Bill Melton

White Sox Talk Podcast: What made Bill Melton a White Sox legend

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: What made Bill Melton a White Sox legend

With the White Sox honoring Bill Melton with a special Bill Melton Day for the 50th anniversary of his White Sox debut, Chuck Garfien and Ryan McGuffey sat down with Beltin’ Bill to discuss his special baseball career and why he has meant so much to White Sox fans over the years.

They cover his very first game which came against Mickey Mantle and the Yankees, his 1971 home run title, how his career almost ended when he fell off a roof in 1972, his secretive back surgery, passing out on the field, hangovers, why the mention of his name helped White Sox fans win arguments with Cubs fans and much more.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

6 eye-popping White Sox cards in honor of Topps' release day

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Kamka

6 eye-popping White Sox cards in honor of Topps' release day

I have been collecting cards as long as I can remember.

Some of my fondest childhood memories include the day the first baseball card packs of the season were available. At the time, I survived on allowance, so getting a few packs at a time was a treat; I couldn’t just go out and buy an entire box of packs like I can now.

Anyway, those brightly colored packs of mid-1980s Topps were everything to me. In fact, I stumbled upon a card shop a few years back that still sold packs of the cards from my childhood, so I bought some. I already own all the complete sets, but I bought them anyway just to have the unopened packs. Just looking at them makes me happy.

To celebrate Topps releasing its 2018 Series 1 product on Wednesday, I present six of my favorite White Sox cards:

1993 Topps Finest Refractors #102 – Frank Thomas.

The peak years of my collecting career and the peak player of the time. And the introduction of a super-premium card. It was glossy. It looks as if Frank was popping off the card. And when you hold it under the light there was a prismatic effect. OK, truth be told, I never got my hands on it until years later. But still, it brings me back to a time where the greatest hitter I’ve ever seen was on my favorite team. 

1967 Topps Venezuelan #187 – Minnie Miñoso.

One of the oldest mementos of my childhood is a picture of me which was autographed by Minnie Miñoso on the back:

“4/30/1981  Best Wishes, Minnie Miñoso”

Every generation of White Sox fans has stories about Minnie Miñoso. It’s a travesty he’s not in the Hall of Fame. I even started a Twitter account (@Minoso9HOF) hoping to spread awareness to get him into the Hall one day. I started accumulating Miñoso collectibles. When I discovered this card I had to have it. Bold blue background. RETIRADO (retired in Spanish) in bold lettering. One of the beauties in collecting individual players is coming across rare cards you had no idea existed. 

1909-11 t206 Ed Walsh

Perhaps the most famous card set ever, because of the legendary Honus Wagner card which Wagner had pulled because he didn’t want his image associated with tobacco products (more accurately: he didn’t want his image associated with anything without getting paid for it). It isn’t Wagner, but it is the finest White Sox player of the day. MLB record 1.82 career ERA thanks in most part to a devastating spitball. The card is small - 1 7⁄16 by 2 5⁄8 inchesThe coolest part of owning this card is thinking to yourself that it’s over 100 years old.

1974 Topps Deckle Edge Bill Melton

Bill Melton is a gregarious, insightful and generous man who I am honored to work alongside. Oh yeah, he was the first player in White Sox history to lead the American League in home runs. Black & White photograph, rounded cuts along the edges. Blue facsimile signature. Unique card for a unique man.

1983 Topps Carlton Fisk #20

My favorite all-time player in my favorite all-time set. The first set from which I had a lot of cards. Plain and simple. Color scheme matching that of the team, small headshot in the corner. Iconic ’83 uniforms. Pudge in command decked out in his catcher’s gear. Classic cardboard back of card. Lines upon lines of statistics. It gets no better than this. 

Bonus: 1995 Upper Deck Michael Jordan #200

Michael in White Sox uniform being interviewed. By Harry Caray. Two separate things which I love about cards:

First, it’s a glimpse of a player in a uniform other than the one In which you remember him best. It’s like being delivered into an alternate universe. It’s Pete Rose with the Expos. It’s Ken Griffey Jr. with the White Sox. You ask yourself in disbelief, “That really happened??” 

Second, the cameo appearance. It’s Harry Caray! Two Chicago icons in one. Another Michael Jordan cameo example is the Sam Vincent basketball card in which they caught Jordan wearing #12 in the foreground – the only game he ever wore it (because his jersey was stolen that day)!

I collected cards before I reached Kindergarten. I sorted them by age. I sorted them by height. I sorted them by country of birth. I bought a price guide and sorted them by value. 

As I got older, I stopped playing stock market and discovered the true love for collecting. Today, I buy what I like. I take a three-ring binder and fill up the 9-pocket pages. The pages tell a story. People I loved watching. People I have met. People I worked with. I’m still excited to rip open that first pack of the season. Happy collecting!

White Sox Talk Podcast: Bill Melton tells all about his life in baseball

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AP

White Sox Talk Podcast: Bill Melton tells all about his life in baseball

Bill Melton's baseball career is the stuff of legend — some for what happened on the field, but also for what happened off of it.

On the latest White Sox Talk Podcast, the former White Sox slugger speaks with Chuck Garfien about winning the 1971 home run crown on the final day of the regular season after partying on Rush Street into the wee hours the night before. Melton also describes his huge public battle with then White Sox play-by-play announcer Harry Caray, partying at Hugh Hefner's Playboy Club, hanging out with Frank Sinatra, fighting with former Angels manager Dick Williams.

Melton tells these stories and many more about the wild days of playing major league baseball in the 1970s. Plus, you'll hear a lost interview from 1971 when Brent Musburger interviewed Melton right after he became the home run king.

Listen to the latest episode below: