So come on rally ‘round this brave and valiant cause
With tradition pride and honor at its core.
With swords drawn to defend,
stood these noble-hearted men.
Faugh-an-ballagh! Clear the way, me boys!
The White Sox won the World Series. Eighty-eight years have come and gone since the last time that statement was both true and relevant. Let me say it again. The White Sox have won the World Series.
The White Sox finished the regular season with a record of 99-63. The White Sox defeated the Boston Red Sox in the Divisional Playoff Series three games to none. The White Sox defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the American League Championship Series four games to one. The White Sox defeated the Houston Astros in the World Series four games to none. At the end of the regular season, the White Sox wanted to win eleven games. On October 26th, 2005 the White Sox had won eleven games. The White Sox played twelve games; the White Sox won eleven of them — Eleven wins and one loss; eleven wins and one loss in the playoffs.
I watched all twelve games. I cheered all twelve games. I yearned over all twelve games.
Muckrakers, pundits and malcontents will attempt to diminish this overpowering accomplishment. They will start by reminding anyone who will listen about the “strike three, not out” play in Game Two of the American League Championship Series. They will continue to second-guess, revise and recriminate a season’s worth of play. Some feckless, uninspired bastards may sink so low as to dwell once more upon the moral failure of the squad from 1919.
These assholes will fail.
The White Sox won the World Series.
Remember these names: Scott Podsednik, Tadahito Iguchi, Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko, Carl Everett, Aaron Rowand, A.J. Pierzynski, Joe Crede, Juan Uribe, Jose Contreras, Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Freddy Garcia, Orlando Hernandez, Bobby Jenks, Neal Cotts, Cliff Politte, Damaso Marte, Luis Vizcaino, Dustin Hermanson, Brian McCarthy, Geoff Blum, Willie Harris, Timo Perez, Chris Widger, Frank Thomas, and Ozzie Guillen.
Remember them well. Remember them very well.
I have been asked about my favorite moment in the last twelve games a number of times. Some of the various interrogators have offered suggestions. Paul Konerko’s Grand Slam in Game 2 against the Astros? No. Scott Podsednik’s walk-off home run? No. The 1-0 shutout against the Astros in Game 4? No. Four complete games against the Angels? No. The rookie, Bobby Jenks, closing Game 1 against the Astros with two strikeouts? No.
All of these suggestions were outstanding moments. I remember them with excitement and no small amount of happiness. They are not my favorite moment. My favorite moment came in Game 3 of the Divisional Series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
The White Sox have a two-run lead in the bottom of the 6th inning. Starting pitcher, Freddy Garcia gives up a home run to Manny Ramirez. Ozzie Guillen replaces Garcia with left-hander, Damaco Marte. Trot Nixon singles. Bill Mueller walks. Jason Olerud walks. With no outs, Marte loads the bases.
Ozzie Guillen comes to the mound and replaces Marte with Orlando Hernandez. Hernandez pitches brilliantly. Hernandez pitches defiantly. Hernandez pitches ferociously. Hernandez gets pinch-hitter Jason Varitek to pop up shallow with no play at home. He does it again with Tony Graffanino. And finally, “El Duque” ends the inning with a strikeout on Johnny Damon.
The White Sox retain their one-run lead. Three runners on base and nobody out– The White Sox find a way. I am describing that wrong. The White Sox did not find a way. — The White Sox created a way. The White Sox earned a solution. The White Sox produced a win.
I witnessed situations like this many times during the regular season. The definitive test of that capacity in the playoffs came in Game 3’s challenge at Fenway. With skill, grace and unwavering tenacity, the White Sox passed the test. At that moment, I became entirely convinced that anything was possible. They could have lost the game in the bottom of the 9th, and I would have remained convinced.
Hernandez goes on to pitch two more innings: three strikeouts, no walks and a lone single.
The top of the ninth adds a manufactured insurance run out of a Pierzynski double, a Crede sacrifice and a Juan Uribe suicide squeeze. Bobby Jenks comes in to turn out the lights. White Sox win their first playoff series since 1959 over the Red Sox.
At that moment, the World Championship White Sox became possible.
That moment, that stand by Hernandez in the 6th—that was the moment I believe made the World Series win possible. I believed it as it happened, and I believe it now.
The White Sox won the World Series.