In the mid-1950s the Sox were a solid team, but they always finished behind the Yankees and the Indians.
In 1959 a Chicago sportswriter picked the Sox to overtake the Yankees, but the Indians would be a problem. The pennant race was up and down between the Sox and Indians and, of course, the Yankees were still very much alive.
Because of great pitching by Early Wynn, who led the American League with 22 victories, and Billy Pierce and Bob Shaw and strategic hitting by Ted Kluszewski, Al Smith and Sherman Lollar, the Sox beat out the Indians for the pennant.
The Sox led the American League with 113 stolen bases, 56 of which were stolen by shortstop Luis Aparicio. The Sox were known, however, as the Hitless Wonders because they won 94 games by one or two runs and as a team, they hit fewer than 100 home runs. But they never stopped running.
The night the Sox won the pennant, the air raid sirens were set off by Fire Commissioner/Civil Defense Director Quinn and the sirens blared for at least five minutes.
Some of our neighbors thought Chicago was being attacked by Soviet bombers, and they ran to the shelter of their basements.
Because I was listening to the game, it was clear to me that the sirens were part of the Sox victory, and even though hundreds of Chicagoans were angry, it was discovered that no laws had been broken by setting off the sirens.
When the Sox team landed at Midway in the early morning hours, the team was met by a joyous crowd, which kept cheering until dawn.
The next day, Sept. 24, the team, led by owner Bill Veeck and Mayor Daley, paraded down State Street to the sound of riotous cheering and falling confetti
The Sox won the first game of the World Series over the Dodgers 11-0, with Ted Kluszewski hitting two homers, and Early Wynn pitching a superb game.
In game two, the victorious Dodgers hit three homers, and the one hit to left field by Charlie Neal was caught by my friend Chuck O’Leary who was sitting in the lower deck.
A newspaper photo showed Al Smith, the Sox left-fielder, being showered by beer falling from the cup of a fan trying to catch Neal’s home run.
The Series now moved to Los Angeles where the Dodgers won games three and four and the Sox won game five.
The Series returned to Chicago where it all ended as the Dodgers won game six and the Series, four games to two.
The Dodgers went on to win other World Series titles in the years to come, but the Sox didn’t appear in another World Series until 2005 when they beat the Astros four games straight.
Even though the Sox lost the Series in 1959, three players from the 1959 team — Wynn, Nellie Fox, and Aparicio were inducted into the Hall of Fame, as was manager Al Lopez and owner Bill Veeck.
The 1959 Sox will live forever in my memory as the Go!Go! Guys.