The Al Lopez-managed White Sox finished close, but no cigar in 1964. 98 wins and 64 losses was good for second place, a game shy of the American League Champion Yankees. The Pale Hose spent 39 days in first place while jousting with New York and Baltimore, but couldn't keep pace down the stretch. The faithful fans on the South Side of Chicago packed Comiskey Park 1,250,053 strong, good for the second-highest attendance in the A.L.
The Sox were a middling offensive team, placing sixth in the league with a .247 average and seventh with 642 runs (3.96 per game). However, their patience was a virtue, as they topped the loop with 562 walks. The big producer was third baseman Pete Ward (.282, 23 HR, 94 RBI), though shortstop Ron Hansen (.261, 20 HR, 68 RBI) and right fielder Floyd Robinson (.301, 11 HR, 59 RBI) also contributed to the attack.
Pitching was the driving force in Chicago's success, with the Pale Hose hurlers relying on control (league-best 401 walks allowed) in allowing an A.L.-low 501 runs (3.09 per game). The team ERA was 2.72, with All-Stars Gary Peters (20-8, 2.50 ERA) and Juan Pizarro (19-9, 2.56) comprising a fierce 1-2 punch in the starting rotation. Joe Horlen (13-9, 1.88) and John Buzhardt (10-8, 2.98) rounded out the top four. 41-year-old closer Hoyt Wilhelm baffled batters with his knuckleball (12-9, 1.99, 27 saves).
The 1964 season was the midpoint of a heartbreaking three-year run in which the White Sox average 95.6 wins a year, but earned three second-place finishes. After a World Series appearance in 1959, the former "Go-Go Sox" were unable to maintain momentum. They slid into irrelevance in the second half of the 1960s and would not reach the postseason again until 1983.