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TommyJohn
10-07-2005, 10:52 PM
Rick Telander wrote in his article today about his visit to the inventor of the
"ex-Cub" factor. He was asked if there could be an "ex-White Sox" factor and
the guy replied that the White Sox aren't a blip on his radar; thus showing
what a truly passionate, loyal, upstanding, dedicated Cub fan he is. If he
had been a White Sox fan, he would've been dismissed as bitter, jealous,
hateful, petty, mean-spirited trash, the type that likes to kick puppies and
push little old ladies into traffic. But I digress.

My post is to say that Telander is right, though he doesn't know it. There IS
an ex-White Sox factor in the postseason, one that I invented. It isn't the
one he thinks, though. He was refering to Graff's Gaffe, which would have
gone down in history had it not been for what Boston did last year.

My ex-Sox factor is this: any team that has three or more ex-White Sox will
pull off a tremendous comeback to win the pennant, pulled off an upset
to win the World Series, or both. Also that the ex-White Sox will contribute mightily. I have named it the Hitless Wonder Factor after the 1906 White Sox, who were 9 games back before rallying to win the pennant, then pulling off one of the most shocking upsets in World Series history, defeating a Chicago Cubs team that had gone 116-36 in the regular season. So here is my list of teams that benefitted from the "Hitless Wonder" Factor, along with a few tweaks and modifications and a previously unearthed team that I hadn't
known of before.

1968 Detroit Tigers: Norm Cash, Don McMahon, Denny McLain. I'm fudging
on McLain, because he never played a league game with the White Sox,
but he did play with them in spring training and wore the uniform, so the
magical Sockie pixie dust rubbed off on him. The Tigers won the AL pennant
going away (thanks to McLain's 31 wins) then fell behind 3 to 1 to a superior
Cardinal team. They came back to win the series, getting a must-win Game
6 win from McLain. Norm Cash's .385 average also contributed. I don't know
if the Cardinals were favored or not, they were a faster team and had Bob Gibson. I'll say they were. Now that I am a serious baseball writer, I am
allowed to make stuff up as I go along.

1969 New York Mets: Tommie Agee, Al Weis, J.C. Martin. Everyone knows
their story. Down 10.5 games to the Cubs, they roared back to win the NL
East, win the NL and beat the mighty Baltimore Orioles in a tremendous
upset. Agee, Martin and Weis ALL made significant World Series contributions.
Agee with his spectacular catches, Martin with his famous sacrifice bunt, and
Weis with his game 5 home run. Where all these bunts, bops and breathtaking
catches were in 1967 when the White Sox needed them is a mystery.

1978 New York Yankees: Bucky Dent, Goose Gossage, Jim Spencer, Bob
Lemon. The mother of them all!!! Down by 14.5 games to the eternally
woeful, suffering, suffering Boston Red Sox, the Yankees roared back to
tie them for the AL East. The one game playoff went down in history of
course, with Bucky Dent hitting a historic home run that would help beat
the Red Sox and give the Boston media, Doris Kearns Goodwin, John Updike
and Dan Shaugnessy reams and reams of useful material. Goose Gossage
closed out the Red Sox in the 9th. Dent was also the World Series MVP.

To be continued in next post.

TommyJohn
10-07-2005, 11:15 PM
1985 Kansas City Royals: Jorge Orta, Greg Pryor, Jamie Quirk. This was the
team I had not known of previously, but they fit the mold. Everyone knows
the story. Down 3-1 to the mighty Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS, the Royals
win the next three, the last two in Toronto, to win the pennant. Then on to
the World Series, where they did it again against the favored St. Louis
Cardinals.

Everyone knows the famous play from that series. Game 6, bottom of the 9th,
Cards up 1-0. First batter hits a grounder, runs to first. Card pitcher makes the play but the batter is called safe, even though he was clearly out. This starts a whole chain of events that results in the Royals winning 2-1, then taking the series the next day. And who was the batter who started
the Royal rally,the one who led off with the grounder that led to the call
that will be well remembered? Jorge Orta, the ex-White Sox, of course.
To top it off, then-White Sox manager Tony LaRussa was in the stands that night. There was no way the Royals were going to lose.

1997 Florida Marlins: Bobby Bonilla, John Cangelosi, Alex Fernandez, Don Pall,
Russ Morman, Jim Leyland. First wildcard team to win the World Series. Sur-
prised the Atlanta Braves in the playoffs (who the hell hasn't?) and beat the
Indians in the World Series, which I believe is considered an upset. They were
also down to their last three outs in Game 7 before tying it and winning in extra
innings. Donn Pall and Russ Morman didn't play in the postseason, but like McLain
they spread the magical Sockie pixie dust around Joe Robbie Stadium.

2004 Boston Red Sox: Alan Embree, Keith Foulke, Ron Jackson (hitting coach)
Ellis Burks. Now Burks only played for them briefly, and Jackson was only a
hitting coach, but again, it's all about the dust. They pulled off the most
astonishing historical comeback in baseball postseason history, being down
0-3 and down to their final three outs. They roared back, as only a team
with the Hitless Wonder factor on their side could, beat the Yankees and
pushed aside the 105 win Cardinals. Keith Foulke was a major contributor
in both the ALCS and the World Series. Of course!

I was a bit unsure about this one, because the Yankees have 4 ex-Sox on
their roster; Kenny Lofton, Tanyon Sturtze, Esteban Loiaza and Tom Gordon.
So it would reason that the "ex-Sox" factor is baseless, right? WRONG! I did
a little research, and the 2004 Yankees have six ex-Cubs (Lofton, Sturtze,
Gordon, Jon Lieber, Miguel Cairo, Donovan Osborne). So since they had more
ex-Cubs than ex-Sox, the ex-Cub factor trumps the ex-Sox factor. Likewise,
Boston had fewer ex-Cubs than the Yankees (four: Bellhorn, Mueller, Ricky
Guiterrez and Terry Francona), hence their victory. They had the same
number of ex-Cubs as the Cardinals (four: King, Tavarez, Womack, LaRussa) but the Cardinals have fewer ex-Sox (two, Eldred and LaRussa) so in this
case the ex-Sox factor trumped the ex-Cub factor.

Dumb? Stupid? A pile of dung? Maybe. But the ex-Cub factor is legendary,
so why not an ex-Sox factor?

Of course, there are three teams to whom this doesn't apply: 1981 Yankees
and the 1988 and 1990 Oakland A's. They had the required number of Ex-Sox,
but also 3 or more ex-Cubs. So in those cases, the ex-Cub factor won.
Revenge, perhaps, for 1906.

The "Hitless Wonder" Factor does not applt this year because the White Sox
themsleves are in the postseason. That trumps all. Therefore, there was no
way Boston was going to come back.

Will the 2005 White Sox follow in the footsteps of their 1906 brethren and
pull off a surprise of their own? Stay tuned.