LaRussa's training as a lawyer hasn't helped him in arguing cases before the White Sox' kangaroo court, which is presided over by Farmer, who fashions himself after Judge Roy Bean. The manager was fined $20 recently for walking through the clubhouse in a jacket advertising a local rock station. Farmer keeps inventing all sorts of misdemeanors. After one recent game, Harold Baines was fined $2 for clapping his hands following a successful steal of second. "Showing emotion" was Farmer's ruling.
Farmer is one of the four Chicago-area natives on the Sox. He grew up two miles from Comiskey and went to nearby St. Rita High; as a kid he idolized Luis Aparicio and Early Wynn. Baumgarten was reared on the North Shore, in affluent Glencoe, and worshiped the Cubs and Ken Holtzman. "We used to sit in the schoolyard for hours, arguing Cubs versus White Sox," says Baumgarten, who still has a soft spot for the Cubbies. Luzinski also hails from Chicago, although he didn't go to many White Sox games. In fact, the last time he was in Comiskey Park before the Phillies sold him to the Sox in March was in 1968, when he had to catch Tom Phoebus as part of his tryout as a catcher with the Orioles.
And then there's Kevin Hickey. Hickey grew up just a few blocks from the stadium, and he became a star outfielder in Chicago's own game, 16-inch soft ball, which is played with a huge ball and without gloves. But Hickey was switched to the night shift at the steel factory where he worked, giving him time only for semi-pro baseball on weekends. His friends talked him into one of those public-relations tryouts that teams hold, and he impressed the White Sox. Four years later he is the lefthanded reliever on the team. "A nice story," says Farmer, pointing to Hickey. "There are a lot of nice stories on this team."
But the nicest story about these White Sox has yet to be written.