The Hawk is gone, and even if the White Sox don't miss Ken Harrelson's swagger and multitude of coaches, they should at least be grateful for the pitching staff he left them. Chicago was third in the league in ERA (3.93), and it could even afford to trade Joe Cowley, their most productive pitcher last year, to the Phillies this spring for outfielder Gary Redus.
Whenever a pitcher was disabled last season, Chicago just found someone better. Bob James tore an arm muscle, and Bobby Thigpen leaped from Double A to become the bullpen closer. Hepatitis felled Joel McKeon, and out popped Jose DeLeon, who harnessed the tremendous talent he squandered in Pittsburgh.
The Sox won the '86 Triple Clown, finishing last in the AL in batting, homers and RBIs, a feat last done by the '76 Angels. Things don't look much better this season. Three new bats have been added. One belongs to second baseman Donnie Hill. His may not impress you at first, but only Ron Hassey (.323) and Harold Baines (.296) hit higher for Chicago than Hill (.283) did for Oakland in '86. Ivan Calderon, late of the Mariners, will try to live up to his potential in leftfield. The third bat belongs to first baseman Greg Walker, out half the season because of wrist and hand ailments.
The White Sox also have a new catcher in Ron Karkovice, brought up from Double A last August. Karkovice has yet to prove he can hit in the bigs, which means that on this club he'll fit in quite nicely.
How does Boston do against Boston? Career average of .346 (9 for 26).
Only active player with more than 1,000 plate appearances who has never been hit by a pitch.
First White Sox player to have five straight 20-homer seasons.
Grounded into 15 double plays in 65 DP situations, 3rd highest rate in AL.
Born Oct. 6, 1959, the day the White Sox last won a World Series game.
One BB every 48.1 plate appearances, successfully defending "Toughest to Walk" title.
Batted 111 points higher in day games (.309) than in night games (.198).
Received 3.30 runs per start, 2nd poorest support in AL.
He averaged only 5.79 innings for every start last season.
After losing 27 of 31 decisions, defeated Roger Clemens in consecutive starts.
Averaged 6.26 innings per start, highest on the White Sox staff.
Opposition has hit better with runners on than with bases empty in each of past five years.