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Remember That Guy: White Sox outfielder, first baseman Dan Pasqua

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Remember That Guy: White Sox outfielder, first baseman Dan Pasqua

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the White Sox had a muscular lefty slugger who had a tendency to hit baseballs really far.

Dan Pasqua had the prospect pedigree, he had the look and he had the power. Remember that guy?

Daniel Anthony Pasqua was born Oct. 17, 1961 in Yonkers, N.Y. He excelled in baseball and football at Old Tappan High School in the Garden State, and was drafted by Yankees in third round of 1982 MLB Draft out of William Paterson University (Wayne, N.J.), eight picks after the White Sox selected Kenny Williams.

Pasqua started his pro career in 1982 and immediately collected Appalachian League Player of the Year honors with Paintsville (Ky.), where he hit .301/.357/.561 with 63 RBIs and a league-leading 16 home runs in 60 games. He capped off his season with four games for Oneonta of the NY-Penn league, coming in to replace of John Elway, who had to return to Stanford for his senior season of football.

Wherever Pasqua went, he punished baseballs. In 1983, he hit .273/.383/.499 with 19 long balls (and 10 triples) for Fort Lauderdale (Single-A) before getting into one game with Columbus (Triple-A). He spent all of 1984 at Double-A Nashville, where he only hit .243 in 136 games but slugged 33 home runs, leading the Southern League. The following season, Pasqua got his chance and was called up to the Bronx.

After starting the season in the minors, Pasqua wore his Yankee pinstripes for the first time on May 30, 1985 against the Angels and homered in the fifth inning off California righty Ron Romanick. Pasqua started in left field in his big league debut; the other two Yankee outfielders were Hall of Famers Dave Winfield (right field) and Rickey Henderson (center). Unfortunately, Pasqua followed that with a 3-for-26 stretch and was shipped back down to Columbus for more seasoning.

By the end of the season, Pasqua was the 1985 International League MVP despite only appearing 78 games. He mashed Triple-A pitching, hitting .321/.419/.599 with 18 homers and 69 RBIs.

It seemed like the left field job would be his to win in 1986, but Pasqua had a terrible spring. Early on, he received the news that his mother died, and understandably, he settled into an awful slump. He started the season back at Columbus, and he was solid, earning a mid-May callup. Pasqua started to look like the power prospect he was in the minors, finishing 1986 with a .293/.399/.525 slash line with 16 homers in 102 games with the Yankees. There were high hopes for 1987; among them, Sports Illustrated predicted in its season preview issue that Pasqua would be the 1987 AL home run champion.

But it was not to be, as Pasqua was sent back down after hitting .201 in 60 games to start the season. He rejoined the Yankees in mid-July, hitting .268 with nine homers and a .490 SLG through the end of the season. The Yankees were likely frustrated with the inconsistency, and in November they sent Pasqua, Steve Rosenberg and Mark Salas to the White Sox for pitchers Richard Dotson and Scott Nielsen. In his first season with the White Sox in 1988, Pasqua posted what would end up his lone career 20-homer season in the majors. He led the White Sox in long balls, though it came with a low batting average (.227).

“The Hammer,” as Hawk Harrelson would call him, missed a chunk of time in 1989 due to wrist and knee injuries (he hit .248 with 11 homers in 73 games), though on the four-year anniversary of his MLB debut, he hit a Comiskey Park roofshot on May 30 off Frank Tanana. In 1990 he put together a fine .274/.347/.495 line with 13 home runs in 112 games as the White Sox played their final season at old Comiskey Park. In the final game at the old ballyard, Pasqua’s sixth inning RBI triple scored Frank Thomas to give the White Sox a 2-1 lead, which would remain the final score — it was the last RBI in the history of Chicago’s “Baseball Palace of the World.”

Pasqua’s first two home runs at New Comiskey Park came on April 27, 1991 — the second of which traveled an incredible 484 estimated feet. Overall, he split first base duties with Thomas and also covered right field when Sammy Sosa wasn’t out there. He did impressive work, with 18 home runs in 134 games. He hit .259/.358/.465, which calculated out to a wRC+ of 130 (30 percent better than league average). Along the way, Pasqua reached the century mark in career home runs on Sept. 2.

In 1992 and '93, Pasqua struggled as he entered his 30s, putting up similar seasons — .211/.305/.347, six homers in 93 games in '92; .205/.302/.358, five homers in 78 games in 1993. One interesting nugget is that over those two seasons, the White Sox were twice held to just one hit in a game. And both times it was Pasqua breaking up a deep no-hit bid with an extra base hit. On Aug. 26, 1992, he broke the Blue Jays’ Todd Stottlemyre’s no-hit bid with a double with one out in the eighth inning. Then, on Aug. 18, 1993, Danny Darwin had a no-hit bid at Fenway Park when Pasqua hit a triple with one out in the eighth.

In 1994, Pasqua looked rejuvenated, hitting .389 with 20 RBIs in spring training, but once the regular season hit, he played 11 games before needing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He had a four-game rehab stint with Birmingham at the end of June, where he briefly was a teammate of Michael Jordan. It ended up being the end of his professional career, as his contract with the White Sox was up and injuries were taking their toll.

Pasqua finished his 10-year MLB career with exactly 3,000 plate appearances. He hit .244/.330/.438 with 117 home runs. He’s tied with Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Ichiro (among others) on the career home run list. Not bad! He’s also the only player in MLB history with at least 40 home runs for the White Sox and Yankees.

After his playing career, Pasqua became a White Sox ambassador and continues to serve as a professional instructor who helps with little league/travel teams, leagues and coaching.

“The Hammer” Dan Pasqua — remember that guy?

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White Sox 2021 schedule is out, with more NL Central matchups

White Sox 2021 schedule is out, with more NL Central matchups

Get used to the NL Central, White Sox fans.

Just days after Major League Baseball finalized the schedule for the upcoming 60-game 2020 season, the schedule for next season was released Thursday, outlining plans for a 2021 season when the league hopes it can return to normalcy.

The geographic scheduling of the 2020 season, shortened by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, pits the White Sox against teams from the NL Central, and that will again be the case in a 2021 season hopefully unbound by travel restrictions.

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The White Sox will obviously face their AL Central foes and return to regular-season matchups against the AL East and AL West after missing out on such games this season. But the Interleague opponents will once more hail from the NL Central, with the White Sox playing two series apiece against the Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates. They will play hosts to the St. Louis Cardinals in May and visit the Milwaukee Brewers in July. Both Crosstown series, the first on the North Side and the second on the South Side, will be played on weekends in August.

The White Sox will start the 2021 campaign on a West Coast road trip, with Opening Day set for Thursday, April 1, the start of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim. That's followed by three games against the Seattle Mariners in Washington before the White Sox return to Guaranteed Rate Field for the home opener against the Kansas City Royals on April 8.

The regular season will dip into October next year, with the White Sox closing the regular season on a five-game homestand against the Reds and Detroit Tigers, the regular-season finale coming Sunday, October 3.

Check out the White Sox entire 2021 schedule below:


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White Sox sim-game chatter shows entertainment potential in empty stadiums

White Sox sim-game chatter shows entertainment potential in empty stadiums

Baseball is going to look weird in 2020.

And it might sound even weirder.

Already, even though players are just stretching, tracking down fly balls, throwing bullpen sessions and taking batting practice during the MLB-branded "Summer Camp," the experience of baseball being played in an empty major league stadium is somewhat bizarre.

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But once regular-season games start? It's going to be like a different game from a different universe.

We got a little taste of what it might be like Wednesday, when White Sox ace Lucas Giolito threw a simulated game at Guaranteed Rate Field, throwing at game speed while his teammates took game-style at-bats.

Sim games are not among the many newfangled baseball inventions for a pandemic-delayed season. They've been around for a while and they're always weird, with only one pitcher pitching, sitting in the dugout for 10 minutes to simulate the other half of an inning that is not actually being played, and then facing off against the same players who just backed him up defensively the last time he was out there.

But as we prepare for regular-season games without fans, this simulated game was perhaps more realistic than ever.

The silence was deafening, obviously. The roar of the crowd that would have accompanied back-to-back strikeouts to start off the game for Giolito was met with nothing. Tim Anderson swung and missed at Strike 3 and went back to the dugout. Luis Robert looked at Strike 3 and went back to the dugout. No clapping, no cheering, no blaring clip from Boz Scaggs' "Lido Shuffle," which the White Sox employed during Giolito ("Lido," "-lito," get it?) strikeouts in 2019.

But in the absence of crowd noise, there's an opportunity for a new aspect of entertainment to arise. Because you know what you could hear? Everything the players said. And some of it was pretty darn funny.

Simulated games don't have umpires, so it was on catchers Yasmani Grandal and James McCann to call Giolito's balls and strikes. And Grandal got into it. When Robert stared down that third strike, he made an exaggerated punch-out motion with his fist, earning laughs from the White Sox dugout, with one dugout denizen invoking the name of infamous umpire Joe West in a joking response. Grandal kept it up, feeding off the reaction a la Frank Drebin in "The Naked Gun," and punched out Zack Collins later in the sim game, earning more laughs.

When Nomar Mazara connected on a Giolito pitch for what most would have assumed would be a line drive to right field, the diminutive Nick Madrigal, perfectly positioned in an exaggerated shift, came up with a nice catch to steal a hit away from Mazara. The response from the dugout? "You got bad luck if you can't hit it over his head."

And there was more. Giolito started talking at McCann when the catcher got his pitcher for a double into the left-field corner. The energetic Anderson was pretty loud while cheering for his teammates from the dugout. Coaches could be heard shouting out instructions.

The absence of crowds means fans watching on TV might be able to hear things they've never heard before, adding a new element of entertainment.

"With (our) teammates, we’re going to mess around, we’ll be talking trash," Giolito said Wednesday. "I’m interested to see how that carries over once we get to the regular season. You can hear pretty much everything everyone is saying."

RELATED: Why White Sox-Cubs games could be 'a little taste' of Crosstown World Series

The White Sox will do their best to fill the fanless void at Guaranteed Rate Field. They announced Wednesday the ability for fans to have their likenesses on cardboard cutouts in the stands during the season-opening series against the Minnesota Twins. And players seem unsure about whether crowd noise will be played over the speakers once the games begin. That would be equally weird, though it might help out the players, grasping for any sense of normalcy in a season where their routine-oriented day-to-day work lives have been turned upside down.

But why not keep the crowd noise away and use this opportunity to show off a new element to the game?

TV broadcasts were hoping to mic players up and have them chat with announcers during games. We'll see if that pans out, though the lack of an agreement between the league and the players' union seemed to disperse any optimism of that happening on a regular basis. In place of that, this on-field chatter could be wildly entertaining.

"I think it might (add some more entertainment value)," manager Rick Renteria said. "The guys, they were chirping in the dugout today. It was fun to hear them. They're just like everybody else. You love to play the game, and you have an opportunity to go out and play in your home park, even though you're playing against each other. It's a nice energy to have. Who wouldn't want to play baseball in a big league park? And they share that joy that they all have when they are out there competing."

So get ready for it all: trash talk, disagreements with umpires, pitchers and hitters jawing back and forth, cheers from the dugout and just plain short jokes.

Baseball's going to sound mighty different in 2020.


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