Throughout their history, the White Sox have had some impressive performances against the game’s greatest pitchers. Specifically, against the pitchers with the two highest strikeout totals in MLB history. Monday happens to be the anniversary of one of those games.
Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson combined for 10,589 career punchouts, and they also combined for four games with four or more home runs allowed. Three times the Big Unit coughed up four home runs in a game: June 20, 1999 against the Braves, Sept, 1, 2008 against the Cardinals and Aug. 21, 2005 at US Cellular Field against the White Sox.
Meanwhile, the Ryan Express served up four long balls in a game only once: 31 years ago Monday at Arlington Stadium against the White Sox. The Rangers jumped all over starter Eric King for a five-run first, which the White Sox could not overcome (they lost 11-7). However, the Sox clobbered Nolan Ryan for four home runs, which is a small victory in itself. Iván Calderon hit a solo shot in the second inning, Harold Baines and Ron Kittle went back-to-back in the fourth and Baines added a second solo shot in the eighth.
Baines was one of only eight players ever to homer twice off Ryan in a game. Of course, a month and a half later Baines became Ryan's teammate after a trade to the Rangers.
Fast-forward to Aug. 21, 2005, when Randy Johnson of the Yankees visited Chicago and allowed four home runs – all in the same inning. After Pablo Ozuna grounded out to lead off the fourth, Tadahito Iguchi, Aaron Rowand and Paul Konerko went back-to-back-to-back off the future Hall of Famer.
Then, after two more singles by Jermaine Dye and Juan Uribe, Chris Widger connected for a three-run blast – the fourth homer of the inning. It was the only time Johnson ever allowed three homers in an inning, let alone four, and therefore the only time he allowed three in a row. It was one moment among many in that unforgettable 2005 run.
Sitting in the White Sox dugout that Sunday afternoon in August 2005 was Baines – the White Sox bench coach. He was there for both of these amazing performances against legendary pitchers.
It’s fun to point out that the White Sox were the only team with a four-homer performance against each of these two supreme strikeout artists.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.