02 July 2013

a sleeve patch for two chisox coaches

the white sox wore a patch on their left sleeves during the 1984 season for two of their coaches - charley lau and loren babe - who passed away on february 14, 1984 and march 18, 1984, respectively.  the '6/46' patch is visible on joel skinner's 1985 donruss card
even without the patch, that's a pretty nice card, thanks to all the color.

charley lau wore number 6 (no white sox player or coach has worn it since), and loren babe was number 46.  as a kid, i only knew of lau thanks to george brett (the most well known disciple of lau's work as a hitting coach) and the book 'the art of hitting .300'.  i had never heard of babe.

lau coached for the yankees and then the white sox after leaving kansas city, while babe was a white sox coach in 1980 before going on to scouting for them.  he had previously coached and scouted for the yankees as well.

as i understand it, babe was a few months short of qualifying for medical coverage when he was diagnosed with cancer in 1983.  the white sox added him to their coaching staff to allow him to qualify for the benefits, and lau was the coach who gave up his spot so that babe could be covered.  in a terrible twist, lau himself was diagnosed with cancer just a few weeks later.  no wonder the white sox have all but retired lau's number.

here's a link to a nice article about lau written shortly after he died.  all in all, this patch was a nice tribute by the white sox to honor their coaches.

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