5 most memorable White Sox home openers over last 100 seasons

Michael Kopech is scheduled to start the Chicago White Sox's home opener on Monday.
Michael Kopech is scheduled to start the Chicago White Sox's home opener on Monday. / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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The Chicago White Sox stunned the Boston Red Sox in 1978 home opener.

A few seasons in White Sox history have generated as much excitement as the 1977 Southside Hitmen.

Oscar Gamble hit 31 homers, and Richie Zisk slammed 30 and drove in 101 runs. Eric Soderholm hit 25 and six more players hit between 10-19. The team won 90 games after winning just 64 the year before.

Bill Veeck, who bought the team for the second time before the 1976 season, was clearly not equipped to handle the new free-agent era that took over the major leagues. Zisk and Gamble were merely rental players and were gone by 1978.

The lack of Zisk and Gamble, though, did not destroy all of the excitement of 1977 at least when the 1978 season started. An overflow crowd of 50,754 showed up for the season opener on April 7 as the powerful Boston Red Sox came to Comiskey Park.

The Red Sox jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Sox starter Steve Stone in the third inning on a single by Butch Hobson, a triple by Jerry Remy, and a sacrifice fly by Rick Burleson.

The Sox had two hits (a single by Bobby Bonds and a double by Chet Lemon) but failed to score in the second off Red Sox starter Mike Torrez.

The Sox, though, tied the game at 2-2 with a pair of runs in the fourth on a RBI double by Soderholm and a run-scoring single by Don Kessinger. Singles by Jorge Orta and Lamar Johnson and a sacrifie fly by Bonds gave the Sox a 3-2 ead in the fifth.

Boston took a 4-3 lead in the sixth as Carl Yastrzemski singled and scored when Stone tossed Carlton Fisk's ground ball back to the mound down the right field line. Fisk went to third and scored on a single by Fred Lynn.

The Sox, energized by the crowd, came right back to tie it at 4-4 on doubles by Wayne Nordhagen and Orta off Torrez in the sixth.

The game remained tied until the eighth when Yastrzemski singled in Burleson for a 5-4 Red Sox leadoff Sox reliever Lerrin LaGrow.

It stayed that way until the bottom of the ninth when new Sox designated hitter Ron Blomberg walked to the plate with one out against Red Sox reliever Dick Drago. Blomberg then ignited the crowd with a dramatic home run to right, tying the game at 5-5.

Lemon then singled off Drago, who was immediately replaced on the mound by Bill Campbell. Campbell got Spderholm to fly out to right but Wayne Nordhagen followed with a double to deep center field, scoring the speedy Lemon from first with the winning run.

It would be one of the few times in the 1978 season that the Sox recaptured the excitement of 1977. Manager Bob Lemon left after 74 games (34-40) and was replaced by Larry Doby who didn't return in 1979.

The Red Sox? Well, their 1978 season ended with an even more heartbreaking loss, compliments of former White Sox shortstop Bucky Dent.

Torrez was on the mound on Oct. 2, 1978, when Dent, who had just 40 career homers, sent a ball over the left field wall to give the Yankees (Blomberg's former team) a 5-4 victory in a one-game playoff for the American League East title.