Early Wynn (THE TOPPS COMPANY)

June 26, 1960: Early Wynn wins 275th career game as White Sox erupt for 21 runs

This article was written by Mike Huber


Early Wynn (THE TOPPS COMPANY)A Sunday afternoon doubleheader at Comiskey Park pitted the hometown Chicago White Sox against the visiting Boston Red Sox. A crowd of 37,281 was on hand to watch the White Sox attempt a four-game sweep of last-place Boston. Just one week earlier (June 19), “the White Sox were encased in gloom”1 after a four-game losing streak dropped them into fifth place in the American League, a half-game behind the Detroit Tigers. Coming into this doubleheader, though, they had won four of five, with two of the victories coming in walk-off fashion.

Chicago triumphed in the opener, 4-3, behind the five-hit, seven-strikeout pitching of Billy Pierce, who was also credited with two RBIs and a run scored despite going 0-for-3 in the game. In the second game, Boston rookie Tom Borland squared off against Chicago’s Early Wynn. The southpaw Borland (0-2, 4.23 ERA) was making just the third start of his major-league career. Wynn (3-6, 4.22 ERA), on the other hand, was in his 20th major-league season, making his 545th start. Wynn was the reigning wins leader in the American League, having posted a 22-10 record in 1959.

Chicago plated two runs in the bottom of the first. After Borland walked Minnie Minoso with two outs, Roy Sievers drove the ball deep beyond the center-field fence for a two-run home run, his eighth of the season. A wire-service article in the Baltimore Sun reported that “the White Sox started fast in the nightcap and kayoed Tom Borland in the second inning.”2 Gene Freese started that inning for the White Sox with a walk. Sherm Lollar singled, advancing Freese to second. Jim Landis hit an RBI single to left. After Wynn popped out to second, Luis Aparicio singled to load the bases and drive in Lollar. Pinky Higgins, Boston’s third manager of the season, called to the bullpen and right-hander Jerry Casale relieved Borland. Nellie Fox grounded out to second with Landis scoring on the play. Minoso doubled to right, driving in Aparicio, and the White Sox quickly led, 6-0.

Wynn had struck out five Boston batters in the first two innings, but in the third the Red Sox scored a run without getting a hit. Wynn walked both leadoff batter Casale and Willie Tasby. Pete Runnels hit a comebacker to Wynn, who turned and threw to second, forcing Tasby out, and Casale moved up a base to third. Vic Wertz hit a fly ball to center, bringing Casale home for Boston’s first run of the game to make the score 6-1. Chicago got the run back in its half, when Wynn singled with the bases loaded, driving in Al Smith and making it a 7-1 game.

In the bottom of the fourth, 15 Chicago hitters battered three Boston pitchers, banging out 10 hits that led to 11 runs. It turned out to be Chicago’s largest inning of the year.3 At the time, this was just two runs short of the American League record for runs scored in the fourth inning of a game (set by the White Sox on September 26, 1943, against the Washington Senators, in the first game of a doubleheader). Minoso led off by depositing his 10th homer deep beyond the fence in left. After Casale retired Sievers but allowed a single to Smith and a double to Freese, his mound duty ended. Dave Hillman came on in relief. He lasted just six hitters and retired only one as Chicago tagged the righty for four runs on four hits and a walk. Hillman retired only one batter, striking out his counterpart Wynn. With two outs in the inning and five runs in, Hillman walked Minoso to load the bases and then gave way to Billy Muffett. Muffett walked in a run and then gave up two singles and a double, as Chicago scored six more times. At the end of four innings, “Early Wynn had an 18 to 1 no-hitter.”4 (The Red Sox run came on two walks, a grounder, and a sacrifice fly.)

Boston had a mini-rally in the fifth. Doubles by Tasby and Wertz, followed by a Frank Malzone home run well beyond the left-field fence, resulted in three runs. Yet the Red Sox still faced a huge deficit as they now trailed, 18-4.

Muffett stayed on the mound, pitching the final four innings against Chicago. The White Sox got to him for solo runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. Joe Hicks struck out to start the sixth, but Muffett’s pitch went wide of the plate and Hicks scampered safely to first base. He went to third when Rivera singled and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Freese. Landis socked a home run to lead off the seventh (his fifth), and Freese tripled in the eighth, plating Rivera.

Wynn just kept throwing, not worrying about hits or walks. In the top of the eighth, Gary Geiger homered, his fourth of the season. After Bobby Thomson grounded out, Don Buddin hit his sixth round-tripper, making the score 20-6. Boston added its final run in the ninth. Pumpsie Green walked, Wynn’s fifth base on balls of the game. Wertz singled. Malzone hit into a 1-4-3 double play, and Green moved to third. Russ Nixon stroked a single into right field, and Green trotted home. Geiger also singled, but when Wynn retired Thomson on a fly ball to right, the game ended, with the score 21-7 in favor of the home team.

In the four-game series against Boston, Chicago’s Freese “clobbered Boston pitching for 11 hits in 16 trips, smashed five doubles, two triples, and drove in four runs.”5 He went 3-for-4 in this game, missing hitting for the cycle by a double. He raised his batting average 34 points. In the eight games against Boston to this point in the season, Freese was hammering at a .655 clip (19-for-29) with nine runs driven in.6

Each of the four Boston hurlers was tagged for at least four hits and four runs. They combined to strike out eight White Sox batters, while Wynn fanned nine Red Sox batters on his own. The 40-year-old Wynn improved his record for the season to 4-6, and this gave him 275 career wins. Despite allowing seven earned runs (his earned-run average rose to 4.50), Wynn coasted “on the White Sox’ biggest splurge this season.”7 By scoring 21 runs, the Chicago batters surpassed their previous high of 13 runs, accomplished two weeks earlier (June 10), also against the last-place Red Sox. Wynn finished the season with 13 victories against 12 defeats. His production then went down; he won eight games in 1961 and only seven in 1962. The future Hall of Famer’s 300th and final career win came on July 13, 1963, in a game played at Comiskey Park, and Wynn was pitching for the Cleveland Indians.8

For the 1960 season, Chicago definitely had Boston’s number, winning 17 of 22 contests. With this sweep, Chicago brought its record to 36-30, good for fourth place in the American League, while Boston fell to 22-42, keeping the Red Sox last. The White Sox were 51-26 at home and a month after this game, they held first place for 10 days, but it wouldn’t last, as they ended the season in third place. Boston, meanwhile, was 29-48 on the road for the season and a seven-game win streak at the All-Star break lifted them to seventh place, where they remained for the rest of the season, except for one day (on September 10 they climbed to sixth place).

 

Sources

 

In addition to the sources mentioned in the notes, the author consulted baseball-reference.com and retrosheet.org.

 

Notes

1 Edward Prell, “Pierce, Wynn Complete Sweep of Boston Series,” Chicago Tribune, June 27, 1960: 55.

2 “Yanks and Indians Split; White Sox Win Twin Bill,” Baltimore Sun, June 27, 1960: 15.

3 “White Sox Whip Red Sox, 21-7, After 4-to-3 Triumph in Opener,” New York Times, June 27, 1960: 29.

4 Prell.

5 Ibid.

6 For the season, Freese played in 16 games against the Red Sox, batting .500 (32-for-64) and slugging .828 with an on-base percentage of .528 (giving an OPS of 1.356).

7 “White Sox 21, and Bosox 7!” Detroit Free Press, June 27, 1960: 35.

8 The White Sox released Wynn on November 20, 1962, with a career record of 299-242. He signed with the Cleveland Indians on June 21, 1963, and earned that milestone victory against the White Sox. Cleveland released him after the 1963 season and Wynn retired.

Additional Stats

Chicago White Sox 21
Boston Red Sox 7


Comiskey Park
Chicago, IL

 

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