Today in White Sox History: October 12

The dropped third strike heard ’round the world: A.J. Pierzynski remains forever a folk hero on the South Side for this ALCS Game 2 stunt. (YouTube)


1966 — Another one of White Sox GM Ed Short’s best moves came on this day: He sent two-time All-Star pitcher Juan Pizarro, nursing a bad arm, to the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league pitcher Wilbur Wood. Wood would blossom in Chicago thanks to his knuckleball, first as a record-setting relief pitcher, then as a four-time 20-game winner (1971-74). Wood would also make three All-Star teams.


2005 — In one of the strangest endings to a postseason game in history, the White Sox beat the Angels 2-1, in Game 2 of the ALCS. With the game tied in the ninth inning, catcher A.J. Pierzynski ran to first on a third strike that possibly bounced in the dirt (replays were definitely unclear, seeming to indicate that Angels catcher Josh Paul both caught the ball on the fly and held on to it). Paul, a former Sox player, heard home plate umpire call Pierzynski out on strikes (also captured on camera) and rolled the ball back to the mound, not bothering to throw to first base, as required by the rules for a dropped third strike.

After much delay and arguing by Angels manager Mike Scioscia, pinch-runner Pablo Ozuna stole second and Joe Credes double brought home the game-winner.

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katiesphil
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katiesphil
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The AJ “dropped” third strike still makes me grin. If it had been the other way around, I’d be outraged (at least a little) to this day. But watching it again now, it only warms my heart.

WIN05
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I never heard that Eddings was caught on camera calling AJ out. I think there was a discussion about his “mechanics.” He signaled a strike but not the thumb in the air indicating an out. Angels got every break the previous night.