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Boys of Summer 2005

by Senor Sock 

It all came and went so quickly. When Jerry Springer and I and a group of former Lov-a-Bulls were watching this year’s American League playoffs (way back when our Sox were still alive) (or at least in it), I was surprised to realize that the current roster only included 6 members of that 2005 world championship team: Paul Konerko, Mark Buehrle, Juan Uribe, A.J. Pierzynski, Jermaine Dye and Bobby Jenks. Joe Crede and Jose Contreras were also part of the 2005 team, but they were currently on the disabled list (much like most of the Sox bats). Brian Anderson was active for this post season, but he was there just as an observer back in that great glorious postseason (and actually just kind of an observer in this post season as well).


Who is the world's foremost playboy, celebrity Sox Fan, and sock?  The answer could only be Senor Sock!

It all just goes to show how difficult it is to get just the right combination to create a winner and how quickly players move on in today’s game. 

Of our 2005 world champions, several are out of major league baseball. Shingo Takatsu, whose off speed stuff was so good in 2004 and so hittable in 2005 that he was released in August, managed to catch on with the Mets in 2005 but didn’t impress. After playing with success in Japan again, Shingo tried to come back with the “3 and out” Cubs in 2008, but was cut in the spring. Instead, he spent the season pitching for the Woori Heroes in the Korean baseball league. 

Dustin Hermanson, who replaced Shingo as the closer, battled with injuries and lost. He was replaced as closer by Bobby Jenks and last pitched in the 2006 season. Hermanson got a 2007 spring training invite with the Reds but was released. Cliff Politte, who was so effective in 2005 lost it in 2006 (8.70 era) and was released. He pitched 8 innings for the Indians AA team in 2007 and had an invite to the Cardinals camp in 2008 but no longer could get hitters out. Backup catcher Chris Widger had been out of the majors and playing with the Camden Riversharks in 2004 before he made the Sox out of spring training in 2005, but the former Expo regular didn’t last long. Widger was released in the 2006 season after hitting just .184 . He caught on with the Orioles for 9 games before hanging it up for good, catching more games (according to baseball reference.com) than anyone else born in the state of Delaware. 

Outfielder Timo Perez was a handy spare part in his years with the Sox. After 2005 he went to St. Louis then Detroit in 2007. He played the entire 2008 season for Toledo, Detroit’s AAA farm club hitting .302 but didn’t even get a September call up.  Sox DH Carl Everett managed to catch on with Seattle in 2006, but his reduced production made that his last major league season (though I would not have been surprised had Kenny reacquired him for a third time in August this year!). He tried to make a comeback (along with former Sox hurler Vic Darensbourg)  with the Long Island Ducks franchise in the Atlantic League where he hit .327 with 29 homers and 100 rbi this season. 

Bit players Jeff Bajenaru and Kevin Walker pitched a few innings for the Sox in 2005. The former pitched one more season for Arizona in 2006 while the latter was last seen pitching in the Mexican leagues. 

The rest of the team is still around, spread out throughout the American and National leagues…or in the unfortunate Joe Borchard’s case, the International League where he hit .274 with 4 home runs before he had to have Tommy John surgery that ended his season.  Jon Atkins went 1-0 with a 2.42 era with the Reds this year, which sounds impressive until you learn it was only in 3.2 innings. September call up Raul Casanova only played in 6 games with the Sox in that championship season, but managed to get into 20 games with the Mets this year, hitting .273 with 1 home run and 6 rbis.  

 Luis Vizcaino had a solid year in the bullpen in 2005 but then was traded to Arizona along with Orlando Hernandez in the ill-fated deal for the hapless Javier Vazquez. He was traded to the Yankees, then signed with Colorado this year, where he had a fat 5.28 era with a 1-2 record but a 3.5 million dollar salary.  A starter in 2005, Hernandez will always be a hero to White Sox fans for his breathtaking job of relief against Boston in the 2005 playoffs, but he spent the entire 2008 season on the Mets disabled list and his future is in doubt. He was 9-5 with a 3.72 era the year before.  

Another member of the “Big Five” from 2005, Freddy Garcia was traded to Philadelphia prior to the 2007 season for Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzales, but spent most of the last two years recovering from a shoulder injury, coming back in time to almost stop the White Sox bats on the last game of the 2008 season before he was pulled when he again injured his shoulder. We wish him the best, but not with Detroit. 

Jon Garland was also in that rotation before he was traded for Orlando “don’t charge ME with an error” Cabrera prior to this season. Garland won 14 games, but posted his highest era (4.90) since 2004. He’s a free agent and will probably not be resigned by the Angels who have a surplus of starters. Sadly Garland’s not looking like he is going to live up to his once great promise. But hey, we got him for Matt Karcher, so I guess anything he does is an improvement. 

The guy who stepped up and got a few key starts in 2005 when Hernandez could not go was Brandon McCarthy. He went 3-2 with a 4.03 era that year. McCarthy was an exciting pitcher but got on Ozzie and Kenny’s bad side (it might have something to do with his 4-7 record and 4.68 era) so was shipped off to Texas after the 2006 season for John Danks and Nick Massett. Unfortunately McCarthy’s career was stalled with a series of injuries that wiped out most of his 2007 and 2008 season. He did manage to make it back at the end of the season this year to go 1-1 with a 4.09 era. 

Of the rest of the pitchers, Damaso Marte was traded to Pittsburgh after showing a lack of heart and ability to throw strikes in the 2005 playoffs. Unfortunately the Sox traded one headache for another and got Robb Mackowiak in return. In the meantime, Marte has thrived in the stress-free enviornement of Pittsburgh where winning seasons are a distant memory. He actually was 4-0 with the Bucs this year with a 3.47 era before being traded to the New York Yankees pressure cooker where his era quickly ballooned up to 5.40.  

Neil Cotts was the final key member of the Sox bullpen in 2005. Cotts had a 1.94 era in 2005, giving up only 38 hits in 60 innings of work. But in 2006 the wheels fell off and suddenly he couldn’t get anybody out. His era hit a Boone Logan like 5.17 and so the next year Kenny shipped him crosstown for David Aardsma. After spending a lot of time in Iowa, Cotts improved enough to made it back to the Cubs this season, but was nowhere near as effective as he was in 2005, posting a 4.29 era. 

If Kenny had been able to resign Aaron Rowand, 2008 might have been a different season…or maybe not (as much as I’d like to have seen him in center, he couldn’t pitch in relief). Turning down the Sox offer in favor of the Giants in a lineup where he had very little offensive help, hit .271 with 13 homers and 70 rbi…not a great return on that 9.6 million the Giants shelled out to get him.  

Hollywood celebrities Senor Sock and Jerry Springer with Chicago's Luv-a-bulls!  Mais oui!

Scott Podsednik played to Rowand’s right side in 2005 but constant groin injuries (notably after he married stunning Playboy centerfold Lisa Dergen!) took away his greatest weapon: speed. After spending most of the next two seasons trying to recover, the Sox ran out of patience and decided it was time to move on. Pods signed with Colorado where he was a part-time player, hitting .253 with 12 stolen bases in 16 attempts and no groin pulls. 

The Sox picked up utilityman Geoff Blum in mid season in 2005 for his left handed bat and ability to play all infield positions. He only hit .200 in the brief time he played for us but he came through with a clutch home run in the 14th inning of game three in Houston to put the Sox up 3-0. He was let go after the season, resigned with San Diego before joining the Houston Astros this year. Injuries gave Blum the opportunity to play everyday and he responded by hitting .240 with 14 homers and 53 rbis for an Astro franchise that seemed adrift.  

Fellow utilityman and clubhouse favorite Pablo Ozuna stayed with the Sox until he was released in July, the victim of a numbers game and a crowded roster. Though management reportedly wanted him back when they had roster room, Ozuna signed with the Dodgers. As a utility player he hit .219 with one home run and 3 rbis. 

Willie Harris scored the winning and only run for the Pale Hose in game four of the World Series. However, he didn’t stay very long after the party. He became a free agent in December of that year and seeking fame and fortune, signed with the Red Sox. From there he drifted to the Braves and finally ended up on the Washington Nationals where he hit .251 with 13 stolen bases and a surprising 13 home runs (he’d only hit 7 in his entire career!). 

Regular second baseman and fan favorite Tadahito Iguchi was a big part of the 2005 team, hitting 15 homers, 71 rbis and stealing 15 bases in his rookie season. His numbers declined in 2007 and with the Sox out of the pennant race early, in a salary saving move they shipped him off to the Phillies for some guy named Michael Dubee (5-7, 4.37 era at Winston-Salem). A free agent, Iguchi signed with the  Padres but hit a disappointing .231 with San Diego with only 2 homers before being replaced by Edgar Gonzales at second base. He was put on waivers at the end of the season and reaquired by the Phillies. Guch only got 7 at bats with the Philadelphia. He’ll be a free agent when their season ends. 

What fate awaits the greatest of all White Sox is equally uncertain. Frank Thomas picked a bad time to be injured in 2005 yet still managed to hit 12 homers in only 105 at bats. The Sox let him go at the end of the year and he caught on with Oakland where he made a impressive comeback, pounding 39 homers. Instead of staying at a place where he was welcome and felt comfortable, Frank went for the highest offer and signed an ill-fated deal with Toronto. He hit 26 home runs for the Blue Jays in 2007 but was released early in 2008 after hitting only .167 with little power but a LOT of bad attitude. He hooked on again with the A’s, but was plagued by injuries once more, ending up hitting .240 overall with a total of 8 home runs. Big Frank’s a free agent again and says he has one more comeback in him. However with his history of injuries, Thomas future may all be in his past. He’s more likely to do more broadcasting as he did for the 2007 playoffs.  

These were the guys along with Anderson, Buehrle, Contreras, Crede, Jenks, Konerko, Pierzynski and Uribe that made 2005 such a unforgettable season in Chicago sports history, Somehow it was just the right combination for them to win the first World Series championship to Chicago since 1917.  

I just hope some of these guys are still active when we win the next one. 


Editor's Note:  An idol in his native Argentina, Senor Sock became the toast of the entertainment world while a regular on E! Entertainment Television's Emmy-award winning "Talk Soup". He has been romantically linked to many of the world's most beautiful women, including Suzanne Somers, Monica Bellucci, Donna D'Errico, Halle Berry and Peri Gelpin. He has his own website at http://www.fortunecity.com/athena/women/254/index.htm and is of course, a lifelong White Sox fan.

More features from Senor Sock here!

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