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The Chicago White Sox (1900-), American League, Central Division, World Series Champions in 1906, 1917, and 2005


aaronsinger
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I was recently doing some research about Al Kaline and Harmon Killebrew vis-a-vis Mickey Mantle to see whether or not there was some merit to the hypothesis that those two players would have gotten Mantle-like fame had they played for the Yankees (I believe they would have, if they had comparable stats) - but I didn't get far enough into my research, because I read that in 1961, Al Kaline finished 2nd in the American League batting race, losing to his teammate Norm Cash.

Norm Cash won the batting title? Really?

So I did some more digging, and found out that Kaline batted a fine.324 that year, but Cash batted an *unbelievable* .361. Are you kidding me? .361? That is the highest single-season batting average that *any* major-league player hit in the 1960s! And he hit 41 home runs and 132 RBIs! That's a better year than Bryce Harper had in 2015, without question. When Norm Cash retired, he was in 4th place all-time for most home runs ever by an American League left-handed hitter, behind Babe RuthTed Williams, and Lou Gehrig. That's some pretty sweet competition.

Norm Cash, another youngster dealt away by the White Sox at the time. Cash, Johnny Callison, and a couple others. During their 17-year run of consecutive winning seasons in the 50s and 60s, their strength was pitching, defense, and the running game (hence the Go-Go Sox), their weakness was power hitting. If they had kept them, who knows, maybe they would've squeaked in another pennant win besides 1959.

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Norm Cash, another youngster dealt away by the White Sox at the time. Cash, Johnny Callison, and a couple others. During their 17-year run of consecutive winning seasons in the 50s and 60s, their strength was pitching, defense, and the running game (hence the Go-Go Sox), their weakness was power hitting. If they had kept them, who knows, maybe they would've squeaked in another pennant win besides 1959.

The 2005 Chicago White Sox were simply amazing. 99-53 in the regular season, and an incredible 11-1 in the playoffs! This *website* was in existence the year they won the World Series - their first in 88 years - and yet I don't recognize but about five names from the entire roster.

In reading that link, this looks like much of the credit goes to manager Ozzie Guillén, for approaching GM Kenny Williams and convincing him to play "small ball" (and to Williams, for agreeing with him). As Guillén was a career White Sox member (White Sock?), I'm a little surprised he doesn't have his number retired, although the same article reports he had personal difficulties with Williams, so there must have been some inner tension.

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It wasn't really a small ball team, more of an Earl Weaver, pitching-and-3-run HR team. The offense was middling, led by Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko, and for a few weeks in June and July, Frank Thomas. But the pitching and defense were fantastic. IIRC, only two other teams in MLb history led their divisions (or the league, pre-1969) wire to wire and swept the World Series. I think the others were the 27 Yankees and one of the Reds 70s teams.

Ozzie and Kenny are both hot-headed, type A personalities, it was inevitable that they would clash. Ozzie's number could be retired as a player for one, no he wasn't a HOF player or anything, but he certainly meant a lot to the team over the years in sticking at SS. The Sox have had a few Venezuelan shortstops in their historry, notably Luis Aparicio and just before him, Chico Carrasquel.

Amazingly, in a 5-game ALCS the bullpen pitched all of 2/3rds of one inning, as starter Jose Contreras came out in the 9th with 1 out in Game 1. After that, Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Freddy Garcia, and Contreras each pitched a CG in games 2-5 against Los Angeles of Anaheim.

KW's teams in the early and mid-2000s were perhaps similarly built to old GM Frank 'Trader' Lane. Hamstrung by the hardline owner in Jerry Reinsdorf, who refused to invest heavily in the draft under the old CBA, he built the team through shrewd trades. Garcia came from Seattle for OF prospect Jeremy Reed, C Miguel Olivo, and OF/SS Mike Morse; Garland from the Cubs for a reliever, Matt Karchner; Contreras for Esteban Loaiza, a one/two year wonder after being taught a cutter, as pitching coach Don Cooper has done for a number of pitchers.

Preseason, they were picked to finish 4th by many publications. 2000--2004 the team had some success with a real softball, masher lineup. Thomas, Konerko, Carlos Lee, Magglio Ordonez, Jose Valentin, and more saw the Sox put up consecutive seasons over 200 HR that only the Yankees topped. After the 2004 season, the Sox had concerns with Magglio's knees, and he departed for a big contract in Detroit. LF slugger Carlos Lee was dealt to Milwaukee, and a year later he signed his own $100+ million contract; they got table-setter Scott Podsednik, who would prove to be a crucial leadoff man in 2005. Hitting 2B, and a perfect 2-hole hitter, was a complete unknown from Japan, Tadahito Iguchi, who flamed out after a few seasons, but put up good numbers for a couple years. They got a C who ended up being perfect in the clubhouse in AJ Pierzynski, after his year in San Francisco turned out to be a disaster (not helped by the Giants idiotic trade for him, dealing away Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano). The money they didn't give to Maggs ended up filling out the rest of the roster and it was a complete team. Juan Uribe and Joe Crede on the left side of the infield proved to have great defense and timely hitting. And an iconoclast DH in Carl Everett filled out the order.

Everything just fell completely into place, after teams that looked good on paper underperformed after a surprise division title in 2000; 2003 they faded down the stretch, 2004 they were wracked by injuries (Maggs, Thomas).

Eventually, two big egos in Williams and Ozzie clashed, and Ozzie departed for Miami a few years later. They won 90 games in 2006 after dealing for Jim Thome, and he, Dye, and Konerko all had very good seasons; but the pitching staff wasn't the same, perhaps worn out from the year before.

They fell off over time, thanks to the team's inability to develop any young talent. Now, KW's act has worn thin, and while GM Rick Hahn has improved the farm, it still has a long way to go. The only thing worth watching on the team now is Jose Abreu, continuing a line of good power-hitting 1B after Thomas and Konerko; and Chris Sale, who if he stays healthy could end up being the best pitcher in the team's 114-year history.

Amazingly, the White Sox have never made the postseason in consecutive years.

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This is one of the single greatest baseball posts we've ever had on this website, and I'm nearly certain that our regular posters will agree. I hope I'm doing it justice by going through and painting in some links; but the sheer amount of work involved (and the late hour) reminds me of just how extensive a post this is. I wanted to surprise you by getting it finished, but I just can't - I'm exhausted.

Thank you so much for having written it. I'm certain that others will get endless enjoyment out of this, both now, and in the future, both near and distant, which is why I feel I owe you my best effort in putting in the best and longest-lasting links I can find.

I love this community, and have said so ad nauseum, but every once in awhile a post like yours comes along which makes me realize that it's not just my selfish love of the website which keeps me going; it's nourishing other information-seekers, perhaps not even born yet, who will come to rely on posts such as yours in the future in order to educate themselves. I wonder if anything short of a book has approached your post in terms of being a definitive reference about the 2005 Chicago White Sox.

You've left little doubt in my mind of just how much the White Sox mean to you.

This guy is looking down upon you, proud as he can be: 220px-ShoelessJoeJackson.jpg - he waited 86 seasons for his championship, and you did right by him.

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2005 was remarkable in that TV saw no way to market the World Series. Viewership was way down from 2004.  Chicago White Sox v Houston Astros (their ONLY WS appearance in franchise history!)

2004 saw the Red Sox break "the curse" and beat the Yankees and win it all. TV should have been able to market the 2005 World Series much better since this year, maybe this year, the White Sox would break the curse of the Black Sox scandal. And that is just what they did, sweeping the Houston Astros in 4 games! Sure the Go Go Sox had been to the World Series in 1959, but the Dodgers took that Series. 2005 was historic but you wouldn't know it from the amount of coverage it got.

From 2004 to the present NY and Boston have absolutely dominated TV. You almost can't get away from seeing them on TV. (I go out of my way to AVOID seeing any Yankee or Red Sox games! And I have done so since 2004!) No such thing happened for the White Sox. This year I am afraid that if the Cubs win TV will show almost nothing else but games from NY, Boston, LA, and Chicago! I mean the national games on ESPN, Fox, and NBC, NOT MASN). This might mean short term success for TV ratings but I think in the long run it would be very damaging to the sport. I think it would kill interest in baseball in small market cities like KC, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, etc.

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2005 was remarkable in that TV saw no way to market the World Series. Viewership was way down from 2004.  Chicago White Sox v Houston Astros (their ONLY WS appearance in franchise history!)

Which is odd since, at the time, these were (I believe) the 3rd and 4th most-populated cities in the nation.

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For the ratings to be high, TV needs national interest, not just regional. Some teams have national appeal and others do not. The interest in the 2004 games between Boston and the Yankees was national, not just regional. And this year there is a lot of national interest in the Cubs because of their history. Not just the midwest. But it's strange that the White Sox in 2005 did not generate much national interest. I don't know why. They have a compelling story, and a curse of their own! Houston Astros don't generate much national interest, but it's not because they're from Texas. There has long been national interest in the Dallas Cowboys. It's just strange.

The Post coverage of the Cubs is amazing in that there were multiple stories but I could hardly find any news about LA beating NY last night! Forget about coverage of the American League teams!

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