Scott Podsednik

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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White Sox 2005 Rewind: How the Carlos Lee trade helped win the World Series

White Sox 2005 Rewind: How the Carlos Lee trade helped win the World Series

Carlos Lee was pretty good.

But as Hawk Harrelson laid out in the eighth inning of the White Sox win over the Texas Rangers on May 17, 2005, the trade that sent Lee to the Milwaukee Brewers in December 2004 was more like a 4-for-1 than the 2-for-1 swap it went down as in the transaction log.

The White Sox got Scott Podsednik and Luis Vizcaino from the Brew Crew in exchange for El Caballo. But they saved a good deal of money, too. Lee made $8 million in 2005. Podsednik and Vizcaino made $2 million combined. The $6 million in savings was spent on a pair of free agents. Orlando Hernandez and A.J. Pierzynski made a combined $5.75 million that season.

“When you can go out and get Podsednik, Vizcaino, El Duque and A.J. Pierzynski,” Harrelson said on that night's broadcast, “you’ve got to do it.”

It takes only a little more than a microsecond for White Sox fans to recall the postseason heroics Hernandez, Podsednik and Pierzynski turned in en route to the World Series championship in October. But the value went well beyond those few weeks. Those were seven-month additions for the 2005 season.

Obviously, Lee was a valuable hitter, and he kept on being one of those in Milwaukee, and later when he played for the Rangers and the Houston Astros. After leaving the White Sox, he played another eight seasons, made three All-Star teams and hit 206 home runs. In 2005 alone, he hit 32 home runs and drove in 114 runs for the Brewers, winning a Silver Slugger and finishing in the top 20 in NL MVP voting.

Keeping Lee in the middle of the White Sox order would have been nice. But they found their replacement power hitter four days earlier when they signed Jermaine Dye. With Dye set to take over Lee’s spot in the middle of the lineup, the White Sox had the luxury of addressing a need, acquiring Podsednik to be that stereotypical leadoff man and provide an incredible burst of speed. He stole 70 bases for the Brewers in 2004 and 59 more for the White Sox in 2005.

Vizcaino helped shore up the ‘pen. Hernandez gave the White Sox a fifth starter with playoff experience. They found their catcher for the better part of the next decade in Pierzynski.

Lee was a great player for the White Sox. But he couldn’t fill all those holes by himself.

Had it not resulted in a world championship, perhaps it wouldn’t have been considered the same kind of smart move it looks like 15 years later. Even Kenny Williams couldn’t have foreseen that Hernandez would turn in a relief performance for the ages against the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS. He couldn’t have foreseen that Pierzynski would almost single-handedly win Game 2 of the ALCS by running to first base on what was probably a strikeout. He couldn’t have foreseen Podsednik, of all people, hitting a walk-off homer in Game 2 of the World Series.

But he made it for the same reason any move is made: to put his team in a better position to win a championship. And because that’s what happened, trading Lee ended up a brilliant move.

What else?

— As discussed often during #SoxRewind, Jon Garland was sensational to start the season, and this game was no different. He went seven innings and gave up just two runs, bringing his ERA on the year to this point to 2.41. This was his eighth win in eight starts, a season-opening steak that ended in his next outing. But as good as Garland was in general, he was even better on the South Side. This was his fourth start at U.S. Cellular Field in 2005, and in those four starts, he allowed just six runs in 31 innings for a 1.74 ERA.

— Garland did his best work by getting out of what could have easily snowballed into a nasty top of the sixth inning. After walking the leadoff hitter and hitting the next guy, he gave up an RBI double to Mark Teixeira that not only brought the Rangers within a run but kept two runners in scoring position. How’d Garland dance out of it? With back-to-back strikeouts of Hank Blalock and Alfonso Soriano and getting Kevin Mench — who hit a game-winning homer the night before — to pop out to end the inning. I’ve talked about Garland pulling Houdinis before, but this was a pivotal one in a one-run game.

— I wrote last week about May 2005 being Pierzynski’s most powerful month in a White Sox uniform. He broke out of an early season slump and hit seven homers and put together a .557 slugging percentage with a .903 OPS in May. The sixth-inning bomb he hit into the visiting bullpen in this game sent a mildly tenuous one-run advantage to a far more comfortable three-run edge.

— Is it too late to join the Pod Squad?

Since you been gone

While #SoxRewind is extensive, it doesn’t include all 162 regular-season contests, meaning we’re going to be skipping over some games. So what’d we miss since last time?

May 14, 2005: The White Sox had a 5-2 lead on the Orioles, but the visitors from Maryland put up a three spot in the fourth and another crooked number with four runs in the seventh. Freddy Garcia was tagged for seven runs, the second most he gave up in a start in 2005. White Sox lose, 9-6, fall to 27-10.

May 15, 2005: The bats couldn’t do much damage against Erik Bedard, the White Sox only getting two runs and five hits against the Canadian lefty. White Sox lose, 6-2, fall to 27-11.

May 16, 2005: The White Sox went up 4-1 in the first, only for Hernandez to cough up five more runs over the next two innings. But the South Siders rallied, and Tadahito Iguchi homered to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth, only for Mench to hit a game-winning home run off Damaso Marte in the ninth. White Sox lose, 7-6, fall to 27-12.

Next up

#SoxRewind rolls on Friday, when you can catch the May 24, 2005, game against the Angels, starting at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago. Mark Buehrle goes nine innings but doesn’t earn the complete game when things spiral into extras, where Iguchi comes through in the clutch.

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