1974: TURN BACK THE CLOCK

Bob Waller was Harry Caray’s first TV sidekick with the Chicago White Sox. Believe it or not Caray was just on the radio for the Sox in 1971 & 1972, Jack Drees & Bud Kelly were in the TV booth. Not only that, the White Sox flagship radio station was WTAQ out of LaGrange. The White Sox just switched over to channel 44 in 1973, before that they were on channel 32. Both of these channels were UHF, which was a not a good thing back in the day. There were two types of UHF antenae, neither were capable of drawing in a clear signal. There was the rabbit ear and the circular antenae. You’d go up to your TV, hold the antenae just right, let go to go sitdown, and the fuzziness would return. It was maddening.

I can’t even remember my name today, let alone the details of what I’m doing day-to-day, but I still remember Bob Waller on his last broadcast at the end of the 1974 season.

Chuck Tanner had tried everything to get this ballclub to win, but in the end it just wasn’t enough as the Sox finished 4th in the Western Division with an 80-80 record. This despite the fact the White Sox got productive seasons out of Dick Allen (32 HRs), Ken Henderson (95 RBIs), rookie SS Bucky Dent, workhorse knuckleballer Wilbur Wood (42 starts, 320 IP, 20-19 record), & Jim Kaat (21-13). The White Sox also featured promising youngsters like Jorge Orta (23), Brian Downing (23), Lamar Johnson (23), 22 year old Jerry Hairston Sr, and a superstar on the horizon in 20 year old Nyls Nyman. There was also some promise out on the hill with 24 year old Bart Johnson (10-4 in 18 starts), and a 22 year old bullpen righty/lefty combo of Goose Gossage & Terry Forster. This team also featured veterans Stan Bahnsen, Ron Santo, Bill Melton, & Carlos May. My favorites were Tony Muser and Ed Herrmann.

Bill Melton and Carlos May were slackers is what Waller had to say. He went on to say they just didn’t care about winning and were content not to hustle. Bob said these two players were the reason the White Sox didn’t do better. As a fan it was refreshing to see somebody with the guts to say what was happening on the field. Of course Bob Waller’s days with the White Sox were finished, but it was nice to see him resurface with the A’s the following season.

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