Sunday, March 20, 2011

1954 Chicago White Sox

Better than the '59 White Sox?
From 1952 through 1956, the White Sox finished in third place every year. In all years they were behind the Indians and Yankees. In 1957, the Indians fell off, and they finished behind the Yankees in both 1957 and 1958. Finally in 1959, the Yankees came back a little and the White Sox took advantage for their first World Series appearance in 40 years. In 1959, it took 94 wins to win the AL pennant. Unfortunately for the 1954 edition of the team, they also won 94 games, which tied with the '59 team for best record for a White Sox team in the 1950s, but only allowed them to place third. This team was led by Minnie Minoso and the double play combination of Nellie Fox and Chico Carrasquel. On the pitching side, Virgil Trucks led this team in wins and strikeouts.

Minnie Minoso
Minnie Minoso has perhaps one of the most interesting entries at He bounced between the White Sox and Indians from 1949 to 1961. Then he played for the Cardinals in 1962 and the new Senators in 1963 before finishing his career in 1964 with the White Sox. But wait, he didn't finish his career. He came back to pinch hit in 1977 for the White Sox, and to my knowledge is the oldest player ever to get a base hit at the age of 50. I wondered why he came back in 1977. Well it shouldn't have been that much of a mystery as Bill Veeck and his son Mike had partial ownership in the team during this period. Remember, this is the same period that gave us disco demolition night. Minoso had been playing in the Mexican Leagues up to this point anyway. He then came back in 1980 to pinch hit again for the White Sox, therefore becoming the only player to play in 5 decades (1940s-1980s). The Saint Paul Saints gave him opportunities to pinch hit in the 1990s and 2000s, so professionally he has kept the streak alive. He even drew a walk in his 2003 appearance with the Saints. He has to be the last Negro Leagues alumni to play in the major leagues.

Starter and Hall-of-Fame/All-Star Scores

Exclusive players to a set are in italics

Topps Regulars (8): Sherm Lollar, Ferris Fain, Jim Rivera, Bob Keegan, Jack Harshmann, Don Johnson, Harry Dorrish, Morrie Martin

Bowman Regulars (13): Sherm Lollar, Ferris Fain, Nellie Fox, Cass Michaels, Chico Carrasquel, Minnie Minoso, Johnny Groth (shown as an Oriole), George Kell (shown with the Red Sox), Virgil Trucks, Billy Pierce, Sandy Consuegra, Harry Dorish, Morrie Martin (shown as an Athletic)

Topps All-Stars & Hall-of-Famers (3): Ferris Fain, Bob Keegan, Sherm Lollar

Bowman All-Stars & Hall-of-Famers (8): Chico Carrasquel, Sandy Consuegra, Ferris Fain, Nellie Fox, George Kell (shown with the Red Sox), Sherm Lollar, Minnie Minoso, Virgil Trucks

Another team with a big score for Bowman. There were 9 (yes, 9) all-stars on this team and the only one Topps could snag exclusively was Bob Keegan. The pattern that is starting to emerge is Topps was definitely stronger on getting the back up players. This team is no exception as Topps has 9 of those compared to 4 for Bowman.

Phil Cavaretta, manager?
When compiling the White Sox checklist, there are many players who played the majority of their season with the White Sox that show up in uniforms of other teams. There are 8 of these players, noted in the checklist below. Perhaps one of the most interesting cards is Phil Cavaretta's. He had been playing with the Cubs since 1934. He was a player/manager for the Cubs from 1951-1953. Not sure if he was let go because of a poor managerial record or diminishing player skills, but he was released by the Cubs at the end of 1953. He is shown on his Topps card as being just the manager of the Cubs. He signed on with the White Sox in 1954, he was only a player. So his card really doesn't list him as a position player, even though he was just that in 1954.

__ TO 39 C Sherm Lollar CHW
__ TO 27 1B Ferris Fain CHW
__ BO 6 2B Nellie Fox CHW
__ BO 150 3B Cass Michaels CHW
__ BO 54 SS Chico Carrasquel CHW
__ BO 38 LF Minnie Minoso CHW
__ BO 165 CF Johnny Groth BAL
__ TO 34 RF Jim Rivera CHW
__ BO 50 CI George Kell BOS

Starting Pitchers
__ BO 198 SP Virgil Trucks CHW
__ TO 100 SP Bob Keegan CHW
__ TO 173 SP Jack Harshman CHW
__ BO 102 SP Billy Pierce CHW

Relief Pitchers
__ TO 146 CL Don Johnson CHW
__ BO 166 RP Sandy Consuegra CHW
__ TO 110 RP Harry Dorish CHW
__ TO 168 RP Morrie Martin PHA

Other Players
__ TO 55 1B Phil Cavarretta CHC
__ TO 88 C Matt Batts DET
__ TO 198 C Carl Sawatski CHW
__ TO 218 3B Fred Marsh CHW

1B Ron Jackson
__ TO 215 OF Ed McGhee PHA
__ BO 70 OF Willard Marshall CHW
__ TO 113 UT Bob Boyd CHW

OF Bill Wilson

CI Grady Hatton

3B Joe Kirrene

C Red Wilson

RF Bud Stewart
__ TO 196 3B Stan Jok PHI

PH Don Nicholas
__ TO 61 PR Bob Cain PHA
__ TO 154 RP Mike Fornieles CHW

RP Dick Strahs

RP Al Sima

RP Tom Flanigan

RP Vito Valentinetti


MG Paul Richards

MG Marty Marion


  1. Here is the Phil Cavarretta story: He was fired by the Cubs during spring training, the first manager to ever be fired in the spring. The reason? When asked about the teams' prospects for the '54 season, he said he didn't think the team could finish above fifth place. Management didn't like his pessimistic attitude and fired him. So where did the '54 Cubs finish? Seventh Place!

  2. That explains was noted on his page at baseball reference that he was released by the Cubs in late 1953, so I am assuming he was going to be manager only of the Cubs in 1954. But as you told it, he was fired as manager, so he must've decided to continue playing.