Today’s #TBT sports blog will transport you back in time more than 100 years.
In a sport where a team’s batting average normally dictates its success, the 1906 Chicago White Sox’s improbable World Series Championship stands today as a statistical oddity.
With only seven team home runs and a woeful .230 team batting average during the regular season, the Chicago White Sox became known as the Hitless Wonders in the Chicago media. The closest any other World Series champions have come to duplicating the White Sox’s inglorious feat were the 1968 Detroit Tigers (.235), the 1972 Oakland A’s (.241) and the 1969 New York Mets (.242).
Whatever the 1906 Chicago White Sox lacked in offensive production, they more than made up for in several other areas of the game. The Sox always seemed to find a creative way to overcome their lack of offensive fire power. The team led Major League Baseball in total walks, hit batters and sacrifices. Defensively, the team was extremely solid, committing only 194 errors the entire season.
In addition, the 1906 White Sox featured a fantastic pitching staff that posted a phenomenal 2.23 ERA. Although the team couldn’t hit very well, their crack staff of hurlers more than compensated for the Sox’s silent bats. Led by Frank Owen with a 22 – 13 record, Chicago also showcased Nick Altrock at 20 – 13, Doc White at 18 – 6 and Ed Walsh at 17 – 13. During a 19 game winning streak in August that enabled the team to capture the American League Pennant, the White Sox pitchers shut out their opponents on eight separate occasions.
Ironically, or fortuitously if you were a White Sox fan, the Hitless Wonders started to hit at the most appropriate time of the year. In a World Series hosting two teams both hailing from Chicago the once light-hitting White Sox defeated the heavily favored Cubs in six games and clinched the championship.
The Cubs had dismantled all National League rivals en route to a history making 116 – 36 record. According to the baseball site www.thisgreatgame.com, they entered a 1906 World Series labeled as a “laughable mismatch between a heavyweight (the Cubs) and a featherweight (the White Sox).”
The 1906 World Series Champion Chicago White Sox may have defied all acceptable baseball logic and statistical norms. Their poor team batting average of .230 should never have gotten them a chance to compete for a world championship, let alone win one.
However, the White Sox’s dormant bats certainly awakened when the team upset the cross town rival and heavily favored Cubs.
That was when the Hitless Wonders suddenly and surprisingly started to hit. Now that’s a great overcoming success story!
That’s why this meager hitting, but resilient team bunts its way into one of my sports comic books Favorite Overcoming Athletes.
Click on the red image above to be directed to my author page on www.amazon.com to purchase the book for 99 cents..
MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!