When the White Sox Wore Red
This afternoon, the Chicago White Sox paid tribute to their 1972 team. No, that team didn't win the World Series. They didn't win their division. That season, they finished 20 games over .500 and grabbed second place in the old American League West.
All season long, the White Sox have worn the same red home uniforms (with buttons instead of zippers) that the franchise did 40 years ago. While most people remember the White Sox threat to move to Florida in the late 1980s, but back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the possibility of moving was very real. During the 1968 and 1969 seasons, the White Sox played several "home games" in Milwaukee's County Stadium. After the Braves packed up and left Milwaukee for greener pastures in Atlanta, the hosted the White Sox in an effort to prove they could be a Major League Baseball city once again. The White Sox could have moved to Milwaukee, could have even moved to Seattle to replace the Pilots.
In 1972, the White Sox brought Dick Allen to the south side. Allen made a name for himself with the Philadelphia Phillies (1963-1969), and spent the 1970 season with the St. Louis Cardinals, and the 1971 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his first season with the White Sox, Allen was the American League leader with 37 home runs and 113 runs batted in. He was named the American League's Most Valuable Player. Allen's power sparked the franchise. In 1971, the White Sox drew 833,891 fans to Comiskey Park. They finished ninth out of 12 American League teams. In 1972, attendance jumped to 1,177,318 fans. That placed the team third of 12 teams. Ever since, Chicago has proudly remained the home of two teams.
Ever since Allen left Chicago after the 1974 season, the relationship between player and franchise remained cold. Today, they decided to change that. Dick Allen threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers played their third and final game of the series.
Photo: Chicago Tribune