Going into the 1959 season not many expected great things from the White Sox. The media felt that their second place finish in 1958 was their pinnacle and the 1959 season could have them finishing as low at fourth. But what these prognosticators didn't know was that Nellie Fox would have the season of a lifetime.
Check out these stats from Fox's spectacular 1959 campaign:
- Regular season batting average - .306
- Regular season on base percentage - .380
- First in the AL for games played with 156
- First in the AL for At Bats with 624
- Second in the AL for Hits with 191
- Second in the AL for doubles with 34
- First in the AL for singles with 149
- First in the AL with putouts at 2nd base with 364
- First in the AL with fielding % at 2nd with .988
- All Star
- Gold Glove
- AL MVP (obviously)
Along with the amazing play of Fox, pitcher Early Wynn and SS Luis Aparicio also had stellar seasons. Wynn won the Cy Young and Aparicio was an All Star and Gold Glove winner. The performances of these three men, along with contributions from the squad's role players, earned the Al Lopez led White Sox their first American League pennant since 1919.
There's an interesting side story related to the 1959 pennant. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley was ready to celebrate and ordered that on September 22, 1959, when the Sox clinched the pennant, the air raid horns around the Windy City should blare for five minutes. Unfortunately, Mayor Daley didn't realize that everyone was not paying attention to the Sox and people ran for shelter fearing an impending atomic blast. It was later determined that approximately 33% of Chicagoans thought the world was about to end.
The White Sox went on to face the LA Dodgers in the World Series. Despite Fox hitting .375 in the Series, the White Sox lost in six games.