With the White Sox taking on a Central American League Championship under the direction of the manager Tony La Russa, Friday was the 38th anniversary of when the 1983 team landed the AL West flag also with La Russa in charge.
In front of a crowd of 45,646 people at Comiskey Park, Harold baines The ninth inning sacrifice fly took a 4-3 victory over the Mariners and the Sox’s first playoff appearance since their loss to the Dodgers in the 1959 World Series. In a joyous celebration that would be frowned upon today Yeah, many of those fans gathered on the playing surface to take part in the moment.
“Probably as much as anything else, if you’ve seen the photos or the [footage] of that, the fans just flooded the field, ”La Russa recalled ahead of Friday’s game against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas. “Everyone climbed the walls and joined us. You can’t do it anymore, but they did it then. It really added to the fun.
For many reasons, the 1983 Sox are one of the most beloved groups in franchise history, despite losing six wins before a World Series championship. The Sox still wear their uniforms for every Sunday home game, and they might have passed the Orioles and won the American League pennant if they had extended the top five streak to Game 5 when the ace LaMarr Hoyt would have taken the mound.
For La Russa, it was also his first playoff trip in a managerial career that saw three World Series titles and a Hall of Fame plaque. Yet that “Winning Ugly” team – which ended up winning the division by 20 games and finished with the best baseball record – still holds a special place in La Russa’s heart.
“We really had a great camaraderie between everyone in uniform, the coaches, so once we started the level of excitement that ‘maybe we could do that’ just kept growing,” he said. La Russa said. “It continued to motivate us to keep going.”
That’s what happened in the second half, when the Sox were 59-26 after a 40-37 first half and fled Kansas City, second and third in Texas.
“It’s forever tied for first when it comes to memories of the teams arriving in October, especially with the slow start,” said La Russa. “That push in the second half was just … the team were relentless.”
Praise be to Grandal
Seeker Yasmani Grandal deserves praise for his work at the plate, coming in on Friday after reaching base in 30 straight games for the longest active streak in baseball and the third longest this year.
Hitting, however, is only part of Grandal’s game. La Russa noticed Grandal’s work behind the plate. La Russa said Grandal was “very conscientious” and praised the work he does to receive pitches, study hitters and find ways to communicate with pitchers.
“I don’t know if you can do it more than him,” La Russa said.
Grandal was back in the lineup after resting Thursday, catching up and finishing fourth.
Yoan Moncada also returned to the roster after getting a day off on Thursday, playing third base and reaching sixth. Moncada entered Friday after reaching base safely in 25 straight games.