Philip Humber's perfect game was certainly improbable; its finish (as JJ Stankevitz alluded to in his fantastic synopsis of the final at-bat) was equally remarkable. But on this day in 1959, something even more bizarre took place at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City.
The 1959 White Sox was a team whose identity was earned by "strength up the middle" and a great pitching staff. Despite winning the pennant, they were 5th (out of 8 teams) in runs scored. So when the box score read 20-6 in favor of the Pale Hose after an April 22, 1959 game against the Athletics, it certainly wasn't the norm.
Much less amazing than the fact that they scored 20 runs was how they did it. The lone home run was hit by Luis Aparicio, who hit only six all year; a man who etched his plaque in Cooperstown with a legendary glove and a mountainous pile of stolen bases. That's not the most interesting thing about it.
Things looked grim after starter Early Wynn was knocked out in the bottom of the second after a Roger Maris homer made the score 6-1 Kansas City. The Sox rallied and took an 8-6 lead into the 7th inning, and what took place next will never again be duplicated on a Major League diamond; and this is how it went down:
- Ray Boone reached on a throwing error by shortstop Joe DeMaestri
- Al Smith reached on an error by third baseman Hal Smith during a sac-bunt
- Johnny Callison singled; Boone scored, Smith scored
- Luis Aparicio walked, then stole second
- Bob Shaw walked
- Earl Torgeson (batting for Sammy Esposito) walked, scoring Callison
- Nellie Fox walked, scoring Aparicio
- Jim Landis grounded out 1-2, Shaw forced at home
- Sherm Lollar walked, scoring Torgeson
- Boone walked, scoring Fox
- Smith walked, scoring Landis
- Callison was hit by pitch, scoring Lollar
- Aparicio walked, scoring Boone
- Shaw struck out
- Bubba Phillips (batting for Torgeson) walked, scoring Smith
- Fox walked, scoring Lou Skizas (running for Callison)
- Landis grounded out 1-3
That's right: 11 runs on one hit, three errors, 10 walks, and a hit-by-pitch; truly one of the most surreal sequences of events the game could ever produce.
The White Sox continued their rebuild Thursday by trading for an intriguing young right-handed pitcher.
The South Siders acquired Thyago Vieira from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for international signing bonus pool money.
The 24-year-old Vieira is a Brazilian native and has only made one appearance in the big leagues, striking out a batter in one perfect inning of work in 2017.
While his career minor-league numbers don't jump off the page — 14-19 with a 4.58 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 13 saves and 7.4 K/9 in 290.2 innings \— Vieira has been reportedly clocked at 104 mph with his fastball and was ranked as the Mariners' No. 8 prospect at the time of the deal. He also held righties to .194 batting average in 2017.
Here's video of Vieira throwing gas:
And this may explain why Vieira was even available:
Control has been an issue throughout his career, as he's walked 4.6 batters per nine innings in the minors. He has improved in that regard over the last few seasons, however, walking only 22 batters in 54 innings across three levels in 2017 and he doled out only one free pass in 5.1 innings in the Arizona Fall League in 2016.
What does this deal mean in the big picture for baseball? How did the Sox pull off a move like this while not having to give up a player in return?
This may help shed light on the situation from Baseball America's Kyle Glaser:
Either way, the White Sox may have just acquired a guy who could potentially throw his name in the hat for "future closer." Or at the very least, throw his name in the hat for "best name."
After posting career numbers in 2017, Avisail Garcia is already attracting trade suitors this offseason.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea, the Oakland A's have interest in acquiring the outfielder, who would fill the team's need for a right-handed bat.
The buzz should come as no surprise given Garcia produced a slash line of .330/.380/.506 in his breakout campaign, where he was also named the lone representative for the rebuilding Sox at the All-Star Game.
Now the question centers on whether GM Rick Hahn, whose phone constantly stays buzzing, sees the 26-year-old as a piece for the future or trade bait. Heading into winter meetings, Hahn reiterated that he would listen to deals involving Garcia and Jose Abreu, especially considering the South Siders are likely still a few years away from seriously competing in the American League.
With Garcia under club control until 2019 and his value at its peak, now may be the ideal time for Hahn to sell high and stockpile even more prospects for the already talent-rich farm system. The A's currently have four players in MLB Pipeline's Top 100.
It may be Avi Time in Oakland.