But a YouTube video posted accompanying the Chicago magazine article and also posted at the Deep Dish last weekend seemed to give clues that they had done so more than once.
SB Nation Chicago contacted the author of the Chicago magazine article, Jennifer Tanaka. She replied that in talking to Jeff Szynal of the Sox, he had confirmed that there were three dates, but "no newspaper accounts existed."
That sounded like a challenge, and we're pleased to announce that we have solved this decades-old mystery. After the jump, the answer.
Checking the Chicago Tribune archives, we did in fact confirm that there were three dates on which the Sox had worn shorts in 1976. The first game of a doubleheader on August 8 was, in fact, the first time. Owner Bill Veeck said:
"We picked the coolest day of the summer to break out the shorts. That's the way it's been going for us all year. We had to wait until this late in the season to wear them because we had to get the right pads under the socks to protect the knees."
Manager Paul Richards then decided it was "too nippy" to wear them for the second game and had the players change back to pants. Maybe they should have stuck to the shorts; they won the first game 5-2, but lost the second game 7-1.
They broke out the shorts for the second time on Saturday, August 21; it was NBC's Saturday Game of the Week backup, and that was apparently one of the primary reasons for doing it. Richards' wife Margie, according to the Tribune, had come in for the weekend series "just to see Paul in shorts." They won that game too, 11-10 over the Orioles.
The final appearance of the shorts was the next day, Sunday, August 22, in the first game of a doubleheader against Baltimore. The YouTube video clearly shows the scoreboard with the score of that game, as well as a beer case stacking contest that was referred to in the Tribune recap of the game in the next day's paper. The Sox lost that game 6-2, and then put the shorts away for good.