Ode to 10/26/2005

On this day five years ago, the Chicago White Sox lifted an 88 year weight off the shoulders and minds of their fans and the city. That team vaulted itself into the conversation of not only one of the most surprising teams that year, but into the conversation as one of the most impressive post season teams in recent history. That White Sox team won 99 games, winning the division (by 6 games over the Indians) and World Series in wire-to-wire fashion (something not done since the Cincinnati Reds last won), pitched four consecutive complete games to win the American League Pennant, had three different closers by the end of the year and they won their first and last game played that year in 1 – 0 fashion. Since the end of the 2005 season, there have been many changes as is the only constant in life, but here are the three individuals that I miss the most from that year: shortstop Juan Uribe, a healthy Joe Crede, and broadcaster John Rooney.

Juan Uribe lead the league in 2005 with the most sacrifice hits, and that was truly invaluable considering that was the “Win or Die Trying” White Sox. While the team lead the league in home runs, the team rode pitching and defense throughout the regular and post season. Uribe has been immortalized at 35th & Shields with the statue commemorating that year and the penultimate out made by Houston with Uribe leaning into the crowd in Houston to make the catch. Juan was our anti-Bartman. Juan’s defense, team play and cannon of an arm make him so valuable for any team that has him on their roster. Letting him walk was one of the biggest mistakes the White Sox have made in recent years, especially considering the defensive lapses since his departure.

Again I choose to focus on another stellar defender – Joe Crede. Crede became a sentimental fan favorite. He ascended through the White Sox farm system winning the starting job in 2003 out of spring training. He became an All-Star caliber player winning a Silver Slugger award though he was capable of winning a Gold Glove. Crede became best known for his diving catches and impeccable clutch hitting with walk off hits late in the 2005 season against the Indians and a walk off hit in the Game 2 of the ALCS, immediately after “The Drop-Third Strike.” Injuries and off the field agent issues have cut his career short. In 2007, his career took a turn for the worse as he injured his back. He never opted for surgery with free agency near on the horizon and the shrewd Scott Boras as his agent, this proved to be the kiss of death for his career. After playing half of a season in 2008, his injuries got the best of him and his time on the Southside was finished. He was signed in 2009 by the Minnesota Twins, though they were unable to keep him healthy for the entire year and only played 90 games. Crede is currently out of baseball not having played in 2010.

Last but certainly not least is John Rooney. Rooney was the long time voice of the White Sox on the radio and after the 05 season left for St. Louis. His talent became late appreciated by fans and since then, fans have been treated to the lifeless and conceded voice of Ed Farmer, between boring us with bickering, golf game results, and po-dunk high schools, he’s a detriment to the White Sox experience and is best served in little to no doses. He has no on air chemistry with now partner Darren Jackson and each make the experience less enjoyable than in previous years. The games Rooney called in the post-season are simply magical and are emotionally charged, especially when the White Sox won each clinching game. I’ll never forget his magically call – “It’s a White Sox winner, and a World Championship!”

While I consider the 2005 White Sox to be the best thing in my sports life to have ever happened, I can’t wait for the White Sox to win again. My dad wonders if they’ll ever do it again, and I know that they will. The team is run well from an organizational stand point and they have one of the best and most consistent front offices in all of baseball. The owner isn’t afraid to spend or make the big trade (Jake Peavy, Alex Rios). While the farm system needs some work, the team is committed to do the best they can to win each year. I thank you White Sox from the bottom of my heart. I will never forget October 26th, 2005.