Mark Buehrle

White Sox 2005 Rewind: 15 best moments from the World Series run

White Sox 2005 Rewind: 15 best moments from the World Series run

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.

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.

RELATED: White Sox Talk Podcast: Paul Konerko's and J.J. Putz' new careers as little league coaches

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.

RELATED: White Sox Talk Podcast: Distant Replay: The Pierzynski dropped third strike game

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.

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White Sox 2005 Rewind: 7 nominees for South Side’s regular-season MVP

White Sox 2005 Rewind: 7 nominees for South Side’s regular-season MVP

You don’t win 99 games without a team effort. You don’t win a World Series championship without getting contributions from all over the roster.

But the 2005 White Sox are perhaps uniquely remembered as a unit, a group. Certainly that statue out front at Guaranteed Rate Field reinforces that memory, honoring the moments that fueled that championship run: unforgettable snapshots from Paul Konerko, Scott Podsednik, A.J. Pierzynski, Orlando Hernandez, Juan Uribe, Joe Crede, Jermaine Dye, Mark Buehrle. The list goes on and on.

As much as those postseason moments stick out, though, there were 162 regular-season games the White Sox soared through en route to October baseball and the title that ended an 88-year drought.

So with #SoxRewind’s regular-season stint winding down as we prepare for 11 playoff victories beginning Saturday night, how about a fun little debate: Who was the White Sox regular-season MVP in 2005?

Rather than just start shouting names at each other, let’s go through a list of nominees.

Paul Konerko. The obvious front runner, considering he put up the best offensive numbers of the campaign. He finished the regular season with 40 home runs, 100 RBIs, 81 walks, a .375 on-base percentage, a .534 slugging percentage and a .909 OPS, leading in the team in every one of those categories. Konerko helped prevent the White Sox from completely collapsing late in the season, too, putting up a 1.003 OPS after the All-Star break.

Mark Buehrle. The ace of the South Side staff, Buehrle led the rotation with a 3.12 ERA in 236.2 innings pitched. He ended up finishing fifth in the AL Cy Young vote, though he probably should have finished higher. Buehrle set the bar for longevity in a staff that specialized in staying in ballgames, with 10 of his 33 starts lasting at least eight innings. His 40 walks were the fewest in the rotation, and only eight qualified starters in baseball walked fewer hitters that season.

Scott Podsednik. Obviously, the power numbers weren’t there — his zero regular-season home runs made his walk-off homer in the World Series all the more incredible — but he supplied a base-stealing ability rarely seen in franchise history. His 59 swiped bags in 2005 still rank as the third highest single-season total the club’s ever had. Kenny Williams swapping Carlos Lee for Podsednik in the offseason provided the White Sox lineup with the balance that allowed the team to score so many early inning runs and win so many games.

Jose Contreras. Was he the best pitcher in the rotation in 2005? No. Buehrle was better. Jon Garland was better, too. But Contreras gets a nomination here for his clutch efforts down the stretch, effectively putting the team on his back and saving the season as the Indians made a furious late-season charge. As the White Sox division lead evaporated in August and September, Contreras played stopper to prevent a complete free fall out of first place, winning each of his final eight regular-season starts with a 2.09 ERA over that stretch. His efforts down the stretch led Ozzie Guillen to start Contreras in Game 1 of all three playoff series.

RELATED: White Sox 2005 Rewind: Jose Contreras went 'ace mode' to save the season

Jermaine Dye. The eventual World Series MVP, Dye took a while to get going in his first season with the White Sox, but he took off, finishing second on the team with 31 homers, 29 doubles a .512 slugging percentage and an .846 OPS.

Jon Garland. Just as Dye played Robin to Konerko’s Batman on the offensive side of things, Garland was the Bucky to Buehrle’s Cap in the rotation. His 221 innings, 47 walks and 3.50 ERA didn’t lag too far behind Buehrle’s totals, and he, too, finished in the top 10 in the AL Cy Young vote. While Contreras shone down the stretch, Garland was the star of the early part of the season, winning each of his first eight starts, 12 of his first 14 and 15 of his first 19.

Dustin Hermanson. He didn’t start the season as Guillen’s closer, and he didn’t finish the season as Guillen’s closer, either. But he deserves a ton of credit for stepping up and locking down the ninth inning for the bulk of the campaign. Folks will perhaps more easily remember Bobby Jenks, who served as closer during the postseason, but Hermanson led the team with 34 saves and posted a 2.04 ERA as part of an excellent bullpen. He went two months and had already racked up 11 saves before he gave up a run in 2005 and blew just one save in the season’s first four and a half months.

Considering that all these guys and so many more played big roles in bringing a championship to the South Side, there’s no wrong answer. Perhaps you’ve got a nominee that’s not even on this list.

But let’s hear it: Who gets your vote for the 2005 White Sox regular-season MVP?

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The 14 best pitches in White Sox history: Who threw it best?

The 14 best pitches in White Sox history: Who threw it best?

Many men have thrown pitches for the White Sox over the course of their more than 100-year history, but these 14 pitches were the best to ever grace the South Side.

14. Shingo Takatsu’s frisbee curve

Shingo wasn’t in Chicago for long, but he was able to make an impression. He was nearly unhittable for most of 2004, and one of his biggest weapons was his “frisbee” curve. There aren’t many pitches that cause the crowd to gasp, but the frisbee did just that, often thrown too slow to even register a reading on the radar. Many batters were frozen by the slo-mo offering, which Shingo saved for when he really needed it. It looked super slow, even compared to his mid-80s fastball.

13. Carlos Rodon’s slider

Whereas Chris Sale’s slider sweeps down and into the right-handed batters box, Rodon’s seems to dart down toward the plate more suddenly. Perhaps that’s the illusion he creates because he doesn’t have the long arms and lanky frame that Sale has. Regardless, Rodon’s power slider has been his bread and butter ever since he was drafted out of N.C. State and has racked up many a strikeout.

12. Ted Lyons’ sailer

The winningest pitcher in White Sox history (260 wins), Lyons’ best pitch was referred to as his “sailer,” though descriptions of the pitch sound like the pitch we know today as the cutter. The October 1927 issue of "Baseball Magazine" said it was a “peculiar fast ball that ... will swerve from a straight line as much of a foot or more, breaking somewhat like a curve.” Lyons also featured a knuckleball, particularly later in his career. Whatever he threw, Lyons was the ultimate pitch-to-contact hurler, averaging 2.3 strikeouts per nine innings. It was a winning formula; he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1955.

11. Bobby Jenks’ fastball

When the big right-hander began to emerge from the White Sox bullpen in mid-2005, he brought a fastball that most White Sox fans hadn’t seen before. Maybe that’s because pitch speeds on telecasts were still relatively new, and before that you couldn’t see one 100 after another because the technology wasn’t there to bring it to us. Either way, Jenks' triple-digit heat was an unexpected surprise for the 2005 White Sox down the stretch and throughout the playoffs.

10. Jose Contreras’ forkball

The White Sox brought in Jose Contreras at the 2004 trade deadline after he struggled to get going with the Yankees. He was red hot down the stretch in 2005 and into 2006, and ended up the Game 1 starter in the 2005 World Series. The secret to his success was a forkball which darted sharply downward as it reached the plate. Contreras’ massive hands were an asset; he held the ball deep in his hand (as opposed to the split-finger pitch, which is held further up in the hand) with his fingers spread wide apart. His grip almost hurt to watch.

9. Red Faber’s spitball

After the spitball was banned in 1920, Faber was one of the 17 pitchers grandfathered in and allowed to continue throwing the slippery pitch. Faber hung around long enough to be one of the last two legal practitioners of the pitch, along with Burleigh Grimes. He managed to set a White Sox career record with 254 wins (later passed by Lyons) over 20 seasons. Faber (as well as his catcher, Ray Schalk) maintained that he used the spitter only occasionally, making sure to keep batters off guard from his diet of fastballs and curves. It clearly worked; Faber entered Cooperstown in 1964.

8. Wilbur Wood’s knuckleball

Wilbur Wood was fortunate to arrive in Chicago at the right time — the big knuckleballer had the opportunity to learn from the master — Hoyt Wilhelm. Unlike Wilhelm, “Wilbah” used his knuckler primarily as a starter (though he broke in as a reliever), and the reduced strain of throwing the pitch allowed him to amass incredible workloads during the early 1970s. According to the "Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers" (2004), Wood’s knuckleball is ranked as the third best all-time, after Wilhelm and Phil Niekro.

7. Mark Buehrle’s changeup

Buehrle controlled the pace of any game he pitched. And armed with a fastball that topped out around 90 mph (later in his career, he was in the mid 80s), Buehrle had to change speeds to survive, and his changeup was the key to induce weak contact and double-play grounders. He racked up more than 200 wins and 3,000 innings despite being a 38th-round draft pick.

6. Eddie Cicotte’s shine ball

Eddie Cicotte is best known for being one of the “Eight Men Out” on the 1919 “Black Sox,” but he had a near-Hall of Fame-caliber career. He was known for his knuckleball, but arguably the best pitch in his arsenal was the shine ball. According to his teammate Frank Shellenback in an April 1948 issue of "Baseball Digest":

“Eddie darkened the ball on one side by rubbing it in the dirt. Then he slickened the ball by rubbing it vigorously on his pants. ... The process camouflaged the ball perfectly. The ball, thrown with blazing speed, rotating quickly, and showing the white side only at split-second intervals, baffled batters completely.”

5. Jack McDowell’s split-finger

Over a three-year span from 1991 to 1993, “Black Jack” McDowell averaged a 20-10 record, a 3.32 ERA and 13 complete games per season, taking home the AL Cy Young Award in 1993. His money pitch was the split-finger fastball. As McDowell noted on his 1992 Pinnacle baseball card: “The split-fingered fastball can be used both as a breaking pitch and a changeup. The difference is usually achieved by varying the grip and spreading the fingers. The most effective method is to create top-spin or down-spin on the ball.”

4. Goose Gossage’s fastball

Gossage had an intimidating presence and a fastball to match. He (along with Nolan Ryan) was clocked at 103 mph at the 1978 All-Star Game. Had there been speed readings on every pitch as there are today, the Goose would be considered a bigger star than he was. His fame was at its peak with the late-1970s Yankees, but he most likely threw his hardest coming up with the White Sox in the early 1970s.

3. Hoyt Wilhelm’s knuckleball

Not just the best knuckleball in White Sox history, but Hoyt’s fluttering offering is generally regarded as the best of its kind in major league history. Writing in the April 13, 1968, issue of "The New Yorker," Roger Angell had this to say of Wilhelm’s knuckler: “The ball sailed up, made a sudden small swerve, like a moth in a hallway, and flumped feebly into the catcher’s glove. ... He delivers the pitch with approximately the same effort as a man tossing a pair of socks into a laundry hamper.”

2. Chris Sale’s slider

One of the nastiest pitches in the game, Chris Sale’s slider looks even nastier with the combination of his long, lanky frame and three-quarters delivery. When the ball leaves his hand from the first-base side and sweeps across the plate, it looks like it moves 10 feet sideways. Hitters have no chance, whether coming in on a righty or sweeping away from a lefty.

1. Ed Walsh’s spitball

“Big Ed” Walsh carved out a Hall of Fame career using the spitball, which of course can’t be used now; it was banned in 1920. But it was a legal delivery back when Walsh took the mound in the deadball era, and his 1.82 career ERA is the best of all-time. Hall of Fame outfielder Sam Crawford described Walsh’s wet one this way: "He threw a spitball. I think that ball disintegrated on the way to the plate, and the catcher put it back together again. I swear, when it went past the plate, it was just the spit went by."

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