If #SoxRewind taught us anything, it’s that 15 years ago, the White Sox did indeed win the World Series.
With NBC Sports Chicago’s replay of that magical championship run in the rear-view mirror, let’s celebrate 15 years since that title with the 15 best moments from the 2005 postseason.
15. A.J. Pierzynski homers to lead rout of Red Sox
The White Sox won 99 games during the regular season and still came into their first playoff game against the defending-champion Red Sox being described as “underdogs.” But that idea went out the window pretty quick as the South Siders unloaded with a 14-2 crushing. The White Sox scored five runs in the first inning, the final three coming on a Pierzynski homer that sent U.S. Cellular Field up for grabs.
1st inning of the playoffs... five runs. A.J. Pierzynski's 3-run bomb has the South Side going crazy!#SoxRewind now on @NBCSChicago and streaming here: https://t.co/hsj69OeT53 (@saintxavier) pic.twitter.com/4TXVe6wvyw— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) May 24, 2020
14. Tadahito Iguchi homers to give the White Sox the lead
It wasn’t quite as easy for the White Sox in Game 2 of the ALDS, down 4-0 early. But just like the day before, they hung another crooked number on the board in the game’s defining inning. This time it was a five-spot against David Wells. The blow that turned the game around? Iguchi’s three-run blast.
13. Pierzynski completes the comeback
Something about those five-run innings. After the White Sox went down 4-0 when the World Series shifted to Houston for Game 3, they needed another comeback. They got another five-run frame. Joe Crede started it with a homer, and Pierzynski finished it with a two-run double, turning a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 lead against Roy Oswalt.
12. Paul Konerko slays the Green Monster
With the White Sox a win away from playing for the pennant, they needed to break a 2-all tie at Fenway Park. Konerko did the honors, smashing a two-run homer over the Green Monster. That wasn’t the end of the drama in Game 3 of the ALDS, but it proved to be the game- and series-winning hit.
11. Jermaine Dye starts (and ends) the scoring in Game 4
For all the mashing they did during the playoffs, and the World Series in particular, they needed just one run to win the championship-clincher. They got it from Dye, who delivered an RBI knock to score Willie Harris from third base and break a scoreless tie in the season’s penultimate inning.
10. Crede’s heroics to win the pennant
Crede came through with a pair of clutch hits in the late stages of Game 5 of the ALCS, the White Sox looking to rattle off a fourth consecutive victory to punch their ticket to the World Series. First, with the White Sox down a run, he smacked a leadoff homer in the seventh to tie the game at 3. An inning later, with the Angels inserting their excellent closer, Francisco Rodriguez, Crede drove in a tie-breaking run with a two-out base hit. And the White Sox won the pennant.
9. Crede’s game-winning dinger kicks off a World Series sweep
It’s rare to hear a fourth-inning homer described as a game-winner, but that’s what happened when Crede broke a 3-all tie with a homer off Wandy Rodriguez in Game 1 of the World Series. The Astros didn’t score again, and the White Sox got their sweep started in style on the South Side.
8. Mark Buehrle puts out the fire to win Game 3
Two nights earlier, he started Game 2. So what was Buehrle doing coming out of the bullpen in Game 3? Well, it’s all hands on deck when a postseason game goes 14 innings. Geoff Blum broke the tie in the top of the 14th, but things got a little dangerous in the bottom of the inning. After a Juan Uribe error put two runners on base, Ozzie Guillen called on Buehrle to relieve Damaso Marte. Buehrle threw three pitches and got a pop out to end the game and bring the White Sox within a win of the championship.
7. Blum plays unlikely hero
Blum didn’t do a lot of damage after the White Sox acquired him at the trade deadline. But he saved his biggest contribution for the very end, homering to break a 5-all tie in the 14th inning of Game 3 of the World Series. As unlikely a hero as there could have been, Blum smacked his way into White Sox history.
6. Scotty Pods’ walk-off winner
After the exhilarating high of Konerko’s go-ahead grand slam and the deflating low of Bobby Jenks’ blown save, Podsednik did the unthinkable: He homered. After hitting a grand total of zero home runs during the regular season, it was Podsednik, of all people, who found his power stroke at exactly the right time, walking off the Astros to give the White Sox a 2-0 lead in the World Series.
5. A.J. swings, misses and runs to first base
It’s a play that’s as bizarre a decade and a half later as it was in 2005. A tie game in the bottom of the ninth of Game 2 of the ALCS, Pierzynski swung and missed at Strike 3. The Angels thought the inning over, but Pierzynski was playing a different game in his head, believing the ball hit the dirt, and turned and ran to first base, despite being called out by the home-plate umpire. When he got there, he stayed there and was apparently safe, to the great surprise of everyone in the building. Three pitches later, pinch-runner Pablo Ozuna scored the game-winning run on a Crede double. What just happened? The ALCS got turned on its head.
4. El Duque strands the bases loaded
Konerko launching that tie-breaking homer over the Green Monster was just the beginning of what pitching coach Don Cooper calls the most important inning in franchise history. In the bottom of the frame, Manny Ramirez halved the White Sox lead with a leadoff homer that chased Freddy Garcia. Enter Marte, who promptly gave up a single and back-to-back walks, loading the bases with nobody out in a one-run game. To do the impossible, Guillen called on playoff veteran Orlando Hernandez, who went pop out, pop out, strikeout to strand the bases loaded and preserve the lead. Said Cooper, years later, “The only a------ that wasn’t tight was El Duque’s.”
3. Konerko’s slam sets off bedlam in Bridgeport
Down 4-2, two outs, bases loaded in the seventh inning of Game 2 of the World Series. Fortunately, the White Sox had their best hitter at the plate. Already on his way to securing his place in White Sox history, Konerko delivered his ultimate moment, the one currently captured in bronze on the South Side. He hit the first pitch he saw from just-entered reliever Chad Qualls into the seats and sent the fans into a frenzy as he flipped a 4-2 deficit into a 6-4 lead, his arm raised as he set off around the bases. The effort was somewhat spoiled when Jenks blew the save two innings later, but Podesnik’s walk-off homer ensured Konerko’s grand slam, the moment still etched in the memories of so many, came in a win.
2. Four in a row
It’s not a moment so much as an entire series — and a feat that will almost surely never be accomplished again. After the White Sox lost Game 1 of the ALCS, the starting rotation put the team on its shoulders and threw four consecutive complete games in four consecutive wins. Heck, Jose Contreras went 8.1 innings in the Game 1 loss, nearly making it five in a row. As good as the bullpen was, it was only needed for a grand total of two outs in that series. Meanwhile, the rotation of Buehrle, Jon Garland, Garcia and Contreras went to work, showing off the No. 1 reason the White Sox led the AL Central from wire to wire and ended up World Series champs: dominant starting pitching.
1. Uribe makes the catch, makes the play, and the White Sox win the World Series
The 88-year drought over. The White Sox swept the Astros in the World Series, finishing off Game 4 with back-to-back memorable moments from Uribe in a one-run game. First, he recorded the second out of the bottom of the ninth with a remarkable catch on a foul pop up, lunging into the stands at Minute Maid Park in a defensive highlight for the ages. Then he made a terrific charging play on a ground ball to clinch the world championship. A heck of a finish to the greatest season the South Side has ever seen.