CHICAGO – After a few years of waiting for the team to be competitive after an extensive rebuild, Thursday was quite a painful one for White Sox fans.
Opening Day 2020 would have taken place at home at Guaranteed Rate Field, featuring a team poised to compete for the franchise’s first playoff spot since the 2008 season.
The COVID-19 pandemic has the season on hold, so White Sox fans will have to wait to see their team in action. So with no games going on, here’s a look back at some memorable Opening Day games for the White Sox.
These are the first games of a particular season that are featured, whether they were held at home or on the road.
1917: Better Late Than Never
The 1917 Chicago White Sox had the honor of being the last Windy City baseball team to win the World Series in the 20th century. Perhaps they sent a message that they would be special on Opening Day of that season.
On April 11th of that year against the Browns at Sportsmans Park in St. Louis, the White Sox trailed 2-0 going into the 8th inning. But then their bats exploded, scoring three runs in that frame and then four more in the ninth to give the White Sox a 7-2 win.
Buck Weaver drove in three RBI in those two innings while Ray Schalk hit a home run to give the team a victory. It was the first of 100 wins in 1917 and marks the last time that the team reached the century mark in victories in the regular season.
The White Sox would go onto beat the New York Giants to win the World Series and wouldn’t get their next title until 2005.
1959: Nellie Saves The Day in Extras
Forty years after their last American League pennant, the 1959 White Sox finally broke through for that elusive championship.
Leading the way that season for the team was eventual AL MVP Nellie Fox, and he started his great season in the first game of the season in Detroit.
After losing a three-run lead to the Tigers in the eighth inning in the first game of the season on April 10th, the contest would remain tied into the 14th inning. That’s when Fox went deep for one of his two homers on the season to give the White Sox a 9-7 win.
It was his fifth hit of the day, his third RBI in eight at-bats, and was part of a season in which he hit .306 with 70 RBI while also winning a Gold Glove at second base.
The White Sox would go onto win their first pennant since 1919 that fall but lost to the Dodgers in the World Series in six games.
1990: A Goodbye and a Hello
The beginning of a new decade was the end of an era for the franchise.
On April 9, 1990, in a game that was delayed a week due to an MLB lockout, the White Sox played their final Opening Day at old Comiskey Park against the Brewers. The ballpark was slated to close at the end of the season and over 40,000 showed up on a rainy day on the south side.
It was also the first game of the team’s return to WGN-TV and was the first opener broadcast on Channel 9 since 1966. It was a pitcher’s afternoon, with Scott Fletcher’s sacrifice fly in the seventh scoring Sammy Sosa providing the winning run in a 2-1 victory over Milwaukee.
A surprise White Sox team would go onto win 94 games that season and set up plenty of excitement for the team’s entrance into new Comiskey Park a year later.
2005: On Your “Mark”
The historic 2005 season for the White Sox began with a gem of a performance on a gem of a day at then US Cellular Field.
Mark Buehrle took the mound for the team against the Indians and proceeded to toss eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits with five strikeouts compared to one walk. The Sox’ one run in the seventh inning, which came thanks to an error by Jhonny Peralta on a ground ball by Aaron Rowand, was plenty for the team on this day.
Shingo Takatsu pitched a perfect ninth to give the White Sox a 1-0 win in a thrifty one hour and 51 minutes. The White Sox would win 99 games en route to their first American League pennant since 1959 and first World Series title since 1917.
2006: The Coronation
After winning their first title in 88 years, the White Sox had the honor of opening the 2006 MLB season on Sunday, April 2nd against the Indians.
Before their game against the Indians at night, the team unveiled their 2005 World Series banner in left field on a joyous night for the fanbase long overdue for a championship.
As if that weren’t enough to make it memorable, the White Sox combined for nine runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings to beat Cleveland 10-4 in what would be a 90-win campaign.
2010: Mercy, Buehrle!
Five years after his opening day gem against the Indians at US Cellular Field, Buehrle was dominating once again to begin the 2010 season.
But this time it wasn’t his seven shutout innings that provided the greatest memory, but rather a memorable moment in the fifth inning. Lou Marson’s hit went off Buehrle’s foot and towards the first base line on what looked like an infield hit.
Yet the pitcher didn’t give up, running in front of the runner, snagging the ball with his glove, then backhanded it to Paul Konerko without looking. The first baseman caught the ball with his bare hand to finish a very epic out.
It would be the most memorable play of that 6-0 White Sox victory over Cleveland.
2018: Power Play
During what was mostly a difficult first three years of the rebuild, the White Sox had perhaps their best day of that stretch to open the 2018 season.
In a major display of power against the Royals in Kansas City, the White Sox hit six homers in a 14-7 victory on March 29th.
Matt Davidson clubbed three of those long balls, becoming the fourth in MLB history to hit a trio of homers on Opening Day. Tim Anderson added two and Jose Abreu one in what would be the highlight of the season for the rebuilding team.
The young White Sox would go onto lose 100 games, the first team to do so for the franchise since 1970.