Williams, White Sox look back on championship run
SoxFest provides setting for team to begin celebrating World Series' 10-year anniversary
CHICAGO -- In honor of SoxFest and the start of the 10-year anniversary celebration for the 2005 World Series champions, here's a brief primer on that very special White Sox team.
The White Sox sat atop the American League Central for every day of that season, tying a franchise record with 99 victories. After surviving a late-season scare from the Cleveland Indians, they won five straight to close out the regular season. That finish was followed by an 11-1 run of postseason dominance that included four straight complete games from Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras to win the AL Championship Series.
Seven of those postseason victories came by two runs or fewer, including all four games in the World Series sweep of the Astros. They finished 52-29 on the road and 35-19 in one-run games. If this team wasn't one of the best in recent Major League memory, then it certainly should be in the picture.
"Well, here's what I say," said White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams. "If there's a better team performance in the playoffs, the baseball playoffs, I'm not aware of it."
Williams served as the architect of this historic effort, trading for leadoff man Scott Podsednik, Contreras and Garcia, and adding outfielder Jermaine Dye, second baseman Tadahito Iguchi and reliever Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez through free agency, to name a few moves. Williams was in attendance at the Hilton Chicago this past weekend, eagerly awaiting the start of the 2015 season, but fondly looking back one decade ago.
Actually, there was more talk about families and kids than Buehrle's 1-0 scoreless start against Cleveland to open that season or Garcia's 1-0 masterpiece to close out the Astros.
"That's probably for everyone else to reminisce and talk about," Williams said. "But we experienced it, so nobody has talked to me about that year. We have talked about what happened since we last saw one another."
A special camaraderie existed within this group pretty much from the first day of Spring Training. Williams pointed out that it wasn't uncommon to see seven, eight or nine players going to lunch or hanging out together.
"They wanted to be together," Williams said. "They took care of the guy on the right and the left, and they understood each other's style of play. That's what sticks with me the most, the camaraderie, on and off the field as well."
This team's ability to get a lead early in a game and hold on to it surprised Williams a bit at first, but it ultimately made him believe that style of play had the White Sox primed for the postseason. Ultimately, the only regret Williams had when he looked at Podsednik, Aaron Rowand, Joe Crede and Bobby Jenks, among the eight players in attendance, was that this great season didn't turn into more than one championship.
"I said I wanted multiple championships, and we didn't get it," Williams said. "I'm hopeful in this position that we can bring another one to Chicago.
"You try to put the best teams together you can. I guess the disappointment comes from having what I thought were at least three more teams that didn't make the playoffs. We had some good teams back then that didn't make the playoffs."