So as we are now a few days into Spring Training, I have to say this is the MOST excited I have been about my beloved Chicago White Sox in a long time. I am a sports fan, without question. I have enjoyed sports for as long as I can remember. My first love of sports has always been baseball and the White Sox.
So It Begins…
I remember as a kid going to Sox games with my dad at the original Comiskey Park. We didn’t go to tons of games, usually we had free tickets from perfect attendance or straight A’s, back in the day when the Sox always needed to fill the stands. I don’t ever remember leaving games early, I do remember getting to the ballpark early, most of the time before the gates opened, so we could catch batting practice, try to get a ball, etc. I was one of those kids that always brought my glove to the game…you never know when that stray foul ball might find you. As I think back to the games as a kid, those great late 70’s uniforms, watching Chet Lemon in the outfield, or Richie Zisk…in his lone season with the White Sox. Interesting fact about Richie Zisk…ok…two facts…first off…he made his major league debut replacing Roberto Clemente at the end of a game, and secondly, and most important to me…my first baseball glove as a kid was a Richie Zisk model baseball glove.
Now…my favorite game as a kid came on September 17, 1983. To set the stage for this game…we need to understand how I came to have those tickets in the first place. I was a paperboy…back then we used to have to go door to door to collect, and door to door to sell new subscriptions. In the spring of 1983, the Southtown Economist was running a contest…you get enough new subscriptions, you could win 4 tickets to a White Sox game. That was enough to motivate me for sure. I sold enough subscriptions, and then in late spring had to chose the game I wanted. After consulting with the parents…we decided on a Saturday night in September, a cooler evening, and fireworks night. Who could have know that the White Sox would be playing a playoff clinch game? I remember that the only time in my life I rooted for a Sox loss was the night before our game…I wanted to see a clinch game. It was knit cap night, and we needed them…it was a rainy evening, and I don’t think we could have been higher up if we wanted to be. I do however vividly remember Harold Baines lifting that fly ball and Julio Cruz scoring the winning run in the bottom on the 9th. The feeling of the ballpark was electric for sure. The sounds, the feeling was just awesome. Something, needless to say, I vividly remember almost 38 years later. I also wore that knit cap for years. Unfortunately that feeling of Winning Ugly lasted for only a few more weeks, as the Sox bowed out of the playoffs, and us Sox fans were left with the clinch game as our big game of the year.
What wasn’t there to love about that 1983 team. We had the starting rotation of La Marr Hoyt, Rich Dotson, Floyd Bannister, and Britt Burns. We had Fisk behind the plate, Vance Law at 3rd, Scott Fletcher at Short, Julie Cruz at 2nd, and Paciorek and Walker at 1st. The outfield of Baines in right, Rudy Law in center, and ROY Ron Kittle in left. That was the first White Sox team burned into my memory. As a kid playing baseball, I was always Ron Kittle hitting that monster home run.