Nolan Ryan

White Sox history nuggets: Impressive performances against Hall of Fame pitchers

White Sox history nuggets: Impressive performances against Hall of Fame pitchers

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.

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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.

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Kyle Hendricks is off to a better start to his career than Clayton Kershaw and Nolan Ryan

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AP

Kyle Hendricks is off to a better start to his career than Clayton Kershaw and Nolan Ryan

While Cubdom determines if Kyle Hendricks should start Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals, a Twitter user pointed out just how impactful the 27-year-old starting pitcher has been.

After Hendricks tossed five shutout innings Thursday night in St. Louis, his career ERA dipped to 2.94 in 100 career outings (99 starts).

That's a better mark than some of the greatest pitchers to even play the game, including Clayton Kershaw, Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan and Greg Maddux:

It's not the first time Hendricks has bested Kershaw, having taken down the Los Angeles Dodgers ace in Game 6 of the 2016 NLCS at Wrigley Field, clincing the Cubs' first pennant in 71 years.

Of course, there is one stark contrast: Hendricks made his 100 appearances from age 24 to 27. Kershaw, on the other hand, made his 100th career big-league appearance at age 23. Maddux was also 23 while Ryan and Clemens were 24.

In the seven years and 191 games since Kershaw's 100th appearance, he has posted a ridiculous 2.08 ERA and 0.911 WHIP while striking out 10.1 batters per nine innings.

Still, not a bad start to the MLB career for Hendricks, a guy who was never considered one of the game's top prospects and morphed from a No. 5 starter to lead the league in ERA last season.

Through his 100 career games, Hendricks is 38-22 with a 1.098 WHIP and 507 strikeouts in 590 innings.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Tom Paciorek shares stories about his career, broadcasting with Hawk Harrelson

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Tom Paciorek shares stories about his career, broadcasting with Hawk Harrelson

With Tom Paciorek "Wimpy" reuniting with Hawk Harrelson for the White Sox four-game series in Seattle, the beloved former player/broadcaster talks with Chuck Garfien about some of his favorite Hawk Harrelson stories on the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast.

Paciorek describes what it was like to be in the booth during the classic fight between Robin Ventura and Nolan Ryan. Wimpy also looks back at the 1983 "Winning Ugly" White Sox, how he set a record in the longest game in White Sox history, and spills the beans about what he plans on wearing when throwing out the first pitch in Seattle on Friday and more. 

Later, Ryan McGuffey and Chris Kamka join the podcast to talk about the sudden rise of Leury Garcia, Rick Renteria owning up to a managerial mistake. Plus, they preview the new CSN documentary "White Sox Cornerstones" about the team's farm system which premieres on May 22 at 7 p.m.

Check out the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast here: