Continuing on to part II, today we will examine past (and present) White Sox hitting coaches. The hitting side of the equation has been a bit trickier to research than pitching coaches. Baseball Reference (and other outlets) have confirmed staffs back to 1980, but with the White Sox, it was the wild west when it came to hitting coaches pre-1980 (outside of 1977-1978).
From what I found via contemporary newspaper accounts of the time (before I ran out of my own time), an awful lot of the hitting coach duties for the White Sox (usually called batting coach, particularly the further back in time one goes) were spread between the first base, third base, and bench coaches. Thus, we’re only going back to 1969 in today’s quiz. Hopefully, I can continue to research this further and update as I find new information.
At any rate, today’s Sporcle will test you on hitting coaches from the present back to 1969. Coaches from the ’70s (again, outside of 1977-1978) are my best guess as who performed the majority of hitting coach duties based on newspaper accounts. That still gives us an astonishing 23 names: how many can you get? Good luck!
- I’ve allotted 20 minutes for completion attempts.
- For hints, I’ve provided the tenure of the hitting coach.
Useless information to amaze, annoy, confuse, and/or confound your friends and family:
- Some of the names in the late-’60s and then the ’70s are pretty well-known former players.
- I have not included Deacon Jones on this list. He is continually referenced as a hitting coach for the White Sox in newspaper accounts, but I cannot find any outlet listing him as such. Other newspaper accounts list him as a coach in the minor leagues, so I need to research his role further, if possible.
All names from a combination of Baseball Reference, contemporary newspaper accounts, and SABR’s BioProject.
12/23, and I left quite a few famous names on the table. Didn’t Minnie’s coaching responsibilities in the late 70s extend to hitting at some point?
Yes, he was kind of that rotating hitting coach/base coach tandem I mentioned. He was most consistently mentioned as having first base coach duties, so I decided to leave him off.
I think Winkles also spent some time as 3B coach, but I’m basing that off unreliable memories. Other than Minnie, my primary memory of the late 70s coaching staff was when Fred Martin was hired to great fanfare only to die a few months later. (The 1982 entry on this list was the hitting analogue, getting ill midway through 1983 and dying during spring training the next year.)
Hasn’t his number been unofficially retired? I don’t think anyone has worn it since he passed and I kind of remember hearing that Gordon Beckham asked about it at one point and was told that it’s not available.
Walt Hriniak who was a student of Lau wore #6. Speaking of Lau, I was pretty certain that he was still the hitting coach in ’83. I found this on Baseball Reference Charley Lau moved to the New York Yankees in 1979 and 1980 then on to the Chicago White Sox, officially, for 1981 and 1982. He was also on their staff for 1983, but he gave up his official position so Loren Babe could qualify for his league pension
Other than WH wearing it as tribute in the early 90s, yes.
Walt Hriniak who was a student of Lau is the only one who’s worn #6 since Lau.
I got 10/27, which is a lot better than I did last week.
14/23, but that involved a lot of guessing of names. I don’t remember some of those guys being hitting coaches.
I’m pretty sure Lau was the hitting coach in ’83. I actually talked to him during the ’83 World Series, I think it was the 5th game. Lau was hospitalized at University of Chicago Hospital and I was visiting others. I saw Lau’s name on one of the doors and poked my head in. He was watching the game on TV and lamenting that the Sox could have easily beaten Philadelphia. He was really gracious and fun to talk to even for a few minutes.
He was, though officially Loren Babe was listed. Babe got diagnosed with cancer and hadn’t yet accrued enough time as uniformed personnel to get his pension.. Since he was a scout, the Sox made him a coach in May of 1983. Lau officially gave up his position (as there was a limit on uniformed personnel at the time), but still performed the same prep with hitters. Lau, Hemond, and Reinsdorf went above and beyond to help Babe, and then Lau got his diagnosis shortly afterward.