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‘Blows my mind’: White Sox make franchise history

/ by Maddie Lee
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White Sox closer Liam Hendriks brought up the milestone unprompted, after he and his team clinched the AL Central title with a win at Cleveland.

“I’m just honored to be a part of this team,” he said to end his postgame Zoom conference Thursday, “especially with the first time in franchise history being able to go to the playoffs in back-to-back years --  which blows my mind, by the way.”

It is mind-blowing, especially for a franchise that has won the World Series three times. They even made championship appearances in 1917 and (infamously) 1919, with a sub-.500 shortened season in between. More recently, the White Sox followed up their 2005 World Series with a 90-win season. But in 2006, that gave them a third-place finish in the division, behind the Twins and Tigers.

So, as the White Sox jumped all over Cleveland on Thursday to the tune of four home runs in the first two innings, they were paving the way for history.

And as White Sox general manager Rick Hahn and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf made their way from their suite to the clubhouse after the first game of the doubleheader, they reminisced about the conversations that kicked off this rebuild five years ago.

“One of the things he mentioned,” Hahn said of Reinsdorf, “and quite frankly lamented, was the fact that this club has never gone on an extended run of success. And that if we were going to do this, if we were going to go down to the brass tacks and rebuild this organization, it had to be with the end goal of putting ourselves in a position to go on a run and win multiple championships.”

 

Of course, the White Sox haven’t won a championship during this cycle yet – a point Hahn was quick to make. Last year, the A’s ousted the young and exciting team in the Wild Card Series. This year is impossible to predict, as postseason veterans like Yasmani Grandal and Dallas Keuchel have pointed out.

Finally making the playoffs in consecutive years, however, Hahn sees as “a good milestone.”

He added: “That's a good first step.”

As this team made clear from spring training, it’s far from the final step.

“We’ve still got to finish the season,” said Tim Anderson, who went 3-for-4 with two home runs in the White Sox’ clincher. “So, we’re just going to continue to stay in that same mode all the way through. And once postseason starts, hopefully we can keep that same momentum and keep pushing.”

A second game Thursday evening tempered the White Sox’ on-field celebration. But there will be more time to celebrate the division title after they’re done playing for the day.

“Though the focus, to a man, down the hall right now is on making sure there are three more celebratory days like today in the future,” Hahn said from Progressive Field’s visiting team Zoom room, “everyone should take a moment to exhale and enjoy what this club has accomplished so far before moving on to the next thing."

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