1981 Chicago White Sox

From BR Bullpen


BR Team Page

Record: 54-52, Finished 3rd overall (3rd in 1st half; 6th in 2nd half) in AL Western Division (1981 AL)

Managed by Tony LaRussa

Coaches: Art Kusnyer, Dave Nelson, Vada Pinson, Ron Schueler and Bobby Winkles

Ballpark: Comiskey Park

History, Comments, Contributions[edit]

The 1981 Chicago White Sox began the year with new ownership, as the sale of the club from Bill Veeck to a group led by Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn was finalized in January. The new owners wasted no time in improving the team, signing free agent catcher Carlton Fisk and acquiring designated hitter Greg Luzinski from the Philadelphia Phillies before the start of the season. Fisk, in particular, had an immediate impact, clubbing a game-winning homer against his former team, the Boston Red Sox on Opening Day, and hitting a grand slam in the home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers four days later. The Sox went on to win 10 of their first 13 games and were in third place just 2 1/2 games behind the Oakland Athletics when a players strike interrupted the season.

When play resumed in August, a split season format was adopted. The Sox began the second half strong, winning 10 of their first 16 and briefly occupying first place on August 25th. However, the team went 11-19 in September, spoiling any chance that Chicago would see postseason baseball for the first time in more than twenty years. The Sox ended the second half in sixth place, seven games below .500

In addition to Fisk, who started the All-Star Game, the 1981 Sox offense was led by Luzinski, who hit 21 home runs, centerfielder Chet Lemon, who batted .302, and leftfielder Ron LeFlore, who swiped 36 bases. On the mound, Britt Burns won 10 games and posted a 2.64 ERA, while Richard Dotson recorded 9 wins and Steve Trout contributed 8 victories.

Awards and Honors[edit]

1981 Opening Day Lineup[edit]

Ron LeFlore, lf

Mike Squires, 1b

Carlton Fisk, c

Greg Luzinski, dh

Chet Lemon, cf

Harold Baines, rf

Jim Morrison, 3b

Tony Bernazard, 2b

Bill Almon, ss

Britt Burns, p

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jeff Katz: "Split Season 1981, Chicago Style", in Stuart Shea, ed.: North Side, South Side, All Around Town, The National Pastime, SABR, 2015. ISBN 978-1-93359987-8