Podcast: Entering the White Sox Multiverse

Record Date: 12/21/2021

In light of the blockbuster movie Spider-Man: No Way Home, Josh and Jim decide to enter the Chicago White Sox multiverse. What past outcomes would they change and why? Which past players would they pluck from previous timelines and place on the 2022 White Sox roster? Finally, who on the current roster would they send back in time to help a past White Sox team?

Join them as they travel into the White Sox Multiverse.

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Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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asinwreck

For the holidays, Josh produced an episode guaranteed to generate listener profanities given the names mentioned.

One alteration worth pondering is a small one. Roland Hemond traded Steve Trout for a package bringing back Scott Fletcher, Dick Tidrow, and Pat Tabler before the 1983 season. He then immediately traded Tabler to Cleveland for Jerry Dybzinski. What if Hemond had simply kept Tabler as a backup 1B/3B, released Mike Squires, and, I don’t know, signed Mario Mendoza or Rodney Scott as the backup shortstop?

Tabler was a good hitter in 1983 and maybe would have helped against Baltimore once all the other bats went dormant in that series. More importantly in this scenario, Dybzinski never suits up for the White Sox. Do the Sox win the 1983 World Series if Hemond simply keeps Tabler?

We pondered in this post some of the possibilities of how the White Sox under the DeBartolo family would have fared in the 1980s. One interesting thing about that family is they were out-of-towners (Youngstown) who were good stewards of the San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Penguins, winning championships with both teams. Edward Sr. kept kept the Penguins in town as the local steel industry collapsed. I think he would have been good for the White Sox, even if some of his malls inspire nightmares of what his version of New Comiskey might have been.

The idea of Dick Allen starting his career with the White Sox makes me wonder if he’d still be alive today after living a less stressed life. (A life that would have included a Hall of Fame induction 30 years ago with 2-3 World Series rings on his fingers.)

Last edited 6 months ago by asinwreck
Trooper Galactus

Good thing Jim brought up Wilbur Wood since Josh completely ignored my suggesting him! The only 10+ bWAR season post-integration in White Sox history!

Joliet Orange Sox

I think 1971 Wood could get hitters out in today’s game. 189 ERA+ is really good in any era. I agree completely with Jim’s point about a knuckballer having a better chance of his stuff still working than a guy who threw 93 mph fastballs past hitters long ago. Tim Wakefield made an all-star team as recently as 2009 with a knuckleball that didn’t compare to Wood’s.

Last edited 6 months ago by Joliet Orange Sox
Joliet Orange Sox

Also, Wood had the only 10+ WAR seasons (not season) for the Sox post-integration. Wood had 11.7 bWAR in 1971 and 10.7 bWAR in 1972.

Trooper Galactus

Yeah, I forgot to type the plural. Wood was dominant well into the post-integration era, so he was facing the maximum level of competition and performing at a level beyond elite. I consider every choice to be adjusted a bit for era, so while maybe you have to take Shoeless Joe’s stats with something of a grain of salt, there’s no questions about what Wood accomplished in those years.

When I suggested him, it’s not like I’m saying we clone Wilbur Wood and that exact same guy appears and starts throwing exactly like he did, but a guy whose performance comes out to what he pulled off regardless of how he goes about it. So we would get a pitcher who ranks in the AL:
-2nd in IP
-3rd in Wins
-1st in WAR
-2nd in WHIP
-6th in H/9
-4th in BB/9
-5th in Ks
-3rd in K/BB
-1st in ERA+
-2nd in ERA
-4th in FIP
-2nd in Pitcher Assists
-3rd in Complete Games
-2nd in Games Started
-2nd in Shutouts

While Wood wasn’t a premier strikeout guy even in his era, his command and control in his best years was impeccable, so even his advanced stats like FIP and K/BB were in elite territory.

Last edited 6 months ago by Trooper Galactus
joe-u4351

The fear of a Ed DeBartolo ownership in the 1979/1980 time frame was the rumors of moving the White Sox to New Orleans or Denver. The MLB owners of that time were concerned over Ed DeBartolo’s involvement with horse racing and rejected his bid to buy the team.

For better or worse, Jerry Reinsdorf has provided the White Sox with ownership stability over the past 40 plus years. When the White Sox were sold to the Tandem of Eddie Einhorn & Jerry Reinsdorf, Eddie was pretty much the outspoken mouthpiece for the ownership team up until the time the new Comiskey Park was approved for construction in 1987. From that point on, Eddie Einhorn was pretty much pushed to the background and Jerry Reinsdorf assumed the role that Eddie had for much of their early ownership period.

Armour Square Park would never had happened simply because the “Friends of the Parks” would have filled suite blocking the building of the ballpark on public land. In addition the foot print for construction between 33rd-34th streets would have been too small for a modern ball park. Everyone romanticizes about home plate facing the skyline but, was not going to happen.

If current or future ownership plans on replacing Guaranteed Rate Field I don’t think the state of Illinois or the City of Chicago will have the appetite for funding another stadium as they did in the past for both the White Sox for Comiskey II and the Bears for Soldier Field. Who ever wants to do this will more than likely have to self fund as the Bear’s are at least going through the motions about doing. I assume their furry bear paw will be out in the very near future asking for funding assistance.

Mark

Holiday activities meant that I couldn’t listen to this one until today. Even if no one ever reads this- my nominee for changing history:

1) Arthur Allyn doesn’t decide to take the Sox games off of WGN in 1967 in order to put them on a pay to view startup that no one could get even if they were willing to pay up ( which they weren’t). As a result the Sox effectively ceded ownership of the Chicago market to the Cubs, just as the Cubs began to improve from unlovable incompetents to lovable losers. Generations of fans were lost never to be retrieved. Sporadic success such as 1971-74, 1983, and the early to mid nineties wasn’t nearly enough to recoup the losses. The greatest blunder in Sox history. Worse than Sherm Lollar trying to score from second in Game 2 of the 1959 series or the Dibber in game 3 in 1983. Arguably the Sox have never completely recovered.

Jim Margalus

That’s a good one. I thought about Eddie Einhorn’s attempt at cable in the 1980s, but at least he and Reinsdorf still had money.

Joliet Orange Sox

I’d be very interested in hearing more about this. I’m not old enough to remember this pay-per-view of the 60’s. I agree the Cubs gained fans and the Sox lost fans due to the teams’ TV situations from the late 60’s till cable became common in the late 80’s.

I was born in the early 60’s and I remember my family buying a box to connect to our TV so we could get UHF (Channel 32) to see the Sox games (and Cartoon Town with BJ and Dirty Dragon and Speed Racer) in the late 60’s so not all the games were moved to pay-per-view. The UHF box was very finicky as you turned a dial like an old radio to tune the stations and someone just walking through the room could disrupt the broadcast. I always thought that the move to UHF was what lost the Sox viewership but it seems there was more going on including some kind of pay-per-view.