White Sox Lefties on Opening Day

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

With yesterday’s pronouncement by manager Robin Ventura, John Danks is now scheduled to be the 25th left-hander to start for the White Sox on Opening Day when he takes the mound Friday, April 6 at 1:05 p.m. against the Rangers in his home state of Texas (get up close with Danks, here.).  Following in the footsteps of his good friend, Mark Buehrle, Danks makes it 12 of the last 13 OD starts by Sox left-handers (Jose Contreras in 2006 is the only right-hander to break the streak).

According to research by Comcast Sports Net’s Chris Kamka, six White Sox pitchers have made multiple Opening Day starts, led by Buehrle’s nine, while 18 made just one.

The multiple starters include:

  1. Buehrle                9
  2. Pierce                   7
  3. Wood                    5
  4. John                      3
  5. Peters                   3
  6. Williams               3

Having Wilbur Wood (1972-76) on the list is pretty obvious, and I think Gary Peters is as well, but I was surprised to see Tommy John crack that list.

My biggest surprise reaction to the one-time starters was that Doc White only received one OD start, while I was surprised by some of the OD starters who fell somewhat short of fitting the common expectation of “ace.”  The list includes: Wells, Sirotka, Reuss, Horton, Koosman, Burns, Trout, Kravec, Brett, Pizarro, Wight, Lopat, Lee, Smith, Kerr (a little surprised he didn’t start more), Russell and Flaherty.

Next Time Use Modeling Clay

Thinking of Wilbur Wood reminded me of another Roland Hemond story from the other night.

It seems that then manager Chuck Tanner had a friend who made lamps (which begged many questions of Roland that I chose not to ask).  And this friend approached Tanner about making a lamp base modeled after Wilbur Wood’s hand and forearm (again a slew of questions, but I didn’t want to interrupt Roland’s rhythm).  So Wood agrees to go see this friend and allow a cast model to be made of his hand.

So Roland and Tanner are sitting in the manager’s office when Wood returns from his appointment with the lamp-maker … but there is a problem.  His entire left arm is wrapped in gauze and tape.  Something had gone amiss.

“I shouldn’t have done that,” Wood told the duo.  “That stuff burned my arm badly.  It’s all blistered and raw.”

Two jaws dropped simultaneously.

“Just joking,” Wood erupted, unwrapping his fake injury to show a perfectly fine hand.

I am sure he started that night’s game.  Chances are pretty good back then.



Guess what, I have a lamp base modeled after Wilbur Wood’s hand and forearm made by Bill ????Barren, I can’t make out the signature on the back of the wrist, it looks like it starts with a C???barren. Wilbur Wood’s name is engraved on the front base of the wrist and it looks like it is covered in what looks to be gold leaf. It has a Spaulding Baseball held in his famous knuckleball pitching left hand .My brother & I received this as a gift ~ 40 years ago from my Uncle Tony who supposedly use to drink with WW. The story goes that only 3 were made; 1 in the hall of fame, 1 to Wilbur Wood & 1 to my uncle, I think he worked at the lamp company, I was only 5 or 6 years old at the time. My Uncle passed away years ago, but we have treasured this for years, being a lifelong Sox fan. I guess the story was true!

Well I think that they must have made at least 4 of them because I also have one. It was my grandfathers that was passed down to me. The only difference is that the ball is autographed by W.W. My grandfather had many connections to the White Sox that he loved. I’m not sure who gave it to him but I also have a ball autographed by Chuck Tanner that was given to me.

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