One Summer morning my brothers and I were at the breakfast table eating Sugar Smacks, Cocoa Krispies or one of those other sugary enriched cereals. Bill purposefully slid the newspaper's sport section in front of the cereal box I was admiring and strongly suggested that instant was the time to select 'my favorite team' from the major league baseball standings listed in that morning's newspaper ..... On that particular Summer day in '59, at the top of the newspaper's American League standings were the 1st place Chicago White Sox and it was at that precise moment , that I proudly proclaimed the White Sox as my favorite team then and forever more. I mean, afterall, the White Sox were in first place, and my liking was to choose a winner! Right?
|Spring - Billy Mike Bobby - 1960|
Through the years, I've written and spoken to many Chicago White Sox players from those golden years of the 50's and 60's. Here are a few comments I received over the years from a few of yesterday's heroes. (I intend to post more player and coach comments in the weeks and months to follow).
Walt Dropo: "My favorite ballpark was Fenway Park. The leftfield wall was so inviting as I was a right hand hitting 1st baseman. The most exciting moment was when I set the record '12 consecutive hits' July 15th 1952".
Paul LaPalme: "I am so glad I played in the '50's as I feel it was the best time for baseball - great players and fans. I just loved the old parks. My greatest thrill was my first start in '51 as a rookie pitching against Boston, and beat them 5 to 0 on a 4-hitter. I also loved to pitch in the Polo Ground, did very well in that park. It was a dream come true as a boy."
Bill Serena: "My favorite stadium was Wrigley Field. It was all day games and for me baseball was made to play in the sun. My biggest thrill I guess you would say, is being in the Big Leagues and playing with or against such great players as Jackie Robinson, Stan Musial, Robin Roberts, Ralph Kiner, Roy Campenella, and so many more, as these were just a few. Oh yes! My friend, Ernie Banks. Those were the good days and played on the field - not by a union. The game now has changed so much. I don't understand it. I have just retired after 47 years in the game, and still don't know what's going on - except - 'money'." (commenting on the 1994 strike).
Jerry Staley: "I think playing in the (1959) World Series was my favorite moment in baseball and the old White Sox Park was a good park to pitch in. The new park would be even better to pitch in."
Billy Pierce: "My favorite memory, although I am fortunate to have quite a few, is pitching the last inning of the 1962 playoffs to the win the pennant for the San Fransisco Giants. Other than Comiskey Park (being my favorite), I would have to say Yankee Stadium because of the great history of the park."
|1961 NY Yankees Roger Maris Goes Yard Against White Sox Billy Pierce|
Al Smith: "My most exciting moment was playing in my 1st World Series in Cleveland. I would say there were two best players I ever saw, all around fielding, hitting, and throwing: Willie Mays and Joe DiMaggio. The toughest pitcher I faced was New York Yankees Allie Reynolds. Jim Landis was the greatest White Sox center fielder, ever! Al Lopez, a good man and was a strong manager. Nellie Fox was my favorite White Sox player, and he would not give an inch. Luis Aparicio was the greatest shortstop in both leagues. When Juan Pizarro came to us (White Sox), he would battle you down to the wire."