1906 Chicago White Sox
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World Series Champs
Managed by Fielder Jones
History, Comments, Contributions
The 1906 Chicago White Sox earned the nickname the "Hitless Wonders" because the team's batting average was only .230, worst in the American League and second-worst in the majors. No regular player hit anywhere near .300, with second baseman Frank Isbell leading the way with a .279 average and 11 triples. Thy hit all of 7 home runs as a team all year. Yet, they were the AL Champions. In fact, in spite of the low batting average, the White Sox were not a bad offensive team, as they were third in the league in runs scored, and they won 21 games by five or more runs. They made up for their lack of punch by drawing a lot of walks, being above average at stealing bases, and being very good at moving baserunners along, leading the league in sacrifice hits. The Sox also made up for their lack of hitting with speed and defense. In addition, their pitching staff had an earned run average of 2.13. Pitchers Nick Altrock and Frank Owen each won 20 games, and Ed Walsh and Doc White both had ERAs under 2.00.
At the beginning of June, the Sox were five games below .500, and in early August, they were in fourth place in the American League, but the club put together a 19-game winning streak to take first place. Throughout September, the AL lead went back and forth between the Sox and the New York Highlanders, with Chicago ultimately winning by three games. The White Sox advanced to the World Series against the Chicago Cubs, setting up the only crosstown Series in Chicago history. The "Hitless Wonders" lived up to their name in the Series, hitting only .198 but defeating the favored Cubs, four games to two, in what remains one of the greatest upsets in Series history.
It would be 101 years before another team had the best record in their league and the lowest batting average - the 2007 Arizona Diamondbacks accomplished the feat over a century after the White Sox had.
1906 Opening Day Lineup
Bill O'Neill, rf
Frank Isbell, 2b
George Davis, ss
Jiggs Donahue, 1b
Fielder Jones, cf
Rube Vinson, lf
George Rohe, 3b
Frank Owen, p
- Bryan Soderholm-Difatte: "The '67 White Sox: "Hitless" Destiny's Grandchild?", in Stuart Shea, ed.: North Side, South Side, All Around Town, The National Pastime, SABR, 2015. ISBN 978-1-93359987-8