One of the less-mentioned aspects of the Chicago Cubs making the World Series is the fact that they haven’t done so in 71 years, and haven’t won a World Series in 108 years. Unless you’re a hardcore Cubs fan, you probably haven’t heard about these statistical anomalies.
But an even more obscure bit of history is that, once upon a time, there was a second professional baseball team located in the city of Chicago, known to the locals as the “White Sox.” A long time ago, way back in 2005—during the second term of the forgotten president George Walker Bush, before the cyber humans hijacked sports discourse—the Chicago White Sox also won a World Series. It was their first championship in 88 years, in their first appearance in 46 years.
This World Series was won prior to the collective memory of the sports community, as evidenced by CBS not knowing about it, Jeff Bezos’s viral headline factory not knowing about it, and even ESPN not knowing about it:
Those White Sox were helmed by the charming but occasionally homophobic Ozzie Guillén. They had an average offense, led by Paul Konerko’s 40 home runs, Jermaine Dye’s 31, and Scott Podsednik’s 59 stolen bases, but their real strength came from the pitching staff, which had the fifth best ERA—and best ERA+—in the league.
Mark Buehrle was nominally the ace of the staff, and was one of four White Sox starters with more than 14 wins, and an ERA of less than 4.00. Jon Garland joined him in the All-Star Game, and Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras had good seasons, too. Dustin Hermanson was the closer, but saw his job taken by a mid-season call-up, the flame-throwing Bobby Jenks. Luis Vizcaino and Cliff Politte were effective middle relievers.
The White Sox were a postseason juggernaut, defeating the Boston Red Sox 3-0 and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 4-1, to face off against the Houston Astros in the World Series.
In Game 1, fearsome Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell strode to the plate in the eighth inning with two men on and two out, facing a two run deficit. Guillén brought in Jenks for the four-out save, and the rookie proceeded to strike out Bagwell on a 100 mph fast ball, before retiring the side in the ninth.
In Game 2, the White Sox were let down by their best pitchers. Starter Mark Buehrle gave up four runs, only to be let off the hook by Paul Konerko’s grand slam. Jenks blew the save in the ninth, but was rescued by a home run from the light-hitting Podsednik.
Game 3 was historic, though not necessarily in the most entertaining of ways. In a five-hour, 41-minute epic contest that lasted through 14 innings, a guy named Geoff Blum hit a homer in the top of the 14th, and none other than Mark Buehrle came on to save the win.
The final game, Game 4, was one for the ages. Freddy Garcia and Brandon Backe each went seven innings without giving up a run. In the top of the eighth, little-used White Sox pinch hitter Willie Harris singled, and was eventually driven home by Jermaine Dye. Juan Uribe, nobody’s idea of a defensive superstar, made a superlative catch in the bottom of the ninth, before fielding a grounder for the final out and the World Series sweep.
After that World Series victory, the Chicago White Sox faded into obscurity, remembered only by a select few.