Let’s Take A Moment To Remember White Sox Jim Landis!

Let’s Take A Moment To Remember White Sox Jim Landis!

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Jim Landis and 1959 White Sox Photo Gallery
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 Let’s Take A Moment To Remember White Sox Jim Landis!

Long-time White Sox fans were saddened this week to learn of the passing of Jim Landis, a fine ball player and a key member of the 1959 pennant-winning “Go-Go White Sox.”

Jim Landis played 11 seasons in the major Leagues (1957-1967). Although he is mainly remembered for his outstanding years with the White Sox (1957-64), he also had stops with the Athletics, Indians, Astros, Tigers, and Red Sox. Over his career, the Fresno, California native hit .247, with 93 home runs, 467 RBIs and a .344 on-base percentage. His best season was 1961, when he had career highs of .282, 22 home runs, and 85 RBIs.

While his offensive numbers are rather modest, it was his defense that kept him in the majors. He was widely recognized as one of the best defensive center fielders of his era, known for his many over-the-fence catches in front of Comiskey Park’s center-field bullpen. The two-time All-Star finished his career with a .989 fielding percentage and five consecutive gold gloves (1960-’64).    

In the memorable 1959 season, Landis helped the “Go-Go White Sox” win the American League Pennant, hitting .272 with 26 doubles as the White Sox became the first team since the Indians in 1948 and 1954 to wrest the American League pennant from the Yankees. Landis led the American League with 13 sacrifice hits and 420 outfield putouts. His .370 on-base percentage ranked 10th in the league; and his 20 stolen bases were tied for the third. He hit .292 during the 1959 World Series against the victorious Dodgers (7 –for-24), with an RBI and a stolen base.

Landis spoke to SABR biographer Mike Richard about that wonderful year 1959, one close to the heart of every White Sox fan:

“It was a great year. We had a good ball club with four Hall-of-Famers: Early WynnLuis AparicioNellie Fox, and Larry Doby. The pitching staff included Wynn, Bob Shaw, Billy Pierce, Dick Donovan, Gerry Staley and Turk Lown. One of the best things was the terrific group of guys I played with. All these guys were true vets and I was the new kid. They were all like fathers to me.”

After the 1964 season, Landis was traded to Kansas City as part of a three-team deal between the White Sox, Athletics, and Indians. Landis also played one season for the Indians in 1966. In 1967, he finished his career while splitting his season among three teams: the AstrosTigers, and Red Sox.

The trade from the White Sox was no surprise to Landis: “One thing that happened that year was that I was the Sox player rep, and when the players wanted to receive $50 for doing radio and TV interviews, I told that to (Sox general manager) Ed Short. He didn’t like it and got mad at me. And to be honest, I didn’t leave happily from the White Sox.”

Jim Landis was named to the White Sox All-Century team in 2000. He passed away on October 7, 2017 aged 83.

Gary Livacari

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Photo Credits: All from Google search

Information: Excerpts and quotes edited from the SABR biography of Jim Landis by Mike RIchard: http://www.sabr.org/bioproj/person/e6ab29ab

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I’m a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

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