This is the logo associated with the 1917 World Series championship team and the 1919 Black Sox. With a couple of brief interruptions, the dark-blue logo with the large "S" lasted through 1938 (but continued in a modified block style into the 1940s). Through the 1940s, the White Sox team colors were primarily navy blue trimmed with red.
The White Sox logo in the 1950s and 1960s (actually beginning in the 1949 season) was the word "SOX" in an Old English font, diagonally arranged, with the "S" larger than the other two letters. From 1949 through 1963, the primary color was black (trimmed with red after 1951). The Old English "SOX" in black lettering is the logo associated with the Go-Go Sox era.
In 1964, the primary color went back to navy blue, and the road uniforms changed from gray to pale blue. In 1971, the team's primary color changed from royal blue to red, with the color of their pinstripes and caps changing to red. The 1971–1975 uniform included red socks.
In 1976 the team's uniforms changed again. The team's primary color changed back from red to navy. The team based their uniforms on a style worn in the early days of the franchise, with white jerseys worn at home, blue on the road. The team brought back white socks for the last time in team history. The socks featured a different stripe pattern every year. The team also had the option to wear blue or white pants with either jersey. Additionally the teams "SOX" logo was changed to a modern-looking "SOX" in a bold font, with 'CHICAGO' written across the jersey. Finally, the team's logo featured a silhouette of a batter over the words "SOX".
The new uniforms also featured collars and were designed to be worn untucked — both unprecedented. Yet by far the most unusual wrinkle was the option to wear shorts, which the White Sox did for the first game of a doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals in 1976. The Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League had previously tried the same concept, it was also poorly received. Apart from aesthetic issues, as a practical matter shorts are not conducive to sliding, due to the likelihood of significant abrasions.
Upon taking over the team in 1980 new owners Eddie Einhorn and Jerry Reinsdorf announced a contest where fans were invited to create new uniforms for the White Sox. The winning entry was submitted by a fan where the word "SOX" was written across the front of the jersey, in the same font as a cap, inside of a large blue stripe trimmed with red. The red and blue stripes were also on the sleeves, and the road jerseys were gray to the home whites. In those jerseys the White Sox won 99 games and the AL West championship in 1983, the best record in the majors.
After five years those uniforms were retired and replaced with a more basic uniform which had "White Sox" written across the front in script, with "Chicago" on the front of the road jersey. The cap logo was also changed to a cursive "C", although the batter logo was retained for several years.
For a mid-season 1990 game at Comiskey Park the White Sox appeared once in a uniform based on that of the 1917 White Sox.
The White Sox then switched their regular uniform style once more. In September, for the final series at Old Comiskey Park, the old English "SOX" logo (a slightly simplified version of the 1949–63 logo) was restored, and the new uniform also had the black pinstripes restored. The team's primary color changed back to black, this time with silver trim. The team also introduced a new sock logo—a white silhouette of a sock centered inside a white outline of a baseball diamond—which appeared as a sleeve patch on the away and alternate uniforms until 2011 when the patch was switched with the primary logo on the away uniform. With minor modifications (i.e., occasionally wearing vests, black game jerseys) the White Sox have used this style ever since.
During the 2012 and 2013 seasons, the White Sox wore their throwback uniforms at home every Sunday, starting with the 1972 red-pinstriped throwback jerseys worn during the 2012 season, followed by the 1981–86 uniforms the next season. In the 2014 season, the "Winning Ugly" throwbacks were promoted to full-time alternate status, and is now worn at home on select dates. In one game during the 2014 season, the White Sox paired their throwbacks with a cap featuring the batter logo instead of the wordmark "SOX"; this is currently their batting practice cap prior to games in the throwback uniforms.
The White Sox were originally known as the White Stockings, a reference to the original name of the Chicago Cubs. To fit the name in headlines, local newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune abbreviated the name alternatively to Stox and Sox. Charles Comiskey would officially adopt the White Sox nickname in the club's first years, making them the first team to officially use the "Sox" name. The Chicago White Sox are most prominently nicknamed "the South Siders", based on their particular district within Chicago. Other nicknames include the synonymous "Pale Hose"; "the ChiSox", a combination of "Chicago" and "Sox", used mostly by the national media to differentiate them between the Boston Red Sox (BoSox); and "the Good Guys", a reference to the team's one-time motto "Good guys wear black", coined by broadcaster Ken Harrelson. Most fans and Chicago media refer to the team as simply "the Sox". The Spanish language media sometimes refer to the team as Medias Blancas for "White Socks."
Several White Sox teams have received nicknames over the years:The 1906 team were known as the Hitless Wonders, due to their .230 batting average, worst in the American League. Despite their hitting woes, the Sox would beat the crosstown Cubs for their first world title.
The 1919 White Sox are known as the Black Sox, after 8 players were banned from baseball for fixing the 1919 World Series.
The 1959 White Sox were referred to as the Go-Go White Sox due to their speed-based offense. The period from 1950–1964, in which the White Sox had 15 consecutive winning seasons, is sometimes referred to as the Go-Go Era.
The 1977 team were known as the South Side Hitmen as they contended for the division title after finishing last the year before.
The 1983 White Sox became known as the Winning Ugly White Sox in response to Texas Rangers manager Doug Rader's derisive comments that the White Sox "...weren't playing well. They're winning ugly." The Sox went on to win the 1983 American League West division.
From 1961 until 1991, lifelong Chicago resident Andrew Rozdilsky performed as the unofficial yet popular mascot "Andy the Clown" for the White Sox at the original Comiskey Park. Known for his elongated "Come on you White Sox" battle cry, Andy got his start after a group of friends invited him to a Sox game in 1960, where he decided to wear his clown costume and entertain fans in his section. That response was so positive that when he won free 1961 season tickets, he decided to wear his costume to all games. Comiskey Park ushers eventually offered free admission to Rozdilsky. Starting in 1981, the new ownership group led by Jerry Reinsdorf introduced a twosome, called Ribbie and Roobarb, as the official team mascots, and banned Rozdilsky from performing in the lower seating level. Ribbie and Roobarb were very unpopular, as they were seen as an attempt to get rid of the beloved Andy the Clown.
In 1988, the Sox got rid of Ribbie and Roobarb, and Andy The Clown was not permitted to perform in new Comiskey Park when it opened in 1991. In the early 1990s the White Sox had a cartoon mascot named, 'Waldo The White Sox Wolf' that advertised the 'Silver and Black Pack', the team kid's club at the time. The team's current mascot, SouthPaw, was introduced in 2004 to attract young fans.
Nancy Faust became the White Sox organist in 1970, a position she would hold for 40 years. She was one of the first ballpark organists to play pop music, and became known for her songs playing on the names of opposing players (such as Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" for Pete Incaviglia). Her many years with the White Sox established her as one of the last great stadium organists. Since 2011, Lori Moreland has served as the White Sox organist.
Similar to the Boston Red Sox with "Sweet Caroline" (and two songs named "Tessie"), and the New York Yankees with "Theme from New York, New York", several songs have become associated with the White Sox over the years. They include:"Let's Go Go Go White Sox" by Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers – A tribute to the "Go-Go White Sox" of the late 1950s, this song serves as the unofficial fight song of the White Sox. In 2005, scoreboard operator Jeff Szynal found a record of the song and played it for a "Turn Back the Clock" game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, whom the Sox played in the 1959 World Series. After catcher A. J. Pierzynski hit a walk-off home run, they kept the song around as the White Sox went on to win the 2005 World Series.
"Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" by Steam – Organist Nancy Faust played this song during the 1977 pennant race when a Kansas City Royals pitcher was pulled, and it became an immediate hit with White Sox fans. Faust is credited with making the song a stadium anthem and saving it from obscurity. To this day the song remains closely associated with the White Sox, who play it when the team forces a pitching change, and occasionally on Sox home runs and victories.
"Sweet Home Chicago" – The Blues Brothers version of this Robert Johnson blues standard is played after White Sox victories.
The Chicago Cubs are the crosstown rivals of the White Sox, a rivalry that some made fun of prior to the White Sox's 2005 title because both of them had extremely long championship droughts. The nature of the rivalry is unique; with the exception of the 1906 World Series, in which the White Sox upset the favored Cubs, the teams never met in an official game until 1997, when interleague play was introduced. In the intervening time, the two teams sometimes met for exhibition games. The White Sox currently lead the regular season series 48–39, winning the last 4 seasons in a row. The BP Crosstown Cup was introduced in 2010 and the White Sox have won the trophy each time. There have been seven series sweeps since interleague play began: four by the Cubs in 1998, 2004, 2007, and 2008, and three by the White Sox in 1999, 2008 and 2012, with 1999 and 2012 occurring in Wrigley Field.
An example of this volatile rivalry is the game played between the White Sox and the Chicago Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field on May 20, 2006. White Sox catcher A. J. Pierzynski was running home on a sacrifice fly by center fielder Brian Anderson and smashed into Cubs catcher Michael Barrett, who was blocking home plate. Pierzynski lost his helmet in the collision, and slapped the plate as he rose. Barrett stopped him and, after exchanging a few words, punched Pierzynski in the face, causing a melee to ensue. Brian Anderson and Cubs first baseman John Mabry got involved in a separate confrontation, although it was later determined that Mabry was attempting to be a peacemaker. After 10 minutes of conferring following the fight, the umpires ejected Pierzynski, Barrett, Anderson, and Mabry. As Pierzynski entered his dugout, he pumped his arms, causing the soldout crowd at U.S. Cellular Field to erupt in cheers. When play resumed, White Sox second baseman Tadahito Iguchi blasted a grand slam to put the White Sox up 5–0 on their way to a 7–0 win over their crosstown rivals. While there are other major league cities and metropolitan areas in which two teams co-exist, all of the others feature at least one team which began playing there in 1961 or later, whereas the White Sox and Cubs have been competing for their city's fans since 1901.
The White Sox enjoy healthy divisional rivalries. The Detroit Tigers are one of Chicago's primary rivals, and the cities of Chicago and Detroit share rivalries in other sports as well, such as the Bulls–Pistons rivalry, Blackhawks–Red Wings rivalry and the Bears–Lions rivalry. The rivalry has had its fair share of fights as well. The two teams are separated by a small under 5 hour drive.
The Minnesota Twins are high-profile rivals as well, with fans of both teams showing up to US Cellular Field and Target Field in healthy numbers. The White Sox and Twins also played in a one-game playoff in 2008, the White Sox would win the game 1–0 and the division.
Chicago has another rivalry with the Cleveland Indians. The rivalry first started upon the creation of the AL Central in 1994. On July 15, 1994 an umpire confiscated Albert Belle's bat, presuming that it was corked. They put it in the umpire's room at Comiskey Park. However, Indians pitcher Jason Grimsley climbed through the ceiling from the visitor's clubhouse and stole the bat. The theft was discovered and Belle was suspended; Grimsley later owned up to the theft. Belle further inflamed matters by spurning the Indians and signing a large free agent contract with the White Sox in 1997.
A historical regional rival was the St. Louis Browns. Through the 1953 season, the two teams were located fairly close to each other (including the 1901 season when the Browns were the Milwaukee Brewers), and could have been seen as the American League equivalent of the Cardinals–Cubs rivalry, being that Chicago and St. Louis have for years been connected by the same highway (U.S. Route 66 and now Interstate 55). The rivalry has been somewhat revived at times in the past, involving the Browns' current identity, the Baltimore Orioles, most notably in 1983.
The current Milwaukee Brewers franchise was also a primary White Sox rival, due to the proximity of the two cities, and with the teams competing in the same division for the 1970 and 1971 seasons, and then again from 1994 to 1997. The rivalry died down however, when the Brewers moved to the National League in 1998.
The White Sox did not sell exclusive rights for radio broadcasts from radio's inception until 1944, instead having local stations share rights for games. The White Sox first granted exclusive rights in 1944, and would bounce between stations until 1952, when the White Sox started having all games broadcast on 1000 AM WCFL. Throughout this period of instability, one thing remained constant: the White Sox play-by-play announcer, Bob Elson. Known as the "Commander", Elson was the voice of the Sox from 1929 until his departure from the club in 1970. In 1979, he was the recipient of the Ford Frick Award, and his profile is permanently on display in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
After the 1966 season, radio rights shifted from 1000 AM to 670 AM, WMAQ. An NBC owned & operated station, it was the home of the Sox until the 1996 season (with the exception of brief stints on 1300 AM WTAQ and 780 AM WBBM). After Elson's retirement in 1970, Harry Caray began his tenure as the voice of the White Sox, on radio as well as on television. Although best remembered as a broadcaster for the rival Cubs, Caray was very popular with White Sox fans, pining for a "cold one" during broadcasts. Caray would often broadcast from the stands, sitting at a table set up amidst the bleachers. It became a badge of honor among Sox fans to "Buy Harry a beer..." By game's end you'd see a large stack of empty beer cups beside his microphone. This only endeared him to fans that much more. In fact, it was with the Sox that he started his tradition of leading the fans in the singing of Take Me Out To The Ballgame. Caray, alongside color analyst Jimmy Piersall, was never afraid to criticize the Sox, which angered numerous Sox managers and players, notably Bill Melton and Chuck Tanner. He left to succeed Jack Brickhouse as the voice of the Cubs in 1981, where he became a national icon.
The White Sox shifted through several announcers in the 1980s, before hiring John Rooney as play-by-play announcer in 1989. In 1992, he was paired with color announcer Ed Farmer. In 14 seasons together, the duo became a highly celebrated announcing team, even being ranked by USA Today as the top broadcasting team in the American League. Starting with Rooney and Farmer's fifth season together, Sox games returned to the 1000 AM frequency for the first time in 30 years (now the ESPN owned & operated station WMVP). The last game on WMVP was Game 4 of the 2005 World Series, with the White Sox clinching their first World Series title in 88 years. That also was Rooney's last game with the Sox, as he left to join the radio broadcast team of the St. Louis Cardinals.
In 2006, radio broadcasts returned to 670 AM, now the CBS-Owned all-sports station WSCR, branded as 670 the Score. Ed Farmer became the play-by-play man after Rooney left, joined in the booth by Chris Singleton from 2006–07 and then Steve Stone in 2008. In 2009, Darrin Jackson became the color announcer for White Sox radio, where he remains today. Farmer and Jackson are joined by Chris Rogney, who hosts pregame and postgame shows on WSCR. The Chicago White Sox Radio Network currently has 18 affiliates in 3 states, and the White Sox are on contract with 670 the Score through the 2015 season. As of recently, White Sox games are also broadcast in Spanish with play-by-play announcer Hector Molina joined in the booth by Billy Russo. Formerly broadcasting on ESPN Deportes Radio via WNUA, games will begin to be broadcast on 1200 AM WRTO during the 2015 season. Beginning with the 2016 season, the White Sox radio broadcasts will shift to 890 WLS AM.
White Sox games appeared sporadically on television throughout the first half of the 20th century, most commonly announced by Jack Brickhouse on Channel 9, WGN-TV. Starting in 1968, Jack Drees took play-by-play duties as the Sox were broadcast on channel 32, WFLD. After 1972, Harry Caray (joined by Jimmy Piersall in 1977) began double duty as a TV and Radio announcer for the Sox, as broadcasts were moved to channel 44, WSNS-TV, from 1972–1980, followed by one year on WGN-TV.
Don Drysdale became the play-by-play announcer in 1982, as the White Sox began splitting their broadcasts between WFLD and the new Pay-TV channel, Sportsvision. Ahead of its time, Sportsvision had a chance to gain huge profits for the Sox. However, few people would subscribe to the channel after being used to free-to-air broadcasts for many years, resulting in the franchise losing around $300,000 a month. While this was going on, every Cubs game was on WGN, with Harry Caray becoming the national icon he never was with the White Sox. The relatively easy access to Cubs games versus Sox games in this era, combined with the popularity of Caray and the Cubs being owned by the Tribune Company, is said by some to be the main cause of the Cubs advantage in popularity over the Sox.
Three major changes to White Sox broadcasting happened each year from 1989 to 1991: in 1989, Sportsvision was replaced by the cable TV channel SportsChannel Chicago. In 1990, over-the-air broadcasts shifted back to WGN. And in 1991, Ken Harrelson became the play by play announcer of the White Sox. One of the most polarizing figures in baseball, "Hawk" has been both adored and scorned for his emotive announcing style. His history of calling out umpires has earned him reprimands from the Commissioner's office, and he has been said to be the most biased announcer in baseball. However, Harrelson has said that he is proud of being "the biggest homer in baseball", saying that he is a White Sox fan like his viewers.
Currently, White Sox local television broadcasts are split between three channels: the majority of games are broadcast on cable by the regional sports network Comcast SportsNet Chicago (which the club has a 20% stake in), and remaining games are produced by WGN Sports and are broadcast locally on either WGN-TV or WPWR-TV. WGN and WPWR games are also occasionally picked up by local stations in Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana. In the past, WGN games were broadcast nationally on the WGN America superstation, but those broadcasts ended after the 2014 season as WGN America began its transition to a standard cable station. WGN Sports-produced White Sox games not carried by WGN-TV were carried by WCIU-TV until the 2015 season, when they moved to MyNetworkTV station WPWR-TV.
The announcers are the same no matter where the games are broadcast: Harrelson provides play-by-play, and Steve Stone has provided color analysis since 2009. Games that are broadcast on CSN Chicago feature pregame and postgame shows, hosted by Chuck Garfein with analysis from Bill Melton and occasionally Frank Thomas. In 2016 the team announced an official split of the play-by-play duties, with either Harrelson or Chuck Swirsky calling road games and Cubs home games and Jason Benetti calling home games.Source:
Note: American League Championship Series began in 1969
Most Valuable Player1959: Nellie Fox
1972: Dick Allen
1993: Frank Thomas
1994: Frank Thomas
Cy Young Award1959: Early Wynn
1983: LaMarr Hoyt
1993: Jack McDowell
Manager of the Year1983: Tony La Russa
1990: Jeff Torborg
1993: Gene Lamont
2000: Jerry Manuel
2005: Ozzie Guillén
Rookie of the Year1956 – Luis Aparicio
1963 – Gary Peters
1966 – Tommie Agee
1983 – Ron Kittle
1985 – Ozzie Guillén
2014 – José Abreu
Luke Appling 1930–1950
Ozzie Guillén 1990–1997
Carlton Fisk 1990–1993
Paul Konerko 2006–2014
The White Sox have retired a total of 11 jersey numbers: 10 worn by former White Sox and number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson.
Luis Aparicio's number 11 was issued at his request for the 2010 and 2011 seasons for 11 time Gold Glove winner shortstop Omar Vizquel (because number 13 was used by manager Ozzie Guillén; Vizquel, like Aparicio and Guillen, play(ed) shortstop and all share a common Venezuelan heritage).
Also, Harold Baines had his number 3 retired in 1989; it has since been 'unretired' 3 times in each of his subsequent returns.6: Since Charley Lau's death in 1984, no White Sox player or coach (except Lau disciple Walt Hriniak, the Chicago White Sox' hitting coach from 1989 to 1995) has worn his number 6 jersey, although it has not been officially retired.
13: Since Ozzie Guillén left as manager of the White Sox, no Sox player or coach has worn his number 13 jersey, although it is not officially retired.
56: Since Mark Buehrle's departure to the Miami Marlins in free agency after the 2011 season, no White Sox player or coach has worn his number 56 jersey. On February 23, 2017, the team announced that they will officially retire number 56 on June 24, 2017.
Silver Chalice is a digital and media investment subsidiary of the White Sox with Brooks Boyers is CEO.
Silver Chalice was co-founded by Jerry Reinsdorf, White Sox executive Brooks Boyer, Jason Coyle and John Burris in 2009. Chalice has since partnered with IMG on Campus Insiders, a college sports digital channel. The company also invested in 120 Sports, a digital sports channel, that launched in June 2016.