Chicago White Sox 1959: April 11-13
by Bill Pearch, Saturday, April 13, 2019

After winning an extra-innings affair on Opening Day, the Chicago White Sox continued their winning ways before returning to Comiskey Park to celebrate the home opener.

Jacob Nelson Fox's two-run blast in the 14th inning helped the White Sox end their frigid Opening Day marathon with a 9-7 victory over the Detroit Tigers. But the South Siders' winning ways did not end with Opening Day extra-inning theatrics. They proceeded to win both Saturday and Sunday with identical 5-3 scores to sweep the Tigers and the season's opening series. Perhaps Opening Day's buzz faded or Fox's game-winning homer dampened Tigers fans' spirits, but only 5,529 fans passed through Briggs Stadium's turnstiles on Saturday, April 11 and then 11,228 on Sunday, April 12.

With two outs in the top of the first, Chicago grabbed an early lead from Detroit's Paul Foytack. Sherm Lollar answered Jim Landis' walk with a run-scoring single to center field. Early Wynn looked shaky during the day's initial trip to the mound. In the bottom of the first, Wynn surrendered hits to the first two batters. Eddie Yost doubled to right then Harvey Kuenn singled placing runners at the corners. Wynn conceded the run when Al Kaline grounded into a 1-4-3 double play.

In the top of the third, Luis Aparicio and Nellie Fox were on third and first respectively with one out. Landis helped the Sox claim a 2-1 edge with a single off of Foytack that plated Aparicio and advanced Fox to second.

Both Wynn and Foytack hung zeroes on the scoreboard until the sixth inning when Lollar, who opened the scoring with an RBI single in the first, clubbed a solo shot to extend the White Sox lead to 3-1. But in the bottom half of the frame, the Tigers evened the score when Charlie Maxwell pinch-hit for Foytack and singled home Frank Bolling and Rocky Bridges. Both runs were unearned due to Landis' two-out error misplaying Bolling's fly ball.

Ray Narleski assumed Detroit's pitching duties in the seventh only to earn the loss with two solo blasts in the seventh and eighth innings. Aparicio hit the ultimate game-winner with two outs then Lollar added another for good measure in the eighth. Wynn earned the complete-game, 5-3 victory by pitching 1-2-3 innings in the seventh, eighth and ninth.

On Sunday, April 12, the White Sox had a sweep of the Tigers in their sites. By stringing together a three-game winning streak to begin the season, the Sox could celebrate their home opener undefeated atop the American League standings. The Sox offense pounced upon Tigers starting pitcher, Frank Lary, straight out of the gates when Aparicio leadoff with a single. Lary quickly recorded two outs, but Lollar singled and Aparicio scored from second. Norm Cash followed Lollar with a two-run homer to give the Sox an early 3-0 lead.

Everything settled down until the bottom of the third inning. Chicago's starting pitcher, Dick Donovan, did not allow a base runner until his mound counterpart singled with two outs. Eddie Yost answered with a single. Center fielder, Harvey Kuenn, doubled home two runs. Donovan stopped the bleeding when Kaline grounded to Bubba Phillips for a 5-3 putout.

Leading off the fifth inning, Yost evened the score when he belted a solo home run. Donovan ended the threat by retiring Kuenn, Kaline and Gail Harris. But in the top of the sixth, the Sox reclaimed a lead they would not relinquish. Landis leadoff the inning with a triple then scored when Lollar responded with a single. Detroit rallied in the bottom of the sixth when Bobo Osborne, as a pinch hitter for Lary, walked. Yost bunted and reached on a fielder's choice then Kuenn had a sacrifice bunt to push two runners into scoring position. Donovan provided Kaline with a free pass to load the bases with just one out. Al Lopez yanked Donovan and handed the ball to Rudy Arias. Arias proceeded to retire Harris and pinch hitter Gus Zernial.

For good measure, the Sox added an insurance run in the top of the eighth inning. With Landis on third and Cash on first, Al Smith hit a sacrifice fly to left field that plated Landis. The run was unearned due to two errors in the inning.

The White Sox rifled through hurlers as Lopez sent Turk Lown, Don Rudolph and Bob Shaw to the mound during the eighth and ninth innings to secure the three-game sweep. During the bottom of the eighth inning, the Tigers managed to load the bases, but they failed to drive home any runs.

Prior to returning to Comiskey Park and opening the home portion of the 1959 season, the White Sox enjoyed an off day on Monday, April 14.

And in non-baseball news....

During a four-hour ceremony at St. Peter's Basilica, as the Chicago White Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers, Pope John XXIII named his first two saints as leader of the Catholic Church. Two Spanish girls and two Italian women claimed that Joaquina de Vedruna de Mas (1783-1854) and Carlo da Sezze (1630-1670) miraculously cured them from dire illness.

News Clippings (via Newspapers.com): Chicago Tribune, April 12-13, 1959