Final Four: Big White Sox moments from '21

November 3rd, 2021

CHICAGO -- There were countless momentous occasions surrounding the 2021 White Sox during the first back-to-back playoff appearances in franchise history. I’ve picked four of those top moments. See if you agree or have another one or two to add.

The Clincher

A five-game series for the White Sox in Cleveland, beginning with a doubleheader on Sept. 23, once looked to be an interesting American League Central matchup for the top two teams. Instead, it became the official division coronation for the South Siders.

And with the chance to win their first AL Central crown since 2008 in hand, the White Sox didn’t waste any time. They scored six runs in the second inning of Game 1 and scored seven over 1 2/3 innings against Cleveland starter Aaron Civale, including four home runs. homered to right-center on the third pitch of the game and then went deep again in the second shortly after Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert had gone back-to-back.

In reality, the White Sox had control of this division since the start of July. But when Liam Hendriks struck out Myles Straw to finish the seventh and Game 1, there was no further guesswork involved. The White Sox were playoff-bound.

Anderson’s Stalk-Off

The Field of Dreams Game between the White Sox and Yankees played in Dyersville, Iowa, exceeded the lofty expectations set for this special contest. Those expectations were exceeded even before the two teams took the field, but the on-field action was just as good as the hoopla surrounding the event.

Anderson’s famous “Stalk-off” blast to right off Yankees reliever Zack Britton, with one out in the ninth, sent the sold-out crowd and the White Sox into a state of euphoria. That opposite-field homer followed two-run shots from Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the top of the ninth off Hendriks, giving the Yankees an 8-7 lead after trailing by three.

Jiménez, Seby Zavala and also homered for the White Sox in a game started by Lance Lynn. Abreu’s first-inning blast was the first Major League run scored in Iowa.

Rodón’s near-perfection

A harbinger of great things to come for arrived on April 14 at Guaranteed Rate Field when the talented southpaw no-hit Cleveland. Rodón actually carried a perfect game into the ninth and moved two outs away from history when Abreu’s running slide after fielding Josh Naylor’s grounder barely beat Naylor to first.

Rodón jumped ahead at 0-2 against Cleveland catcher Roberto Pérez, before hitting him with a backfoot slider. But he didn’t lose focus, striking out Yu Chang looking and retiring Jordan Luplow on a hard-hit grounder to third baseman Yoán Moncada to mark the second straight season in which White Sox pitchers threw no-hitters. Lucas Giolito did the honors at home against Pittsburgh on Aug. 25, 2020, striking out 13 and walking just one. Rodón finished with nine starts where he worked at least five innings and allowed two hits or fewer, which included carrying a no-hitter into the seventh in Detroit on June 13.

Long ball history for Abreu

Abreu reached the 200-home run career milestone in style, hitting an eighth-inning grand slam in Seattle on April 6. Abreu enters his final season of a three-year, $50 million extension ranked third in franchise history with 228 homers, joining Frank Thomas (448), Paul Konerko (432), Harold Baines (221) and Carlton Fisk (214) above 200.

Although he was beat up physically throughout the season’s entirety, Abreu produced as consistently as always. The first baseman finished with 30 homers and 117 RBIs, giving him his fifth season out of seven full seasons (eight overall) with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs.