Nine Reasons Why ‘Chili Dog MVP’ Is More Than Just A Unique Baseball Book

1. The 1972 White Sox are the only team in MLB history to have the following within the same year, especially unusual for a second-place team:

  • MVP (Dick Allen)
  • Manager of the Year (Chuck Tanner)
  • Executive of The Year (Roland Hemond)
  • Pitcher of the Year (Wilbur Wood)
  • Runner-up Fireman of the Year (Terry Forster)

2. The success of the ’72 team saved an American League charter team and an important civic institution from leaving Chicago. The chapter on “reluctant owner” John Allyn tells a previously untold story about how Allyn twice saved the Sox from leaving town -— in 1969 and again in 1975. Allyn remained a 20% owner of the Sox until his death in 1979. In addition, the book recounts the story of owner Charles Comiskey’s financial troubles after the Black Scandal. The book reveals how Sox owners from the Comiskey family (1921-1959), Bill Veeck (1959-61), Allyn Brothers (1961-75) and Veeck again (1975-81) were underfinanced until Reinsdorf’s arrival in 1981.

3. White Sox organist Nancy Faust invents walk-up music, using “Jesus Christ Superstar” for Dick Allen. Overall, Faust played for the White Sox for 41 years. She jump-started Harry Caray’s ascension to sports broadcasting superstar status by playing “Take Me Out to Ball-Game” accompanying his singing to become a seventh-inning stretch staple throughout baseball. She developed “Nah Nah Nah Hey Hey Hey Good-Bye” as the ultimate sports taunting song. Nancy’s recollections and memorabilia help round out the Sox story.

4. The book details the rookie season of future Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, whose career started with the first MLB strike in 1972 and ended in 1994 after the last MLB strike.

5. Before Letterman called him a “A Fat Tub of Goo,” Terry Forster was a phenom who played only ten games in the minors and batted .397 for his MLB career. In 1972, he was runner-up to Sparky Lyle for Fireman of the year at age 20. 1972 was his best season as a hitter when he was 10-for-19 (.526). His 1972 OBP was an unworldly .550 in 1972, and, over his 16-year career, he had a .413 OBP. Author Dr. David J. Fletcher used to rib Dick Allen that Terry Forster had a better year in ’72 than he did with Forster’s 1.076 OPS/218 OPS+ versus Dick’s 1.023 OPS/199 OPS+. Forster had not been interviewed in 30 years until approached by “Chili Dog MVP” authors.

6. Wilbur Wood, Stan Bahnsen and Tom Bradley started 130 out of 154 games that year, an endurance feat that will never again be duplicated in baseball. Wilbur Wood 376 2/3 innings pitched will never done ever again. These stats are out of the Dead Ball era. The authors of “Chili Dog MVP” interviewed all three starters.

7. The book highlights the unsung story of controversial and mercurial pitching coach Johnny Sain. Roland Hemond said Sain deserves to be in the Hall of Fame as a pitching coach. He produced three 20-game winners during his tenure with the Sox (Wood, Bahnsen and Jim Kaat). Author Dr. David J. Fletcher had access to Sain’s private papers with his theories on pitching.

8. The book tells the untold story of the radio and TV rights debacle for the Chicago White Sox. Arthur Allyn’s greatest mistake was leaving WGN-TV in 1967. The book outlines why the Cubs became the dominant media and popular team in Chicago after Allyn’s decision and how the Sox almost had a chance to regain their No. 1 spot after the 1972 season. The book contends that if Dick Allen had not broken his leg in June 1973, the Sox would have been World Series contenders that season and likely would have started an era where the Sox would draw more fans than the Cubs.

9. The years before and including 1972 were a transformative time for the City of Chicago as Mayor Richard J. Daley’s near-absolute power waned and Black voters rebelled against Daley’s Machine. Several events detailed were in a way prequels to the George Floyd and January 6, 2021 earth-shaking events. Despite all the turbulence, Chicago would embrace Dick Allen like no other city, and African-American fans would return to Comiskey Park.