1977 Chicago White Sox
Managed by Bob Lemon
History, Comments, Contributions
After finishing in last place in the American League West in 1976, the 1977 Chicago White Sox were shaken up in the offseason by owner Bill Veeck. First, he signed free agent third baseman Eric Soderholm who had spent the previous season on the disabled list. Veeck's next move was to trade pitchers Rich Gossage and Terry Forster to the Pittsburgh Pirates for slugging outfielder Richie Zisk; all three players were in the last year of their contracts and would become free agents after the season. Finally, days before the season began, he sent shortstop Bucky Dent to the New York Yankees for designated hitter Oscar Gamble (and young pitcher La Marr Hoyt). The club also had a new manager, recent Hall of Fame inductee Bob Lemon.
The newly acquired hitters provided a lot of excitement and scoring, and on July 31st, the "South Side Hit Men" were in first place by 6 1/2 games. The team lacked quality pitching though, and by August 20th, they had fallen out of the division lead. The 1977 Sox ended the season with 192 home runs (up from 73 in 1976) and had nine players with at least ten homers, led by Gamble, who hit 31. Zisk had 30, Soderholm 25, the 22-year-old Chet Lemon 19, Jim Spencer and Lamar Johnson 18 each, Jorge Orta 11, and Jim Essian and Ralph Garr 10 each. They also finished the campaign with 90 wins (26 more than in 1976), but that was only good enough for third place.
After the season, the Sox ended up losing Zisk and Gamble to free agency, and the team only hit 106 home runs in 1978.
Awards and Honors
- All-Star: Richie Zisk
- AL Comeback Player of the Year: Eric Soderholm
- AL Gold Glove: Jim Spencer (1B)
1977 Opening Day Lineup
Ralph Garr, lf
Alan Bannister, ss
Jorge Orta, 2b
Richie Zisk, rf
Jim Spencer, 1b
Oscar Gamble, dh
Eric Soderholm, 3b
Chet Lemon, cf
Ken Brett, p
- Dan Helpingstine and Leo Bauby (Photographer): South Side Hitmen: The Story of the 1977 Chicago White Sox, Images of Baseball, Arcadia Publishing, 2006.