In the few times he has returned to U.S. Cellular Field, Juan Uribe always makes sure to enter on 35th and Shields so he can catch a glimpse of his statue.
Even though he’s eight years and five teams removed, Uribe said Tuesday he fondly recalls his time with the White Sox. In a Game 2 victory on Monday, the Cleveland Indians third baseman homered against his former club for the first time ever in 25 career plate appearances.
Making only his third trip to U.S. Cellular since he left the White Sox for the San Francisco Giants in 2009, Uribe received a nice standing ovation when he batted for the first time.
“I never forgot what it meant to play here,” Uribe said. “They see me and for me it’s a lot of happy. I’m just comfortable when I play in Chicago. I’m a lot of happy, too. My family too. My family comes in when I play in Chicago. My family comes in and they come to see me.”
Uribe played five seasons with the White Sox and reached the postseason twice, including in his final season (2008). He since won a World Series with Giants in 2010 and has reached the postseason in each of the last three years, twice with the Los Angeles Dodgers and again with the 2015 New York Mets.
“Some people think I need to hit .300 or I need to hit .400 and then they are looking to win the game,” Uribe said. “When you do win, the city never forgets. The people never forget.
“The money, you can have it. But the win, you always remember. The people always remember what you do for this city. Look at what happened. I go to Chicago, I go to the Giants and they know me. A lot of people, they know Uribe for the World Series. They don’t know Uribe for how much money he’s making.”
Uribe not only enjoyed the warm welcome and the homer, he also had an opportunity to banter with fans above the home dugout throughout the contest. He said they very much remember the critical role he played on the 2005 World Series team, including throwing to first base for the final out of Game 4 — the moment memorialized on the statue.
And that’s why he doesn’t mind taking the long route into the ballpark when he could very easily go through the players’ entrance in left field.
“The fans they never forgot what you do here,” Uribe said. “For me, it’s unbelievable.
“Every time I come to the ballpark, I come that way and I see it. I tell people when they are in Chicago, ‘Go to the front and you’ll see me there.’”