Two October afternoons, two Game 4 playoff losses for Sox
On an October afternoon at old Comiskey Park, the White Sox ended the 1983 season by dropping Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
Despite a valiant effort by pitcher Britt Burns, Sox manager Tony La Russa's team's hopes evaporated after a baserunning gaffe by Jerry Dybzinski in the seventh inning and a home run by Baltimore's Tito Landrum, and the Sox fell 3-0.
After the game, La Russa, his eyes red from tears, said, "Burns and the team lost today, but tomorrow they will wake up as winners. We'll have a lot to be proud of -- when this loss wears off."
Slightly more than 38 years to the day, on another October afternoon, in a different ballpark across the street, La Russa's White Sox saw another season draw to a close after a Game 4 playoff loss, this time in the American League Division Series against Houston. The Sox scored one more run than they did Oct. 8, 1983, thanks to a robust Gavin Sheets blast, but surrendered seven more runs than the Orioles scored.
The cast of characters had changed -- from Luzinski, Kittle, Fisk and Baines to Anderson, Abreu, Jimenez and Robert -- but the mood of disappointment mixed with hope for the future remained.
After Tuesday's game, La Russa said, "We accomplished the first goal, but we are disappointed to get one win and not two more.
"The talent is there. Every year they get more experience, they got a better chance to do it. ... The staff and I were talking before the game. We were very thankful. I'm talking about the entire staff. Very thankful we had the opportunity to work with these guys.
"I mean, it was as good as it could be. They're a very special group. We ended up disappointed. I'm hurting for them. It's an amazing group."
He spoke briefly about the two playoff experiences from the perspective of nearly 40 years distance.
"Well, it was so close (in 1983), 0-0 and had that chance in the seventh. I do compare the enthusiasm of the crowd. I mean, Comiskey was just humming that whole season.
"(With) this one, we had one win, and early on we kept it close. It was just a crooked number away from getting back into it, and we kept missing. ... But the two outs. We just couldn't get that third out, and it happened a lot."
Following the game, Sheets and Carlos Rodon were asked about the impact of La Russa on the team.
Rodon said, "I mean, Tony is a very special manager, second all-time in wins, if I'm correct, Hall of Famer. He brings a lot of experience into the clubhouse. He has seen a lot of baseball games. Very, very wise man. It was just a pleasure to play for him. Not many guys can say they played for a Hall of Fame manager."
"I know for me to come up as a rookie and have him in my corner since day one means a lot. He's been around some incredible players. He's won a lot of games, won a lot of big games, and he is a Hall of Famer. He has been in every one of our corners the whole time, and when you have a Hall of Fame manager in your corner and supporting you, you feel like you can do anything. He has been incredible to play for."