We look back at some of the best memories from the Crosstown Classic
The Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox will play today for the 145th time in both clubs history which includes regular season and postseason play in the Crosstown Classic. The White Sox hold the edge historically with a 77-67 record versus the Cubs.
Official interleague play started in 1997 during certain time windows in the regular season. Teams from both leagues could not play each other outside of the World Series until 1997. 2023 is the first season in MLB’s history to have each team play every other team within the National and American leagues.
To some more traditional fans, interleague play has likely lost a bit of its luster due to this change. Fans of the modern game enjoy this change in schedule structure with baseball adapting more similarly to other professional sports schedules like the NBA or NHL. For Chicago sports fans however, you can bet there are not enough Cubs-White Sox games to go around.
Here are some memorable moments from the Crosstown Classic.
1906 World Series
The only time the Cubs and White Sox have ever faced off in the postseason was the 1906 World Series. Which was before the Crosstown Classic was even a thing. The series included six members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The White Sox had Ed Walsh and George Davis. The Cubs had Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, Frank Chance and Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown.
The Cubs came into the series heavily favored, winning a record 116 games in the season. This is still the record for most victories in a year under the previous 154 game schedule prior to the 162 game expansion in 1961. The team featured the famous Tinker to Evers to Chance infield and went on to win back-to-back World Series championships in 1907 and 1908.
The White Sox were dubiously nicknamed the “Hitless Wonders” for finishing the 1906 season as the worst hitting team in the American League. The bats of the White Sox miraculously came to life in pivotal moments of the series however.
The Cubs and White Sox alternated trading shots with each other over the first four games, tied 2-2 going into game five. The White Sox won the last two games to win the World Series in six games.
This is still considered one of the greatest upsets in World Series history. The series was closely fought too with four games decided by three runs or less. This may have been the only chance to see an all Chicago World Series matchup but it certainly didn’t disappoint for those who were able to attend.
The Pierzynski-Barrett Incident
In more recent Crosstown Classic history, many Chicago sports fans may recollect this memorable dustup between Chicago catchers. The Cubs and White Sox faced off in interleague play in late May of 2006 at then U.S. Cellular Field on the south side of Chicago.
A.J. Pierzynski was on third base attempting to tag up on a Brian Anderson flyball in the second inning. Cubs left-fielder Matt Murton tried to throw Pierzynski out at home but the throw wasn’t in time. Pierzynski collided with Cubs catcher Michael Barrett before the ball could be caught and ruled safe on the play. The famous White Sox agitator then pounded his hand on home and bumped into Barrett while getting back up. Barrett took clear exception to this, hauling off and hitting Pierzynski with a right-handed haymaker to the face.
Chaos then ensued on the field with both benches clearing and more punches being thrown. Ultimately Pierzynski, Barrett, Anderson and Cubs first baseman John Mabry were issued ejections after the melee. The White Sox later blew the game wide open with a Tadahito Iguchi grand slam, leading to a 7-0 shutout victory for the Southside.
The Cubs-White Sox had been a relatively friendly matchup up to that point so this rumble certainly turned up the heat between the Windy City rivals.
The Cubs were leading the White Sox 8-0 in the third inning in a game in late June of 2002 of the Crosstown Classic in what appeared to be a slaughter in progress. Kerry Wood had been in control for the Cubs, allowing only one run on three hits and one walk through four innings of work.
Paul Konerko clearly took that personally. Magglio Ordóñez drove in a run in the fifth inning then Konerko followed it up with a two-run home-run to slash the lead in half to four runs. Konerko sparked another rally in the sixth with another two-run blast to help the White Sox take the lead and the team didn’t look back from there. The White Sox hung six runs on the Cubs in the inning and capped off the game with another three runs in the eighth.
Neither team that season was spectacular with the Cubs going on a playoff run a year later to the NLCS (Bartman has been forgiven) and the White Sox didn’t break their own World Series drought until 2005. This is still a memorable moment for the Crosstown Classic with both teams willing to slug it out for the victory.
If you enjoy quality pitching, you might want to look away from this section. This Chicago baseball matchup from late August of 2021 had all the makings of Southside beatdown. The Cubs were coming off a trade deadline where the team parted ways with the rest of their prominent pieces from the 2016 World Series run. 2016 NL MVP Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Báez were all dealt in the middle of the season and Jake Arrieta was released in August before this game.
This was an acceleration into a Cubs rebuild and the White Sox were competing for a division title that year. This could lead one to assume that this was going to be a lopsided contest in favor of the White Sox. That is why they play the game.
The Cubs sucker punched the White Sox with a six-run first inning, shelling Dallas Keuchel for five earned on seven hits. Keuchel was pulled after an inning mercifully. The White Sox responded with an eight-run pummeling in the third inning. The Cubs and White Sox continued to trade shots throughout the game with multiple three-plus run innings for each team. The White Sox ultimately prevailed in this slugfest though with a 17-13 victory.
The teams yielded eight doubles, five home-runs, twenty-eight hits and thirty total runs for the game. If you stayed this long, you must be a glutton for baseball punishment or a pitching masochist. Either way, thank you for enduring the abuse.
The Cubs and White Sox have shared more than a handful of memorable moments together in their crosstown rivalry. There were plenty of contentious and nostalgic moments left off this list so if there were any games or memories you felt like we missed, please let us know in the comments. Cheers to more Cubs-White Sox matchups and more baseballs flying!
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