In a sport with as rich of a history as baseball, each team has its own particular lore. For the White Sox, it’s moments like Ron Kittle and Carlton Fisk launching roof shots at the Old Comiskey Park in the same game, DeWayne Wise’s impeccable catch to preserve Mark Buehrle’s perfect game, or A.J. Pierzynski making the savvy move to run to first on a controversial dropped third strike in the 2005 ALCS. More recently we also have the story of Chris Sale using a pair of scissors to destroy an alternate jersey he was supposed to wear for a start, because he didn’t like the way it felt.
On Shane Riordan’s “Bourbon and a Buddy” podcast, White Sox GM Rick Hahn shared his memories of that now infamous day, while sharing some extra details, too.
“I was at my older son’s little league game, and one of the coaches hadn’t shown up that afternoon, or was busy, so they asked me if I would coach first base,” Hahn said on the podcast. “So I’m enjoying the sunshine. I’m fairly sure it was a Saturday. We had a night game, and in the middle of coaching first base I get a text from Robin (Ventura), saying, ‘We have a problem. Sale doesn’t want to wear his jersey.’ I texted back and I’m like一 I didn’t even know it was a special jersey day一 I’m like, ‘I don’t understand.’ He goes, ‘He doesn't like the special jerseys. He doesn’t want to wear it.’ I said, ‘Alright, talk him through why we’re doing it, and figure it out.’”
That’s where the misunderstandings were just beginning for Hahn, however.
“Then he responded with, ‘No, he cut up the jersey.’ And I responded, again, I texted him back saying, ‘Well, get him another jersey then. They’ve got backups, get him another jersey.’ So then, Robin sent me another text that said, ‘No, you don’t understand. He cut up all the jerseys.’”
Suffice it to say, that was the end of Hahn’s day as a first base coach. He called Ventura to get the full story, and to relay a message to their ace:
“Let Saler know that I’d run home and shower, and when I was in he should meet me in my office to talk this through.
“By the time I got there, and Chris and I sat down to talk it through, he was apologetic. He was remorseful, he knew it wasn’t right. But the individual who went through and cut those jerseys up, sort of passionate competitor, and that ‘I’m gonna show you guys,’ that was all what made Chris great.
“He and I talked about it that afternoon. I told him he was going to have to be suspended for this, but we knew where it was coming from, and that’s part of what made him as special as he was, and still is.”
Sale was known as a fiery competitor in his time with the White Sox, and like Hahn said, that’s part of what made him so effective. Over his South Side tenure, Sale set a franchise record for most strikeouts in a season with 274一 and he did it in less than half the innings (208.2) that Ed Walsh required for the previous record (269 K in 464 innings). Sale also has more than twice as many double-digit strikeout games as anyone else in franchise history. He’s got 35, while Ed Walsh has 17. Later, with the Red Sox, Chris Sale hit the 2,000 strikeout milestone faster than anyone else in MLB history, on his 6,527th batter faced. Sale won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2018.