Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Favorite Southsider

Today in my series of favorite All-Time players from every big league team I take a look at my favorite player from the South Side of Chicago.

That player is former White Sox third baseman Bill Melton.

For the most part of the 1970s the top billing on the White Sox belonged to Dick Allen, but for me, Bill Melton was always a player I enjoyed watching.

Every Sunday during home games in 2012 the White Sox wore their red pinstripe '72 uniforms, and every time I turned on WGN on a Sunday afternoon I'd seen those stand out uniforms and remember Bill Melton.

Melton was signed as a free agent by the ChiSox in 1964, and made his big league debut for Chicago in 1968.

In ten season, mostly as one of the American League's best third sackers, Melton crushed 160 home runs, including 33 dingers each in 1970 and 71, the latter leading the Junior Circuit.

Melton was selected to  his only All-Star Game in 1971, held at Tiger Stadium in Detroit.

I really only got to see "Beltin' Bill" when the Tigers played the ChiSox at old Comiskey Park in Chicago, when the Tigers road games were on TV.

I did get to watch an occasional Sox game on cable TV when Harry Carey was the club's TV play by play guy.

When I was looking up his stats today I was surprised to find 
 that Melton only played until 1977, because  it seemed like he played longer.

Also, I don't remember him playing for the California Angels, just as a ChiSox power guy.

Steve Gierman, my baseball card friend who writes White Sox Cards had this to say about Melton...

Melton is still respected in Chicago, but mostly because of his work as a pre and post game commentator for White Sox games. His accomplishments of an AL HR title and a White Sox single season HR title were eclipsed by the arrival of Dick Allen in 1972, who eclipsed his Sox HR record by 5, but also won the MVP. Bill had hit 33 in both 1970 and 1971 and became the toast of the town, but was mostly remembered for dwindling production when he was traded. But Sox fans don't forget special players and Melton has held onto fans hearts by being the sole reason to cheer for some of the worst Sox teams in 1970 and 1971. His dry humor and wit that he brings bookmarking White Sox games today cemented his place in team history. 

If your a White Sox fan and a collector of all things ChiSox, look up Steve on his blog, he's a good guy, and we have traded Tigers cards for White Sox cards in the past.

★★★★Happy Baseball Birthday! today, July 7, 2015, to Bill Melton!★★★★

Play Ball!

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