Former White Sox hurler Donn Pall reflects on life in — and after — baseball

As a professional financial adviser, Bloomingdale’s Donn Pall isn’t mobbed by autograph seekers, reporters or photographers when he steps out in public.

But the 62-year-old Pall’s life wasn’t always so unassuming.

Thirty-some years ago, Pall wore the red, white and blue — later the black, white and gray — of the White Sox, for whom he was a relief pitcher over five-plus seasons.

Instead of an Oak Brook office building, Pall went to work at Comiskey Park, Yankee Stadium and other legendary ballparks. And every time he took the mound, every time he hurled a white ball with red stitching and the Rawlings logo 60 feet and 6 inches to the catcher crouched behind home plate, countless fans held their collective breath until it hit leather or wood.

“I just loved it,” Pall said of his time with the Sox. “I look back at it (and think), ‘How the heck did I do that?’”

Pall grew up in Evergreen Park rooting for the White Sox, catching a half-dozen or so home games each season. A 17-year-old Pall was at Comiskey Park on July 12, 1979, for the Disco Demolition Night promotion that turned into a riot.

“It was like a Grateful Dead concert,” Pall recalled. “Everyone was wearing black concert T-shirts. There was a haze of marijuana smoke hanging over the stadium.”

A 1992 Fleer Ultra baseball card autographed by Donn Pall. “I just loved it,” Pall said of his time with the White Sox.
Russell Lissau/

After graduating from Evergreen Park High School, Pall attended the University of Illinois, where he earned a degree in math and computer science and pitched his way to a remarkable 13-1 record in his final year. Pall was drafted by the White Sox in 1985 and, after a few seasons in the minor leagues, was called up to the majors in 1988.

“To get there for your favorite team … it’s like a fantasy,” he said. “It’s just absolutely incredible.”

In a heartbreaking trade, Pall was dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies near the end of the Sox’s division-winning 1993 season, but he helped his new team win the National League title that year. Stints followed with the New York Yankees, the Cubs and the Florida Marlins, including during the Marlins’ first World Series championship season in 1997.

Despite not making the postseason roster for the Phillies in 1993 or the Marlins in 1997, Pall has championship rings from both teams.

“I’m very, very fortunate,” Pall said.

Upon retiring from baseball in 1999, Pall chose finance as a second career. He became interested in wealth management as a player and taught himself about the stock market on team bus rides. He helped teammates make investments and eventually served on the committee that oversees pensions for the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Now a financial adviser and senior vice president with Morgan Stanley, former White Sox pitcher Donn Pall has a framed photograph of the last game played at Comiskey Park in his Oak Brook office.
John Starks/

Now a senior vice president with Morgan Stanley, Pall said he’s rarely recognized as a former ballplayer in public — even when he compliments someone on a White Sox cap or jersey. Most of Pall’s clients know about his baseball background, though; the framed photograph of the last game played at old Comiskey Park that hangs in his office is a big clue.

“A lot of my clients are White Sox fans, as it turns out,” Pall said.

And how many financial advisers get fan mail? Pall receives about a letter a day requesting his signature on baseball cards or other memorabilia. With organizational assistance from his wife, Katie, Pall answers every letter.

“I view it as a privilege,” he said.

A 1991 Score baseball card autographed by Donn Pall. Pall receives about a letter a day requesting his signature on memorabilia.
Russell Lissau/

The White Sox call on Pall several times each season to attend golf outings or mingle with fans at other events as a team ambassador, too.

“For a regular guy from the South Side,” he said, “it’s a cool thing to still be remembered.”

A 1989 Fleer baseball card autographed by Donn Pall during spring training that year. He played for the White Sox from 1988 to 1993.
Russell Lissau/

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