Lo and behold, he was standing right in front of us. Ladies and gentlemen, playing right field for the Chicago White Sox that night: Warren Newson.
This was an easy pick
“Warren Newson” I continued matter of factly, gesturing toward him in front us. “No one knows who he is, let alone is rooting for him. We should make him our favorite player tonight and let him know he has fans.”
“The Deacon” as legendary Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson nicknamed him played 498 major league games for the Sox, Mariners, and Rangers from 1991 to 1998. That was his rookie year of 1991, and in that August 1st game in which the Sox beat up the Rangers 13-2 he started in right field and played the entire game.
To state my case, I started around the third inning hollering his nickname. “Deacon! The Deacon! You’re awesome! You’re the best!” As I mentioned, I have a booming voice. And with a little persuasion (meaning beer) I can be quite persistent. My friend Tim cheered as well as my wingman to offer moral support. I was the “known nut” and he was my “first follower”.
And we had fun
I continued this the entire game, on purpose and to be somewhat slightly obnoxious and overbearing. I knew full well that everyone in my section and the adjacent section on each side thought I was an idiot. Still, I persisted – because not only did I suspect they were listening, I thought that maybe, just maybe, The Deacon was as well.
The boy cheered as well. We had fun trying to out-do each other on things to cheer for – even the volume of our cheers.
As the game progressed, it got into later innings. Time for the payoff, I thought to myself. I jumped on my proverbial soapbox and began espousing to the young fan that all our chatter and bombast had not been for naught.
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“Now you probably think he hasn’t been listening to the whole game, don’t you?” When he nodded, I countered. “Watch this,” I said, and with that I mustered up as much volume as I had left and let out one last booming cheer.
The moment I’ll never forget
“WARREN, WE LOVE YOU!! GIVE YOUR FANS A WAVE!!”
Without a beat, Newson broke from his hands-on-knees ready defensive position, twisted his body to the left to look behind himself right at us, and raised his right hand in a deliberate open-hand wave backed by a huge smile.
Baseball fans for life
All 3 outfield sections who had been listening to our screaming the entire game erupted in cheers. Everyone loved it and began cheering for him. “DEACON!! NEWSON!! YOU’RE AWESOME, WE LOVE YOU TOO!!” The collective outburst lasted the rest of the game. I’m sure he didn’t stop smiling, and neither did we. One more fantastic family memory from Comiskey Park and Chicago’s South Side.
So, White Sox fans, make this story yours. Who’s day are you going to make? It will matter, not just to them but to you. Leave a comment and let others know your passion. Send your player a letter or better yet let them you’re behind them at a game this season.