1968 Chicago White Sox
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History, Comments, Contributions
The 1968 Chicago White Sox were coming off a season in which they had only been eliminated from the pennant race on the final weekend of the season. They had been a competitive team for two decades, having nothing but winning seasons since 1951, and were outdrawing the crosstown Chicago Cubs year after year. However, they had been winning for the past few years with pitching, defense, and an anemic offense, making for a dull kind of baseball that was not particularly attractive to fans. As Jerome Holtzman put it: "Fans want to see action. They get weary of watching ground balls and strikeouts." So while they were outdrawing the Cubs, attendance was not where it should be.
In 1968, the White Sox decided to counter that trend by moving nine of their games to County Stadium in Milwaukee, WI, a city that was known to be baseball-mad and was left without a team since the Milwaukee Braves had relocated to Atlanta, GA in 1966. Some observers thought the White Sox had some deeper thoughts in mind, not just adding a number of well-attended games, but were looking to eventually move to Milwaukee themselves.
The 1968 season started poorly. The White Sox were beaten, 9-0, by the Cleveland Indians on Opening Day on April 10th, with only 7,756 fans on hand. The game came a week after the assassination of Martin Luther King and there had been riots on the south side of Chicago. A number of fans considered that Comiskey Park was in an unsafe area, event though the closest rioting had taken place five miles away. Things only got worse on the attendance front, however. The White Sox had their first losing season in almost two decades, finishing at 67-95 and drew only 538,323 fans to 59 dates at Comiskey Park; in contrast, 265,552 came to the nine games in Milwaukee! Meanwhile, the Cubs were competitive for the first time in years and had a great season at the turnstiles (by the standards of the time), drawing over a million fans to Wrigley Field.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Tommy John and Duane Josephson
- AL Reliever of the Year Award: Wilbur Wood
- AL Gold Glove: Luis Aparicio (SS)
|Boston Red Sox||86||76||.531||17|
|New York Yankees||83||79||.512||20|
|Chicago White Sox||67||95||.414||36|
1968 Opening Day Lineup
Luis Aparicio, ss
Tommy McCraw, 1b
Tommy Davis, lf
Pete Ward, rf
Ken Boyer, 3b
Ken Berry, cf
Tim Cullen, 2b
Joel Horlen, p
- Sam Pathy: "The Chicago White Sox, 1968–70: Three Years In Hell", in Stuart Shea, ed.: North Side, South Side, All Around Town, The National Pastime, SABR, 2015. ISBN 978-1-93359987-8