While the "feel good" baseball story of 2004 had been the Red Sox finally shattering the "Curse," the White Sox may have done them one better by taking the world title in the 2005 baseball season. Chicago's South Side team had appeared in the World Series only once since World War I, and it had been a full 88 years (1917!) since Chicagoans (Cubs fans included) had celebrated a world championship.
The 2005 World Series went down in the record books as a four-game sweep, but it was no walk in the park for the White Sox over the Houston Astros. They won game two on a walk-off homer by Scott Podsednik (who had hit exactly zero homers during the regular season) and needed a 14th-inning blast by little-known Geoff Blum to land game three. Even game four was tight, ending 1-0, with the only run coming in the eighth inning on an RBI single by 2005 World Series MVP Jermaine Dye.
The Sox flew through the postseason, bouncing the Red Sox in a three-game ALDS sweep and losing just once to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the ALCS. Life was tougher for the gritty Astros, who had to play the longest game in postseason history (18 innings) to topple the Braves in the NLDS, and needed six games to undo the Cardinals in the NLCS.
The White Sox stayed atop the American League Central standings all season long, fighting off brief challenges from Cleveland. Houston, on the other hand, started its season by losing two-thirds of its games, bottoming out at 15-30 before kicking it into gear. The Astros went on a 42-17 run and nailed down the National League wildcard berth on the last day of the season.
Chicago's irrepressible manager, Ozzie Guillen, kept things loose in the clubhouse while the pitching staff piled up the wins. The club's four starters -- Jon Garland, Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras, and Freddy Garcia -- posted win totals of 18, 16, 15, and 14, respectively.
The Astros became the first team since the 1914 "Miracle Braves" to appear in a World Series after being 15 games below .500 during the season. Houston was powered offensively by Morgan Ensberg, who crushed 36 home runs. The pitching staff featured outstanding seasons by Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte, and Roger Clemens, whose 1.87 ERA topped the league.
Postseason teams were peppered with winners of the major season awards. Both MVP winners (Albert Pujols of the Cardinals and Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees) played in October, as did the Cy Young winners (Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals and Bartolo Colon of the Angels). Chad Cordero of the new Washington Nationals (formerly the Montreal Expos) was the National League's top closer with 47 saves.
Derrek Lee's bat was on
fire for the Cubs in 2005.
Both batting titlists were first-time winners. Derrek Lee of the Cubs took the National League crown with a .335 average, and the Rangers' Michael Young topped the junior circuit with a .331 mark. Likewise, both RBI leaders were first-timers. Red Sox slugger David Ortiz led all ALers in RBI with 148, while Atlanta's Andruw Jones -- who clubbed a league-best 51 homers -- was the National League leader with 128.
Only a slight cooldown in August kept the White Sox from having the best record in baseball as they entered the 2005 postseason. And once they got there, no one could stop them, as they won 11 of 12 games. The Sox needed late-inning homer heroics in two games to sweep the Astros in the 2005 World Series.
The next page provides headlines and summaries for some of the top stories of the 2005 baseball season.
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