Ferkovich: Kiss him goodbye: The 1977 South Side Hitmen

From SABR member Scott Ferkovich at The National Pastime Museum on September 6, 2017:

After a dreary 1976 season, Bill Veeck knew that his Chicago White Sox were in need of change. The team had finished last in the American League West, losers of 97 games. Even the club’s new retro uniforms, with half-collared V-neck pullovers and a change of Bermuda shorts, could not inspire the players.

It was less than a year into Veeck’s second stint as team owner. His first had produced an American League pennant in 1959. Things were different this time. Comiskey Park was a crumbling relic in a seamy neighborhood. Despite Veeck’s promotional gimmicks, attendance ranked near the bottom of the league. The struggling Sox were an afterthought in the Windy City’s sporting consciousness.

Never a man with deep pockets, Veeck could not compete financially with the George Steinbrenners and the Gene Autrys of the league. What he lacked in coin, however, he made up for in shrewdness. Veeck’s scheme was to acquire motivated players entering their final contract year before free agency. This, he figured, would allow him to stay afloat while improving the product on the field.

Read the full article here: https://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/kiss-him-goodbye-1977-south-side-hitmen

Originally published: September 6, 2017. Last Updated: September 6, 2017.