The four most important men in the history of the White Sox are Charles Comiskey, Minnie Minoso, Frank Thomas, and Fielder Allison Jones, the field general for one of baseball’s most inspiring teams.
The 1906 White Sox were all-world on the pitchers’ mound, but less than ordinary at the plate. They were one of the oldest teams in the league, hit only seven home runs all season, and averaged about one extra-base hit per game. The newspapers called them “The Hitless Wonders.” And that was the Chicago papers.
Jones was the manager and center fielder. He didn’t like to walk from his position to the mound: his pitchers finished three out of every four games they started. The Sox’ team ERA was 2.13, and they boasted rugged hurlers Big Ed Walsh, Yip Owen, Doc White, and Nick Altrock, a foursome that won 77 of their 93 games.
The Wonders had a food defense, not a great one, but good. They committed the second-fewest errors in the league, but it didn’t matter with that superb pitching staff because the opposition didn’t hit a lot of balls hard. The best position player on the club was shortstop George Davis, who at 35 was having the last great season of his illustrious career.
In the World Series, the ChiSox squared off against cross-town rival, the Chicago Cubs, and wouldn’t you know it: the Cubs were one of the most successful teams in baseball history. The Cubs won 116 games and were overwhelming favorites in the Fall Classic.
But the Sox scored when they needed to, they even pushed 16 runs across the plate in the final two games. Walsh won two games in three days and White defeated the Cubs in Game Six to finish them off.
Jones had high cheekbones and one of those upside-down smiles. His head was blanketed in thick, wavy brown hair, and as was the style in his day, he wore his cap to the read and side of his head. He also wore his collared jersey tacked up, close to his neck. He was immensely popular in Chicago, largely because of his steady leadership and outstanding play in the outfield. He had a strong arm, one year he threw out 20 baserunners, and he played shallow enough to peg a runner at second base on base hits several times. He typically hit second in the order, where he showed patience (about 70 walks per year) and was gifted at the sacrifice bunt.
In five years as player/manager of the White Sox, Jones won nearly 60 percent of the time, and he was well respected in the game despite a rascally temper that he often aimed at the umpires.