Here's a clue . . .
Yes, I love the Chicago White Sox. I am not the typical White Sox fan, but if you read my blog long enough, you will discover I am not the typical anything.
I will delve into what separates me from the normal White Sox fan in later posts. At this time, I'd like to start (with apologies to Kool and The Gang) a celebration that will last throughout the year. The celebration the 5 year anniversary of the 2005 World Series Championship Season.
I know that it is actually only 2009 and might seem premature for the 5 year anniversary. However, I plan from now until October to commemorate important events in the chronology of that histroric achievement.
Today, December 13th, for example, commemorates a move made 5 years ago that went a long way to making the White Sox champions. On this date in 2004 White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams traded Carlos Lee to the Milwaukee Brewers for Scott Podsednik.
In 2004 the white Sox were a team that "lived and died by the home run and the big inning." 1
No one hit more home runs than the White Sox in the regular season of 2004 but that was not enough to get them to the post season. So changes needed to be made to play the style of baseball first year manager Ozzie Guillen was most accustomed to.
The big change was to essentially outfielders with the Brewers. Carlos "El Caballo" Lee hit .305 for the White Sox in '04 and hit 31 dingers, second only to Paul Konerko. Podesdnik cracked 12 homers for the brew crew that year but batted only .244. Podsednik's real contribution came on the base paths where he stole 70 bases, whereas The White Sox as a unit only stole 77!!!
The trade worked out well for both parties. Lee increased his homer output as a Brewer and made the first of 3 consecutive all star appearances in 2005. But the Sox were the real winner of the trade. The acquisition of Podsednik transformed the team. They now had a base runner who was a threat to steal every time he got on base. He stole 59 in 2005 in only 129 games. It's hard to imagine what his total might have been if injuries in the second half of the season didn't keep him out of so many games.
Let me quickly tell you how some of the cogs in the 2005 championship wheel were attained.
- June 27th 2004. White Sox move Miguel Olivo, Jeremy Reed and Michael Morse to Seattle for Freddy Garcia and Ben Davis. Garcia became a key starter in the White Sox rotation.
- July 18, 2004. Sox trade pitchers Jon Rauch and Gary Majewski to Montreal for Carl Everett. Everett became the DH in 2005 when Frank Thomas went down to injury.
- July 31, 2004. White Sox move fan favorite Esteban Loaiza to the Yankees for Jose Contreras. Contreras went 9-2 in the second half of 2005. His best effort came on September 23rd against the Twins. The Sox had dropped to only 1 and a half games ahead of the Indians. Contreras pitched a 9 strike out complete game gem and the White Sox never looked back. Man, I couldn't think of a way to work in that I was at the game and that it was my birthday. Oh well, maybe you will figure that out on your own.
Trades weren't the only way this team formed. Earlier in December of 2004, Wiilliams made two key free agent signings:
- December 8th Pitcher Dustin Hermanson
- December 9th Outfielder Jermaine Dye
Hermanson stepped into the closer role in 2005 when we learned that Shingo Takatsu is Japanese for 1 year wonder.
Dye had an excellent year in '05 with the Sox, culminating with his World Series MVP award.
So there it is my first of several looks back at the 2005 World Champions. In the weeks to come I will intersperse some more memories but will also be focusing on other teams and other sports.
Until next time, this is Crazy Uncle Dave signing off.
This post is featured in Athletic Alley Blog Carnival – December 17, 2009
1. Total White Sox by Richard C Lindberg. Triumph Books, 2006. P. 121