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Ultimate Sox Team:

by WSI editor George Bova

They aren't necessarily the best players of the decade.  They aren't the longest serving either.  In some cases they aren't even the fans' favorites.  But each of these players (for whatever reason) came to embody the Chicago White Sox of the 1960's.

First Base -Tommy McCraw
A first basemen who never hit more than .261, 11 homers, or 48 rbi's.  Tommy was solid in the field and stole bases.  The quintessential player of the Go-Go Sox era.

Second Base - Al Weis
Slap-hitting Sox utility fielder of the 60's.  Bunting and defense were his only forte.  Earned most Sox fans' affection after he left for the Mets where his unexpected burst of power helped destroy the Cubs playoff chances in 1969.

Third Base - Pete Ward
The key player the Sox acquired in 1963 for Luis Aparicio.  Pete didn't disappoint, narrowly losing Rookie of the Year honors to teammate Gary Peters in the 94-win campaign that same year.  His 23 homers and 94 rbi's were key to the 98-win second place finish in 1964, too.  An injury cut short a promising career.  Without his bat, the Sox became punchless contenders, never strong enough to win a title.

Shortstop - Luis Aparicio
The fate of the franchise rose and fell with Luis throughout the 60's.  Key player in '63 trade with Baltimore that transformed both teams.  Brought back in late-60's when management was desperate to draw fans by any means necessary.  Traded again when attendance still lagged --- and the franchise near collapse.  A hall-of-famer too good for the financially-strapped Sox to keep.  Sox fans always knew who he truly belonged to no matter whose uniform he wore.

Outfield - Ken Berry
The ultimate defensive Sox fielder of the 60's.  Ranged across Comiskey's expansive outfield to keep his light-hitting teammates from ever needing to score too many runs.  Did manage to lead the team in hitting in 1967 with a laughable .241 average.  Was expendable in the late-60's when Sox management became obsessed with scoring runs in hopes of drawing more fans to Comiskey.

Outfield - Tommie Agee
Rookie of the Year in 1966.  Base stealing threat and solid defensive center fielder.  Traded to the Mets and became a hero of their "Miracle" season in 1969.  No miracles on the south-side.

Outfield - Floyd Robinson
A regular in the outfield and one of the few Sox players of the decade to accomplish any success swinging a bat.  His batting average dropped each season like those of his teammates'.

Catcher - J.C. Martin
Solid defensive catcher that couldn't hit.  Got playing time since none of the other Sox catchers could hit much either --- not that any Sox player of the 60's could hit much.  Another ex-Sox who went on to make key contributions to the "Miracle" New York Mets of 1969.

Pitcher - Gary Peters
Arguably the best Sox pitcher in the 60's, the best ever decade for Sox pitching.  Rookie of the Year in '63 and 20 game winner in '64 when the Sox finished one game behind the Yanks.  A solid hitter, he was often used as a pinch hitter and once batted sixth in the line-up!  Injuries cut his career short.

Pitcher - Joe Horlen
Along with Gary Peters, "Hard Luck" Horlen was the rock on which the Sox pitching staff was built.  No matter how microscopic the Sox team batting average became, Horlen could be counted on to deliver even smaller earned run average.  His 2.06 ERA of 1967 led the league and his September no-hitter put the team in position to win the A.L. pennant.  It never happened.

Pitcher - Eddie Fisher
The knuckleballer acquired from San Francisco for aging Billy Pierce.  Along with Hoyt Wilhelm, the glue of the Sox bullpen.  Spoke up on labor issues and suddenly found himself traded to Baltimore for Jerry Adair in the worst Sox trade of the decade.  Got his championship ring with the Birds.

Manager - Eddie Stanky
Beyond all probability, managed to keep the punchless '67 Sox in a four-way race for the American League pennant.  "The Brat" made few friends along the way.  Warring with the press and public sniping of opposing players were common.  Sox players were assessed numerous fines for clubhouse rule infractions.  A slow start in '68 led to his resignation -- and near oblivion for the franchise.

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