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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Chicago Proud
for Our Sox!

by George Bova

Thome the Individual

by George Bova

Whatever the 2007 Sox season has lacked for delivering victories in the standings, there is no doubt it has been quite noteworthy for individual success.

There was Mark Buehrle's no-hitter this past spring, the first by a Sox pitcher since Wilson Alvarez. There was Bobby Jenks this past summer setting an improbable major league record for retiring consecutive hitters in a row -- and doing it from the bullpen!

And now there is Jim Thome's 500th homerun. For drama, this one beats them all.

In the bottom of the ninth in a tied game, a game the Sox once trailed 7-1, the count now 3-2, Thome drives the next pitch deep into left-centerfield.

Game winning homerun, walk-off style. #500, the culmination of seventeen years in Major League Baseball. All his teammates at homeplate to share in glory of the moment.

It's the first-time its happened this way in baseball history.

Perhaps most telling of the moment was Jim Thome's own reaction. The normally unflappable, business-like DH let his own joy show as he circled the bases.

Unlike Buehrle's or Jenks' accomplishments, nobody knew precisely when this crowning moment might happen. If Thome's bat hits the ball one-eighth of an inch higher on the barrel, it might just be a long drive to centerfield. Nothing but a homerun in this situation achieves the accomplishment and wins the game, too.

While this scene was simultaneously both classy and sentimental and witnessed by over 29,000 Sox Fans clutching their Jim Thome bobbleheads given away for the final game of this dramatic homestand, the scene inside the Sox Park media room after the game may have outshone it. Here the scene included gestures of kindness from a simple fan from Austin, Texas, who flew into Chicago this morning to attend a conference and chose to spend his Sunday afternoon enjoying a Sox ballgame. Now he gets Thome's 500th homerun and next he is in the media room to personally present it to him.

The season tickets the Sox and Thome offered him were in turn offered back to Thome's charity. They embraced. Class all around.

We Sox Fans haven't had much to cheer about this summer. It's been very frustrating for everyone to watch and tempers have often flared. And while nothing is a substitute for the collective accomplishments of a 25-man roster who represents us and our city proudly with 90+ wins and post-season glory, for at least one shining moment the disappointment of it all can be forgotten.

If not as a team, at least some very special individuals on this Sox team are real winners. Chicago is proud of them.

And the 2008 Sox season is one more happy day closer to beginning. The championship quest never ends...

Keep faithful, Sox Fans.


George Bova is editor and founder of White Sox Interactive. You can write George at george@whitesoxinteractive.com

More features from George Bova here!

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