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'Blackout Game' still gives Danks chills

Left-hander started and won 2008 AL Central tiebreaker
MLB.com @scottmerkin

This story represents the first of an occasional series in which White Sox players discuss their greatest single career moment.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It was almost eight years ago when John Danks took the mound against the Twins for the American League Central one-game playoff commonly known as "The Blackout Game."

This story represents the first of an occasional series in which White Sox players discuss their greatest single career moment.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It was almost eight years ago when John Danks took the mound against the Twins for the American League Central one-game playoff commonly known as "The Blackout Game."

That chilly night on Sept. 30, 2008, has been deemed by many White Sox fans as the most exciting contest in franchise history, even topping all of the four World Series victories from 2005. Based on Danks' reaction when asked recently about that moment at U.S. Cellular Field, where fans all wore black, it still fully resonates with the veteran southpaw.

"Look," said Danks with a broad smile while pointing to his arm. "I get chills talking about it."

Chills, that is, in the desert heat of Arizona at Camelback Ranch.

"That was the ultimate highlight of my career, playing days from Little League on up," said Danks, who embarks on his 10th season with the White Sox. "At the time, obviously, I was a little fortunate and didn't understand the magnitude or how big of a game that really was.

"I kind of took it for granted getting into the postseason. That was my second year, and we did it. I was a little more lighthearted than I probably should have been. Shoot, man, that was a fun night."

Danks finished 12-9 with a 3.32 ERA in '08 and won his lone career playoff start against the Rays in the American League Division Series. But it would be hard to find a better start than the one he made against the Twins, with both teams sitting at 88-74 in a home game the White Sox were awarded after a coin flip went in their favor. It's a home-field tiebreaker that has since been changed.

Over eight innings, Danks yielded one Michael Cuddyer double and a Brendan Harris single while fanning four and walking three. Cuddyer got to third base with one out in the fifth of a scoreless contest, but he was thrown out at home by Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. on Harris' fly ball to center.

Future Hall of Famer Jim Thome homered leading off the seventh against Nick Blackburn, giving the White Sox their 1-0 victory margin. The work from Griffey and Thome helped Danks win his most memorable start.

"Which one of these doesn't belong?" said Danks with a laugh, when talking about being mentioned with Griffey and Thome. "Just being able to say I was teammates with those two guys. Throw in a [Paul] Konerko, [Mark] Buehrle, I've got to play with and for some great people. I truly mean it when I say it -- I'm a very blessed person.

"A lot of it is a blur. A lot of the stuff I remember now is just stuff I've seen on replays of it or whatnot. I remember that atmosphere was amazing and, shoot, just the whole thing, it was a great experience."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, John Danks