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Random Game Callback, May 16, 1951
2006-05-16 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

The Chicago White Sox, with a new manager and some new players, won their second straight game at Fenway Park, bashing the Red Sox, 9-5, before 5,828 spectators. The win moved the White Sox to within 2 1/2 games of the league leading Yankees.

The White Sox were skippered in 1951 by Paul Richards, who was in charge of a major league team for the first time. Richards would go on to manage for 12 seasons with one of the higher profiles ever attained by someone whose teams never finished in first place. Richards would also manage the Orioles and work as a GM for the Houston Astros. The day before the White Sox had beaten the Red Sox in 11 innings, a game in which Richards had brought in Billy Pierce to relieve in the 8th, but kept his original pitcher, Harry Dorish, in the game at third. After Pierce retired Williams, Dorish went back to pitch. The White Sox would eventually win that game on Nellie Fox's first major league home run.

On this day, Richards called on former Boston pitcher Joe Dobson to start. Boston manager Steve O'Neill chose Chuck Stobbs.

The White Sox got right to work against Stobbs. With one out, Paul Lehner singled and Minnie Miñoso (acquired at the end of April from Cleveland as part of a three-way deal that saw Gus Zernial sent to Philadelphia) followed with a walk. Eddie Robinson singled to load the bases. Al Zarilla then doubled in two runs. Jim Busby singled in the third run and then stole second. Fox followed with a triple to score Zarilla and Busby to make it 5-0 and knock Stobbs out of the game in favor of Paul Hinrichs (who would pitch in just four major league games).

In the second inning, the White Sox were in action again. Lehner walked and Miñoso singled. Robinson singled home Lehner. Zarilla hit a deep fly to score Miñoso. (Sacrifice flies were not an official statistic at the time). Busby followed with a triple to score Robinson and knock out Hinrichs. Bill Evans came into relieve and pretty much restored order the rest of the way.

The Red Sox would score five runs in the second and third innings with first baseman Walt Dropo accounting for most of them. Dropo hit a solo home run in the second and a three-run homer in the third. Billy Goodman drove in the other Boston run. Chico Carrasquel singled in catcher Gus Niarhos in the ninth for the final run of the game.

This win was part of a 14-game winning streak to finish out the month of May for the White Sox. On Memorial Day, the White Sox were 26-9 and 2 games ahead of the Yankees. The Yankees beat the White Sox four out of seven times in June to close the gap. The Red Sox also got hot. In July, the White Sox went 11-21 and had fallen into fourth place, where they would finish the season at 81-73. The Red Sox would go 87-67 and finish third, 11 games out.

Nevertheless, 1951 was a 21-game improvement for the White Sox. The acquisition of Miñoso was a big one as the Cuban outfielder would bat .324 and lead the AL in triples with 14 and stolen bases with 31. Fox batted .313 and was becoming one of the AL's best second basemen. However, the White Sox had an unimpressive pitching staff even with the help of cavernous Comiskey Park. Pierce went 15-14 with a 3.03 and Saul Rogovin was 11-7 with a 2.48 ERA. Richards tried 11 different starting pitchers.

The Red Sox, in their first full season under O'Neill, weren't quite the same offensive force as they had been in 1949 and 1950. Vern Stephens was limited to 109 games and Bobby Doerr played in just 106. Dropo couldn't match his spectacular rookie season and batted just .239 in 99 games. The Red Sox still led the AL in runs scored with 804, but that was over 200 fewer than they scored in 1950. Williams batted .318 with an OBP of .464 as he drew 144 walks. Williams would miss most of the next two seasons because of the Korean War.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, Retrosheet,

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