Ask Mark Gonzales

Why is it that no matter how well the White Sox are doing they play second fiddle to every other ball club in the league? They have been the best team in baseball this year and all anyone talks about is how long can they keep it up. Am I missing something living in Mass.? --Frank Smith, Holbrook, Mass.

After the sweep over the Dodgers, I think they'll turn more heads in Chicago and other places.

What was the starting lineup for the '59 Go-Go White Sox and their top four pitchers? --Kevin Ruhnke, Norwalk, Conn.

The World Series lineup:
SS Luis Aparacio (batted second in Game 4)
2B Nellie Fox (batted third in Game 4)
OF Jim Landis (also batted leadoff in Game 4)
1B Ted Kluszewski
C Sherm Lollar
3B Bill Goodman/OF Al Smith
3B Bubba Phillips/Smith
OF Jim Rivera/Jim McAnany
The top pitchers:
Early Wynn
Billy Pierce
Dick Donovan
Bob Shaw

In 1959, I was 17. My friends and I were among the thousands who showed up at Midway Airport when the Sox won the pennant. I read that one of the '59 players that celebrated last weekend was Jim Rivera. What has he been up to during the past 45 years? --Bill Knapp, Jamestown, R.I.

Jim Rivera is living in South Bend, Ind., and "taking it easy," he told the Tribune's Fred Mitchell.

I have one question and one observation. How long before the Sox do something about the painful Luis Vizcaino relief appearances? Also, every time I catch myself saying, "We really have to get a third baseman with a decent bat that can hit .290 or .300," Crede has a 3-for-4 night. I'm still scratching my head over this kid. Some consistency would be nice. --Tony Rich, Shelton, Conn.

I think Vizcaino will take over the long relief role with Takatsu moving ahead of him already. I think the Sox will live with Crede. His defense has been too valuable.

Small ball, I mean, smart ball has worked great this season for the Sox. During the second half of the season, do you think that teams will adjust the way they approach the Sox? And how do you think the Sox will react? --Michael Fleischhacker, Silver Spring, Md.

I don't think there's any need for the Sox to adjust. Podsednik has done an exceptional job of reading the infielders and knowing when to bunt. It's up to the opponents to pitch the Sox more carefully and keep Podsednik and Iguchi off base.

I listen to the talk shows. The more the White Sox win, the more negative the calls. Ozzie is doing a GREAT job! How can people complain about our record? I would like to send an e-mail to the Twins' GM and the few loud mouths on the Tigers and Indians who said the White Sox will never compete and hear what they have to say now. It seems like the better we play, the more critical people can be. Great job, Mark in handling those people. --Mark Kozler, Rockton, Ill.

Thanks for the kind words. I think Sox fans sense that a division title is in sight and don't want to see this opportunity slip away. My few dealings with Twins GM Terry Ryan have been very positive, and I can't imagine him popping off about the Sox.

I read somewhere that Ozzie was miffed with Damaso Marte for not revealing his injury. What is the extent of Marte's "sore left biceps" injury? --Al Bloom, Holiday, Fla.

Marte did suffer a sore left biceps muscle, but Neal Cotts has been more effective than Marte and deserves to pitch in more late-inning situations.

When considering your as potential trade acquisitions for the Sox, don't you think Miguel Batista would be the best fit? For one, he doesn't seem to insist on closing, which is good since we have Hermanson filling that role already. Also, he has a history of being able to start, which could be a big help if Contreras falters, Hernandez doesn't heal and/or McCarthy can't prove he's ready. –-Joe, Bloomington, Ill.

Batista has one of the most lively arms in baseball. I don't think he wants to be a setup man, based on my dealings with him in Arizona. He wanted to start there but has taken well to a closer's role with Toronto. He is paid very well to be a closer in Toronto. Batista is a tough pitcher to handle because he shakes off the catcher frequently and throws a fastball with tremendous movement. I look for the Sox to look at pitchers other than Batista if Hernandez remains hurt and McCarthy can't step up.

Regarding the column on players the Sox may add, I feel they may stand pat. Offensively, if Thomas/Everett (providing Ozzie can juggle them successfully), Uribe and Crede can warm up as Konerko and Dye have, they seem OK. Defensively, Gload will be back soon; otherwise they're set. And Brian Anderson could be the fourth outfielder. In the bullpen, it may just be a matter of Don Cooper getting Shingo untracked and Vizcaino straightened out. They're as good as any available relief pitchers on your list. --Dennis Enrietta, Coal City, Ill.

The general manager wasn't overly impressed with the list, but Brad Lidge would make the bullpen very formidable. I don't think the offense will be a problem. But they have a tough stretch in August and at the end of September and will need quality and experienced arms. I can see only McCarthy and Anderson helping them right now from the minors.

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