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Blum was unlikely hero for 2005 White Sox

Lone career World Series at-bat resulted in game-winning homer
September 25, 2018

CHICAGO - Geoff Blum had exactly one career World Series at-bat.And in that one at-bat -- coming in the 14th inning of Game 3 of the 2005 World Series between his White Sox and the Astros -- Blum connected on a 2-0 pitch from Houston reliever Ezequiel Astacio for what

CHICAGO - Geoff Blum had exactly one career World Series at-bat.
And in that one at-bat -- coming in the 14th inning of Game 3 of the 2005 World Series between his White Sox and the Astros -- Blum connected on a 2-0 pitch from Houston reliever Ezequiel Astacio for what would become the game-winning home run to right. The White Sox raced to the title via a four-game sweep, marking their first championship in 88 years.
Blum calls that moment the greatest of a solid 14-year-career. But 13 years later, he spoke about a worry briefly overtaking him in that moment.
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Not worry over the pressure of the situation, but instead concern over his lone World Series appearance resulting in a sacrifice bunt. That inning began with a Jermaine Dye single, followed by a Paul Konerko double-play grounder.
"In my mind, I'm thinking if JD gets on, which he did, and then Konerko is at the plate and I'm on-deck, I'm thinking my only World Series at-bat I'm going to have to lay down a sacrifice bunt to get Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko into scoring position," said Blum, who currently works as a television analyst on Astros broadcasts. "So, there was a little bit of panic. Not that I couldn't bunt, but it's not one of the things I was very good at or wanted to do on that type of stage under that kind of pressure.
"Full disclosure and honesty. When Konerko hit into that double play, it was a little bit of a sigh of relief."
The White Sox acquired Blum from the Padres at the 2005 non-waiver Trade Deadline, with the switch-hitter playing 31 games and getting 99 plate appearances in adding to an already established powerhouse. When it came to Game 3, though, Blum originally was set to pinch-hit for reliever Bobby Jenks if his spot in the order came up in the 13th.
That spot ended up three away after the White Sox went down in order. Pablo Ozuna was scheduled to enter the game as part of a double-switch, also bringing in eventual winning pitcher Damaso Marte in the bottom of the 13th, but in a last-minute change, manager Ozzie Guillen went with Blum at second base.
Astros catcher Brad Ausmus clearly set up outside on the deciding pitch to Blum, but as Blum mentioned and the replay supports, Astacio missed his location inside "by a foot and a half." The rest was history.
"When I barreled it up, I knew I smoked it. Probably one of the harder balls I ever hit in my career," Blum said. "But the trajectory was so low off the bat, even at Minute Maid Park, I wasn't sure if it was going to get out. With two outs, my intent was to get to second base. Get myself in scoring position, because I believe Aaron Rowand was hitting behind me.
"I wanted to give him an opportunity to get that game-winning hit. I put my head down for about the first two or three steps to get a good break out of the box, and I looked up and the second I looked up, it hit about six rows up and ricocheted back on the field. The next thing I saw was (first-base coach) Tim Raines about six feet off the ground with both of his arms in the air."
Having played with Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Adam Everett and Morgan Esnberg in Houston from 2002-03, Blum didn't want to show up his former teammates via a raucous celebration. So, he put his head down and ran as an unlikely hero into White Sox history. Blum celebrated a World Series title in 2017 with the Houston team he helped vanquish in '05.
"My thought process going around was, 'You better damn well touch every base,'" Blum said. "If there's one swing or one moment that really not necessarily defined my career, but if I had one moment to speak of, that was definitely it."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.